It’s Sunday morning in the middle of football season, and you’re standing in front of a OKBet casino sportsbook. The numbers are changing, stone-faced bettors are waiting behind you, and you have no idea how to spend your last $200 after a long night of losing at roulette on the casino floor.
You might be at a sportsbook because you have a gut feeling, a plan you’ve been working on, or because your brother-in-law wouldn’t stop talking about how great the New York Jets would do this weekend. No matter why you want to bet, you must always know one thing before you do… How do you think the game will end?
To maximize and control your profit, you need to know when to place your bet and who to bet on.
Now, let’s break that down…
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Taking Care of the Hedges
Since I already brought up football, let’s keep going with it. There are a lot of professional gamblers out there who hedge their bets or bet in the opposite direction to get back what they put in. For example, you might bet on the Chicago Bears to win a game outright, but then you realize they might lose, so you quickly put the rest of your money on a bet that favors their opponent.
This is like placing a “don’t bet” on craps when you already have money on the “pass line,” or taking a “crap check” on the first roll. Both of these are for gamblers who care more about not losing than about making the most money possible. I know, I know, that sounds like a contradiction. But it is a fact of that way of betting. For this article, you should forget about that style.
Make your money soar
Let’s talk about maximization, which is similar to what doubling down in blackjack or taking odds for your pass-line bet in craps tries to do. Both of these bets require you to be sure of your first bet, and you can only make them after the game has started. This is where time and patience begin to help you, just like when you bet on sports with half or quarter bets. I’m going to tell you about three or four football bets that give you the same kind of leverage as those other games but give you a lot more control and a bigger chance of winning than those other games.
To get the most out of these bets, you should divide your total money by the number of bets you plan to make (3/4). Like I said at the beginning of the article, let’s stick with $200.
Moneyline (For more than 200 teams)
$50 was bet right before the game started.
You can’t win unless you pick the right team, so take this bet before the game starts on the team you think will win, emphasizing teams with odds of about -200 or higher (more positive). One thing to keep in mind is that if you bet on a big favorite, your odds might be terrible. In that case, you should switch to a more realistic spread bet, where the odds are much better.
(For 200 Teams) Spread
$50 was bet before the second half started.
The Moneyline of -550 Patriots doesn’t sound as appealing as the -7 (-110 spread), especially if you can catch them dropping to -3 or less at any point during the game. Maybe their opponent, the Buffalo Bills, will come out swinging with a 13-point lead in the first half. The spread for the Patriots’ second half is now -3. Time to strike! Sure, a -1 or -2 point spread would be better, but a -3 spread is good enough, especially if you think one team will win already.
2nd Half Over/Unders
$50 was bet before the second half started.
I think it’s more of a gamble to bet on the over/under at the beginning of a game, but betting on it at halftime could give you great returns after you’ve seen a preview of the game. If your Moneyline or spread pick is behind at halftime and the number of points they need to win is more than the over/under for the second half, you should take the bet.
This was a perfect example in Week 11, when the Vikings were losing to the Broncos 20-0 at halftime. The over/under for the second half was 20, and if you thought the Vikings would win, as most experts did, they would need 21 points. These 21 points are more than the over/under for the second half, so if you want to avoid betting against yourself, you should take the over.
MoneyLine for 4th Quarter
$100 bet placed before the 4th quarter started.
The best time to make this bet is when your team is behind going into the 4th Quarter, and the more behind they are, the better. This could easily change a -550 team to a more manageable -220 team, giving you a much better payout on a team you already thought would win. This really gives you a chance to double down with better odds when your team is still working out the kinks before making a comeback. You don’t have to worry about how they make such a big comeback, but you do get to bask in the glory of it when it happens.
Full Example of Betting
Denver @ Minnesota 11/17/2019
I think the Vikings will win, but their moneyline is -419 before the game starts, so I’ll wait until halftime to get better odds on the spread (currently -10). The Vikings lose by 20 points because the Broncos beat them in the first half. I want this to happen, and it’s time to put my money on it. I bet $50 that the Vikings will win by more than the new spread of -3. I put another $50 on the second half’s over 20. Now I have to wait until the 4th quarter to see if my Vikings are still behind. Wonderful! They are still down 23–7, so before the 4th quarter starts, I put $100 on the Vikings with a moneyline bet. The game is won by the Vikings, 23–27.
I win on all 3 tickets. The 2H -3 spread paid -110, the 2H over paid -110, and the 4th quarter moneyline paid -220. I won $46 on each of the three bets, which added up to $138 on top of the $200 I put down. Now, this may seem like a small win because it’s less than 100% of what I bet, but earlier in the week, this team was so heavily favored that it was given odds of -520 on the moneyline and -10.5 on the spread. Given how much less I would have made if I hadn’t waited, this was a great piece to take home.
What makes these bets better than others?
There are a lot of other bets you can make at different times during a season, like futures or getting your weekly chances in early, but they either require a lot of patience or don’t give you as much of a change in the odds as you’d like. When you lock in your bet early, you miss out on chances to see changes or trends in a live game. That’s why I think the above bets are more rewarding when you commit to the team you think has the best chance of winning. Let’s be honest: if you’re going to win, why not win big? Take home the whole pie, not just a piece of it. Forget about hedging and “nickel-and-diming” the weekly line moves. Instead, be a “day trader” in sports by watching live signs that you should act on.
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