Are you a sharp or a square? Hint: if you don’t know, you’re a square.
Okay, that’s pretty much the oldest one in the sports betting jokebook, but there’s definitely a grain of truth hidden in there somewhere. And that truth is that the more you know, the better you’ll do. What goes for life in general goes for sports betting.
I have a few things to tell you, either for the first time or as a gentle reminder, that will go a long way towards improving your sports betting experience. There are a couple of specific details that will really only refer to the online sports betting world, but by and large a lot of the tips are the same.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING.
How many times have you heard that one? It goes double when you’re online at the sportsbook. Bet those underdogs early. The longer you wait, the more you show your squares. We’re talking later in the hour, later in the day, later in the week. You want to know what to look for as early as possible, because it almost never gets better (if you’ve got an hour or two to kill, buy an old-time bookie a drink and ask him about a little day called Black Sunday).
THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME.
Everybody loves an underdog, and everybody loves a home team. Put them together and you’ve got the best bet you can make. I know you’ve seen it before: mild-mannered batter becomes grand-slam superhero when Mom, Dad, Mary Jane and the family dog come to cheer them on. Then they all go home and play free slots for fun. No, that’s a different story altogether…
DON’T BE A BASKET CASE.
As in, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. You can’t assume every sportsbook has the same odds. Shop around and get the most bang for your buck. If the odds at WillHill.com looks good, who’s to say that Bet365.com won’t look even better (or vice versa?). The line at BetFair.com is usually as good as it gets, but every once in a while it’s even better at Ladbrokes.com…et cetera. Check them all, just to sleep a little easier (i.e., on a bed stuffed with more notes!)
DON’T LISTEN TO ME.
I don’t mean that literally, of course. Sometimes I even make a lot of sense. But in general, keep your own wits about you. There’s a lot of people who stand to gain (either monetarily or by looking like Mr. Smartpants) by doling out exciting but ultimately questionable bits of info. So just be careful of anybody’s hot tip or good advice or insider information. Do your own research — after all, it’s your own money.