23 Shocking and Unexpected Truths You Learn from Betting on Sports



Feb 20, 2002
Sports betting can reveal many things to bettors as they progress from beginner, to average, to winning.
Some of these things may not be surprising, but some of them can be downright shocking.
Here's a list of things you may learn from betting on sports:

1 – Picking Winning Teams with the Spread Is Hard

Most sports bettors get started by betting on their favorite teams with other fans. Usually point spreads and vig aren't involved. They just bet on who will win the game.
If you start winning more often than you lose, you might start thinking it isn't that hard to pick winners.
When you start adding point spreads and vig, it gets a lot harder to win consistently.
It makes it so difficult that most sports bettors end up losing money in the long run.

2 – There's No Such Thing as a Sure Thing

You can find numerous opportunities that are heavily in your favor, but the existence of a sure thing in sports betting doesn't exist.
Never over-bet your bankroll--no matter how good a betting situation may appear.
Find someone giving you advice on a game that's a sure thing?
Be instantly skeptical.
Can the person benefit in any way from giving you the information?
Usually the person with the sure thing is trying to sell me something.

3 – Home Teams Win More Often, But Not More Often Enough

Home teams have an advantage in just about all sports.
But it isn't enough to be used in a profitable nature by sports bettors.
When they set the lines, books factor in home field advantage. So you have to find other things to use when handicapping games. You need to use the home team advantage in your calculations as well--so you can see where a sports book may be giving a home team too much or too little credit.

4 – Betting on Sports Is Hard Work - If You Want To Win, Anyway

Betting on sports is easy
But becoming a winning sports bettor requires a lot of work.
Want to win?
You have to study players, teams, games, statistics, models (the statistical kind, not the swimsuit wearing ones), and anything else that might give you an edge.
Hoping to get an edge while spending a few hours a week watching games or looking at stats online is a quick route to the poor house. Even if you're lucky enough to win for a while, your luck will run out eventually--unless you put in the required work to be a winner.

5 – Being a Stats Nerd Helps

I don't know why so many people associate the word nerd with something bad. It might not be the best occupation in high school, but most of the people with big money could be called nerds. Computer and software companies make lots of cash.
Sports bettors need to find and process a great deal of statistical data. It helps if you're already a stats person. You don't HAVE to be a stats nerd to become a winning sports bettor.
But you're probably going to have to hire out the work or learn how to process numbers.

6 – Bankroll Management Is Almost as Important as Picking Winners

If you can't pick winners, it doesn't matter how you manage your bankroll. Even if you're an overall winner, mismanage your bankroll, and you'll still lose.
You have to have enough money to bet on every game that gives you an edge without risking too much on any single event.

7 – Picking 50% Winners Is Easy - Picking 53% Winners Is the Holy Grail

It's amazing how much more difficult it is to pick winners 53% of the time than it is to pick them 50% of the time.
You can pick winners by flipping a coin, and you'll win 50% of the time in the long run.
Assuming a standard 10% vig, you need to win 53% of the time to profit in the long run.
Only a select few sports bettors pick 53% or better. You don't find many of them.
Start tracking your sports betting results immediately. See how often you currently win. See if you can figure out how to start climbing toward the magical 53% mark.

8 – Your Favorite Team Sucks

Once you start betting in a serious manner, you often start seeing all of the flaws your favorite team has. As a fan you can usually ignore minor flaws, but as a sports bettor you have to see every flaw to make smart bets.

9 – You Can't Bet on Games Involving Your Favorite Team

Only the best sports bettors are able to ignore their personal feelings about their favorite team and bet for or against them. I've been betting on sports for years. I still won't bet on a game involving my favorite team. I have a hard time being objective when evaluating their play, so I avoid the conflict.

10 – Watching Games Isn't Fun Anymore

It's hard to watch games for enjoyment once you start betting on sports. You find yourself looking for ways to gain an advantage and have a hard time getting into "fan" mode.

11 – Anyone Can Bet - Few Can Win

Anyone can find someone to take their bets, but only a few actually win in the long run.
The real winners in the sports betting industry are the books who charge a percentage on losing wagers.
Do you really want to start raking in the money?
Figure out how you can set up a legal bookmaking operation.

12 – It's Not a Hobby

Winning sports bettors act like betting on sports is a business or a job, not a hobby.
What's the difference?
Hobbies cost money.
Businesses earn money.

