When I made my first bet on a sporting event, I didn’t even know what a betting line was. Soon after my first bet, I found newspapers sometimes printed betting lines. The only way I could place a bet was finding another sports fan willing to risk a few dollars on a game.
Now I can find lines from a dozen sportsbooks in a few seconds and place a bet on any game I want in another couple of seconds. So things are much easier for sports gamblers today than they’ve ever been in the past.
From a handicapping point of view, you have access to every stat you can imagine, and as soon as something newsworthy happens, it’s posted all over the internet. So keep reading to learn five reasons why now is the best time in history to be a sports bettor.
1 – More Places to Make Wagers and Access Lines
For several years when I started betting on sports, newspapers printed the only lines I had access to. I also bet on cards I picked up at the gas station. The lines on the cards and in the newspapers were at least a day old, so you could occasionally take advantage of a line when a key player missed a game.
Now you can look at lines that constantly update any time of the day. And you can compare lines from several sportsbooks side by side.
Local bookies still operate in most areas, online sportsbooks offer betting options to everyone who has an internet connection or a smartphone, and many states have legalized sports gambling.
I don’t recommend breaking the law, and in some areas, it might be illegal to place a bet on a sporting event. But even in the areas where sports gambling is illegal, there are online sportsbooks that will take your bets.
If you’ve ever placed a bet with a friend or someone you work with, or a bookie, the odds are good that you’ve technically broken the law. But, in the United States, it’s rare for anyone placing a bet to get in trouble.
I’ve never seen proof that anyone placing a bet has been arrested. But there have been people acting as a bookie or running an illegal sportsbook arrested. If you have any concerns about betting on sports from a legal perspective, speak with an attorney.
You can make bets at more places than ever before, and it’s faster and easier to place bets than in the past. It’s also easier to find lines and compare lines. As a sports gambler, what more can you ask for?
2 – Low Minimum Bet Limits
When I started making bets on sports, literally the only place in the United States where I could legally place a bet was in Las Vegas. I live four hours by plane from Las Vegas, so I didn’t travel there to place bets often.
When I could find other sports fans to bet with, we agreed on the bet terms, including the financial terms. When I couldn’t bet with another sports fan, I had to place bets with the local bookie.
The smallest bet the bookie would take was $20, and this was over 30 years ago. Land-based sportsbooks also have minimum bet sizes. So it’s not worth the effort for land-based sportsbooks to take low bets.
But online sportsbooks have lower overhead, and they can afford to take small bets because computers and computer programs take care of everything. As a result, many online sportsbooks take bets as low as $1 per game. I used to place bets at an online sportsbook that took bets as low as either .25 or .50.
If you want to win much money betting on sports, you have to bet a lot more than $1 per game. But there are two situations where making small bets is better than making large bets.
Here’s 2 reasons:
- You should make small bets is if you’re a recreational sports gambler. For example, if you just want to make a bet from time to time for fun, you should bet the smallest amount that you can. This is because you have a low chance of making a profit as a casual sports bettor.
- You should make small bets is when you’re starting to bet on sports and are trying to learn how to handicap games profitably; you need to risk the smallest amount of money you can.
With the ability to start making bets with a deposit as low as $10, sports betting for real money is more open to all gamblers.
3 – Advanced Statistical Models
You can learn how to handicap sporting events without building a model. But you waste a lot of time trying to handicap without using a model because you end up doing the same things repeatedly.
A sports gambling model is simply a standard way you develop to look at and use statistics and information that helps you handicap games. Every sports gambler who hopes to make a profit needs to build and use models.
When I started betting, the only statistics you could find could fit on the back of a baseball card or a football card. Now there are more statistics and advanced statistic models available than anyone can track in their head.
In baseball, you can compare players using WAR or one of the many variations of WAR. You used to have to do the calculations for WHIP for pitchers yourself, and now it’s readily available.
These are just a few examples of a few things you can use when you handicap sporting events. In addition, advanced statistical models make evaluating games and athletes easier than ever.
4 – More Computer Power
I didn’t even own a computer when I started betting on sports. The first computer I bought cost over $2,000. I recently bought a laptop computer for $300 that is 100’s of times more powerful than my first computer.
Computers are more powerful than they ever have been before, and the relative cost of computer power is going down all of the time.
Why is more computer power important for sports gamblers?
Think about building systems and models to help you evaluate and handicap games. Use spreadsheets and other computer programs to run your models and systems. You can even set up some programs to automatically import the statistics that you need.
And all of this can be done in a short amount of time. Once you set up a model, it can crunch the numbers you need in seconds.
The low cost of computer power and the increasing power of computers make this the best time to be a sports bettor.
5 – Instant News Cycle
I started betting on sports before I had access to ESPN. I know this tells you a little bit about how old I am, but think about how hard it was to handicap games when all of the news you had access to was in a newspaper or on the radio.
If a star player missed a game, you usually didn’t find out until the game started. And the sportsbooks had access to all of the important information faster than you.
Now you can access news in real-time. If a player gets arrested, it’s all over the internet in minutes. The same is true for most serious injuries. Living in what I like to call an instant news cycle is an advantage for any sports gambler who’s willing to track the news for games they’re handicapping.
The other side of the available information is that there’s so much information that you can quickly become overwhelmed. So a skill you have to develop is learning how to sift through all of the available news and information to find what’s important while also learning how to ignore the things that aren’t important.
Here’s a simple strategy that I use:
- Chose a medium-sized college conference and start sourcing news sources.
- Find sportswriters who cover the teams in the league and bookmark where they publish their articles.
- Look for their Twitter feeds and add them to my Twitter feed.
Using this method, I don’t try to follow every team in the world. Instead, by focusing on one conference, I can stay on top of the important news and compete with the sportsbooks because I have the information as fast as they do, and sometimes faster.
The internet has changed sports betting in many ways, and most changes are good for gamblers. But the internet isn’t the only thing that’s changed sports gambling.
Handicapping games is faster than ever because of the vast amounts of available information and cheap access to computer power.
You can start placing bets with an online sportsbook for $1 a game, and you can place your bets using your phone. In addition, you can move money into and out of a sportsbook electronically, and it only takes a few seconds.
Right now is the best time to be a sports gambler.