|Betting Beyond Baseball
Are you an inveterate seamhead? Does the end of baseball season leave you a little empty
inside? You're not alone. Baseball may be No. 3 on the online sports gambling scene, but
that's like saying George Harrison was the third most important Beatle. We're still
talking about millions of fans in either case. For some people, MLB is the only league
they follow and it's easy to get absorbed when you're hitting the pay window as
often as the sharper fans who bet on baseball.
what if you don't want to stop making money just because it's November? There are other
sports out there, each with something to offer in terms of betting value and entertainment
value. You're not likely to rake in as much cash betting outside your area of expertise,
but you can still pull in a profit by applying many of the same strategies to these other
sports that you would use to handicap baseball.
From a pure earnings perspective, college basketball is the
next best thing to baseball on the sports betting calendar. There are 350 NCAA teams in
Division I basketball, and about 250 of those teams draw enough action that betting lines
get posted for all of their games. That's 250 different betting options for you to
consider. Most of those programs you probably don't know, like the South Alabama Jaguars
or the Centenary Gentlemen. But that's okay how many people really know anything
about the San Diego Padres? Small-market teams are just as ripe for the picking in college
Basketball is also a very friendly sport for the
statistically minded. Dedicated fans have taken sabermetrics and applied them to hoops
APBRmetrics are the result, with APBR standing for the Association for Professional
Basketball Research. These statistics have been compiled religiously year after year.
The NBA is limited to 30 teams, just like the major
leagues, but you can still find value in small market clubs like the New Orleans Hornets.
You can use the moneyline to bet on the NBA, but most bettors prefer the pointspread
format. It's similar to the run line in baseball, but instead of spotting a team 1.5 runs,
the book will generally set the spread at however many points it takes to balance out the
action on both sides. Here's an example:
Boston Celtics +3
Dallas Mavericks 3
If you were playing the moneyline for this game, you would
have taken the Mavericks at 150 or the Celtics at +130. But with a standard
pointspread, the juice is 110 for either team. Sometimes the book will fine tune the
juice to 105 on one side and 115 on the other, rather than move the spread a
half-point. Either way, these lines are prone to move as game time approaches, so shop
with the same discerning eye that you use for baseball.
The pointspread bet is also the standard piece of business
in football, and football is by far the most popular gambling sport in North America. But
we're mentioning it second here because it's a more competitive market. A sharp college
hoops handicapper can realistically aim for a 60-percent success rate and be happy; in
college football and especially the NFL, anything above 55 percent is a worthy goal. The
break-even point when paying the standard 110 juice is 52.4 percent.
Advanced football stats are a step behind those in
basketball when it comes to predictive power, but they're still a step in the right