Beginner’s luck? Not if you follow these betting instructions

July 23, 2002 9:07 AM
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It cannot be stressed enough that the goal of the spread in each gaming contest is to equalize betting on both sides. It is NOT a prediction of the score differential between two teams.

The casino wants to have equal action on both sides so they have no risk regardless of the actual outcome. It is because of this fact that players receive their biggest advantage ”” their ability to shop.

When casinos begin to receive more money on one side over another they will adjust the line in order to create interest on the other team. If you like that "other" team, it is in your interest to wait until the line moves before placing a bet, thereby receiving the best value.

If you are backing the team that most of the money is going to, it is in your interest to wager before the line moves. Because there are so many casinos, some books may not have received as lopsided money as others and thus put a slightly different line on a game.

A good shopper will eventually find the best value for his side, and over the long haul a ½-point here, and a point there can translate into significantly greater profits.

An infinite variety of activities play into each line. The weather in baseball and football are big factors. Injuries to star or integral players make having the latest information on a team vital. Such considerations as which is the home team and what’s the history behind a match up are very important.

Historical results, which show tradition and revenge situations, are very crucial in determining how a game will play out. Equally essential is the upcoming schedules of the teams, their starting participants and who’s in the coach’s doghouse.

Many casinos hire experts and consultants to help them with the odds because there are too many of the above factors, along with current power statistics and trends, for a busy casino to follow them all accurately.

Who will win the game? That’s what all handicappers want to know. Since the sports books conveniently place numbers on a game in order to equalize betting on both sides, the numbers make your job of selecting the winning team more difficult.

With all of the factors available to you as a handicapper and also available to the oddsmakers and bookmakers, the difference between winning and losing comes down to the practical application of that information. Common sense, hunches, TV games and personal loyalties are nice instruments to keep a player interested, but over the long run they are also a nice way to keep you broke!

The best and most successful handicappers are money managers looking for ideal situations, which are defined as games with only a high percentage of return. In individual situations dumb luck will play into the outcome of games, which no amount of handicapping can overcome.

In the long run, disciplined handicappers will win more of those lucky games than they lose because they aren’t depending on the luck-factor for winners. Experts will gather as much information that’s available through the latest in available statistics, trends, weather, home field and team histories.

One well-known example of a historical trend is that NFL teams which play on the road three weeks in a row have been strong go-against plays. This trend has been a winning play for a decade.

Computer programs are also being written daily to review, analyze and predict how each team does against the point spread. These programs reflect the opinions of each individual because some handicappers give more value to some factors over others.