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How to bet like a professional

Published on January 18, 2024
Updated on January 19, 2024
Written by Simon

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How to bet like a professional
  • Key points to help you get more from your betting
  • Bet smarter with
  • Advice from experienced tipsters bring you a number of points to help you get the most from your sports betting journey.

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How to bet like a professional sports bettor?

Sports betting has a glamorous reputation thanks to famous gamblers like Billy Walters, although the truth is usually more mundane. Most sports bettors and traders are men and women making predictions from their bedrooms and home offices. That said, it can be a good way to have fun, and the very best of them can supplement their income or even go full-time. What does it take to bet like a pro? We sat down with our in-house sports bettor Simon Flynn to ask him what he feels is required to do this and be successful. The following words are his own and if you have any questions you can send them to [email protected].

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If you want to get the most out of your sports betting there are a number of principles you have to stick to, which I have outlined for you.

1) Be emotionally neutral on teams

Most sports bettors are passionate sports fans, with their own favourite sports people and teams. And there lies an immediate problem. If we are too emotionally attached to a side, we can’t  make unclouded judgements about their chances of winning. This problem manifests itself in a more severe way when the team we support is actually successful.   How many Botafogo/Elfsborg/Arsenal fans bet against their teams in the run in to the 2023 Championship seasons? Either out of a misguided sense of loyalty or just overestimating your team’s chances of winning, backing your favourite is NEVER a good idea. I am personally lucky – I am Scottish and we never win, and my club team (Aberdeen) were good 40 years ago (really, they were, honestly) but are now dreadful, regularly losing 6-0 to the likes of Celtic and Rangers. Do I bet against them? I sure do, but I have had years of practice prioritising profits over pleasure. Can you do that? It all depends on your personality and emotional make-up, and only you can know this. However, the next tip should help you remain as calm as a cucumber, even if you are a diehard and passionate Flamengo/Malmo/Man Utd fan.

2) Consider betting on lesser well-known sports and leagues than the obvious ones, and not the ones closest to your heart

I bet mostly on football (soccer) as that’s the sport I understand the rhythm of the best. Many of you will be in the same situation, and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, did you know that the vast majority of my winning bets don’t come from the Big 5 European leagues (England, Spain, Germany, ITaly, France) that most people bet on? In fact, in some of these leagues (France, if you must know) I have a losing record over the past 3 years. Too many teams who should overperform fail miserably(cough Marseille cough) and lose money for me. In other leagues like the Premier League, bookmakers do a fantastic job at pricing the games correctly, and it’s just hard to find value there. But have you considered the second tier European leagues like Portugal, Scotland, Greece and Turkey? I have found there is still lots of value there if you know where to look. And we should make a point about South American leagues like Brazil. Those games are actually quite unpredictable, as teams sell most of their best players to Europe every year – it’s rare to see a club win consecutive titles in Brazil in the same way that Man City do in England or Real Madrid do in Spain. Can you use this knowledge to make a profit? I personally like the obscure European leagues like the ones already mentioned, as well as Bulgaria and Czech Republic. But I had a weird childhood, being obsessed with teams from these countries. You probably have your own reasons for knowing less well-known sports and leagues. Take advantage of this knowledge! Which brings me to my next tip.

3) Become a specialist

At the same time as betting on leagues that others ignore, it helps tremendously if you can become an expert on them. That will allow you to find the obvious edges which other participants (the bookies, but also other bettors) can’t see. Here’s an example: in Portugal and Scotland, the big teams (Benfica, Porto and Sporting, and Rangers and Celtic) have mass support all around their respective countries, with the result that there are no hostile away grounds for these teams. However, the bookies still offer greater odds on away wins for these teams, despite there being no significant statistical evidence of any difference in performance. Turkey, on the other hand, is a tough place to bet on visiting teams. Long distances and passionate home crowds mean I always bet on Galatasaray at home – but away? Never! But Benfica away at Chaves on a wet Wednesday? Sure, I  will take those higher odds, thanks very much! Me pointing out this fact on this blog post hopefully does not mean that the bookies will start adjusting their odds on Benfica away games 🙂 The point is, becoming a specialist will allow you to identify small edges, which can add up to a profitable season of sports betting. And the next tips reveals the biggest source of advantage edges of all.

4) Use sites with superior odds

This cannot be emphasised enough – if your sportsbook isn’t providing the highest odds possible, you are fighting a losing battle. Amateurs think that sports betting is about winning or losing – but the truth is, it’s about winning and losing. The best sports bettors have an edge of a few per cent, and (depending on their strategy) lose between 20-60% of the time. The greater the size of their wins is therefore critical to a successful long-term career as a sports bettor, whether you intend to go full pro or dream of it one day. And some of the differences in pricing (odds) between sites is actually huge,with a margin differential (vig, or house edge) between 3% and over 10% Ask any poker player about such differences and they will go for the 3% every time, as it’s just not possible to win long term with a 10% margin. This is one of the reasons why we recommend bet365. This provider consistently offers among the best odds/lowest margins across a wide range of sports and leagues and – in my experience – is an ideal choice for a professional sports bettor. There are some other reasons why bet365 are among the best, and we will touch on these in later posts – so see you next time!

We will bring you more key points on how to bet like a pro over the coming weeks. Always remember to gamble responsibly.

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Simon Flynn is a sports bettor with over 10 years experience in building profitable sports trading systems. Specializing in football – the type where players use their feet – he dreams of hitting that elusive 10-game accumulator one day. Editorial Promise