1—Try Harder to Make an Effort to Get All Bets in as Early as Possible
Being a long-time, predominant, cherry-picking Favorites player who likes to bet against the “Rats” in most sports, the majority of the games on which I make serious Straight bets usually see their lines go up from Open until Close, meaning that quite often the best number available to me on that given game (or in a given sports betting marketplace) is often the earliest one that was available.
In sports like MLB, NBA and NHL where Money Line odds and Point Spreads are posted daily and seldom have a period of days before they start, two sports I feel one can find an edge in betting—Football and Soccer—post lines days and sometimes even weeks before the game or match starts, leading to much more time for betting, and thus, greater fluctuations and movements in the Side and Totals odds.
And having never been a wishy-washy or throw-it-in-late type of bettor, putting serious Straight bets in as early as possible is a decent resolution which should have a couple of basic benefits—besides the logical parroted mantra of “getting the best number,” something probably much more important to the Professional gamblers or higher-amount sports bettors who will generally have more plays, the bankroll to have the ability to “buy out” of games, the ability to Middle them and run the risk of a massive swing on a big bet because of a given Side (Point Spread) or Totals number.
The number doesn’t matter as much as many pretend it does—the team that has covered ATS in the Super Bowl has also actually won the game in 14 of the L18 years—but in Money Line sports like NHL, MLB and Soccer (and sometime Boxing) that I feel are worth betting, the favorites I chose to back at the betting window almost always go up through the betting cycle.
A very (sad) working example for me on Thursday (Dec. 27) came in the Devils at Bruins game from Boston. The Bruins opened up as -185 chalks on Wednesday afternoon, could be found as low as -179 on Thursday morning before the line rose 39 cents to a closing -224 at one sportsbook.
I bet the Bruins fairly early at -205, but it didn’t matter with the Devils—owners of the NHL’s worst Road and overall Records—scoring a little more than a minute it and stifling Boston in a 5-2 win in a game where 62% of the Offshore money was on the B’s who had W4 straight vs NJ and were 10-2 the L12 meeting heading in. Sometimes “The Trend” is your friend. And sometimes “The Trend” is an asshole. On Thursday night, it was the latter.
The big lesson to be learned here—and it only applies when you lose—is the difference between betting early at -180 to wager $90 to try to win $50 as opposed to laying down $105 to try to win $50 as I did (or those who got it at Close and would have had to bet $113 to win $50). Those $15 and $23 differences at a fairly modest betting level can really add up over a year gambling. But maybe the best things about getting one’s action in early are the potential to create a Middle opportunity should enough money go the other way and to simply not have to worry about rushing to get your bet in with so much else to do daily in this too-busy world.
The early betting bird may get the worm as well as the best number and the least amount of Stress in the end and I resolve to be better at putting my bets in earlier in 2019, especially for NCAA Football with its 6-day betting window and Futures bets. After all, I do write them all for the world here at SportsbookReview.com and often end up actually betting them after publishing when then humber is usually worse than when I wrote the damn thing in the first place. In 2018, not betting early didn’t do too much damage to my attack, but even the $15 more I had to bet on Thursday is frustrating as a brother can still get a decent pizza for $15.
My betting level is usually $20 (one pizza) to a high $110 (five pizzas), something which has evolved through Time to both be worth the recreational-serious efforts and incorporate my own personal Pain threshold of losing.
2—Try to Stay Away From Proven Non-Profitable Professional Sports Like the NBA and NFL
Certain sports have proven over Time to be much harder for me to win in, primarily to two most popular pro leagues, the NFL and the NBA. Why? The short answers are the lines are too tight in the NFL (and the Cleveland Browns (13-34-1 ATS from 2015 to 2017) aren’t an automatic go-against anymore) while in the NBA, the concept of teams not playing D when leading and letting easy buckets happen in the name of not fouling is too painful for the Favorites bettor and could take years off a Life.
Say the Raptors are up by 20, giving 11 points and then are content to win by 9 with the scrubs in and you lose a bet you looked like you were going to win and one you actually deserved to win. Screw that noise. I would rather look for Bigfoot or UFOs than bet the NBA. The NBA is a mean-ass wife who never makes pancakes and yells at you for no good reason. And it seems losses in the NFL are deserved whereas NBA losses are often cruel and vicious killers like tsunamis after an earthquake.
