By Ben Walker.
There are many of us in this world who are sports fanatics. Some are into individual sports, whether it be football, tennis, golf or another, while others are sporting polymaths. Life has got better for the sports fan in the last few decades, with the advent of dedicated sports channels meaning that you can go from watching football to basketball to tennis and then discover a love you never knew you had for lacrosse. This, in combination with the rise of sports betting, has led many people to feel that, if they know and love sports, they should be really good at predicting and profiting at the betting sites.
Being knowledgeable about sports is handy for a bettor, there is no denying that. However, there is more to being a smart sports bettor than just knowing a lot about sports. If everybody who loved sports could translate that interest and knowledge into success at the betting sites, then there would be a lot of people with much more money, and the number of sports betting providers would be dramatically lower. So if you do want to make a go of sports betting, it’s worth adding a few dimensions to your knowledge.
Knowing where to find value
As a sports fan, you probably know that Real Madrid is one of the most consistently successful high-level professional soccer teams. So logic dictates that it is a good idea to bet on them to win the Champions League when the betting odds are released. If you’d done that in 2022, then congratulations, you’d have cleaned up. In each of the prior three years, though, they didn’t even make the final. You find value by knowing which teams are hot at the right time, and by checking bookmakers to see who is offering the best odds. And by knowing that frequently, the favorite doesn’t win when there are so many teams in the field.
Avoiding the emotional pull
Most professional bettors won’t bet on games involving their own teams and preferred players. This is not necessarily for superstitious reasons, although that plays a part for some. Let’s explain it using an example: You’re a huge fan of the Buffalo Bills. You know that their recent form has been great. You’ve seen how skillful their quarterback is. You could tell anyone anything about the team. Now, they have a game in the pipeline against the Seattle Seahawks; a Seahawks fan could tell you everything about them, and could persuasively explain why they will win. You’re going to have biases and gaps in your knowledge when assessing your team in a head-to-head contest.
And if you bet on them and they lose, it’s a double gut-punch.
Harnessing your specialist knowledge
In some ways, this point will contradict the above one, so we’re just letting you know that we know that. However, neither point negates the other. Having a deep interest in sport does mean that there are some cases where you will be more or less an expert. Now, consider your most obscure sporting interest. More obscure, ideally, than any of the above examples.
Let’s say you’re a fan of Lithuanian basketball. If you can find odds on it, the chances are that these have been set by someone less knowledgeable on the market than you are. If a big match is coming up between Zalgiris and Lietkabelis, the sportsbook might know that Zalgiris are the champions. They are less likely to know the injury records of both teams coming into the game and, if you do have that knowledge, you can usually find value.
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