Wizard
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Wizard
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smoothgrhAZDuffman
December 23rd, 2020 at 9:50:15 PM permalink
Tomorrow, December 24, I'm supposed to be a guest on Gambling with an Edge, which was recorded last week. On the show I mentioned my desire to write a book on how to make money betting sports with zero handicapping ability. Bob & Munch commented that they just interviewed Logan Fields who wrote just such a book titled 2020 Sports Betting. Here is that podcast.

I immediately ordered it, it arrived in a few days (thanks Amazon!) and read the whole thing in a couple days. Normally it takes me months to finish a book, so this is saying something.

The book details how Logan made a career out of sports betting and the vast majority he did the same way I bet sports -- without handicapping. He knows golf extremely well and I would say he handicapped that, but was successful with other sports by exploiting prop bets, which is exactly my strategy. I think we would both agree that to beat sports entails:

1. Do not compete with the big boys like Billy Walters. You have to bet stuff that they don't fuss with. In other words, don't bet straight up in the football, baseball, or basketball.
2. Pay close attention to sports outside the big 3 just listed. Logan in particular focuses on golf.
3. In the big sports, exploit the prop bets. Both Logan and I could talk about this all day. We both come to the conclusion that the value is in betting on things to not happen.
4. Shop around. The more outs you have the better.
5. Verify all your bets, especially props, are graded correctly.
6. Look for badly set lines. Bookmakers often make mistakes in the lesser sports and prop bets.
7. Making money betting sports is not easy. You must put in a LOT of homework.

One takeaway I get from Logan's book that I learned the hard way is to keep up with rule changes and the way games are played. He mentions the lesson I learned the hard way on betting on low numbers of field goals in the Super Bowl. Kickers are simply kicking much further and the average fields goals per game has increased about one half in the last 20 years. I made a lot of under bets based on old data, which cost me a lot.

The book will not tell you how to get rich right now. Sports are always evolving and the successful bettor must keep up with the trends. Logan talks a lot about great plays he made in the past that probably won't work today. He is very frank in stating that he likes to talk about the past. However, he gives a lot of good general advice. Most of it I already knew, but it's good to hear it confirmed. The subtitle of the book is "Think like a pro." It's appropriate because the book does tell you how to think about betting sports as opposed to showing you an easy way to crush sports now.

Getting back to my unwritten book, it would be similar in goal. Mine would be more mathematical and less autobiographical, which would probably explain why nobody would buy mine.

In conclusion, I highly recommend the book. I can't think of a single thing I disagree with Logan about.
"For with much wisdom comes much sorrow." -- Ecclesiastes 1:18 (NIV)
Johnzimbo
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December 24th, 2020 at 6:17:41 AM permalink
I am a recreational gambler but would agree regarding prop bets. I make one certain Super Bowl prop bet every year where I typically have to lay around -130 or -140 but this bet is 18-3 over the past 21 SB's
TomG
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December 26th, 2020 at 1:44:44 PM permalink
Good stuff. Just some thoughts that come up.

1. I like to think of it as competing with everyone, not against them.
2. Doesn't even have to be "close" attention. Just be willing to bet any line the sportsbook puts up, so long as it is a good number. Why should anyone care if it is NFL or NRL? Interestingly the last good sports betting book I remember reading was by Joe Peta, who also likes golf and has put out some very good information on it.
3. I generally like smaller markets on bigger events. In NRL there will be spread, total, and money line, only three places to look to find a good number. On any given NFL game, there will be spread, total, money line, alternate line, halfs, quarters, team totals game props, player props, etc., With so many more options, there are obviously many more places to find good bets. And sometimes they are just as slow moving and inefficient as the smallest sports. Often times with the benefit of using the larger market to find opportunities in the smaller market. Eg NFL total moves from 54 to 50, but the 1h team total hasn't yet moved.
4. If all anyone does is bet the best available number, they should break even at the very worst.
5. Good advice that I should probably take, but I might just be too lazy and stuck in my ways.
6. Nothing to add, that seems obvious.
7. As a vocation it is hard hard. As a hobby, it is easy.

I've always wondered about the definition of "handicapping". I've always thought it just meant making good bets, but they way people use it makes it seem like there is some sort of greater distinction to it.
terapined
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December 26th, 2020 at 4:15:49 PM permalink
Quote: TomG



I've always wondered about the definition of "handicapping". I've always thought it just meant making good bets, but they way people use it makes it seem like there is some sort of greater distinction to it.


I grew up in MD and read the Wash Post and fortunately I got to read many Andy Beyer articles
He was the king of handicapping
He was really big on trip handicapping
He would analyze trips. Some horses have easy trips. Some have hard trips.
He would use that and his own speed figures to compare horses
Its just a forum. Nothing here to get obsessed about.
lilredrooster
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December 26th, 2020 at 11:24:33 PM permalink
Quote: terapined

I grew up in MD and read the Wash Post and fortunately I got to read many Andy Beyer articles
He was the king of handicapping
He was really big on trip handicapping
He would analyze trips. Some horses have easy trips. Some have hard trips.
He would use that and his own speed figures to compare horses



I grew up in MD too
nice points you made about Beyer
fascinating character - he dropped out of Harvard after winning and getting an 11/2 payout on the 1966 Belmont Stakes winner Amberoid, deciding to make a career out of betting horses
IMHO, as a writer, his writing is way, way, way superior to that of most other gambling writers - his writing has a literary quality - others don't
he's been retired now for quite a while - shame - miss his columns a lot - have read all of his books - they're great too
I know towards the end of his career a few years ago he was very upset because the Post allowed internet readers to post comments on stories
a lot of stupid, ignorant comments from bitter horseplayers went underneath his columns - I'm pretty sure that's one of the reasons he quit
if he named a horse, and the horse didn't win the comments got real nasty - true morons - keyboard warriors
Last edited by: lilredrooster on Dec 27, 2020
the foolish sayings of a rich man often pass for words of wisdom by the fools around him
Wizard
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Wizard
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December 27th, 2020 at 6:42:11 AM permalink
Quote: TomG

I've always wondered about the definition of "handicapping". I've always thought it just meant making good bets, but they way people use it makes it seem like there is some sort of greater distinction to it.



