Multiple Weapons to Beat the House

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By: Bill Dozer, SBR Analyst
(c) 2007 All rights reserved

One of the most commonly asked question by the new player is: “Which is the best sportsbook?”  I in turn ask the player about his or her playing style and that’s when their question becomes complicated.

All the player really wants is a simple answer; yet there is rarely one solution to their needs. In fact, many of the benefits that come with a top tier book are best utilized with at least one other complimenting sportsbook. Having options and the ability to choose is the single largest edge a player can have. Limiting yourself to one sportsbook puts you up against an opponent you can not beat. To have a shot at beating the house, you must use the house.

Line Shopping
In the past, I have talked about the value of getting the best number and how line movement plays as large a part in being a winner as actually handicapping the game. In an effort to simply illustrate the importance of having multiple sportsbooks, I will simply say that if you are not line shopping, you WILL lose.

It is estimated that the total and point spread will push or tie 3 to 4% of the time. If we assume one can find an extra ½ point half of the time, (based on what would be offered while using only one book), a bettor may be adding 2% to his yearly winning percentage. This 2% can be the difference between a winning and losing year

The Best Price
Shopping for line prices is no different than bargain shopping for any other product at the store. If you were in the market for a shovel and saw a great deal on shovels at Joe’s Garden Supply, you would likely shop there. Joe is a nice guy who treats you right and you saved five bucks on a shovel. From now on, you only shop at Joe’s. The next week you buy a rake, a hose and one of those ugly ceramic elves that old people like to put in front of their houses. It turns out that you did not get the best price on those supplies. The elf was twenty dollars cheaper at Tim’s Elf Emporium and therefore you erased any value you had when buying that shovel.

Just like any store, the sportsbooks with the overall best prices may have that elf for sale. There are some great sportsbooks that operate on lower profit margins, but that does not mean that they will always have the best price on the specific play you want. If a bettor plays four games at -105 (reduced juice by 5%) and the fifth game at -130, when other sportsbooks still had -110, he would be erasing any value he originally had by playing those first four games. The benefit of playing reduced juice is realized when the player makes all his plays at the best market price.

Different perks
All sportsbooks have their own perks to attract their target audience. These specials can help you gain an edge by making wiser investments. Diversifying your bank roll will offer you the ability to save on those inevitable losing streaks while increasing the size of your winning wager payouts. Being aware of the different perks will simply stretch your buck further.

Reduced juice is only one of the many offerings that a smart gambler will take advantage of. A sportsbook offering this may be the smart choice for many of your straight wagers, but may not give the highest payout odds for your occasional parlay and teaser bet. Many shops have some sort of happy hour during the week while others will offer free half points, a free future bet, or sporadic bonus specials. Some bookmakers may promote their large variety of betting events. Having the ability to bet on an obscure event or a fun proposition wager may also add to your gaming experience.

Eggs in one Basket
Denial of Service (DoS) attacks, bad weather and simple technical difficulties are a threat to most major websites. Many web surfers have become dependant on the websites they frequent and are extremely inconvenienced when they are not available. Having a backup bank account or online stock broker is normally not a viable option. For online gamers, having multiple shops virtually guarantees that three hours of handicapping won’t be wasted. There has been progress in defending against attacks, but during last year's onslaught, many players realized having only one betting option made for some boring NFL Sundays.

No matter how confident one is in any company, most of us would feel better about not having all of our assets under the same roof.  In this day and age, where people use multiple banks for financial security, it only makes sense not to let one sportsbook keep your entire stack of chips. Although research can drastically lower your chances of getting ripped off, there are no guarantees.

If I were to give a general answer to the question: Why use multiple sportsbooks? I would say… to obtain value. The better line, price, bonus, higher parlay odds or any other freebie perk all have a mathematical and monetary value. If you are pulling your hair out wondering why you never seem to be able to beat your bookie, adding another bookmaker may help to get you over the hump. Consistently finding value is the only way to beat the bookie over the long haul.

So….Your next question is which are the best sportsbooks?
For that answer, please visit …

Bill Dozer: SBR Writer, Analyst, and Sportsbook player.
Mr. Dozer warns other players of scams and provides advice in dealing with offshore sportsbooks. For more information visit Sportsbook Review.