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Finding the Best Value When Betting Sports Online

In sports betting there are several different ways to bet the same team. For example, say you want to place a bet on the New York Giants who are at home facing the Detroit Lions. The two most popular options are the point spread, which might be Giants -10, and the moneyline, which might be Giants -550. You also have the option of including them as part of a teaser, a parlay and perhaps including the games posted total, which in this case might be an over or under option of 44.5 points, as part of either of those combo options. Deciding which option to bet often comes down to personal preference. If you’d like to get a little sharper and start to seek which option has the most value, we’ll give you some tips on that in this article.

Step 1 Look for the Best Price

This concept is the basic premise of sports betting. In order to win the most money and to stand the best chance of winning overall, you need to make your bets at the best price available. To do this you should have at least five unique betting sites you shop for lines with. A good line up of betting sites for someone in the US probably consists of 5Dimes for reduced juice, Bodog for their soft underdog lines, Bookmaker for their early lines and bookmaker positions, one square site such as Sports Interaction or BetOnline for their off lines, and one site offering reduced juice on Fridays such as or Bet Jamaica. Here you want to take note of what each site is offering for the spread and the moneyline.

If after doing this, you find a line that is considerably better than what most sites are offering, you’ll then need some basic math skills to determine whether or not the bet is +EV. Let’s say, for example, that after shopping you see Giants -9.5 -108 while every other site is offering the Giants -10 -110. Is this enough to make the bet +EV? To determine this we need to know how often teams favored by 8 to 12 points win by exactly 10. Most bettors would refer to a push chart while others more advanced would do an analysis of historical data which we’ll cover in the next section. Let’s just say for now, which is true, I ran the calculations and found that they win by exactly ten points 4.91% of the time. Now if every site is offering Giants -10 Lions +10 with both priced at -110, we know the true price is +100, meaning the win+push probability of Giants -10 is 50%. Finding -9.5 we now win as opposed to push when the Giants win by 10 which happens 4.91% of the time. We need to be careful here not to make a mistake. We can’t simply say our win % is now 54.91% because we remember the 4.91% push probability was half included in the Lions line as well when things were 50/50. Here we can only take credit for half of it, so -9.5 gives us a 2.455% higher win probability. Taking 50% +2.455% we now have a 52.455% chance of winning.

The next step is converting 52.455% back to American odds format in order to view it in a way we’re more accustomed to. To save the math, simply use our moneyline converter and you’ll work it out in no time. We plug the numbers in, and we see 52.455% is the same as -110.327. If a site is offering us -9.5 -108 while going off every other sites pricing we’ve determined to be -9.5 to be fairly with no juice worth -110.327 then we have a +EV bet here.

Buying Points:
When betting NFL football, most sites are willing to sell any half point other than the 3 and 7 for 10 cents. So for example we can buy -10 -110 down to 9.5 -120, or +6 -110 to +6.5 -120. We can do this as long as the 3 or 7 are not part of the number we are buying on or off of.

As far as the value of half points, at 10 cents a pop there are only three numbers worth buying on or off of. The 10 and 14 are worth a little over 10 cents in value and should always be bought. If a spread is -10.5 and the site allows double half point buys, then buying them both would make sense all of the time; likewise, if betting an underdog +9.5 buying both half points to get to +10.5 always makes sense as well, as long as these points are sold at ten cents each. The third one is a little questionable: the 17 is worth about 9.78 cents. My personal preference to reduce variance and not give up too much value is to buy on to the 17 but not through it, meaning I’ll buy +16.5 to +17 and buy -17.5 to -17, though I won’t buy through it like I would with point spreads involving 10 and 14.

Also, in case there are still a few left that sell half points on spread of 3 and the 7 at a discount over their fair price, it’s worth noting that the three is worth about 22 cents, and the 7 worth about 12.5 cents on average. In games with low posted totals, each half point is worth more; and in games with higher totals, they are worth less.

Where do I get a push Chart?

There are very few push charts on the net that are accurate. Many professional gamblers keep and archive databases of closing point spreads, moneylines, and totals going back many years that are used to assess each game’s chance of pushing. As this is too advanced for the average bettor, we suggest using the one posted by vegasmike at roughing the punter you can find here:

This push chart should help you to calculate things like whether -6 -115 or -6.5 -108 is a better bet.

Understanding Teasers

An entire volume of information can be written about teasers. If you’re not familiar with how they work, we strongly suggest you pick up a copy and read Sharp Sports Betting by Stanford Wong, where an entire chapter is dedicated to this subject. To give you the quick gist of it here that is very simplified, a two team six point teaser offered a -110 needs both legs to win 52.38% of the time to break even. To see how often each individual leg must win, find the square root of .5238 and see that each individual leg needs to win 72.37% of the time to break even. What we need to look for to determine if a teaser might be the more valuable play is a look back to our push chart to see if these six points increase our winnings by 20% or greater. If they do, and we can find another game where this is the case just the same, then it would be a smarter bet it as a teaser as opposed to the straight point spread.

Once again this is really simplified information about teasers. We strongly encourage you to at some point pick up a copy of the book we mentioned and then start Google searching and read all the information on the net there is to find, some good and some bad, about basic strategy teasers.

Parlay Betting

It’s seldom correct to bet a game in a parlay over doing so on the point spread, buy points, teaser or moneyline. The one exception is when you believe there is a correlation. For example, if you feel Lions are going to put up some points, yet you still like Giants -10 -110, you might decide that if Giants do cover -10 there is a high probability the game goes over the posted total. In a case such as this one, then a parlay might in fact be the most optimal method of betting the Giants.

Moneyline Betting

This is an advanced topic which I am not going to cover in great detail other than to show you how to determine if it is worth it or not to make a bet when you spot a line better than market price. If most sites are pricing Giants -550 Lions +450 and you find the Giants -490 at just one site, would you bet it? Many novice bettors would, and they’d reason: -550 and +450 averages out to -500 and therefore -490 must be beating the no juice price. Unfortunately for them, they just made a –EV bet as they didn’t understand that juice is applied to potential winnings, so the risk amount is actually for the most part irrelevant to removing juice from a line.

To remove juice from the moneyline, the first step is to use the “moneyline converter” to convert each moneyline to a percent. After doing so, we see Giants are 84.615% and Lions are 18.182%. If you add these together you’ll see this totals 102.797%, the extra is the juice. To remove it we divide 84.615/102.797 = 82.313% Giants and 18.182/102.797 = 17.687% Lions. Notice these now equal 100% so the juice is removed. We now go back to the moneyline converter plug in the percentages and get Giants -465 / Lions +465 as the fair lines with no juice added. Therefore that bet on Giants -490 didn’t have value in and of itself, because the fair market no juice price is Giants -465.

Now if this was a real life situation, it might be worth considering which site is now offering Giants -490. If it’s a large site with high limits such as Pinnacle or Bookmaker, a pro gambler might decide that a large bet likely made by someone smarter than himself was just made at this major bookmaker and that this is what caused the line move. Recognizing this, he’ll open up each betting site he uses to see which has the best line on the Lions moneyline and bet it, perhaps for a quarter or half unit sized bet as the logic makes sense, but ultimately he is still a bit blind.

Finding Best Value Sports Betting Conclusion

As you can see there is more than one way to bet on the same team, and rarely is the value for each equal. If you’re really looking to get into maximizing your value in sports betting, we hope that at the very least this article has given you food for thought, and material to study further. If you find this article provides you great value, we’d appreciate it if you use one of our links when joining your next online betting site, for example

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