Live in-play betting app on smartphone display, a woman is betting at home and winning, POV shot Live in-play betting app on smartphone display, a woman is betting at home and winning, POV shot

Passion, expertise, and the hunt for huge payouts have captured millions of sports bettors across the globe. Even though predicting the result of sports events might look like pure luck to some, professional punters have spent days, if not months, planning and testing different sports betting strategies.

The sharps who thoroughly analyze relevant data, frequently check trends and understand how sportsbooks work can make smart decisions and actually get an edge over the house. Identifying value picks is a massive virtue in the world of sports betting.

There is a lot of potential for establishing long-term profitability by embracing a strategic mindset rather than making your bets based on emotions or irrelevant information.

Beating the bookies and getting rich off sports betting, in the long run, can be accomplished only by a few, and in this article, we are going to mention some of the proven betting strategies that might help or might appeal to your wagering style.

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Hedging

If you are looking for a strategy that basically guarantees a profit, Hedging is, without a doubt, option number one. If you are not familiar with the term, in this betting approach, a punter will bet against their original bet to secure a profit. Let’s see how hedging works in an example.

Using a parlay betting example, let’s say you won five bets on a 6-leg parlay and only have the Miami Heat to beat the Boston Celtics in moneyline left to win $1000.

In this situation, you can place a second bet against Miami to guarantee you walk away with some profits. By betting $300 on an underdog at +150 (Celtics in this case), a player will either land the original parlay and make a $700 profit or get away with a $450 profit if Boston wins. Either way, profits are secured thanks to the hedging method.

Hedging is also frequently used with future bets. A person who placed a bet on the Kansas City Chiefs to win the Super Bowl during the pre-season at +600 odds is surely going to consider backing the opponent if the Chiefs make it to the grand finals to secure profits.

While it lowers potential payouts, as you are always sacrificing a portion of winnings to secure unlosable situations and could even leave a punter frustrated if the initial bet lands, it is definitely not ideal for everyone.

Betting The Middle — Window of Great Opportunity

Also known as Middling, this betting strategy is most commonly used for betting on football games in the NFL or NCAAF. US sportsbook apps usually post fresh betting lines for an upcoming weekend NFL action at least five days before the kick-off.

The chances of betting odds being the same on Tuesday and Friday are minimal, as they constantly change, being influenced by many factors. This is a great opportunity for middling, where a bettor places wagers on both sides of the same match but with different lines. The primary goal is to land both wagers and get away with a big return on investment.

Again, let us look at how middling works in an example. Say you have wagered on the Baltimore Ravens at -6.5 to beat the Steelers on Tuesday morning, but a couple of days later noticed that the line moved to -8.5.

Step number two in this scenario is to back the opposition, the Pittsburgh Steelers, to win the match at +8.5. If the favored Ravens win by seven or eight points, you will cash both wagers. If not, you will have a minimal loss since both of the lines were -110.

This strategy can also apply to other sports like baseball, ice hockey, or basketball, but since the frequency of matches is higher, there will be less time for the sports betting lines to move.

Zig-Zag Betting Theory

The third sports betting strategy we recommend keeping in your toolbox is suggested only for specific times of the year — NBA and NHL playoffs. The Zig-Zag Betting Theory suggests placing a wager on a team that lost a playoff game on the road when they play their next match against the same opponents at home.

Why these two specific sports? Because they have a unique playoff 2-2-1-1-1 schedule.

Stats say that more than half of the NBA or NHL playoff series starts with a 2-0 advantage for the home team, and betting on the underdog in game three statistically has good returns in the long run.

The mindset behind this is that a losing team will be extremely motivated to bounce back in the series in front of the home crowd. Once again, stats say that in 60% of the series, the underdog wins game three, so there is a lot of value here, especially if the odds of home victory are higher than +100.

The Zig-Zag Betting Theory can also be applied in case of the higher-seeded team loses the first match in the series at home. Then, a pattern suggests backing them to win game two and even beat the spread in most cases.

Around 75% of the time, the better-ranked team will win that second game when they are coming off of a loss. Even though historical charts back this strategy, it’s still not a reason to invest a huge portion of your betting bankroll.

Basic Betting Strategies for Beginners

Focus on a Few Teams

Finding good value is one of the most essential things in being profitable in the long run and one of the best ways to spot it is to know a couple of teams to the core.

It is much better to be an expert on five or six teams than to have average knowledge about the entire league, especially if you are wagering on some less-known leagues or sports.

By focusing on a few teams, punters can get a deeper understanding of their biggest strengths, weaknesses, and playing style, which in theory, should make your betting decisions much better and potentially give some edge over the bookmakers.

Always Hunt For the Best Lines

Not all sportsbooks are created equal, and they don’t all have the same odds. By having accounts at several sportsbooks, you can ensure that you always get the best betting lines and value.

Depending on your state, dozens of licensed and reputable sportsbooks are available, and we recommend having at least five or six accounts with different providers.

For long-term success and profitability, it is advised to always search for the best odds, even if the difference is minimal (i.e., +100 and +105). If you place over 100 bets monthly, this 5% bump is going to look massive on the charts.

This is especially useful when practicing some of these strategies, such as hedging or middling — just because you placed your first bet with one operator doesn’t mean you can’t go elsewhere for your opposing wager. Break up your two bets and go with whichever bookie has the better odds to ensure even bigger guaranteed profits.

To make sure you’re getting the best value from your wagers, check out Which Sportsbook Has the Best Odds? and our guide to the Best Sports Betting Sites in the US.

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Checking the Stats — Against the Spread

Against the Spread (ATS) stats proved to be extremely valuable for all sports bettors in the US. This basically shows how teams perform compared to sportsbooks’ expectations.

If a team is beating the spread line by over 50% during the first half of the season, they are probably worth your time and deeper research for value opportunities. Low percentages on the ATS stats show an over-hyped and overpriced team that should probably be avoided on your bet slips.

Bankroll Management Is Vital

Winning and losing streaks are part of any bettor’s career, and the only thing you can do to mitigate the frustration is to be disciplined and have good bankroll management for sports betting.

Arguably, one of the most essential things for a professional sports bettor is limiting the amount and frequency of their wagers.

First, beginners should determine how much money they have to invest in sports betting and how much they afford to lose. If your bankroll is $1000, the average single bet size should be between $20 and $50 (2% to 5% per bet), so whenever a cold streak hits, there should be plenty of room to keep going until you hit a winning streak.

This is the safest approach to protect and grow your bankroll. We do not judge people who are primarily after entertainment or massive paydays, but in terms of percentages, being disciplined pays off long-term.

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem and wants help, call the Virginia Council on Problem Gambling (VACPG) helpline at 1-888-532-3500