Eddie Squarehead Can Help You Win More Money

Eddie Squarehead lives in Fort Worth, Texas. He works as a Key Account Manager, makes $60k per year and has a wife along with two beautiful children. He also is a die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan. He hates the Eagles, thinks Eli Manning is vastly overrated and has been mocking his co-workers – who are Redskins fans – all summer long about how bad their team is and has been for the past four years. On the most recent company picnic in August he repeated several times: “Your Skins ain’t gonna win five games this year”. On Sundays he always wears his No. 8 Troy Aikman jersey, does a BBQ and watches the Cowboys games religiously while having a few good beers. Eddie also likes gambling and to bet on NFL games. Before the season started, he told his wife: “If I make some extra bucks this season, Christmas presents will be bigger as usual”.

Between the 4 PM games and Sunday Night Football, Eddie regularly watches the highlights from the day games. It’s week five of the fictional 2017 NFL season and he is watching the Dolphins getting shredded 13-38 on the road at Pittsburgh and Matt Ryan connecting to Julio on a pair of touchdowns in a big 35-10 win over the Bears.

Putting a card together the square way

The next week he puts together a betting card at a local bookie from his gambling bankroll. He bets the Cowboys at -4.5 at home against the Cards, because they are his team and he wants to see them winning. He fades the Giants at Seattle because “Eli Manning is overrated and will get hammered”. He sees the Falcons laying 3.5 points at Miami and his memories tell him how bad the Dolphins and how good the Falcons looked last week when he watched highlights before the Sunday Night Football game. He scans the remaining odds board and sees a home team with a winning record – the Panthers – laying 6.5 points against the 2-3 Redskins. Now his subconscious mind remembers him how strongly he expressed his opinion about the Redskins at work and at the company picnic during the summer. He wants his opinion to turn out as the truth and he wants the Redskins to lose. He grabs the home team at -6.5 because “the Redskins have to lose, they are bad”.

The Sunday didn’t turn out so well for Eddie Squarehead. He went 1-3, only the Giants covered their respective spread. Neither did he watch the recent games of these teams nor did he do any research on the games that would have led to an objective conclusion. He made his decisions subjectively. He bet with emotions, recency bias and general bias. He didn’t analyze the situational spot and home/road efficiency for the Falcons/Dolphins game. He hasn’t recognized that the Redskins have been playing some solid Football and are much better than he thought they would be.

Eddie also didn’t take the time to study the matchup for “his” Cowboys team, because he just wanted to put money on “his” team. The offensive line was without LT Tyron Smith and his backup Byron Bell had an unfair matchup against Arizona’s best pass rusher Chandler Jones. Eddie didn’t even think about these two lining up against each other for the major part of the game, because “our offensive line is elite”. Jones came up with the game-icing strip sack of Dak Prescott.

Continuing what does not work

For the reminder of the NFL season, Eddie would continue his thought process like this. He would bet the Cowboys every week, would look to fade the Skins and build the rest of his cards based on recent results. He wouldn’t take time to reflect on his betting habits. He would continue to think in a box. He would finish the season around 46% and lose a good part of his bankroll. Eddie would tell his friends that “it’s impossible to make money off betting on NFL games”. Eddie’s wife would be a little bit mad in late December, because the Christmas presents weren’t as big or expensive as advertised.

No wife can endure a gambling husband, unless he is a steady winner. ~Thomas Robert Dewar

Reflection is a very important skill of human beings. Too often in life we fail, because we are stuck into one way or opinion and lack the ability to reflect. It is also in our nature to make the same mistake over and over again. With a lack of reflection we don’t recognize changes and struggle to think outside the box. Naturally, we tend to stick to one opinion which leads to bias and subjective evaluation.

Don’t get me wrong – having and expressing an opinion is very valuable to me and is a big part of someone’s personality. Opinions lead to reactions and discussions. So many times I’ve read an article where the author discusses a topic or breaks something down without actually having an opinion. The result is a boring and neutral article, particularly to not get any followers turn their backs towards them. Having a (strong) opinion is good, but having the ability to put that opinion in question over time and change it based on reflection – this is even more valuable.

Reflection is a big part of sports betting

Reflection is also very important when it comes to sports betting. Recency bias and general bias is what kills your bankroll in the long run. Casual or “average” bettors tend to bet with their emotions far too often. Over the past few years I have been dealing with the same problems over and over again. But recognizing that these problems exist is the first step into the right direction. You can change your habits every day of the year, keep that in mind.

We need to bet without emotions, bias and by thinking outside the box. If you aren’t a bettor who profits consistently, ask yourself: Am I like Eddie Squarehead? Are there any parallels between the thought process of Eddie Squarehead and my own? The next time you cap games of any sports think about Eddie Squarehead and whether or not you need to make some changes on your habits. He will help you make more money in the long run.

Buy Low Sell High Strategy for NFL Handicapping

More than two years ago in December of 2015 I wrote an essay as a freelancer. The topic was “Bitcoins – currency or venture?” At the time, Bitcoin had a price of $400. I wrote about the advantages like efficiency and anonymity but also about all the risks. I realized it could be a widespread future currency but by no means I could have imagined how far it would go.

