How to Choose What Games to Bet On

Proposition bets are displayed at the Race & Sports SuperBook at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino. Ethan Miller/Getty Images/AFP

The sports betting menu is so vast these days it’s difficult to determine which games are better bets than others. Let’s discuss a few basic rules to keep you focused and winning as often as possible.

The Basics

Whether you are a recreational or professional bettor there are a few rules you should abide by if you want to be more successful over the long run. Before we talk about which games to bet on, let’s make sure you’ve got the basics down.

Set a Bankroll: All professional sports seasons are long. Therefore, it is important you set aside a realistic bankroll that will allow you to indulge your sports betting appetite but won’t cause you to lose sleep if everything goes wrong and you lose it all. If that happens, don’t go back to the well and reload, because a good general knows when to retreat. There’s always next season.

Learn More: What’s a Unit in Sports Betting, How to Use It?

Don’t Chase: Can we say that again? Don’t chase your losses. It is the single biggest reason why bettors go bust. We all have those days, and if you’re having one, then take your lumps and call it a day.

Don’t Drink and Bet: This is one of the least talked about betting mistakes. There’s a reason why casinos serve you free drinks when you’re gambling. Your decision-making skills are diminished and all that liquid courage can cost you big bucks. If you’re going out to have a few cold ones, place your bets in advance and put your phone down.

Which Games Do I Bet?

Don’t bet a game because it’s on television and everyone will be watching it. Okay, a small, friendly bet with a buddy is fine but betting a full unit on a game just because you can, lacks the discipline you will need if you want to increase your winning percentage.

What you should decide is which sport turns you on and will keep you engaged? You will find that the more you know about a particular sport, the more you will enjoy it, and the closer you will follow it. If this is the case, you will be more apt to do the necessary homework required to be a successful bettor.

Learn More: Selectivity Makes Sports Bettors More Money Long Term

You don’t need to be a regular caller to sports talk radio to be a good sports bettor. As a matter of fact, the talking heads who get paid a good living to yak about sports on the radio or TV very rarely offer their opinions as to whether a team will cover or not. If they’re that knowledgeable, wouldn’t you think they would parlay all that wisdom into making money betting sports?

But what you do need is the tenacity to study matchups, scour injury reports, and solicit opinions from fellow bettors. At OddsTrader we have a blog dedicated to offering bettors articles about betting strategies that may bolster your initial impression of a game or make you think twice about betting on it.

Final Tips

A few final tips. If you enjoy college football or basketball, try to zero in on the smaller conferences that don’t get nearly the same scrutiny from the oddsmakers as the big conferences and household names. You are more likely to find weak or stale lines on those games so be a specialist, and exploit this advantage.

If the NFL is your thing, look for trap games. These are good or elite teams coming off of a big win the week before, playing an average or poor team this week, but looking ahead to another pivotal game the following week.

Learn More: How to Identify Your Strengths and Weaknesses as a Sports Bettor

Chances are the line will be inflated because of the perceived mismatch but the favorite won’t be giving this game its full attention which makes this an ideal opportunity to bet on the underdog.

As for MLB and the NHL, these are usually moneyline games and there is often value in big underdogs. You may not win more than 50 percent of your wagers but when you’re getting the big vig instead of laying it, even a 44 percent win rate can render plus money when the season is through.

Learn More: How to Shop for the Best Lines

The NBA is a long grind and we often see superstars getting a night off just to give them rest and keep them fresh. Jump on early lines if you read about or hear rumblings that an elite player may be getting a breather. You can usually find these spots on the second leg of teams playing back-to-back contests.

Finally, make sure you have accounts at multiple sportsbooks so you are always getting the best line and the most favorable odds available. Remember to bet with your head, not over it, and may all your wagers be winners. is your sports betting command center. Read featured betting strategy compiled from a panel of leading sports betting experts.

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