What Are You Doing To Prepare For Sports Betting’s Big Moment?
The race to capitalize on legalized sports betting continues as ESPN recently inked a deal with Caesars Entertainment Corp. The initial plan is for a broadcast studio to be built at The Linq Hotel in Las Vegas. Early this year ESPN launched Daily Wager; a Sports Center-type show on ESPN News that centers around sports betting. With practically every media behemoth — ESPN, FOX Sports, and Sinclair to name a few — jumping into bed with sports betting, the amount of content we’re about to be subject can only be described as “11” on your volume dial.
So as bettors, now that we know it’s coming, what can we do to prepare? I use the term “prepare” because life as a sports bettor is about to get a lot different. At its core, sports betting is about one thing and one thing only; an attempt to place winning wagers. This process of placing winning wagers can be executed a number of ways but in the end, the goal for every bettor is the same. I’m 40 years old and have been betting on a serious level for over a decade. When I first started, we were in the infant stages of the “information era.” Websites like FanGraphs and Football Outsiders were considered cutting edge and bettors looked to capitalize on analytical data that at the time wasn’t accounted for in the betting markets. It didn’t last long. Nowadays, a pitcher’s FIP or NFL team’s DVOA is the betting markets. Those types of stats and analytics are still usable but like that super-system trend you uncovered and rode to profits for an entire season back in the mid-2000’s, the well is all but dried. Any successful sports bettors will tell you that the key to winning is finding things that aren’t accounted for in the betting markets. It may be an under-the-radar injury or a strength of schedule model you created but no matter how cutting edge the information is, it’s almost a guarantee that someone else out there is using a near identical approach. For as much success as I’ve had betting on sports, I’ll be the first to admit that the rate in which I’m forced to change tactics in order to stay ahead of the betting markets is alarmingly high. My first real bankroll was built on taking advantage of a soft college basketball totals market. I mechanically used the same technique for close to five years and had no reason to change or adapt because I was winning at a 60 percent rate. Those days are long over. I still beat college basketball but if I hit 55 percent over an entire season I’m giving myself a big pat on the back.
But back to my point of preparation. What the hell does the average sports bettor do with all of this information that, let’s face, is about to be rammed down their throats? It’s foolish to to think you can just tune it out. I’ve long been a “blinkers on” handicapper — I don’t want to know any outside opinions and sorry, your stupid Twitter trend is bogus — but it’s hard when every media outlet is now covering sports from a betting perspective. The expansion of mainstream sports betting coverage could however ultimately aid in creating a bigger market. And with its increased size it will in theory form more opinions. We’ve all heard the saying that oddsmakers are looking for split action on a game. Well, bettors are too. It helps avoid the frustration of those one-sided steam moves I witness every day throughout the college basketball and football seasons. My advice to you the reader is to be careful moving forward. The ratio of “bad” information to “good” is about to get extremely lopsided. So much so that knowing what to read, who to listen to, and who to tune out are arguably the most important skills you can develop.