Betting on US sports is a tough way to make money. This is especially true when you make traditional wagers through sportsbooks that charge vig. But even if you place many bets with other gamblers and avoid the vig, it’s still tough to win more than half your bets.
In order to become a winning sports bettor, you have to find and use every advantage you can. Even small advantages can add up to increased profits over the course of a season or year. And if you’re not sure whether or not you can really win big placing sports bets, check out these unbelievable sports betting wins. This could be you if you put in the work!
One of the things that every sports bettor needs to be aware of is bias. Many different types of bias exist, and many people don’t even know they have a bias. Common types of biases in sports betting include home team bias and popular team bias.
A bias is the tendency to overvalue a team because of something that either isn’t important, or isn’t as important as it appears to be. Anything that biases your bets can be costly.
The good news is that, once you learn how to identify your biases and the biases of other bettors and sportsbooks, you can start using biases to make better betting decisions.
What Is Home Team Bias?
Home team bias is the tendency of sports bettors to overvalue the home team in a match or game. In every sport, the home team has an advantage if all other things are equal. Home teams simply win more often than road teams. The problem is that this fact doesn’t mean that home team picks are more valuable than road teams.
The sportsbooks setting the lines are well aware of the home field advantage and they take this into account when they set the lines.
Does this mean you shouldn’t evaluate home field advantage when you handicap games?
Of course, it doesn’t mean this.
In the next section, I’m going to show you some specific ways to use home team bias to find and exploit profitable situations.
But before you move to the next section, the first thing you need to do is determine if you’re a victim of home team bias.
How to Look for Home Team Bias
The easiest way to look for home team bias is to track all of your bets. This isn’t a fast method if you haven’t been tracking your wagers. But if you can look at all of your bets for at least the last year, you can start seeing trends.
Look at every game where you bet on the home team. Consider the percentage of your total wagers that were made on the home team in comparison to the road team, and evaluate your returns or profits on all games where you bet on the home team.
Now, compare your profits when betting on the home team against your profits when you bet on the road team. Do you see any trends? Hopefully, your numbers are close to the same. If your profits are close to the same for home and away wagers, it means that you probably aren’t letting home team bias lead you to bad decisions.
But what if your numbers tell a different story?
What to Do If You’re Losing Profit
The answer seems simple, but like most things involved with USA sports betting, the truth is far from simple. The easy answer is that you should stop betting so much on home teams. But you have to think about this at a deeper level.
The problem isn’t betting on US home teams. The problem is betting on too many home teams that don’t cover the spread. The answer more than likely is to adjust your handicapping formula slightly against the home team from what you’re doing now.
Your past results can help you determine how big this adjustment needs to be. Everyone handicaps games differently, but here’s a simple example of how an adjustment might work.
If you handicap games and make your bets based on a projected final score, you can make an adjustment to the final score that you usually come up with based on an average of how far off your past results are from your handicapping.
If you bet on football and average all of your past results and find that you’re off 1.5 points, you simply make a 1.5-point adjustment moving forward without making any additional changes.
In theory, this sounds simple. But the truth is that winning handicappers constantly evaluate their results and make adjustments. It’s difficult to leave everything the same. You’re also in danger of overcorrecting and creating a loss of profits on the other side.
The real key here is to track all of your results and constantly evaluate them to look for biases and trends and to learn how to become a better sports bettor every day.
Profiting From Home Team Bias
You can’t profit from your home team bias. All you can do is try to learn how to overcome your bias. I covered how to do this in the last section. But you can learn how to profit from other people’s home team bias. That’s what this section is about.
The way that I’ve profited the most from other people’s home team bias is by making bets directly with other sports bettors. This works just as well with bettors who have a strong home team bias as ones who have a strong favorite team bias.
Diehard fans are the best, because they can’t properly handicap games their favorite team is involved in.
When I identify these types of sports bettors, I look for games where I handicap the road team or the opponent of the person’s favorite team as favored to be profitable. Then I try to take things a step beyond and offer a line moved slightly in my favor over the consensus lines at the sportsbooks.
I don’t always get a bet made with an adjusted line, but I do often. It’s challenging to find bettors that have such a strong home team bias that they accept adjusted lines, but there are some of them out there.
Some fans are so blinded by their love for their favorite team that they make poor betting decisions week after week.
The other way you can profit from home team bias is when the public bets so heavily on the home team in a game at the sportsbook that the line moves. Sportsbooks move lines for other reasons also, but when the public bets heavily on one side, sometimes, the books move the lines to try to get a more equal handle on both sides of a contest.
So, don’t be surprised if you see some lines move around from time to time. Especially in larger sportsbooks, such as the one at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Because the sportsbook takes in plenty of wagers, bettors will often see this happen here.
Over the 30+ years I’ve been betting on US sports, my handicapping skills have slowly improved. My process has changed quite a bit also, and now, I make more bets on road teams and underdogs than ever before. I’m not trying to say that overall there’s more value on road teams and underdogs, but it’s easier for me using my skill set to find value in these situations.
I recently made a bet on a MLB game that looked like a terrible bet on the surface. Atlanta was home to Cincinnati and the Braves were favored to win the game. I made a bet with a half run kicker that the Reds would be leading after five innings. In other words, if the Reds were up or the game was tied, I won the bet. If I’d made this bet with a sportsbook, I might have been able to get a better run adjustment, but I’d have also been charged vig.
I made the bet with a big Braves fan and won the bet. But I knew a couple things that made it a profitable-looking opportunity for me.
I didn’t handicap the Reds as the favorite to win the game, but I felt they had a better than 50% chance to be tied or leading after five innings.
This is just one example of using home team or favorite team bias to make profitable wagers. If my handicapping was correct, and it’s impossible to determine if it was based on a single outcome, the bet was profitable in the long run. Any time you can make a bet that pays even money and has a better than 50% chance of succeeding, it’s a profitable wager.
Now that you know what home team bias is, the most important step is to determine if you’re falling victim to it. Once you eliminate it from your handicapping, the next step is to learn how to profit from other people’s bias. When you learn how to do this, you can quickly increase your US sports betting profits.