13 – It's Only a Problem if You Lose

In no way do I support problem gamblers placing wagers. If you have a problem, find help right now.
But many of the sports bettors I thought had a problem said this to me:
"It's only a problem if you're losing."
A problem gambler might be aware that he has a problem.
But he only recognizes it as a possible problem if he's losing.
Here's the thought process:
If you're winning you can't possibly have a gambling problem.
Not sure if you have a problem, even though you're winning?
Try this quiz.

14 – Football Is Popular - but Baseball and Regular Season Basketball Can Be Gold Mines

Most bets are placed during football season. The sports books spend most of their resources making sure they put out the best betting lines possible for football games.
They want to publish good lines during baseball and basketball season, too.
But you can find many wagering opportunities during baseball and basketball season. Both games are easier to profit from than professional football.

15 – College Sports Are Easier to Handicap than Pro Sports

College sports are easier to handicap than professional sports. The sports books focus on pro sports before they look at college games.
It's the same reason why baseball and basketball can be profitable—only more so.

16 – Getting Large Bets Down Can Be as Hard as Picking Winners

When you start winning on a consistent basis, your bankroll starts growing. Eventually you can reach a point where the bets you want to place become bigger than your betting limits.
The next thing you do is start placing bets in more than one place. Eventually even this can become hard to manage.
This is a good problem to have. It means you're winning.
But when you have an edge, you want to get as much money as you can down on a game (while maintaining safe bankroll considerations).

17 – A Regular Job Might Be More Profitable

Few sports bettors actually win in the long run.
Even some of the profitable sports bettors don't make enough to make it a better option than a job.
If you track all of your sports betting action, you can get an idea if you're better off financially than working.

18 – Specialize Before You Run

You need to walk before you run.
You also need to pick a sport and start winning consistently before you start betting on other sports.
Dividing your attention between two or more sports can keep you from winning in any of them.

19 – You CAN Do It Alone - But Outside Help Can Be Valuable

Most sports bettors start their betting career on their own, but as they grow they have the opportunity to use other people to help them get better. Instead of doing all of the research yourself, consider outsourcing it using a freelancer or part time employee.

20 – Amateurs Pick Games - Pros Handicap Games

If you want to be a professional sports bettor, focus on handicapping games, not picking them.
When you handicap a game you look at both sides, the line, and all of the information you have. Using all of these things you decide if the line offers an edge on either side.
If you just pick games, you aren't taking it seriously enough. Eventually you'll start losing.

21 – You Might Be Better Off Playing Roulette

Most sports bettors only pick winners about 50% of the time. If you're no better than average, you could just bet on red or black on the roulette wheel. You'd have roughly the same chance of winning.

22 – Paying Less Vig Is the Same as Winning More

When you pay the normal 10% vig on losing wagers, it means you have to win more to show a profit. Any lower amount of vig you can pay reduces the amount you need to win in order to come out ahead.
You can find special deals offering reduced vig by shopping around with different sports books--both land based and online.

23 – Inside Information Is Great - But It's Not Everything

Professional sports bettors are always trying to find inside information. They know if they can get the right kind of information before the sports books, it can be worth a great deal of money.
But they also understand that inside information, no matter how valuable it may seem, is only a part of their overall handicapping equation.
Don't put too much faith in any single thing about a game. Evaluate everything you know to make a winning decision before placing a bet.


Learning about these unexpected truths can help you avoid losing money in your own sports betting career.



Conservatives, Patriots & Huskies return to glory
Sep 9, 2005
(6) is most critical. Bet more when you're on a good roll and less when you're not. Most people seem to do the opposite, always expecting some outcome is "due"

and never chase


Well-known member
Sep 21, 2004
24 expect to get stiffed and slow payed both ways unless playing at a land based book, and those are usually juicy and they won't let you bet more than you got.


Well-known member
Sep 21, 2004
17 – A Regular Job Might Be More Profitable I should have figured that out over 40 years ago :ohno:


Rx. Senior
Nov 8, 2007
Very good list, bad title. Many of these things should be completely obvious to those who understand probabilities and investments:

1 (and 7 and 11) – Definitely true, but given how much can be earned by beating the market, it should be obvious it is difficult to beat

2 - Given 1, it should be obvious the market is efficient

3 – Given 1 and 2, it should be obvious that everything you think you might know is already built into the line

4 – Definitely true, but I'm starting to see it more as "Do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life."

