Week of 9/24/18 – 9/30/18:
To tease or not to tease in the NFL?
The betting public loves their teasers. Bringing two 7 point NFL favorites down to -1 each is just something many of us cannot resist. Sure, there are instances when a teaser makes some good sense. But, like the Hard Ways on a craps table, there is a reason why they are available to the betting public. People love them but the odds still favor the house. There is an old generality that winners cover in the NFL. Roughly 80% of winners cover their number long term in the NFL, so, let’s think about this. What do you tease most often? Most likely, you improve the chances a heavy favorite covers by lowering their spread to something under a field goal with the mentality that they just need to win by a typical increment like 3 or better. However, if you consider that around 4 out of every 5 winners in the NFL cover their spread anyway, is it really worth adding another team to the equation in a two-team teaser? If you like a team enough to win, chances are they will cover the spread. Essentially, you are betting that one of your two teased teams will be part of the 20% that does NOT cover in the NFL but still wins the game. Odd approach when you get right down to it. If both teams cover as the odds say they should, you would’ve gone 2-0 on individual bets on the two teams with their unaltered lines and made more than your 1 teaser win produced if you wagered the same amount. If you have good rationale why your specific teaser combo is worthwhile, by all means, but, in my experience, most teasers are slapped together so that you don’t have to lay 8 points with a defensive minded team that has trouble scoring or something of the sort. As always, plan ahead and think through your wagers. Good luck!
Week of 9/17/18 – 9/23/18:
Give yourself options and shop around…
For an increasing number of you, sports betting is being legalized in your state (or already has been in your state/country). As the legalization spreads nationwide, you will see a huge influx in options for betting houses. Beyond just placing wagers at a casino, racetrack, etc., we will all soon be inundated by legal online betting options and apps.
My advice this week to you is, as much as your bankroll can support, have money available in as many different apps/sites as possible. Betting houses are constantly tinkering with their odds depending on how much money they may be bringing in on one side of a game. The more options you have for each of the games you are looking to have action in, the more chances you have of finding a favorable line. Shop around. A big part of being a successful sports bettor is being patient and being organized. Have your daily (and even weekly!) plays lined up ahead of time and shop around for the best lines. After winning a time or two by the half-point you save doing this, you will understand how valuable this can be!
Week of 9/10/18 – 9/16/18:
International duty ends and Club play resumes this weekend for much of the world’s soccer clubs. This is when you, as a bettor, can start to expect to see the real version of most bigger teams. Up until now, you have had open transfer windows in certain parts of Europe which meant players changing clubs, not playing full minutes, changing the dynamic of their new (and old) clubs, etc. Also, being a World Cup year, you had a lot of the players who went far into the World Cup missing a lot of preseason and sometimes even regular season minutes as they got their 3 or so weeks of respite from the grind. Now, everyone is back and after 11 or so days of International Break, should be back close to full fitness. Teams with new managers or a sizable number of new players should start to mesh better and take the shape the managers have been drilling. So, our tip is to readjust your mental assessment of clubs that fell into the above categories as they come back from the break. You may see a different side moving forward and you may just find some soft lines in your favor as the oddsmakers catch up to which teams were just mirages of their true selves.
***on a selfish side-note, this is also typically when I settle into my groove with capping soccer for the above reasons, as well as the fact that the madness of the opening weeks of NCAAF and NFL is behind us, with all of the extra time required researching, as well as all of the new and returning clients with whom I am interacting throughout each day! So, be ready for some fun games and great profits moving forward!***
Week of 9/3/18 – 9/9/18:
When evaluating your wagers for Week 1 of the NFL season, consider how the new rule changes and points of emphasis may impact results, especially totals. You can get a sense of what Vegas thinks by looking at their set lines. This year’s major focus seems to be on players lowering the helmet. If these are primarily defensive penalties, you will see chunk yardage eaten up without clock running. If these affect the offense, you might see drives stall between the twenties, long yardage, and more field goals. The kickoff rules and catch rule have been tweaked and will surely become a talking point as the season progresses.
Some other rule changes that are worth noting:
- a winning touchdown at the end of regulation no longer requires an extra point or two-point conversion attempt.
- In overtime, if the first team to possess kicks a field goal and the second team to possess turns the ball over, that play will be allowed to play out, including any scoring on said play.