I define handicapping as analyzing the chances of each team winning a game and by how much for the purpose of making money on point spread or money line bets. What I do, prop betting, is not handicapping.
"For with much wisdom comes much sorrow." -- Ecclesiastes 1:18 (NIV)
Ace2
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December 27th, 2020 at 7:22:08 AM permalink
Quote: TomG


I've always wondered about the definition of "handicapping". I've always thought it just meant making good bets, but they way people use it makes it seem like there is some sort of greater distinction to it.

To me, handicapping means equalizing. Suppose team A is stronger than team B and would win most of their games. But if you give team B seven points, that makes it a 50/50 even matchup
Itís all about making that GTA
speedycrap
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December 27th, 2020 at 3:19:40 PM permalink
To me, handicapping is to figure out whether I can win the bet. I mean whatever I bet on. E.g. , point spread on football game, win/place/show/exacta.
DRich
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December 27th, 2020 at 3:53:41 PM permalink
To me a handicapper makes lines on events and if the offered prices are much different than his numbers he bets it.
At my age, a "Life In Prison" sentence is not much of a deterrent.
AZDuffman
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December 27th, 2020 at 4:07:56 PM permalink
Quote: TomG



I've always wondered about the definition of "handicapping". I've always thought it just meant making good bets, but they way people use it makes it seem like there is some sort of greater distinction to it.



To me it means looking at both teams, their tendencies, and predicting an outcome. Looking for what is important. For example, say two teams have identical takeaway/giveaway ratios and both are positive. But Team A has done it mostly with interceptions while Team B has picked up fumbles. Team A is stronger as interceptions are more skill while picking up fumbles is more chance.

Or instead of looking at yards per completion look at yards per attempt, which is more important.

Take all of that and predict a result.
All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others
TomG
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December 31st, 2020 at 1:49:07 PM permalink
Interesting to see some definitions similar, while others are much different.

Quote: Wizard

I define handicapping as analyzing the chances of each team winning a game and by how much for the purpose of making money on point spread or money line bets. What I do, prop betting, is not handicapping.



This definition would mean handicapping is making a good bet on a point spread or moneyline. Any bets on totals, first half, props, futures, etc, could never be handicapping.

Quote: Ace2

To me, handicapping means equalizing. Suppose team A is stronger than team B and would win most of their games. But if you give team B seven points, that makes it a 50/50 even matchup



Can "equalizing" be done on anything the sports books offer, or is it limited to certain things?

Quote: speedycrap

To me, handicapping is to figure out whether I can win the bet. I mean whatever I bet on. E.g. , point spread on football game, win/place/show/exacta.



Quote: DRich

To me a handicapper makes lines on events and if the offered prices are much different than his numbers he bets it.



These are similar to how I've always interpreted it, which is making good bets.

Quote: AZDuffman

To me it means looking at both teams, their tendencies, and predicting an outcome. Looking for what is important. For example, say two teams have identical takeaway/giveaway ratios and both are positive. But Team A has done it mostly with interceptions while Team B has picked up fumbles. Team A is stronger as interceptions are more skill while picking up fumbles is more chance.

Or instead of looking at yards per completion look at yards per attempt, which is more important.

Take all of that and predict a result.



This would mean I wouldn't even have to make any bets. I could just write a blog with my predictions and I would be handicapping.
unJon
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January 1st, 2021 at 5:22:01 AM permalink
I donít think handicapping means you need to bet.

To me handicapping is assigning probabilities to events. If someone is good at handicapping then the assigned probabilities tend towards the actual probabilities.

So if I analyze a football game and decide the home team will win 62% of the time, thatís handicapping. Alternatively, I can say that the spread for the game that ends with the favorite covering 50% of the time is -2. Then I can compare my handicapping numbers to the offered lines.

And it doesnít have to just be sports. You can handicap and election. Or the chance of rain tomorrow. Etc.

Many people think they are good at handicapping. Few are I think.
The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong; but that is the way to bet.
lilredrooster
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January 1st, 2021 at 9:27:10 AM permalink
.....................

"handicapping" is just a word
like so many words it can have different meanings to different people
there's no one definition that trumps all other definitions
nobody's definition here is wrong
and there is no definition here that is the ultimate definition

my definition would be:

estimating whether a bet would have a positive or negative expectation and estimating how large or small that expectation might be by estimating the relative strengths of the teams or persons competing; and then correlating that estimation to the payouts or spread lines offered by the sportsbook

it's an awful lot of estimating - nothing is carved in stone - or if it is it's very very rare


*
Last edited by: lilredrooster on Jan 1, 2021
the foolish sayings of a rich man often pass for words of wisdom by the fools around him
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