As with any other skill in the world, some have proven better than others at betting on sports. In fact, a few (and lucky) few have been able to quit their daily jobs altogether and ride the waves as professional bettors.

Before you start believing that these people are just superior luck, it is important to consider the other factors that contribute to their success. Trust me, it’s more than just constant happiness.

In this article, I’m going to collect 4 tips from professional sports bettors that you can apply to your strategy today.

1 – Check the odds of winning early

When evaluating their potential options, sports bettors consider, among other things, how the odds of winning change in the run-up to an event.

When sports betting receives new information, some of which may or may not be available to the public, the betting market shifts one way or another. Professional players know that movement tells a story and it’s important to be able to see as things go.

The only way to properly follow the activity of the betting lines is to note what time the odds opened when the bet was first made available to the public. From there, the next step is to determine what the movement is indicating.

In general, it is best to be careful when betting on the same page as the general public. As the saying goes, there is a reason these casinos look so good and not because the majority of the people are winning.

What line movements can indicate is that public money is coming in heavily on one side or the other and sports betting is shifting the numbers to balance the money. If this doesn’t make sense I’ll explain.

The goal of a sports bet is to make even money on each side of a bet and then use the “juice” or “vig” as a profit. For example, if 50% of the people at -110 bet on team A and 50% of the people at -110 bet on team B, the losing side covers the winning side and there is 10% left for a guaranteed house profit.

How does this apply to line movement? Let’s say Team A in the example above opened at -6 on the point spread as a favorite. For the next 48 hours they are now a favorite as -7.5. What does that mean?

This would mean the public was betting heavily on the favorite, which meant that sports betting had to increase the number of points the underdog received in order to encourage people to bet on the other side.

This is just one example of using line motion to help you make a decision. However, it is a much broader topic that requires a lot of attention. If you are serious about sports betting, learning how to track is a great place to take your strategy to the next level.

2 – Think long-term and high quality

I’m not going to dig into the topic too deeply, but one philosophy that I believe is vital in both business and gambling is a high tolerance for risk. I’m not saying it’s a good idea to blindly toss money on everything, but without risk there is no real reward.

This applies to sports betting in the sense that greater risk is sometimes required to be successful in the long run. Realize that, like playing on the stock market, the goal of sports betting is not how many “wins” you make, but how big those wins actually are to your bottom line.

If you’re one of those people who think they cracked the sports betting code and are only picking huge moneylines favorites (you know, those “safe” bets), you’ve probably realized that this isn’t the winning strategy that is You probably hoped to see it.

The favorite moneyline strategy is very popular among the amateur sports betting public.

What you don’t hear often is the person who (after doing enough research) consistently takes underdogs and wins 40% of the time, but still makes a good profit. Strive to be the type of player who chases value over easy wins.

Nobody likes to lose, but if you can end up tolerating more losses for a higher payout, you are not sacrificing anything. It’s a tough mental hurdle to overcome, but making the decision that it’s okay to endure a few extra losses will help you in the long run.

3 – Know where you are financially

If there is an issue in the way that professional sports bettors go about their craft, then you need to treat betting as a business. Obviously, one quality of a well-run business is ongoing awareness of the bottom line.

Building a bankroll is essential to both your short term and long term success, and protects against a financial cliff falling completely.

If you are unfamiliar with the term, your bankroll is the money pool that you are betting out of. Note that you should only use money from this pool or you will ruin the purpose of having one completely.

When building your bankroll, there are a few things to keep in mind that will help you land on the right amount. First, it should be an amount of money that you can afford to lose. Nobody likes to think about it like that, but when you set up your bankroll imagine that all the money will be gone tomorrow. Rather, think of it as a purchase (just so you know you can make something of it … possibly).

NCAA football quarterback in front of a defender

Once you have your total number, the next step is to select a percentage range that you can use to determine your bet size. Most experts recommend wagering between 3% and 5% of your total bankroll on one game. However, these numbers can be set based on your individual situation and goals.

Most of all, make sure you don’t lose sight of your financial status. I’ve seen a lot of bettors who always seem eager to record every win but sometimes fail to report on their own performance after a bad weekend.

Don’t make excuses for not following your money. It doesn’t take luck, skill, and very little time. Not to mention, this is arguably the most important aspect of your entire operation.

4 – line shop

Not every business has exactly the same cost for a particular product. The pair of shoes you found on one website for $ 150 may sell for $ 135 on a competing website. When there is competition for a market, there are price differences.

If you’ve ever wondered why it is important to familiarize yourself with a few different sports bets, line shopping is high on the list. Seemingly small differences can add up over time and have a significant impact on your bankroll.

Newbies may look at the difference between a bet at -110 and -120 and don’t think it matters that much, but if you take this approach, you’ll be paying 10% more for the house. Over the course of 1,000 bets, this is a serious waste of money if you are not looking for better odds.

Admittedly, the differences are often small and sometimes it can be unimportant just to look for a small increase in value. However, all professional sports players will acknowledge that betting is a volume business. Keeping up with the best deals will save you some money on the games you use.

So the question is, how many sports bets should you look at before placing a bet? Unfortunately, there isn’t a straightforward answer, but I would recommend at least half a dozen.

Conclusion

Perhaps this article should have started earlier than finished with this advice, but before you place all-in bets, keep in mind that it is extremely difficult to make a living gambling. Professional sports bettors are proof that this is possible, but it’s a wild, often unpredictable ride that isn’t for everyone.

The tips above probably won’t get you ready to start playing professionally tomorrow, but if you ever take the plunge keep this in mind.