They say good things come to those who wait.
I’m not sure who first coined the phrase, but it certainly wasn’t a professional sports gambler.
As any handicapper worth his salt will tell you, the later in the season it gets, the harder it is to win. With every week of competition that passes, the originating linemakers obtain more and more data on which to set the numbers.
In addition, as a season takes shape, certain teams and star players gain momentum with the public. (See the Ravens and Lamar Jackson this year for example). The bookmakers take this into account and you pay the tax (1/2 point here, extra juice there) should you choose to bet these teams.
As such, I always bet bigger early in the season and then reduce my volume of plays and my dollar amount as the months pass.
Think about it, your edge on the book is not the same in Week 1 as it is in Week 12, so why would you risk the same amount on those weekends? You shouldn’t. Remember, bets you don’t make will make you just as much money at the end of the year as bets you do.
No one does a better job of marketing, in any industry, than the NFL. The NFL week now starts on Thursday with a single game. It’s been three entire painful days since the Monday nighter ended and everyone is already chomping at the bit.
Your weekend starts 1-0 or 0-1. Your Saturday is filled by a full buffet of 50+ college games and by the time Hawaii fails to cover for the umpteenth time in a row, you’re down and need the NFL to balance the ledger.
You go to bed dreaming of the early games and when you wake up, its sugar-rush Sunday, and you are seeing the board so clearly! You try to stay rational, but after a few bad breaks and calls that went against you, the afternoon is filled with teasers and parlays.
After you have told all of your friends that aren’t sick of you that you “almost won a four-team parlay!”, its time for a quick run to grab some take-out Chinese food before you settle in to try to get back to even on the Sunday night game.
Sunday Night Football separates the betting public into heroes and goats and if you fall into the latter category because you took the favorite and the over, well, there’s always Monday.
Smarten up. Don’t get caught up in this vicious cycle. And if you do, don’t stay there for long.
You only need to look as far as this past weekend’s Cardinals-49ers to recognize that betting significant money on a large number of NFL games is a fool’s errand. These games are a coin toss, a crap shoot, a proverbial bounce of a downed ball or the whim of a bad call.
In the aftermath of that ending, I could not believe how many people had laid the 10 or took +9.5. As you know by now, key numbers 3, 7 and 10 are more likely to land than a line of 5 or 8. Don’t give your hard-earned money away to the books on a key number. Shop your sportsbooks for the best lines and you can avoid bad beats more often than not.
A final note: As I walk around the Vegas casinos, it amazes me to see the amount of casino employees that gamble during their off time. From dealers, pit bosses and ticket writers to the top executives, everyone gets the itch.
For many, its harmless fun. However for a certain percentage of these employees, some whom I have come to know very well over the years, it becomes a major problem. These are good, hard-working people that easily fall in to the trap. They come to work day after day paying jackpots and seeing patrons get lucky and it puts them in a delusional state of mind. They think that they know how the game works and that gives them an advantage.
It simply does not. For every winning gambler you see celebrating on the casino floor, there are 100 losers who just maxed out at the ATM and are figuring out where the dollar hot dogs are for lunch.