Handicapping is a popular pastime in sportsbooks. The term refers to estimating or predicting the outcome of a sporting event before the game has been played. Sometimes, the handicapper will make his picks in advance, sometimes he’ll wait until after the game, but the theory behind both methods is the same: try to guess which teams will do better than expected and which will do worse.
This article will discuss the theory behind handicapping, how to go about choosing the right games and odds to use, and how to make smart money moves when using this tool. Additionally, we will discuss some things you may not have considered before putting money on a game, and some things you may want to consider.
The Theory Behind Handicapping
The main purpose of handicapping is to make money off bets that you think are sure to win, but for which the odds may be against you. If you think a game is sure to end in a tie, you may want to avoid betting on it and wait for the results to shake out. On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you think a game will be extremely one-sided in favor of a certain team, you may want to lay down some serious cash to make the right bet. The goal is to find games that give you an edge, and that is something the theory of handicapping can help you with.
Choosing The Right Sport
Anyone who has used handicapping knows that the results can vary widely, even within the same sport. For instance, football is one of the most popular sports in the United States and many other countries around the world, but just because a lot of people like watching football don’t mean that handicapping is always easy or that the results are predictable. Just because a game is popular doesn’t mean it’s easy to predict the outcome of.
There are a couple of things you should keep in mind when selecting your sports:
- The sport you choose should be easy for you to get into the habit of watching and keeping up with.
- The sport you choose should have many games that are exciting to watch. The more exciting a game is, the easier it is to predict the outcome. Exciting games draw more people and increase the odds of your choosing the right game.
- The sport you choose should be one that is relatively easy to keep track of. For instance, if you are used to following the MLB, you may want to avoid choosing the NFL. The rules, the number of games, and the amount of time that passes between them are all completely different and can be hard to keep track of.
Adjusting For Experience
It’s not necessarily a bad idea to consider your experience when choosing games to handicap. The more you watch one sport, the easier it is to recognize the patterns and predict the results. If you’ve been watching boxing for a while, you know that after a few rounds the action tends to slow down, both fighters begin to feel each other out, and the pace of the fight becomes more deliberate. This is what makes boxing such an interesting game to watch and study as a handicapper: every time you watch a fight, you learn something new. Even though it may be frustrating to watch a fight go the distance with no clear winner, you can’t help but learn more about the sport by watching the action unfold.
While watching a fight is certainly an exciting way to acquire knowledge and educate yourself about the sport, choosing to bet on it may not be the best idea. If you’ve never been to a fight arena, the idea of watching two men beat the hell out of each other might not appeal to you. The last thing you want is to place a bet on something you know nothing about. Even if you think the results will be the same as what you’ve seen in the past, you can never be sure what will happen when two strangers step into the ring—it might be a lot more exciting than you expect!
Determining How To Win
If you’re new to gambling but have used handicapping in the past, you may want to consider how you want to win. The most popular way to win is via a straight-up wager. In a straight-up bet, you put money on the game as it is, the house takes a cut (usually between 10% and 20%) and you get your money back if your team wins. If the game is already close to over when you make your bet, you may want to consider waiting for the results instead of placing a bet on a game that is likely to end in a tie. Waiting for the results also gives you the opportunity to change your bet if the line has moved in the meantime, so you don’t end up owing the house money.
Odds Or Evens?
In American betting parlance, odds are always presented in numerical form, with odds of 1.5 meaning that your $100 will be doubled to $150 if the Lions beat the Bears. Evens, on the other hand, are always presented in the form of 2 (i.e. a $100 bet yields a $200 return), and are sometimes used in lieu of odds when there’s no context needed to understand what the odds are. For example, if you’re at a horse racing track and ask the tout for the odds of Germany to win the next race, he’ll tell you that the odds are 7/2 (i.e. Germany will win the next race 7/2 times out of 10 bets).
While odds are much easier to calculate and use, evens have their perks. If you ever place a wager on an even game and the results are in fact exact (i.e. the game ends in a tie or if one team scores exactly the same number of points as the other), you get your money back. If the game is decided by a single point, you also get your money back. What’s not worth it is placing a bet on something you’re not sure about, so evens help provide protection against unnecessary risk.
The bottom line is that regardless of which you prefer—odds or evens—you should feel confident that your chosen casino or sportsbook handles your money responsibly and securely. Additionally, you should feel confident that your chosen casino or sportsbook offers the services that you need in terms of banking and accessibility, as well as good customer support if you have questions or need help.