Sharp Sports Betting


Sharp Sports Betting is a tool for those interested in winning money at sports betting. This book explains the most common sports bets, what all the numbers mean, and the mathematics behind the numbers.

Sports bettors have their own lingo. If you are new to sports betting, you will appreciate the glossary at the back of the book.

The first half of the book contains general information about betting that applies to all sports. The last half of the book has information specific to the National Football League.

This book is not a get-rich-quick vehicle. If you are looking for a magic formula in which you input data and grind out numbers that will tell you who will win tomorrow’s games, you might be disappointed in this book. But if you are facing two different ways to bet on the same team, you might find this book helpful in choosing the better alternative.

The advice in this book will help you find worthwhile sports bets, but don’t quit your job to become a full-time sports bettor.

Where to Bet Sports

Sports betting is one of the more popular ways to gamble. In the United States, betting on sports is rapidly expanding to many states.

Outside of the United States, betting on sports is legal on the Internet and in many countries. Betting on sports enjoys the reputation of being well regulated in Great Britain and Australia.

Which Sports?

The most common way to bet on American football is against the spread. Think of the spread as being a handicap, the number of points that must be added to or subtracted from one team’s final score to induce bettors to back both teams.

The most common terms for betting sports are -110, which means risking $110 in an attempt to win $100. You give the sportsbook $110 when you make your bet, and get a receipt with the details of your bet printed on it. If your team wins, you take that receipt back to the sportsbook and receive $210 — your own $110 and the $100 you won. If your team loses, your receipt is worthless. If your team wins but you cannot find your receipt, keep looking because without that receipt you will have difficulty getting paid.

If you walk into a sportsbook, you will see a collection of numbers that at first may make no sense to you. But with some learning, you will be able to understand what the numbers mean. With a bit of study, you will occasionally find a number that jumps out at you as being a good bet.

The area where all the numbers are displayed is called a “board,” a term left over from the days when all the numbers were entered by hand on wall boards. Nowadays electronic displays are far more common than actual boards.

The first thing to notice is that the display of numbers is organized by sport. Depending on the time of year, you may find a section of the board devoted to NFL football, college football, major-league baseball, NBA basketball, college basketball, NHL hockey, golf, auto racing, and probably more. Each sport has its own system of displaying possible bets.

Generally there will be sheets of paper available with the various possible sports bets listed on them. In the event of differences between the odds listed on the sheets of paper and on the board, the board is more current. The odds on the sheets of paper were accurate when the sheets were printed, but at best that was earlier in the day and it might have been several days ago.

The main value of the sheets is to list all the bets by their unique numbers. You bet by number. You don’t say “Give me $100 on the Yankees,” you say “Give me $100 on number 302” or whatever number is listed to the left of the Yankees on the sheet of paper and on the board.

This article is the first of a series, to be continued ...

Excerpted with permission from Sharp Sports Betting by Stanford Wong.


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