The three main places to make sports bets are online, in a casino, and your friendly local bookie.
Many factors regulate my decision on which ones to use and when to use them. I can use all three, and that’s fine as well. No one says I have to pick one.
This post looks at the different venues and how to interpret their lines. It’s good to know the three transaction methods of cash, credit card, and cryptocurrency for my deposits and payments.
Online sportsbooks can give considerable bonuses, and a local bookie may give me a line of credit.
My primary reason for choosing a location is trust.
That should be yours be as well.
Your Local Bookie
Let me first say that betting with a local bookie is illegal at the state and federal levels. Among the advantages of local bookies is that it’s a cash-based business, so I don’t have to have the government involved in my finances.
Another advantage is that I generally know the person and other bettors that participate, so I have a good idea of their character.
These specialty bets may include lines for local events, and Vegas is not going to have my local games posted on the line.
I will say that I need to be careful on smaller local sports as insiders may be privy to information not available to me or the general public. This can be an advantage if I’m the inside who’s privy, though.
Some of the more sophisticated private bookies have their own website and betting platforms where people sign in under aliases. These are geared along the same lines as the major venues and are primarily geared toward betting on the NFL.
Traditional Casino Sports Betting
I previously wrote a blog on how to place sports bets and need to give a quick refresher for this section.
It’s crucial in these cases to know the game numbers associated with the team you are placing the bet. I need to know the line and its meaning. A 120 line means I pay $120 to win $100, and when at the window, I need to state the game number with to win 100. This means I hand over $120 and get a ticket for the bet.
As soon as I get the ticket, I need to check it so that it represents the bet I want to make and then walk out of the sportsbook room to take a picture of it. Phones are restricted in the sports room, but this was put in place to prevent folks from betting by proxy.
Back in the day, a professional sports bettor would communicate to numerous people across different rooms to make bets on his behalf. This was to disguise their strategy and cost sportsbooks considerable money.
Then the line would change for the rest of the non-professionals, making it harder for the average bettor to win. Complaints led to the feds stepping in and setting specific some rules — the cell phone rule being one of them.
Just don’t be that guy at the counter using his phone, or you might have a man in a suit asking you to step outside. This happened to me the first time in a sports room, but lucky for me, my ignorance was easily recognizable.
Football and Baseball
The football sportsbook will have two line items for the game with the home team listed second, a total score for over/under betting, and a spread with the favorite either being the only one with the spread or having the negative spread. The dominant betting structure for football is 11:10, meaning $110 to win 100.
Tell the clerk game number xxx under to win 100 and hand them the $110, take your ticket, check it, take a picture as soon as you can, and then look for the next wager. Find a place that has all of the lines listed to see if the book you are using has the best lines. The originator line will generally shift moments before the other books catch up.
Baseball has a similar but different structure of picking the winner or loser of a game and picking the over/under for the total projected score. One main difference is that all games and teams have their own betting lines with the favorite listed first, followed by the underdog line. The pitchers are also important, and unless specified, when a pitcher does not start, the bet is void, and you will be refunded.
Betting at Online Sports Books
There are over 100 online sportsbooks out there, and picking the one that suits you is based on your personal preference. Many online books give bonuses like $50 when signing up and making a deposit for betting.
It’s nice to get these. My bank never gave me money to make a deposit.
They take multiple currencies, but you should note that the IRS and their banking regulations require you to have an ID when putting cash back into a bank account. I can bet anywhere at any time using multiple devices to research and place the bets
Bitcoin is a currency used as well in many of the online sports rooms, and you will need an account set up with a bitcoin wallet before linking them to the room. Many of these markets will charge a fee. So, if this is not for you, just use your credit card.
Online Tracking for Sports Rooms
For most of us, limits are there to protect us from losing more than we can afford. However, if you are a professional sports gambler, these limits can be placed to protect the room from your skills. Most of the online rooms in the US track a player’s winnings and can use this to limit bet sizes to restrict their losses.
Many of the offshore sites do not limit players in this manner, so the migration of the professional gambler to the foreign sites may increase as more books are set up in each state. As regulations level out, the US regulations begin to see a little better structure for online sports rooms.
Winning in My Book
What does it take to win?
If I am laying 110, I will need to win 52.4% to break even.
And if I can get that up to 55%, I can make some real money.
If you think winning 55% is easy, I hate to be the bearer of bad news.
The lines are made using a vast amount of data and are almost always accurately handicapped.
There’s also a thing called recency bias. If I watch a game one week and decide that the team is awful because they play poorly and base next week’s bet on that, that’s recency biased.
It’s not an effective way to bet, and I tend to bet poorly because of this memory. Football is probably the most common time I see it because the games are weekly.
The key to winning in sports is information and me having it before the next guy. If I see a lazy line — meaning a line that is consistently slow in changing – that’s a line that I will try to use when odds change. I can place my bet on the slow line and get the better odds.
What information is essential?
Up to the minute injury information is vital in all sports, and this combined with weather are the two needed for line selections. Additional information may include the general atmosphere of the area like the Saints after Harvey playing their guts out for the city. Unfortunately, I need to keep up with police blotters searching for key player names being arrested.
Basically, any event that changes a player’s or coach’s mental and physical states are key developments that give me an edge. I want to get to the 55% winning percentage, and that takes a lot of work. If I don’t want to do that much work, I can always look at some of the parlay bets relative to the lines and pick one or two for the week.
Picking a sports room can be as easy as talking to a guy at the bar for my local bookie, walking into the nearest casino, or researching online sites based on reviews.
The three key factors are trust, currency, and up to date information. With these key elements, I can use my sports room to full capacity while striving to maintain a 55% winning percentage.
I need to avoid recency bias and pay attention to other information such as weather conditions and injuries. Even the atmosphere in the city can be a factor or a police blotter showing a baseball pitcher in a tight scrape. Remember, handicappers do extensive research, and I need to do my part for the few games I select to wager.
Stay Safe and Enjoy the Day!