With College Football much easier to cherry pick winners, sticking to betting serious on Saturdays and maybe not on Sundays—the most crowded and drunk day here in Sin City, seems a wise idea for the new year. Unless an NBA or NFL team plummets to ultra-Rat status, I will watch and bitch and wonder why the NFL is so popular. If I could bet only bet the number of commercials Over every NFL Sunday…
3—Try to Throw the Remote Control for the Television (and my canes) in Anger Less, if at All…
The thing that is usually in my right (and dominant arthritic) hand when bad Sports Betting news (a bad scoring update) comes across my Boob Tube is the remote control, and the poor bastard seems to get blamed once in a blue moon. Fishermen don’t throw their poles when they don’t catch fish. Artists don’t fling their paint brushes when they aren’t happy with their work. And Julia Childs never chucked her ladle making her famous potato-leek soup, Timmy. But I sometimes throw my remote control when a needed score suddenly goes sour and thoughts of impending doom comes crashing quickly into my cranium.
The cat does not like when the remote control is thrown. He is quite sure that The Apocalypse is near or that Dr. Phil is coming on the TV or something when that happens. He still doesn’t understand Point Spreads or why I yell at The Talking Picture Box and sometimes throws its magic, plastic black wand in anger. He’s lucky. But he has no pants, so no pockets for betting tickets and I’m quite sure if he had this green paper we call money that he would be spending it all on Ham. Cats need protein. Some humans need action. I am one of them.
4—Bet Fewer Games With Better Amounts and Beware of Those Soul-Sucking, mf Parlays
Betting to bet is the sign of a problem and Buddha said that Desire (craving) is the enemy or something, so betting fewer games weekly with more precise amounts on the games and betting less Parlays is another resolution, although Pablo Parlay has somehow been very good to me in the Fall and Winter.
The next resolution (below) will dictate how many (Straight bets) games I will be making in a given week, although we all know how Resolutions go and how Human Nature and past behaviors tend to end up returning despite any intentions to resolve to be better at something be it from New Year’s Day on or any predetermined personal starting point. Intent matters and Robert Downey Jr. is proof it can work if pure.
There are three NCAAF Bowl games today, 10 NBA games, 25 NCAAB games and three NHL skates. I will bet on 0 of them because I like none of them. This is not really discipline, but simply betting to bet is something I constantly resolve not to do. And the fucking Boston Bruins took 5 pizzas from me last night so a foul morning mood is now what I am in. Betting because you’re bored, mad or because a game is on TV is a surefire way to lose in the long run. And pay loads of vigorish.
And I need to beware of betting Parlays or too many Parlays. They are fun, but are much like padded bras, often promising big returns from the first glorious look. Too many Parlays of mine go 3-for-4, 4-for-5 or 5-for-6, making me wonder why I didn’t just make Straight bets on the individual legs and take a small profit instead of a damn hole in the wall—another worthy resolution: No more holes in the wall.
Instead of the Remote Control in my Right Hand, my black Cane was in it when Notre Dame failed to cover giving 24 points on the 5th leg of a 5-teamer ($20 to pay $230) against Navy in a 44-22 win on Oct. 27 in a game the Fighting Irish led 27-0 at Halftime under the watching of eye of Touchdown Jesus.
At whatever point I realized ND wasn’t going to score in the 4th Quarter, I angrily flung the cane like a ninja, creating a perfectly round hole in the lower hall wall. I then covered the hole with the losing ticket from the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook to remind me of the nasty power of Parlays. As we all know, it is usually best to lose a Parlay on the first leg and be done with the Pain. There is nothing like the Pain of losing a Parlay on the last leg, so my resolution with Parlays is to try to only do them recreationally and try to use the elements as Straight bets instead when possible. And for me, it seems MLB, NHL, Soccer and NCAAF are the only sports worth attempting Parlays in anyway, the first three being the lowest-scoring of the sports.
5—Get Organized: Don’t Miss and Quit Leaving Many of My "Best Bets" on the Damn Table
Writing about Sports Betting and living in Las Vegas for 27 years has hardened me on the constant 365/24/7 yearly betting grind, but I still haven’t gotten as organized and dedicated to making bets on certain “Best Bets” type of games which can often be harder to find by their nature. Four great examples (and 8 bets including 1H) of recent serious ($55 and up) I missed came in two NCAAF Bowl games and two NCAAB games.
One betting pattern I follow is to back good ATS teams, and backing Utah State (10-3-0 ATS, #1 in FBS) was something I was doing all season … until I spaced on its early (Dec. 15) bowl game, a 52-13 blowout of North Texas in the New Mexico Bowl in a game the Aggies dominated the entire way (USU -7). Ditto Appalachian State who played later that day, crushing MTSU, 45-13 and also only giving 7 points. So my two best Bowl bets of 2019 with 1st Half wagers. And I missed them becauses of the Bowl-Holiday rush. $200 not won, a 4-0 day not had.
