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The world of sports gambling is forever changing and evolving. Currently, one could say we are in the age of enlightenment. Recent legalization across several states, including my home state of New Jersey, has brought the gaming industry as a whole out of its taboo shell. It’s OK to talk about sports betting. Ever notice how game spreads and over/unders are now staples of the ESPN bottom line’s nomenclature?
Initially I was unsure about my position regarding legalizing sports gambling. After all, I’ve struggled with gambling addiction for a good part of my life. Now, more than a year after new legislation broadly legalized sports betting, I can say it has been a blessing for myself and many others. There’s no shame or stigma anymore. Professional handicappers are now recognized in the same light as analysts within the financial sector. This ability to be open and honest makes for a more comfortable gaming environment, and one where us gamblers are less prone to chasing it.
I mentioned before about sports gambling entering its age of enlightenment. Information and statistics are more readily available than ever before. With the general public sharper than ever, how do the casinos keep the lights on? The answer can be broken into three parts; sports gambling is still and always will be difficult, people think about handicapping the wrong way, and the vig, or house edge, is not easy to overcome.
Let’s start with why sports gambling is so difficult in general. Odds makers set game spreads with advanced algorithms that create a spread or line of which each team has a 50% probability to cover. A common misunderstanding is that the books make spreads to influence action on both sides. If this were the case, professional, or sharp, bettors would have a field day feasting on inefficiencies. Occasionally, groups sprout up armed with mathematicians who feel their analytics, and therefore their algorithms, are more powerful than the Vegas odds makers’. These groups are known as line movers. When they see a discrepancy between a Las Vegas’ line and their own, they bet the maximum across a multitude of platforms. Eventually, if not entirely banned from casino sportsbooks, these groups are flagged and have their limits reduced to miniscule amounts. A big part of WWB’s handicapping style is having connections within the line mover community and having a detailed understanding of which direction the lines will tend to move.
The second basic reason we discussed earlier regarding why the house maintains its edge is that people think about handicapping the wrong way. A handful of flaws/leaks, or shortcomings, I’ve seen over the years include but are not limited to a general ignorance towards variance, emphasizing knowledge rather than finding the areas in which broad knowledge is scarce, taking short cuts, seeking certainty, relying too heavily on data, falling victim to one’s own ego, and thinking short-term over big-picture. At WWB, we aim to be on the cutting edge as far as remaining contrarian and unique in our views and positions. We’ll never fall into any of those losing approaches.
The last reason that, without proper guidance, sports gambling can be an uphill fight is the vig. In theory, if the Vegas line is perfect, picking a game against the spread is purely a 50/50 proposition. Unfortunately, the dreaded vig or juice (an average of 10% tax on losing plays), requires bettors to strike at a rate above 50% in order to break even. Roughly, you need to be right 53 times out of 100 to turn a profit. The true break-even point is 52.38%. With this in mind, we will minimize our plays to our top selections on each board. It is infinitely tougher to break 52.38% over a 10,000 game sample than it is over a 1,000 game sample. At WWB, we’ll be sensitive to the fact that you need to limit your plays and overall exposure in order to be profitable. Betting on coin flips will bury you in this industry, and we focus on games where we believe we have a significant edge.
So what exactly is our edge? It can be most easily summarized as an all-encompassing understanding of gambling markets and strategies, combined with decades of experience in professional gambling, athletics, and coaching. This formula will be sure to keep WWB followers on the sharp side! Purchase individual picks daily for as little as $10, or become a subscriber to take advantage of our best value deal and automatically receive our newsletter / be granted 24/7 access to our betting board. Looking forward to having you become a part of our team!
-WWB Expert Pat