How to Read Odds in Sports Betting

While it is always fun to place wagers on sporting events, it is essential to approach sports betting with a critical eye. After all, you are investing your hard-earned money and you want to ensure you are making the right decision. There are certain tips and tricks for figuring out odds – including which events are safe to bet on and which ones you should stay away from. Let’s examine each area.

Know What To Look For

For the casual sports bettor, it can be difficult to know what exactly to look out for in terms of odds movements. After all, you are not generally given the chance to study detailed sports data in school. That is why knowing the key indicators of a good sporting event is essential. Here are some of the key indicators that will sway your decision on whether or not to back a specific team or event:

  • The line movement – If the line has moved significantly in one direction or the other, you should probably avoid backing the favorite in that particular game.
  • The money line – Odds makers are always looking for ways to improve their edge, and one way they do that is by paying off large sums of money on longshots (bets placed on teams or individuals that are expected to lose). Typically, the longer the money line, the bigger the payout if your longshot comes in. However, this also makes those bets more vulnerable to manipulation. When you are placing a bet, try to go for shorter odds instead – this will make your bet more secure, and it will also give you the opportunity to chase larger rewards!
  • The total – The total is simply the sum of the scores of the two teams competing in the event. For example, if the total is 48-44, the favorite has a clear advantage. However, if the margin of victory is closer, such as 47-45, the underdog has the slight edge. Knowing how competitive certain sports are, you may want to adjust your line or total depending on the strength of the teams you are backing.
  • Over/under – This refers to the amount of points a team is allowed to score in a given game. For example, if the over/under is set at 48, the favorite can score up to 48 points and still win. Conversely, if the over/under is set at 44, the underdog can score at least 44 points and still win. When setting the over/under, keep in mind the strength of both teams. For instance, if you are heavily favored, then you may want to set the over/under lower to lessen your disadvantage.
  • The pitch – This refers to the quality of the playing surface, which can vary from perfect to awful. Regardless of how you feel about the pitch, you have to judge it based on the games that are played on it. Some sports are definitely better suited for certain surfaces and some are not. For example, football is much better on the turf and other sports, such as hockey, are better on ice. You should research the surface before committing to a bet just so you know what kind of game you are getting into.
  • Temperature – This refers to the weather in the area where the game is being played. Some sports, such as auto racing, are very sensitive to temperature; others, including hockey and football, are much less so. If you are planning to watch the game and you are from a cold climate, make sure the indoor temperature is set just right so you do not fall asleep in embarrassment due to overheating!
  • No rain – Heavy rain can ruin the integrity of the playing surface and make the game completely un-fun. If there is any chance of significant rain, avoid betting on that game. However, if the weather is not looking too bad, you may want to consider taking the chance. Just make sure you check the forecast before committing.
  • Lightning – If there is any chance of significant electrical storms during the game, be very careful about placing a bet. You may lose your bet if there are any flashes of lightening during the game – even if it is just for a moment!
  • Wind chill – This is a measure of how cold it actually is outside, not how you feel it inside your sweater. If the wind is blowing hard, the temperature may be hiding and you could be in for a nasty surprise when you go outdoors!
  • Time of game – Some sports, such as hockey, are only played at certain times of the year. If you are going to bet on hockey, you should research when the games are and stick to those times.
  • Past performance – This refers to the team’s history of winning or losing games. For instance, if you are backing the San Francisco 49ers and they have a bad history of losing, it may not be the best idea. However, if they are a winning team with a great recent record, it may be a good idea to put your money on them!
  • Head to Head – This refers to head-to-head matches between two teams. For example, if you are backing the San Francisco 49ers and they have a very good head-to-head record against the Seattle Seahawks, it may be a good idea to bet on them instead!
  • Map – This refers to lines or odds on sports events that are mapped out of state. For example, if you are in New York City and you want to bet on the New York Yankees, you should look at the odds for the Brooklyn Dodgers since they are the major league team in Brooklyn. It is usually not wise to bet on the home team when traveling to a game – the favorite has the advantage when there is no difference in strength between the two teams!
  • Overall Health – While we are always hesitant to put our financial well-being into the hands of a venture capitalist, it is important to keep in mind the health of the overall company while making decisions like this. If there are any signs of stress or anxiety in the workplace, this may impact the quality of your decision-making. Make sure you are not placing any bets that may jeopardize your mental health. If you suspect that this may happen, take a break and get yourself some relief!
  • Puck Stops Here – When a player scores a goal or an event ends in a tie, the term “puck stops here” is used. What this means is that the victor is determined by the team that was named the winner prior to the game starting. For example, if the Los Angeles Kings win the game 7-6 in overtime, the 7 is the over under instead of the over. This is because the Montreal Canadiens were the team named the winner before the game even started! Thus, in the event of a draw, the team named the winner beforehand will have the advantage!

Knowing When To Fold ‘Em

As previously mentioned, it can be difficult to get an accurate read on the odds of a game. Sometimes, the line can move in one direction for a while before turning in the opposite direction. It is, therefore, essential to know when to fold ’em and when to stay put. Sometimes, this can be difficult to discern. In these situations, it is usually best to walk away. It is always sad to see someone win when you have walked away with nothing, but sometimes this is the best option. Just so you know, you are not alone in this sentiment – many bettors walk away from the table feeling disappointed. However, for the most part, this is just the nature of the beast. You may, at times, feel like you have been had, but this is generally the case when you back the underdog and they win. At least, this is how it should be! It is also crucial to walk away if the lines continue to move in one direction regardless of whether or not you have faith in the team you are backing. It is never a good idea to bet on a team that you believe is not going to win – you may end up losing your entire investment! This is why it is often best to walk away from the table if you feel like the game is going in the wrong direction. Even if you are feeling pretty good about your decision at first, sometimes the outcome is more humiliating than you could have possibly imagined. In these types of situations, it is usually best to walk away. You can, at times, get lucky and win, but it is usually best to avoid bets where you have faith in the opposite team. As stated by Sun Tzu, the “trick of war is to take advantage of the situations as they arise”. This is definitely applicable to sports betting. You do not want to get cocky because you are betting on the favorite and they happen to win – this will undoubtedly lead you to an embarrassing fall!