Sports Betting

Didn't know whether to post this in one of the sports forums or here but I figure here's a good bet since this is gambling oriented.

Anyone here do any sports handicapping?

I'm getting interested in handicapping hockey but I have no clue about where to start except for wading through a bunch of NHL stats.

My roommate is an addict. But he doesn't bet Hockey. Even hearing his daily bets make me laugh.

"Yoyoyo, gimme 2 G's on Fordham against Holy Cross minus 3. Aight late."

ME:"NeNe, you fucktard, have you ever seen them play?"

"Nah, but I gotta good feeling"

Oh God, I used to live with a room-mate like that.

We used to bet the horses.

I used to handicap like crazy and make my own lines.

He couldn't understand the entire concept of an overlay.

And he was an accounting major.


None of you Poker and craps playing, beer guzzling, cigar chomping degenerates know anything about sports betting?!?!

Looks like I'll be wading through tables of NHL stats...

I gamble some, what are you wanting to know?

We are thinking of opening a gambling house actually. Prob months from now, but it is in the planning stages

Do you use any sort of organized handicapping method?

Or is it a "gestalt" sort of thing where you just subconciously go about estimating a line based on your knowledge of the teams, etc.?

Just an educated guess. I am amazed on how accurate the line makers are for the most part

Yeah - I heard that hockey is really hard to beat because of that.

However, I don't have much choice since football season is over and basketball bores the pants off me.

I guess I could always go back to handicapping the ponies...

If you have any tips on where to begin on handicapping the ponies, I'd be very interested in listening to them.

Some caveats.

1. I am a total low-roller. When I was betting the ponies, I was making $2 bets. I did alright playing the ponies (back when I played them, I kept fairly decent records and I came out ahead) but I definitely wasn't going to try to live off of it. So I am at best an amateur who happened to do alright.

2. From what I've read recently, beating the track take is getting harder and harder to beat due to a "graying" of the sport. Basically, most of the fan-base is getting older and not enough new blood is being injected into the sport. Imagine how profitable poker would be if no new players didn't start playing - eventually, all you would be left with are crusty old guys who know all the ins and outs (since the old guys who didn't know the ins and outs would get busted out). Basically, it wouldn't be profitable at all.

3. I've checked out some tote-boards recently on-line and I've been dismayed by how much the pay-out odds change at the last minute with just a couple of MTP at some tracks. This indicates a lot of late money being bet en masse on a horse and it seems to be pretty common at these tracks. This is pretty bad if that sweet overlay going off at 8-1 when it should be going off at 4-1 gets dropped down to 3-1 after you make your bet.

4. Even if you bet overlays, you can still go through some horrific losing streaks. Worse yet, if you go through those horrific losing streaks, objectively, you won't know (without a large sample size), whether that losing streak is just due to probabilities playing out or whether you're making some serious errors in your handicapping


Okay, those are the warnings.

What I've learned from my own experience and from reading up on the subject is:

1. Make your own odds line. Do not get into the mindset of trying to "pick winners". That's the worst thing you can do. Make an odds line - if your line is accurate, any horse going off at higher than those odds is an overlay. This may seem to be a rather obvious point to make but when you make your odds line, make damn sure that that the probabilities total to 100% - you odds line is fubar'ed if they add up to something higher than 100% since you'll be over-estimating the chances of each horse to win (on average) and end up betting underlays.

2. Read up on the subject. Quinn, Cramer, Mitchell, etc. are respected names although Mitchell seems to spend a lot of time trying to sell his own handicapping products/software in his books; Cramer is a little bit off the wall; Quinn's writing style is really, really disjointed (at least I found it so) which is troubling when you consider his educational pedigree.

3. The method I used was to try to separate contenders from non-contenders, mainly on the basis of form and class. This part was as art as science. I would then separate the contenders from each other on the basis of the numbers. If I was able to identify 3-5 contenders from the rest of the field, usually, one of them would be underbet enough for me to make a bet. The worst situations are when you only identify one contender. Basically, that horse is going to be so obvious that everyone else will see him as the favourite, bet him down, making him an underlay and making that race unbettable unless he goes off as an overlay in the place and show pools.

4. I'm not sure about other amateur handicappers but the method I used took a LOT of time (a few hours for just ONE card). Don't think you can buy the DRF, scan through the past performances and then plunk down a monster bet on a stand-out and collect big. It's a time consuming process - at least it was for me. Which is why I eventually stopped since stuff like school began to become more pressing issues on my mind.