It seems like you can’t turn on the TV without running into a sports show that revolves around gambling. They always include a panel of “experts” giving their takes on which bets are sure winners. But are they really any more effective than you at picking games?
Though not nearly as prominent, another group of experts is lurking online. Unfortunately, this group has the potential to not just be unhelpful, but to actually take your money in exchange for what amounts to a guess.
In this article, I’ll explain five reasons why you should be ignoring most “expert” gambling picks and start making your own choices.
The Sample Sizes Aren’t the Same
Your response to the entire premise of this article might understandably be, “Well, don’t these people win more than me?” The answer to that question might be yes (it also might be no if you’re a good gambler), but the question is more complicated than it seems.
Whether you’re asking about a website that claims to have an unbelievable record in betting on NFL games over the past five seasons or the talking head on TV, if you look at the overall numbers they won’t compare. For example, most betting websites that claim to have a fool-proof formula are basing their data on a number of games you couldn’t possibly bet.
If a website is boasting a winning percentage of 58% over the course of the past 10 NFL seasons, that’s an intriguing number. However, don’t forget that when you factor in the juice (one of the main reasons the sportsbooks always seem to win), that 58% number doesn’t look quite as pristine.
Regardless of what the percentages are for any given site, here’s where things start to get much less useful. The numbers are based on data obtained from betting on every single game over past seasons. In my opinion, if you have the bankroll to support betting on every game, every week, you probably don’t even need the money.
The bottom line is that these sites have put together very specific models that at best, have proven they can be semi-successful over the course of a very long period of time. The question then is, how much are you willing to pay for a model that’s only reliable if you bet on every single game each week?
Sure, it’s nice to throw up those numbers that “prove” success, but unfortunately, they’re just not applicable for most regular gamblers.
They’re Just People, Too
You’d think that the qualifications for being on a show that tells you what to do with your money should be significant. But in reality, those giving out their picks are often no better at it than many of their viewers. It should be noted, however, that they are probably more entertaining than most of their viewers, and that’s what really matters.
Now, you don’t need to come to the same conclusions as those on the popular betting sources, but you can also gain some valuable information if you don’t turn the dial. As much as betting is about predicting the right outcome, it’s also about gathering the right information to help you make your decisions. Any time you can bounce ideas (or simply hear someone else’s ideas), you can think about things from a perspective you may or may not have considered previously.
You might think that working in sports would give you the upper hand when it comes to betting on games, but based on what I’ve seen, that’s simply not the case. As I mentioned earlier though, it does mean they have additional information to bring to the table.
In the end, as long as you’re not afraid to disagree with the analysts, watching these shows can be helpful. Just don’t fall into the trap of always making the same picks they do. Their records prove they shouldn’t be trusted to that degree.
It’s a Gambling Trust Issue
Would you take advice from someone who has absolutely no stake in your outcome? What if it involved your hard-earned cash? If you listen to the advice of gambling experts, you’re doing just that.
The true gambling sharps know that each bettor must make their own decisions because at the end of the day, it’s their money that’s on the line.
To illustrate this concept, I’ll use an example that is already well-known throughout the majority of the adult population in America. Although there are clearly some distinctions when compared to sports betting, there’s no doubt that you could consider it a gamble—stock trading.
The sports betting TV shows and stock trading TV shows have more similarities the closer you look. The commentary for both is supposedly coming from someone who is well-versed in the subject in a way you are not, but you have no way to verify their track records. Second, although they make convincing arguments, it’s hard to know if they believe what they’re saying to the degree that they’re putting their own money out there on the line.
While the paragraph above points out the concerns people might have when deciding whether or not to use a TV show as an investment or betting guide, the shows have other similarities in a positive way.
In both cases, you’re exposed to information you may or may not have been considering previously. It’s undeniable that more information is better than less information; it all comes down to how you use it.
I would hope that people who watch Mad Money or some other CNBC investment show aren’t putting their life savings exactly where the host or panel suggests. Similarly, I would hope sports bettors aren’t just following along blindly with what’s said on Lock It In.
When it comes to your money, you need to be the one making the final decision, especially when the person giving you advice has no skin in your game.
You Need to Learn for Yourself As a Sports Bettor
It’s nice to have a voice to guide your betting picks at times, but eventually, you need to develop the skills to make them on your own.
If you’re relying on someone else’s decisions to help lead you to profitability, your sports betting strategy is, at the very best, unsustainable. The fact of the matter is that you need to suffer through a few tough stretches in order to gain the valuable experience it takes to be successful as a sports gambler.
You need to get familiar with betting with value in mind, taking risks when the payoff is worth it, and more than anything else, you have to get comfortable doing your own research leading up to a game.
The final reason I would advise against always taking the advice of the so-called experts is because it takes away all the fun!
Betting on sports is supposed to make the games more exciting. It’s meant to be a test of your knowledge and predictive skills, and one which has the promise of a payoff at the end if you’re able to get it right.
If you truly want to get the most enjoyment out of the hobby that is betting on sports, building your own mental library of knowledge is going to make it a much more rewarding experience.
This article is not meant to discourage you from watching or enjoying the number of sports gambling shows available on major networks today. In fact, I would recommend watching them.
Just remember that at the end of the day, it’s your money, and your picks should be your decision.