Each Sport Has Features that Favour One Bet Over Another
Whether you make your sports bets at a land based casino, a casino online, or at a dedicated sports betting venue, you’ll want to bet on the widest range of sports. In this short report, we’ll review the quartet of great North American sports with some advice on how to bet them.
Those four North American sports are American football, baseball, basketball, and hockey. At this writing, the hockey and basketball playoffs are in full swing and the long baseball season has finally entered its second month (of six!).
Types of Sports Bets
There are three basic sports bets.
- Straight bet on who will win the game or on who will lose the game.
- Spread bet which is on the point differential between the winning and losing team.
- Over/under bet which adds the points for both teams. If you bet under, you want the total to be under the amount set by the bookmaker. If you bet over, you want the total to be over the amount set by the bookmaker.
Some bets work best for some sports. The straight winner or loser bet is best for baseball and hockey. The spread bet is best for American football. And the over/under bet is best for basketball. The various ways to best bet on these sports are based on the inherent differences between them.
Unlike in casino games, where the house has a built in edge, in sports betting the house simply takes its cut off the top. All winning bets pay the house a small percentage. The sheer volume of sports bets means that even a 1.5% “vigorish” adds up to many millions of dollars.
Since the house takes its cut from all winning bets, it wants the amount of money bet on either side of a bet to be as close to 50-50 as possible. So, the house might adjust the parameters of any bet to attract money to the other side of the betting equation. By understanding this fundamental point, you might be able to take advantage of excellent odds on a bet before the house adjusts the line and before the general public catches on to the fleeting good bet.
A basketball game usually has more than 200 points scored. If the line for the over/under bet is only 200, it will probably attract a lot of money to the over. Then the bookmaker will adjust the over/under bet to 215 or even 220. This will attract money to the under.
In the regular season in basketball, the better team almost always wins. Playoffs are different. Teams have time to rest between games. The excitement of the playoffs may mean a few extra points for the home team even if it is a decided underdog. The over/under bet is usually best in basketball especially in the playoffs. But be careful that the bookmaker is not exaggerating the number.
This game sees few goals. It is almost like international football (soccer) in this regard. So the over/under bet is far too difficult to analyze. Here you need to bet on a straight winner but in playoff hockey this is extremely hard to do. Teams play playoff games until someone wins. This means that overtime can go on for a very long time. The visiting team, even if it’s an underdog, might play for overtime where a single lucky bounce might give it a win on the opponent’s home rink.
As the hockey playoffs get further along, the teams are more evenly matched. This makes hockey the most difficult game to predict at this late stage of the year.
The spread is the best way to bet this sport. The over/under bet is also good but a lot depends on the weather. If the game will be played outdoors during a rainstorm or snowstorm or in very cold weather, the number of points will decrease dramatically.
If you place a spread bet or an over/under bet on American football a week in advance, be sure to know what the weather forecast is. The weather forecast is also often wrong but you can save a lot of money not betting on a game that is thought to take place in a blizzard.
The spread is best under normal weather conditions because the better team wins such a high percentage of its games. There is no garbage time as such in football as there is in basketball. A team that has a large lead will still try to score again.
Only when the score has become so lopsided that the outcome in absolutely no longer in doubt will the leading team replace starters with back-up players. Two years ago, the New England Patriots seemed losers for sure in the Super Bowl as they were losing 28-3 with only about 20 minutes left in the game. They staged a great comeback and won the game in overtime. Thus, the spread in football is often your best bet.
This is the most statistically analyzed game of all and also the hardest to fathom. The best teams in baseball historically have never won as large a percentage of their games in a season as several teams win in basketball and football every year. The reason is simple. In baseball the best player on offense has at best five chances to help his team score. The best player on defense may have no chances at all to help his team prevent runs.
In baseball, the only bet that makes sense is the straight winner/loser bet. Interestingly, there is some statistical justification for saying that a baseball team will repeat the outcome of the previous day’s game. If it won yesterday, it will likely win today and vice versa. There are many times that this formula does not work but over the course of a season with each team playing 162 games in 180 days, it works as well as any other formula.
Sports betting is a lot harder than it seems and the most astute sports bettors will at least have a strong idea of what the bet they want to make should look like. If the over/under bet or the point spread bet are temporarily in your favour, they might be the best bets you can make today.