Betting advice is like scrambled eggs. A seven-year-old can make them. Doesn’t mean they’re any good.
For several decades, I’ve developed and honed a range of betting strategies that can be employed across sports and contest types. Here are my top seven strategies, which I incorporate into nearly every Pro Football Network article.
Top Sports Betting Strategies To Follow
While there are no “perfect” or even near-perfect approaches, some are verifiably better than others, as they fairly consistently yield returns on investments. With that in mind, here are my top approaches — the ones I use when crafting DFS slates, prop recommendations, against-the-spread predictions, and so on.
Shop Shop Shop
If you take anything out of any betting advice, let it be this one…. Shop, shop, and shop some more. If you’re only using one book, they have you, and you already lost.
To be a successful bettor in the long term, you need to have the best price. Most legal states have numerous books for you to choose from, and you need to gain every advantage you can. Spend the extra time to shop your price across all books and promos and settle on the best one… always.
Filter Through the Noise
Everyone has their system or their way of attacking the lines. I am more of an aggregator of information, meaning I gather all the info I can in order to make the best decision. With that comes a lot of noise to filter through, which is the first step in trying to decide what to use and what not to use.
There is no perfect science, but historical betting stats that go too far back (different coaches/players) or small sample sizes are usually just noise. Settle on relevant stats or trends that help you and trusted sources that make you smarter. That will help you in the long run.
Stick to Your Strengths, You Don’t Have To Bet the Board
A common misconception is you should bet every game, but you shouldn’t. Stick to your strengths. Know a particular team well? See edges in totals or first-half bets? Bet what you know and what you know well and not everything and anything.
Make Proper Use of Promos
As I like to tell my wife, sale does not mean free. But it does warrant a closer look.
Promos are the same way. Some are very good and should be used, but not all of them are worth playing. However, if you make proper use of promos, you can increase your chance of profiting.
My favorite promos are the boosts that give you 25-50% (or more) profit on your bet. You are changing the price to your favor, but make sure the original price is not jacked up prior to the boost.
Some books will make a -150 price -165 and then give you a 25% boost. Not much advantage there. But if the price is consistent, the 25-50% can help you gain an edge.
Also, when a book gives you a boosted price, make sure it makes sense. Just because a book tells you Patrick Mahomes over 2.5 TDs is boosted from -135 to +125 doesn’t mean -135 is the accurate price. Some boosts are “sucker bets.”
Do your best to stay away from those at all times. Always double check, and don’t forget to check your “max.” If the promo is outstanding and the price is correct, you should max what you can, as you don’t get that advantage all the time, much like the “odds bet” in craps.
For NFL, Get in Early
The NFL has the tightest lines of any sport or league, meaning the margin of difference between the lines and power rankings is slim.
The best time to get in on a good number is when they first post Sunday night. The market is fresh, and it hasn’t been bet into yet. Books spend Sunday evening and even Monday morning adjusting opening numbers to the big bets and sharp action coming in, so get in before they move!
Key Numbers (and Hooks)
In football, “3” and “7” are the two biggest key numbers since field goals are worth three points and a touchdown with the PAT is worth seven points. In terms of final scores, 14-15% of NFL games end in a three-point margin of victory and 9-10% of games are decided by seven points, the highest of any two numbers.
Shopping lines, as mentioned above, to ensure you get those key numbers is a crucial part of the process. If the price is correct (and this varies from book to book and person to person), you could buy a half point (called the hook) to get there.
To Hedge or Not To Hedge
I’ll start this section by saying hedging isn’t for everyone. The mathematicians and EV+ bettors will correctly tell you that you lose value when hedging and it’s not worth the price. However, I’m also a fan of guaranteed money, so, in the right spot, I advocate for it.
For example, if you have a four-leg parlay for 10-1 and the first three legs win, you could hedge at whatever value you feel comfortable at, guaranteeing yourself a profit on the bet.
Yes, you are taking value away, as noted above, and may only get 8-1 value. But you’re also putting cash in your pocket and avoiding losing that last leg. I’m not saying hedge down the middle, but I’m a fan of getting your original bet back or even doubling it to snatch that profit. This topic deserves its own page or book, but it’s really a personal preference.
Never Go Higher Than 4 in a Parlay
This is also a personal preference, but I try to never go longer than four sides, totals, or props in a parlay. Sure, the payoff is a lot larger the higher you go, and there’s nothing wrong with going for the lotto ticket from time to time, but in the long run, those don’t hit often and are usually a waste of money.
Stick to what you really know and pick three or four sides/totals/props that you’re strong on. There’s a lot more value in that strategy.
Teasers Are a Tease, Unless….
If I never bet a teaser, I’d be perfectly happy. They are called teasers for a reason. However, there is statistically one type of teaser that you can profit from.
Dating back decades to Blackjack author Stanford Wong, the Wong teaser still shows profit, depending on your book’s rules.
If your book offers two-team teasers at -120 and IF you can bet two teams through two key numbers, it’s profitable in the long run.
Example: Teasing a 8.5, 7.5 down to 2.5, 1.5 (through key numbers 7 and 3) or from 1.5, 2.5 to 7.5, 8.5. Do that with two teams at -120, and you can profit. Outside of that, it’s a waste of money.
Above all else, be smart with your money. Know your limits and stick to them. Chasing losing bets is never a good idea. Identify what your bankroll is and stick to those guidelines, and you can have fun without worrying too much.