Chicago State Basketball Social Media (Twitter) Insert)
And The Grinch also got me on two missed Added games, trying to fade my favorite College hoops team to fade, Chicago State (4-9 ATS), against Western Illinois (Dec. 20) and Northern Illinois (Dec. 22). These two games are exactly why resolutions must be made fine reader. The host Leathernecks beat CSU, 81-52, easily covering as 13½-point chalks while the Huskies thrashed the Cougars two days later, 100-59, easily getting the butter as 22½-point chalks in DeKalb. And with respective 24- (41-17) and 17-point (41-24) leads at Halftime, 1st Half fade bets of CSU would have been easy winners. Me dumb. And not organized enough. This is “The Digital Age: after all, right? May a drone deliver me a driverless car that takes you on a long road trip to Mars. Unless there are no sportsbooks and no Coffee mate® on the Red Planet.
So, money left on the table because of lack of intent, lack of planning, lack of total Don Best schedule rotation awareness. Highlighting key games in a Don Best book is one thing, but actually making sure you actually bet them is another. So that was 8 wins (and 0 losses) at a presumed $50 a pop not bet from Dec. 15 to 22. Merry Christmas airhead. $400 not in pocket, homeslice. Intent is truly everything.
6—Accept No $100 Bills
I resolve not to collect $100 bills in 2019 A.D. as these small green pieces of paper are held up to the sky in front of everyone for much scrutiny at places like Smiths and Starbucks like I just printed it in my trunk. Anyway, five $20’s will make you feel richer than a $100 bill any day in my land. And who has the precious Time to print up $100s when you have a cat walking around you in bed like a coroner at 4 a.m.? Not I.
7—Try to Listen to Only a Few, Fellow Humble Handicappers
With the US Supreme Court’s decision this year to strike down the 1992 law that banned Sports Gambling in most states, the noise level has definitely gotten louder around Sports Betting and it will surely rise to a deafening din where you might be forced to wear high-powered blue ear plugs indoors as I am forced to do these days to protect myself from the constant flow of needless bullshit and men in fluorescent neon-orange shirts outside blowing pollen and dust around at 747 decibel levels and getting paid for it. God I miss the old days of simple sweeping.
Anyway, the more I hear, the more confused I get, so I have made it a habit of picking the majority of the games I will bet on before I hear anyone else’s take. Writing and handicapping for a larger audience brings with it a certain level of responsibility, so I have employed Final Scores in my 6 years of writing and handicapping for SBR so the reader and potential bettor has some idea how I have arrived at my pick. With deadlines and a desire to be one of the first in the market, listening to others is often not an option anyway.
Unfortunately for all of us, two of the writers I respected the most, fellow Las Vegans Dave Malinsky (SBR) and Mark Mayer (Gaming Today), sadly left us in 2018. Besides being as sharp as tacks and knowing about all sports, both Malinsky and Mayer had such wonderful and cynical senses of humor. Their absence will make finding quality people to listen to and read that much harder. But the evolution of guys like Stanford Steve (Coughlin) on ESPN and Todd Fuhrman from FS1’s new show “Lock It In”
There is much noise out there, more than ever. But there is also more good information out there and unique perspectives than ever, so knowing who to listen to is paramount. And listening to yourself, first and foremost, may be the most important thing sports gamblers can learn in the long run. After all, you pick the games you bet on. You pick the amount. And you choose the amounts—the second most important decision behind deciding whether or not to even bet on a given game at all. Truth be told, probably 95% of the games in a given week aren’t worth betting.
Beware of those Handicappers and/or Touts who always offer up only Favorites or Underdogs. The best bet is to probably just think for yourself, trust your first instinct and try to make picking the actual games an exercise in discipline like going to a Las Vegas buffet: You can load your plate with everything and go back for more as much as you want, but your stomach is only “so big” and is there really a need to eat three kinds of meat and three pieces of cake at one sitting?
Betting too many games means paying tons of juice on all of those losers. And it quietly adds up if you don’t pay attention to it (or don’t care). Math never sleeps. Ane remember that at 12:00:00 a.m. on on January 1, 2018, we will all start out with 0-0-0 Records with a fresh $0 balance on the calendar year with the books. Best of Luck.