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Handicapping Sports: Make a Career of It in 2024

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What’s It All About?

Have you ever thought about doing something completely different than what you’re doing now to earn a living? It seems we all have at one time or another but most of us stick with what we know, regardless of whether or not we are actually happy doing it.

Some brave souls take a chance and follow their passions which can lead to stunning success, or at times, disappointing failure. Yet, the most cautious approach is to dip your toes into the water to see if it’s warm. We don’t have to send a resignation letter to our boss just because we want to explore something different. We can try it out, and slowly determine if this new path is worthy of a full-time investment. If it is, then we can bid adieu to our old job and walk out of the office with our chin held high.

Sports handicapping is exactly such a venture. First of all, you can learn how to bet because it’s more than just flipping a coin and picking the team that comes up heads. There is homework to be done such as researching both teams, scouring injury reports, read and analyze picks, and analyzing recent matchups between the teams. Due diligence is a must whether you are wagering on the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, or even professional soccer, and one of the best places to do it is on sportsbookreview.com.

There are sports betting forums online where bettors communicate about individual matchups, future proposition bets, or just life in general. It’s all out there for the taking and it’s up to you to explore this exciting new world that most only dream about and do nothing more than just that.

The Basics

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There are a few rules you must abide if you are to be successful in the sports betting arena. First and foremost, allocating affordable financial resources to your new business endeavor is vital because only you can decide what you can afford to risk.

Sports betting is like any new venture, nothing is guaranteed and if you were to lose it all, would you be able to recover quickly? If you envision weeks of sleepless nights should the worst-case scenario unfold, then you are risking too much. Find the sweet spot that allows you to build a bankroll but not overcommit yourself.

Next, you must understand how much of your bankroll you can allot to each individual wager. There are two divergent schools of thought on this topic. The first of which states that each bet should be identical in terms of value. One unit is the standard wager which is equal to one percent of your bankroll. If you were to start with $1000 then each bet would be $10, no more, no less.

source: blog.zensports.com

However, there is another paradigm that states each wager should correlate to the confidence the bettor has in it. A side (team) or total (total combined points that can be bet over or under) that has passed the litmus test for being an acceptable wager should be tagged as a one-unit bet while the most confident picks should cap out at five units.

The sharp bettor knows that five-unit wagers are rare indeed and that the vast majority of his betting portfolio should be of the 1-3-unit variety.

Lastly, limit the number of your wagers. On a college football Saturday – assuming college football is one of your preferred betting sports – there could be 60 plus games on the slate. The sharpest handicappers understand that consistently betting more than a handful of games is a recipe for disaster. And if you can’t find a game you like out of all of those choices, then sit back and take the day off. There will be more games to bet tomorrow so don’t ever feel guilty about being out of action.

One of the most successful sports bettors in history is the legendary, Billy Walters, who is renowned for his prodigious powers of prognostication. Walters opines, “The game of handicapping sports is really the same game as it was 40 or 50 years ago. It’s much more competitive now, and the numbers are much better than they were in the 80s, but it’s still the same game. It still comes down to evaluating information.”

That last part is very important because information is power. Everyone has ESPN but are you paying for the sites that provide advanced analytics? You can bet the pros are, not to mention the amount of free sites that now use advanced metrics.

If you are making a wager but you don’t know that the team’s second best player is out for example, then you don’t have enough information to understand if the odds you are betting on are fair or not. Being able to do research and then understand the information that you are acquiring is the difference between the sharp players and the squares.

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When Walters talks about the ability to evaluate information, you have to understand that fundamentally, most serious bettors have access to the same statistics and trends. The thing is, the guys that turn a profit over the long haul go that extra mile in terms of research. A square bettor might see the following trend in regards to an upcoming football game: “Team X is 5-0 against the spread vs Team Y in their last 5 games”.

That’s a great trend in favor of X, unless team X has a completely different roster. A sharp bettor would know that in this case, the 5-0 against the spread trend doesn’t mean very much in relation to the upcoming game. It doesn’t have to be as drastic as a new roster, if for example one of the teams has a new starting quarterback. Again, sharp bettors know that no single position in any team sport affects the spread like a starting quarterback.

All statistics and trends need context to be useful to you as a sports bettor. So make sure to take the free advice that Billy Walters is giving you by fact checking the information you’re taking in. Not only should you be checking statistics, you should also be reading about the stories surrounding the team you are looking to bet on. Your job is to question the validity of all of the information you gather and relate it to the spread being offered. It can’t be overstated that you should constantly be questioning everything from the line being offered to the trends involving both teams to the injury report and upcoming schedule. Once you put yourself in the mindset of evaluating information related to your bet instead of taking things at face value, you are one step closer to becoming a profitable player.