Read the Big News
This is usually the starting point for many people’s research. Involving surfing sites like ESPN, FOX Sports, and Sports Illustrated to get the latest news. That could include injuries, general trends, analysis, and much more. Remember, these sites employ insiders who closely follow sports and specific teams. You’ll want to hear their reports and information before placing your bets.
Focus On The Regular Stats
While you’re there – on a site like ESPN – you’ll want to consider the stats that they offer. It’s the basic stuff, but it’s important. For example: is a team on a winning streak right now? How do they perform at home compared to on the road? How does a team perform against its division mates versus teams outside? All of that information is quite useful.
Make sure you drill down into the player profile pages. That’s quite useful in a sport like baseball, where you can see how a pitcher has fared historically in a specific month or against a certain team.
Incorporate Analytical Stats
The new wave of doing your homework is taking into account new analytical stats. For example, someone who buys into advanced metrics would tell you that a win-loss record in hockey might not be as crucial as puck possession. Or in baseball, they’ll tell you that WAR – wins above replacement – is among the most important stats to evaluate a player, and not whether or not he was selected to the All-Star team. In basketball, now you can track how well a player is at the rim versus on the perimeter; in hockey, you can see how a player does in his own zone compared to elsewhere, or in basketball, you can see how effective a team is in points-per-possession.
It’s a lot to digest, but these types of advanced stats give you additional information to handicap a game. You might decide to scrap it and still go with instinct, but more often than not, taking into account certain advanced stats will help you be a better handicapper.
Digest Some Betting Stats
From traditional stats, to advanced stats, to betting stats, remember, the name of the game isn’t to win a World Series, right? It’s to win bets. That being the case, you’ll want to tap into some sports betting stats, read the current odds and trends to see how a team performs. For example, the Golden State Warriors won 73 games last season but being so dominant; they faced a lot of big spreads. How did they fare as a favorite of 9.5-12 points? They went 34-7 on the road, but how many of those games did they cover the spread? What about when they faced strong defensive teams?
You can check out specific stats at SBR or check out StatFox to get a lot of these questions answered. Wherever you end up looking, make sure you check out the betting stats for the game before you lay down your action.
Lastly, an excellent way to ensure that you’ve done your homework is to chat about the games with someone else. Whether it’s a friend that also bets or members of a forum, it’s beneficial to go over what you see in the lines, where you see the edge, and how you’ve come to that conclusion. It’s possible you missed something or someone you respect simply sees the game differently. If you go at it alone, you won’t get that feedback.