The Shocking Truth About Sports Betting

Millions of people around the world bet on sporting events every year.

Most of them are casual bettors who never find out some of the shocking truths about betting on sports.

Winning Percentage Is Meaningless in Isolation

Have you ever seen one of those commercials where the sports betting expert is trying to get you to buy his picks?

Maybe you've seen an advertisement in a magazine or online.

Many of these ads have outlandish claims about their winning percentage.

Someone claims he can pick winners 70% of the time.

How could you lose money betting on his picks?

But some advertisers lie, and others base their percentages on something impractical.

Want some examples of how anyone can pick a high percentage of winners?

Most games offer money line bets that don't work on a traditional spread model. A game with a spread gives points to the underdog and takes points from the favorite. Most of these games are bet by paying a fee called vig. You choose a team and either give or get points.

A money line bet works differently. You just pick which team you think will win.

Think of how many times you see a really good team play a really bad team.

What if you could bet on the better team without giving up any points?

You can bet on a team to win if you can find a money line bet. But here's the catch:

You pay a premium.

You might have to bet $1,200 to win $100. Depending on how big a favorite the team is, you might even have to bet more.

Risking $1,200 to win $100 might even seem like a safe bet. But if the underdog wins just once out of every 11 times, you lose money in the long run.

How does this relate to our discussion about winning percentages? Almost anyone can pick money line games with big favorites and win a high percentage of their bets.

But they probably still lose money on those games.

Another scam is a high winning percentage on something other than individual games. One scam is a high percentage of wins on series of games. The scammer doubles his bet after every loss. Eventually he wins. The series is however long it takes to win a game.

Most claims of high winning percentages from tout services sound too good to be true.

That's because they are.

Don't focus on your own winning percentage. Focus on how much money you win.

Having a lower winning percentage and higher profits is better than losing money with a high winning percentage.

You Don't Have to Beat the Spread 60% of the Time to Be a Long Term Winner

Many casual sports bettors don't think about how many games they have to win in order to turn a long term profit. They bet whatever they're comfortable with. They don't consider their money as a bankroll. If they win they spend the money. If they lose, they use money from their job to make their next bet.

Ask the average bettor what a good winning percentage. He'll likely reply 60% - or even higher.

Only a tiny percentage of bettors can come close to winning 60% of their picks against the spread. The ones who do make so much money that they don't have time to brag.

Here's the good news:

You don't have to win anywhere near 60% to profit betting on sports.

I explain the actual break even percentages in the next section.

The Vig Is Everything

Vig is what the book charges you to place bets. You often see a listing of 110/100 or 11/10. This means you have to bet 110 on a game in order to win 100.

Win and you get back your $110 - plus $100 in winnings.

When you lose, you're down $110.

As long as the book has the same amount of money on each side of a contest, they're guaranteed a profit.

Here's an example:

You bet $110 on a game. Your best friend bets $110 on the other team. The book now has $220 ("in escrow", so to speak).

If you win, the book pays you $110 (your wager) + $100 (your winnings). That's $210.

Your best friend lost, so he doesn't get any money back.

The difference between $220 and $210 is $10. That's profit for the book.

It doesn't matter which one of you wins, the book profits $10.

But why should you care?

You should care because the vig affects how to turn a profit betting on sports. If you only win 50% of the time, you'll lose money.

And in cases where the vig is higher, you need to win an even higher percentage of games to profit.

With a normal 110 to 100 situation, you have to win 52.38% of the time--just to break even. If you win 53 out of every 100 games, you turn a small profit.

If you can get a lower vig, you need a lower winning percentage to profit.

Here's why:

If you place bets at 105 to100, you only have to win 51.19% to break even. 1.19% doesn't seem like much of a difference. But it's the difference between a winning and losing season.

Look at it another way:

What if you bet $1,000,000 a year on sporting events?

That sounds like a lot. But it's only $100 each on 1,000 games. Or maybe it's $1,000 each on 100 games.

1.9% of a million is $19,000. By placing bets at a reduced vig, you put an extra $19,000 in your pocket.

But how do you find a lower vig?

Shop for it.

If you have an account at an online book, open accounts at two or three others. That way you can shop for the best lines. You can also take advantage of any reduced vig opportunities. Watch for promotions or contests that offer lower vig.

You can also offset the vig with signup bonuses. You might be able to get free bets or free matching deposit bonuses.

But any time you receive a promotion make sure you read the terms and conditions attached to it.

Anybody Can Be a Winning Sports Bettor

Do you want to know how to become a winning sports bettor?

Work harder than the books. Dedicate the time and effort to develop winning systems.

With the wide range of tools and information available today anyone can become a winning sports bettor if they're willing to do the work.

Most people aren't willing to invest the time and work. Be willing.

Expert Pick Services Are Worthless

Does that sound extreme?

Maybe it is.

But most tout services are scams. They bilk bettors for millions of dollars every year.

They charge for picks that are no better than your own picks.

The only bettors who should pay for picks are experienced bettors.

That sounds counter-intuitive, and it is.

But experienced bettors are in a position where they can decide if a certain expert can help.

Most experts either stretch the truth or outright lie about their return and winning percentages in order to get you to pay them.

If you do find a tout service that offers consistent winning picks, it's miracle.

But it also reduces your chances of developing the skills necessary to make your own winning picks.

It can be tempting to sign up for a pick service - especially if you're struggling to win on a consistent basis.

But you're better off in the long run focusing on developing your skills.


If you're a casual sports bettor think about some of the things you've learned by reading this post. You might want to consider investing more time and thought into your hobby to see if you can turn it into a long term profit center.