Week of 8/27/18 – 9/2/18:
Practice makes perfect:
Before you look at the lines each day, go through the slate of games without looking and make your best guess at the line and total (or any other wager option you deem important). Do this for every sport, every chance you get. Compare your guesses with the actual available lines, totals, etc. You will likely find that after a few days, or weeks, or months, you will be better able to predict how Vegas will want to line a game. And, better yet, as you get more experienced and talented at this art, when you find your guess wholly disparate from the actual line, you may have found a weakness you are able to exploit. I’m confident this is an Art of War, Sun Tzu thing, but, “Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories.” Or, if you’re a G.I. Joe disciple, “Knowing is half the battle.”
Week of 8/20/18 – 8/26/18:
The math on the hook.
With the NFL and NCAA football seasons rapidly appearing on the horizon, I thought I’d take a minute to talk about buying “the hook” when betting. The hook is buying a half a point from your betting house to make your line a half point better, but paying extra juice to do so. Some very experienced bettors very close to me swear by the motto of “always buy the hook”. They don’t want to look back and know they could’ve won where they pushed or pushed where they lost. I understand that from a human emotion standpoint. But, I also try at all costs to take the emotion out of my picks. I know from many years of experience that the minute your heart gets involved, things change. The advent of live betting and expanded betting options may provide the best way yet of putting this argument to bed. Now you can buy a full point, two points, etc. Where does it stop? Meanwhile, you are paying more and more juice to get these improved odds.
Trust me, you aren’t grabbing better odds somewhere along the way either! The house is set up to cover its end mathematically. You most often begin a point spread wager paying around 10% juice to the house. This means for every 10 bets you lose in this scenario, you would have to win 11 just to break even (52.38%). When you buy the hook, you now likely are paying 20% juice for your extra half a point. Now, for every five bets you lose you have to win 6 to break even (54.55%). This may not seem like a ton, but over a season or seasons, this is a huge hit just to gain a half point advantage.
And you may here say, “Well, at that slight difference, there are situations that merit buying the hook…what if my line is -3.5 or +2.5 in a football game?” Again, the house is prepared for this, as well. In this types of lines, they typically charge double juice so that your -3.5 -110 line with the bought hook is now -3 -130. Let’s dive back into the math. For games with this level of juice, now I have to win 13 games for every 10 games I lose (56.52%).
Said differently, when buying the hook from -110 to -120, you would have to hit the EXACT half point adjusted line you bought for the final score once out of every 11 times you lost a game to justify the hook’s purchase. When buying the hook from -110 to -130, you would have to hit that same EXACT half point adjusted line you bought for the final score once out of every 6 times you lost a game just to break even on your hook purchase.
Only you can decide if this is worth it. I think the math is clear enough for me on this one. I cannot say that I have drilled the adjust hook line exactly to produce a win or push that would have been a push or loss 1 in 11 (let alone 1 in 6) times historically. Therefore, for me, I generally leave the hook for the fish. You may catch me purchasing the hook in rare instances to protect a 3 or a 7 or if I am managing my wins or losses in a certain way. But, as a general rule, spend your hard earned money on something other than an often unneeded half a point.
Week of 8/13/18 – 8/19/18:
If it looks too good to be true, it often is.
This motto is apropos in everyday life, but, for me, even more so in the sports betting world. When you look at the lines/totals each day, you will often see some posted that just jump out as “easy” bets. One of the hardest things for a novice (and sometimes even an experienced) bettor to do, is to resist the urge to dive into this usually shallow pool. Seeing the Yanks -120 at the O’s, or the Pats getting points against, well, anyone, or Real Madrid +115 to win at Sevilla, is enough to make almost anyone’s trigger finger itch. I urge you to use restraint in these situations. Sure, you may win on these games sometimes…otherwise, it would be really easy to just play against these lines whenever you found them. My personal preference when I see a game that looks a little fishy is to simply lay off. Yes, you may “miss an easy one” if it comes out the way you foresaw. However, you avoid losing on all the times when it truly was just a bait line. There are infinite number of things to bet on now with the advent of live betting. Skipping one game here and there surely won’t preclude you from being able to play that time slot, day, or week. Be patient.