6 - Have to disagree. There are formulas and calculators that will tell you the exact correct bet size to maximize income. There is no such thing for picking winners.

9 - Bullshit

15 - Pro markets are slightly more efficient than college. Doesn't necessarily make it harder. Sometimes makes it easier.

18 - For a lot of us, the way we find the right numbers in one sport will be very similar to finding good numbers in another

20 - Profitable bettors handicap numbers

21 - Sports betting will likely cost 4.5% of all money bet (and each bet will take about two to three hours to be resolved). Double zero roulette will cost 5.2% of all money (and each bet will be resolved in about a minute).

22 - Very true and one of the most important things to know.


Sep 21, 2004
25- knowing when/how to get the best number is critical. can turn a 50% capper into
a winning one if the capper can shop like my wife on black Friday.


Well-known member
Sep 21, 2004
10 – Watching Games Isn't Fun Anymore

It's hard to watch games for enjoyment once you start betting on sports. You find yourself looking for ways to gain an advantage and have a hard time getting into "fan" mode.

can’t even watch many games if I play a total :(

better off going to sleep LOL


Feb 20, 2002
rm122 is on a 14-0 run & 17-3 run. Documented publicly. Overall 93-93-1. On Tor under 9.5 & 3-2 in the 6th now.

Gamzover is on a 11-0 run. 1627-1605-69 overall. On Boston +105 today.

Tbombs is on a 10-0 run. 1409-1251-48 overall. Pick: St Louis +104.

BetLabs is on a 9-0 run. 180-152-3 record. Picking: Boston +107.

Snafu68 is also on a 9-0 run. Overall 1215-1120-71. Taking Baltimore over 9.

tjamy18013. 9-0. 959-931-33. LAA -126.

yellcam68. 9-0. 2137-2082-117. Baltimore over 9.

Miamilce. 9-0. 46-53-4. Texas under 9.

Player92. 14-2-1. 442-455-8. Milw -112

And many more i could post...these types of runs are "a dime a dozen" with coin flippers.


Info FYI & consideration.
Someone's opinion, FYI & consideration.
Fade or follow or neither. Your choice, your responsibility. BOL.

"Past Performance Is No Guarantee of Future Results"
"Past success is no guarantee of future success"
"Wagering on sports can be a roller coaster ride."

"Passing is not winning, but passing is always better than losing!"
“Show me someone who has never failed, and I will show you a coward.”
"I don't advise to fade or follow anything. I report & track to let you decide."

“…it ain't how hard you hit; it's about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done!”


Free winners and keeping the touts honest thread...exposing the touts

Free "Winners. Want to know who's winning at sports betting. Look here":

Secrets to winning at gambling:

"Won 200 units from Dec.19 thru Feb/20.":

"Responsible Gaming"..."Need help"?:

How did the posted hot streaking picks do yesterday:

Tor u 9.5: loss
Boston: loss
St Louis: loss
Balt over 9: win
LA Angels: win
Texas u 9: win
Milwaukee: win

They were 4-3 overall on Winsday. Better than a Rx poster on a hot streak who went only 1-1 yesterday for a losing day.

Overall posted hot streak picks are 5-5 in this thread.

Do i recommend you bet these picks? Hell, no. Or up to you.

I've seen no evidence that any of these picksters on hot runs have any sports gambling skill or have long term proven winning records at sports gambling. Ditto with the aforementioned Rx poster.

The fact is a person with no knowledge of sports will go on such hot runs (and cold runs) if they make enough picks. As will the typical square.

Just because a person is on a hot short term run does not mean they are worth tailing.

Contrary to some people's thinking, it's not all about what you have done for me lately. That's of no value at all.

What is of value is being a long term proven winner.


Well-known member
Sep 17, 2010

In game wagering, though not as much action, is the best, examples:

  • MLB good starters, pitchers park... then you observe, ump is calling strikes on all borderline pitches first inning: load up on the under.

  • QB gets dinged, certain situations, bet the other side ASAP, back ups usually are inferior and not ready

I wish that was the only way I wagered, made a lot when Brees got hurt once, he was on the sidelines, could not pick up the ball, announcers were still saying he might come back in... & this yr when Brewers Burnes is getting the low strikes called he is unhittable this yr.

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