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Knowing When To Bet

   by Bryan Leonard - 10/06/2008

Stop and ask anyone on the street and they will tell you their opinion on who will win the big game. >From die hard bettors to soccer moms everyone knows which team is better and by how many points they will win by. But ask them when is the best time to make that bet and you will likely get a blank stare and silence. You see picking winners is only one battle in the long war on bookmakers and not enough is known about the all important battle of knowing when to bet.
A major key is being ahead of not only the linesmakers but your fellow sports bettors. If you have a great idea of what team is going to take money you need to know when the optimum time to bet is. That's why every serious sports bettor that I know uses power ratings. Power ratings put you on an even playing field with the linesmaker. How many times has someone said that team "A" is going to kill team "B" without knowing the great equalizer, the pointspread. Sure, chances are the Oklahoma Sooners would dominate over Boston College but if the line was 28 would you play them? And more importantly where do you think this line is going? If Oklahoma is off a dominating performance against another top team on national television you can bet the general public will be all over the impressive Sooners. Especially if Boston College was just upset at home by the likes of NC State. The general sports bettor will get a case of "they're going to kill em" itis. But the smart bettor needs to know what the line should be and where he feels the line should be going.
A major problem is you can never be 100% sure of your number and reading public perception, but if you've done this for a while you will be on the right side much more than not. Like everything else in life you need to work on it and improve on a weekly basis. If you know that Oklahoma is going to be a popular play with the public and the number is cheap you better jump on that game ASP. Because if you have that thought you can bet somebody else with a lot more money than you feels the same way.
Just last weekend Arizona opened as an 18 point favorite over Washington. That line quickly rose to 24 before buy back pushed the closing number to 23. If you were paying attention you knew that Jake Locker the Washington quarterback would be out of action for the next few weeks because of injury, and the drop-off at e position would be significant. Everybody and their brother played Arizona early and were rewarded with a great money making opportunity. They could keep their Wildcat minus 18 or 19 bet and let it ride, or they could buy back the bet when it hit the key number of 24, which many people did. Arizona went on to win 48-14 easily covering both the opening and closing numbers. But these type of plays happen every week and the early bird always catches the worm.
So if you're betting a popular side right before game time ask yourself this question. What number could I have gotten if I played this game earlier in the week? If you can truthfully answer that you were much better off playing the game earlier then you simply pass the game. It's something that all bettors who are serious about making money need to do. If you wanted to buy a car and the model was on sale the week before for $5000 off sticker price would you wait for the sale to end before making a purchase? It's that obvious.

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