Only way to win sports betting is avoiding majorityOctober 22, 2013 3:02 AM by RJ Bell
The only way to win at sports betting is by disagreeing with the majority. Consensus opinion is what sets the betting market.
If you agree with consensus opinion, it will be extremely difficult to find value in the betting market, because of the commission (aka: vig, juice) charged by sports books means only above average bettors win over the long term. So, in order to win, a bettor must think differently than the majority.
But thinking differently alone is not enough. Thinking Jacksonville will win the Super Bowl is certainly different, and that opinion certainly will not lead to riches. Not only do you have to be different, you have to be right. Any bettor whose ambition is to aggressively pursue profit is the starting point.
Handicapper Scott Spreitzer, the host of Pregame.com’s Las Vegas radio show (10-11 AM weekdays on ESPN 1100), is more than ok disagreeing with his rotating roster of co-hosts. In most areas of life, being disagreeable is not a rare and valued quality.
Keep in mind, classic “tout” shows would rarely, if ever, allow handicappers to disagree. I grew up watching those USA Network shows on Saturday morning, and each of the personalities would get their time looking into the camera and telling the audience why their game was a sure winner. Even as a kid I wondered: “How can everybody always agree about everything?”
Being raised in an Italian family, I knew from experience it was difficult to agree whether homemade bread was better with or without sesame seeds. So it seemed unrealistic that the guys on TV agreed on every factor in every game.
From the start, a goal of mine has been to gather experts and place them in an environment where they can talk honestly – and if they honestly disagree with their colleague, they are obligated to express it with vigor and candor. That way, the audience would get all the information needed to decide which side they personally agreed with.
Typically, handicapping disagreements are a matter of nuisance. For example, is Andrew Luck a great QB today or merely a good who one day will likely be great? But there is one major area I totally disagree with many commentators on – football turnovers.
When a team is being critiqued, you’ll hear a negative turnover differential added to the list of the team’s ills. Yet, most advanced stats guys believe turnovers, for the most part, are a matter of luck (exactly how much luck is a matter of debate).
What’s certain is turnovers have a huge effect on the outcome of football games. The winner of the turnover battle historically covers the spread in 77% of NFL games. Think about that. A part of the game that involves a significant amount of luck has a significant effect on the outcome.
Some people believe the unlucky teams are 100% at fault, while others rightly understand how random turnovers can be. By definition, the way you handicap turnovers is an opportunity to disagree with consensus and also be right. And every time a commentary says the opposite, smile to yourself and hope the average bettor keeps believing it.
RJ Bell is the founder of Pregame.com - and co-host of FIRST PREVIEW, heard Monday through Friday at 10 am on ESPN 1100/98.9 FM. Follow on twitter: @RJinVegas. Discussion of this article continues at Pregame.com. Contact RJ at RJBell@GamingToday.com
Wynn Resorts is redesigning its proposed $1.6 billion resort casino in Everett. The updates were part of Wynn’s first status report to state regulators since besting Mohegan Sun for the lucrative Boston-area casino license last month.
Bob Christ’s breakdown of Pro Football Week 8 | Teams such as the Buccaneers that lose by 30-plus points the week before a bye, have come back strong their next game, going 8-0-1 ATS the past six seasons.
NCAA Football Betting Primer | The story of two teams heading in opposite directions as the Buckeyes have won four straight contests by the staggering average of 38.7 points per game, while the Nittany Lions have dropped their last two outings.
Trump Entertainment Resorts is dropping its threat to close Atlantic City’s Taj Mahal casino on Nov. 13. The company said it still cannot guarantee the Taj Mahal won’t close by the end of the year, but said it will remain open throughout November.
Bob Christ’s Thursday NFL Football Breakdown | When Denver plays host to San Diego on Thursday night in Week 8, Denver QB Peyton Manning will be going against one of the few teams that packs kryptonite when it faces the record-setting quarterback.
- Follow GamingToday on Twitter
- GamingToday's Beat the Big Dog football contest
- Islanders stirring up betting interest in NHL
- GamingToday Casino Games and Poker
- GamingToday's Bookies Battle the Point Spreads
- GamingToday Play Free Video Poker
- Odds put Gordon at goal for NASCAR championship
- Stanford's defense could crush Oregon State
- Like GamingToday on Facebook