When you come from an island, the idea of swimming with the tide can seem appealing. Living in Australia, I’m often frustrated by the fact that some matches seem more suited for watching on TV than going through to a finish. There’s nothing wrong with the sport of course, but the odds sometimes seem against you.
One of the best things about coming to Australia was meeting people who were genuinely eager to bet on the matches they followed. People who were passionate about their football, their rugby, their cricket, their basketball, and, of course, their Aussie rules. They had the savvy to bet on the spreads, the courage to back their selections, and the sports knowledge to be able to explain why their team would win or lose depending on the circumstances. They weren’t just talking rubbish to get lucky, they were able to back their comments with data – and not just data for their team, but for the most popular teams in other sports as well.
Over the years, I’ve collected a lot of data on the spreads, including data for the most popular teams in other sports and even for some rare events. For the AFL season, I usually analyze the spreads on a weekly basis, looking for value and for patterns that might reveal some clues about the future.
One of the big problems for newbies who want to bet on the spreads is trying to figure out how much they should wager. There’s no exact science to determining how much you should wager on each sporting event, but there are some general guidelines you can follow. First, make sure you’re using a reliable source of information. Second, don’t bet more than you can comfortably afford to lose. Third, make sure you understand the concept of varying degrees of betting success. Fourth, always consider your motivations for betting and assess whether or not these are purely selfish.
How to Bet on the Spread
With some of the top-rated sportsbooks around, it’s easy to obtain accurate spreads for all the major sports and some of the minor sports as well. For example, if you follow the NFL, you’ll notice that the spreads are almost always readily available on their website. The same goes for the Premier League, the NBA, the MLB, and the Canadian Football League. Check out the spreads for the top-rated sportsbooks by viewing their websites or looking them up on Google.
When you get a good feeling about a couple of the options, set a budget, consider how long you’ll have to wait to get your money back, and put a wager on the events you feel most confident about. It’s always a good idea to research a little bit about the team you’re backing before setting your wager though, especially if it’s a team you’ve never heard of or if it’s been a while since their last big win or loss.
The most important thing to consider is the varying degrees of betting success for each team. Everyone has different amounts of money to risk and different odds to favor. The fact that some events are more suited for watching on TV than going through to a finish makes it more appealing for people to bet on them, since they’re often accompanied by some action and occasionally a winner emerges. However, this is more of a benefit to the viewer than to the person placing the bet, since the majority of these types of bets don’t pay off all that well. This is especially true for college football, where scores are generally high and there’s a lot of action on the lines, but where the games are rarely decided by fewer than 10 points. Even in cases where an upset does occur, it’s almost never by more than a touchdown. For instance, let’s take a look at the 2011 Australian Football League season, where the oddsmakers had the Melbourne Demons and the Geelong Cats as clear favorites to win the competition.
Those who backed Melbourne, a team that only had one previous victory all season, had high hopes for this year. After all, they were favored to win the entire thing according to the oddsmakers at abcbetting.com.au. When the season started, the media was already talking about how well the Demons were performing and how surprised everyone was that they’d even been beaten once all season long – a 34-point defeat to the Cats at the hands of eventual premiers Richmond. Naturally, Melbourne finished first overall and maintained their status as the clear favorites for the entire season. In fact, they didn’t lose until round 17, ensuring them of retaining their title as the most successful team in Australasia.
The Cats, on the other hand, were the defending premiers and many tipped them to take out the title this year as well. However, their status as major favorites proved to be a costly mistake. The team lost their first 3 games before finally winning their next match, giving them a total of 4 wins and 20 points. While they finished in second spot, the gap between them and the Melbourne Demons was significant as the latter had 7 less losses and 23 more points than the Cats. In fact, it was the first time in 11 years that the Cats didn’t win the AFL premiership. In other words, it wasn’t a foregone conclusion that Melbourne would retain their title as the most successful team in Australasia. This is simply because there are multiple factors that can affect the outcome of a game, even when the spread appears to favor one team over the other.
As for the other sports and some rare events, the general rule of thumb is to wager according to how much you’ve managed to research about the team you’re backing. If you’ve never followed this particular sport, make sure you do some research on the history of the team and the athletes who currently play for them before putting a wager on them. If it’s a team you’re familiar with, but haven’t followed closely in the past, do some research on their last game or two before setting your wager.
Why Are The Spreads Different?
When you’re talking about sports betting, the odds always seem to be in favor of the house. This is primarily because professional bookmakers have a very good understanding of the betting patterns for each team and each event. The information they have at their fingertips allows them to perfectly calculate the amount they should charge for each wager. In other words, when they have all the necessary data in front of them and they know how sophisticated a customer you are, the odds always seem to be in their favor. This is why when you place a wager on a sporting event, especially if it’s a major event of some sort, the odds will almost always be in favor of the bookmaker. Even if you’re using a reputable sportsbook, it’s still considered best practice to check the odds before placing your wager.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that all spread bets are bad. In fact, there are several instances where they can be very useful. One of the most popular scenarios is when you believe one team is going to cover the spread more than the other. For example, let’s say you’ve followed the NFL and you see that the New York Jets have a -3 spread against the Buffalo Bills. One of the best sportsbooks in the U.S. has the Jets as 5.5-point favorites and you feel confident they’ll cover the spread. In this case, it’s ideal to wager on the Jets since they seem to favorably overcome their spread in most instances. In other words, although it might seem difficult, it’s usually not. In fact, if you look at the history of the spread in the NFL, you’ll notice it tends to stay within a manageable range and there aren’t many instances where the underdog has covered the spread. In theory, at least.
Betting On The Spread: Is It Worth It?
The important thing to consider about betting on the spread is that it doesn’t guarantee you’ll win your money back. In fact, you might even lose if you follow some of the rules I’ve discussed above. For example, in the case of the Melbourne vs. Geelong match that I just referenced, if you’d blindly followed the spread and backed the Cats without doing any research, you’d have lost your money. This is because Melbourne was the superior team and despite the fact that the spread appeared to favor the Cats, the odds were actually in favor of the Demons.
As for the rule of thumb about not betting more than you can afford to lose, this rule can be applied to any sort of wagering. For example, in the case of the AFL season I just referenced, if you’d put a $100 wager on the game and lost, you’d have lost your entire $100. This is why it’s important to do some research before placing any sort of wager – especially when trying to back something you’ve never followed closely before. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s usually a good idea to take a break for a while before trying again – or at least, put some additional funds into the pot.