How to Become a Winning Sports Bettor
Part 8: Learn to Breakdown and Cap Games
1) Initial Perceptions and Bias
First key is to not go in with a bias towards any team. Let the situation, trends, and match-up information do the work for you. Do not try to decipher what is going to happen in the game before allowing all of these factors to set in.
Do you think the Lakers are the better team in a game tonight? Do you think the Colts and the Jaguars are poor teams? Do you think the Heat are overrated and the Hornets are underrated? None of that matters; do not bring your biases into the discussion. Hold back on any decisions until all the information begins to set in.
2) Research the Game
Get started researching the teams and determining their strengths and weaknesses. Does Alabama have a great defensive line and Michigan suffer from a poor offensive line? Should they dominate up-front in this game? Does Sefolosha seem to take Kobe out of the game when they meet? Do the Lakers match-up poorly in the back-court but well in the front-court against the Clippers? Have the Braves struggled vs Lincecum in 7 of his last 9 starts vs them?
Try to visualize how you see the two teams playing versus one another. Will it be a low-scoring game or a high-tempo scoring affair? Try to get a feel for how the pace of the game is going to be. What match-ups are going to benefit each team? Does Kobe struggle vs the athleticism that the Thunder bring to the table? Look at the two teams line-ups and benches and see who has the advantage at each position and how important that may be in this particular game.
3) What have they done recently? Where do they play next?
What if the Lakers are coming off of 3 straight wins (2-1 ATS) and will be playing their 3rd game in 4 days tonight? Suppose they played Phoenix last night and their starters did not get much rest in the game. What if they are playing this back-to-back, and they are 0-3 ATS in b2b’s this year? Suppose the Lakers play the Cavs in 2 days at home, do you think looking ahead will be a factor?
Suppose their opponent played Cleveland last night in a game that was not decided until late. The opponents have also won 5 games in a row SU and have won ATS in 4 straight. The game tonight is at their home where they are 4-1 ATS this year. It is a back-to-back game for them as well, and they are 2-2 ATS (1-2 on the road and 1-0 at home) on b2b. They also do not play again after the game tonight until the 14th against the Nets at home: do you think they will be pretty focused on the game at hand? If you want to get all of this info without having to look it up yourself then check this out. If you don’t want to spend the money for the subscription then you should create tons of Excel and Word documents with all of this info it. Start storing it and studying it.
4) Analyze the data you have compiled so far
The Lakers are an older team and seem to either take the second leg of b2b’s off or just not have the strength to muster up wins and covers. They probably will not give their best effort and stand a good chance to lose the game SU. Their opponent does really well at home and has defended their home court pretty well so far. They are performing great ATS at home also. Suppose the Lakers do not match-up with them well at SF and PG either and you feel the Lakers are going to lose this game. Maybe you end up capping the game at Opponents -1 vs the Lakers. But you get onto your book and the Lakers are 4 point favorites in the game. You end up taking the home dog with 4 points and they win the game by 7 over the mighty Lakers.
5) Public Perception and Injuries
If you have a subscription to SportsInsights, then you have the upper hand here. You can track the flow of the bets from one second to the next. The key here is to try and grab the game at the best number. Here is a free page you can check betting action on (with a delay, so you will never be on top of the game): http://www.sportsinsights.com/nba-betting-trends.aspx. Getting the best number is part of being sharp, as we have discussed before. A two or three point swing kills almost all value in basketball and football games especially. Those points add up to your overall % and ultimately affect the size of your bankroll in the end.
Another factor you must consider is the injury reports for every team. If you have SportsInsights, you do not have to worry about this as you will be notified any time any injury of significance happens and have a list of the sportsbooks whose lines do not reflect the injury just yet. But for those that do not have it, you can always check other sites although the line may already have the injury reflected in the line. Here is a link with free injury news: http://www.vegasinsider.com/nba/injuries/
6) Motivation and Consistency
After you have an initial understanding of where you are leaning in the game, only a couple of questions remain. Does Team A have any reason to not play with motivation in the game tonight? Do they have any extra incentive to play for? What about Team B’s motivation? Are there any winless teams that really need the win coming into the game? Any playoff hopes on the line? Is this a rivalry game? Do you trust Team A to come out ready to play? These are all valid questions that must be asked whenever you cap a game.
by Rance Young
Follow Me on Twitter @behindthebets