When someone asks you to bet on their behalf, you’ll most likely assume they want you to gamble. However, this is far from true – when someone asks you to bet on their behalf, there’s usually a good reason why they want you to win the wager.
If you’ve ever been asked to bet on someone’s behalf, you’ll know how difficult it can be to interpret the request. After all, you don’t know them that well, and a betting line can look like gibberish to you – especially if you don’t have much experience with betting lines.
Fortunately, there’s an easy way to understand betting lines, and it’s a technique that even non-gamblers can understand. Let’s take a look.
Step one: Find the objective
The first step in understanding the betting lines is to find the objective. This is usually rather obvious – the person who’s asking you to bet on their behalf wants you to bet on a certain outcome, right?
More often than not, there’s an underlying reason why they want you to win – maybe they’re trying to reduce their loss, maybe they want to spite someone, or maybe they just want to watch the world burn.
Whatever the reason, this is someone you’ll want to understand and, hopefully, cooperate with. It’s also important to recognize that you may not share the same interests as the person you’re betting with – for instance, if they want the Giants to win the Superbowl but you have a personal connection to the Rams. Your interests may not coincide, but you should still be able to work together to achieve the objective you share.
Step two: Identify the stake
When someone asks you to bet on their behalf, they’ll almost certainly want you to make the bet in a certain way. After all, it’s not very efficient for them to ask you to bet on the Giants when they have a close personal connection to the Rams – they probably don’t want someone winning just because they have a hunch that Eli Manning will throw a certain pass.
What’s important about this step is that you have to consider what the stake is. This is the amount of money that’s on the line – what you could potentially win or lose – and it can be difficult to grasp without experience. Luckily, there’s an easy way to find the stake without having to ask – simply take the number of runners on the roster and divide it by 2. For example, if Joe Schmoe has $100 on the line and there are 10 runners on the roster, the stake would be $50. To make things easier, you can round up. So, in this case, the stake would be $55.
This number will help you determine how much you should charge for your services – if you want to make a few extra dollars, you can always charge them a $5 handling fee – but don’t be afraid to charge them a higher rate if the stakes are higher or if you have more experience with this particular wager. Remember, this is someone you’ll want to work with closely – if they’re not willing to pay you what you’re worth, then you may not want to work with them at all.
Step three: Look at the current line
Now that you have the stake and the objective in mind, you can start to analyze the line. This will be a combination of both sides of the wager, and it will depend on how much experience you have with this particular type of wager. In most cases, you’ll encounter this type of line:
The first thing you should do is look at the current line. This is the point where things can get a little tricky – you have to consider both the money and the point spreads, and it can be difficult to decide which is more important to focus on. Remember, you’re not a professional – you don’t need to decide now what you should think, just follow your instincts and you’ll be able to determine what to do in each situation. In almost all cases, if the line is favoring the underdog, it’s usually a good idea to back them – if it’s the favorite, it’s usually a good idea to bet against them.
For example, if you search for NFL football spreads, you’ll see multiple results for the Jacksonville Jaguars – most notably, the bookmaker will list the Jags as 2.5-point favorites, which would mean you have to wager $110 to win $100. This is a good example of an easy wager to make – the Jags are the underdogs in this game, and you, as an amateur, have little experience with this particular wager. However, in a situation like this, you may want to take a chance – if the line is so prohibitively against you, then backing the underdog may be the better option. In this case, you’d need to bet $105 to win $100, but at least you’d be giving them a fighting chance – if they win, at least you’ll have a good story to tell your grandchildren about how you helped a complete loser win a bet.
Step four: Choose the right time
Once you decide to make the bet, the next step is to choose the right time – there are generally two options here: now and later. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that you’ve agreed to bet on the Jags – if they win, you’ll make $100, but if they lose, you’ll be stuck with $105. Now is the obvious choice – you can place the bet right now, and if they win, you’ll collect $100, but if they lose, you’ll still have $105 to hand over. If you decide to wait until later, you may miss out on some opportunities – for example, if the Jaguars win the Superbowl this year, then you would’ve made a fortune – but at least you’ll avoid getting burned if they lose.
Step five: Research the teams
Before you start placing bets, it’s important to do your research – this includes looking up the teams, getting a sense of their history, and gathering as much information as possible. This will help you make better decisions and, in some cases, it may even help you determine what to do before you even start considering the line – if, for example, you see that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a strong rivalry with the Miami Dolphins, and you decide that you want to bet on the underdog, then you may want to look into that rivalry a bit more to see how it would play out. It’s also important to check out the betting lines for other games – if you see that the Pittsburgh Steelers are a heavy favorite in a particular game, then you may want to consider backing them, even if you have a hunch that the game won’t have the same dramatic ending as A.J. Foyt’s run for the Heisman Trophy.
This is just a small fraction of what you need to know to make the right decision when someone asks you to bet on their behalf. However, now that you have the basics down, you can move on to the fun part – placing bets and seeing how they work out!