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Avoid the most common sports betting mistake

Despite numerous attempts to curb the recreational activity, millions of people all over the United States continue to bet on sports on a regular basis (bettors in most of the rest of the world do not have the same restrictions).

Avoid the most common sports betting mistake Some professional gamblers, in fact, can actually make a living by understanding betting systems as well as understanding the sports they bet on. For every person who can make good money off of sports betting, though, there are hundreds (if not thousands!) who come out in the red season after season. Let’s take a look at the biggest mistake that new gamblers in particular make when they start to place bets on sports.

 Confusing a favorite with a winner. The number one mistake that newbie gamblers in particular make when placing their bets is thinking that the “favorite” means that that team or individual is going to win. They think that the odds makers have some kind of analysis specialty or crystal ball tucked away that gives them an edge on who will be victorious.

 This is absolutely not what a favorite is. A favorite is not a team who will probably win, but instead a team on whom the majority of bettors are placing their bets. While in some cases this is an indication that the favored team are in fact the more skilled team, sometimes it does not work this way.

 Let’s use an example to help clarify this. Say the New York Giants are playing the Kansas City Chiefs, and the Giants are listed as 7.5 favorites on the spread. Is this because the Giants have a better chance of winning? No! It’s based on the fact more people are betting on the Giants than on the chiefs. This can happen for a number of reasons:

• The favored team is located in a bigger market.
• Through merchandising or just due to market filtration, the favorite team has the more recognizable name than the underdogs.

 Deciding the favorite is no indication at all of the skill level of a given team or even their ability to beat another team. Fans who bet often go with the heart instead of the head, so a team that does not have a realistic shot does have a chance at being the favorite in any given match.

 An even greater problem presents itself when bookmakers adjust the spread to even the action. Bookmakers want to avoid getting middled and losing their cut, so they want even betting on both sides. If one side is being bet on too heavily, they will adjust the spread so that the winning team must win by a wider margin in order to pay off bettors. If you don’t understand the favorite concept, this might make it look like the favorite is way better than the underdog. If you’re betting the spread, it’s always better to go with an underdog who has good value; in other words, a dog up against a heavy favorite. If you’re just betting on a victory, don’t let the spread indicate where you should put your money!


Published on 06/29/2007

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