Bitcoin has been very well aware in financial and even general news over the past four months. If you bought one single Bitcoin on February 13th in 2017 and sold it on December 16th the same year, you would have made a profit of $18,339 as the price jumped from $996 to $19,343. You would have bought Bitcoin at a low price and sold it at the highest possible price. Your action would have been a prime example of the “buy low, sell high” strategy.

Technically, “buy low, sell high” is an adage out of the financial industry, specifically connected to stock investing. It is a strategy of taking advantage of the market’s perception to overreact to downside and upside trends. The goal is to take something when the price is down and ditch it when the price is high. This strategy can also be applied to sports handicapping. Each game presents different markets for different betting options, e.g. moneyline, spread or totals. To cut a possible long story short: the market sets the price on the moneyline, the spread and the total. When the season starts, each team has a certain market price or spread value. Depending on results and other circumstances such as injuries, the spread value increases or decreases and market perception shifts into either direction. As a bettor, our general goal is to identify discrepancies between the market prices and the results of our own handicapping process to find these buy low or sell high spots. We want to “buy” undervalued teams and “sell” overvalued ones, which means playing or fading them.

That sounds very easy, doesn’t it? Not so fast, my friend!

Difficulties of buy low / sell high on sports handicapping

One of the biggest aspects of investing, whether it is sports handicapping or stock investing, is psychology. We bet with emotions. Most of the people understand the pure logic behind buying something at a low price and selling it at a high price, but that’s not what our biases tell us to do. In sports handicapping we tend to fade a team that is losing and whose price (spread) is falling. When a team is playing well and winning comfortably, we want to get a piece of the cake. We don’t want to miss out on the hot team and don’t want to have anything to do with the cold team. It doesn’t “feel” right to go against a “good” team or to take a “bad” team.

“Buy low, sell high” is also extremely difficult to execute. In hindsight it is always easy to tell which price has been low or high, meaning which team was under- or overvalued at the time. But at the moment, it is highly challenging to identify buy low and sell high opportunities. Very often you will find situations in which teams trend upside or downside but they keep trending into either direction. What looks like a high spread the one week may look like a low spread a few weeks later. So bettors who tried to approach the “buy low, sell high” strategy get punished.

The key is to identify whether the shift of market perception is driven by the fundamentals of the game or solely by emotions. How to identify it? Disappointing answer: there is no recipe for it. If you want to get an advantage from that strategy consistently, meaning you win more than you lose, a lot of things need to come together. You got to put in the work. Sports betting is a job and it is hard work. Some handicappers need to spend more hours than others to be successful in the long run. You need to study teams and players to understand matchups. You need to actually watch the games to understand how games have played out and what exactly leads to certain results. You also need to build up some experience to establish situational awareness and identify patterns. If you do your homework, you will be able to identify “buy low, sell high” spots properly more often than not. It’s basically a tool that should be on your betting arsenal.

Examples from the 2017 NFL season

Amongst others, there was one game during the 2017 NFL season that stood out as one of the prime examples for a buy low sell high spot. The Denver Broncos opened the season with two home games – they won a close one against the Chargers and blew out the Cowboys 42-17 in a game they looked unstoppable in. Media praised them. In the meanwhile, the Bills won against the Jets and lost a low-scoring affair at Carolina in which they had a chance to win but rookie WR Zay Jones couldn’t haul in a touchdown pass on fourth down when he was wide open. Broncos traveled to Buffalo as -3/-3.5 favorites to play an early east coast game. My pre-season line for that game was Bills -0.5, so basically a pick’em. Yet because of two results the market set the line at Bills +3 and +3.5 at some places. It was a great opportunity to sell high on the Broncos.

Another game comes to mind: the week 11 matchup between the Rams and Vikings at Minnesota. The Rams were just coming off three straight blowout wins with the most recent being against the Giants and Texans, two teams holding a top-4 pick in this year’s draft. Well the Texans don’t hold a pick actually. The Vikings were coming off five straight wins but they were also coming off a rusty road game at Washington in which Case Keenum looked really sloppy. The Vikings weren’t getting national attention yet, but the Rams were. That led to the Vikings being favored by just two points on their field where they have a strong advantage. The line said the Rams would be favored by 1.5 or 2 points on a neutral field and it didn’t make sense at the time. It was a phenomenal buy low (Vikings) and Buy Low Sell High Strategy For NFL Handicappingsell high (Rams) situation. The Vikings won 24-7.

What other handicappers think

I wanted to know how other NFL handicappers approach the “buy low, sell high” strategy, so I asked the great guys @whale_capper and @AndyMSFW who also run the Deep Dive podcast which you absolutely got to check out. Here are three questions and their respective responses.

How much do you focus on buy low sell high spots when it comes to NFL handicapping?

Whale: I find it to be a strong indicator of line value and while it’s rarely the only reason I’ll back a side, if I can support it with other matchup advantages or situational factors then I’m in.

Andy: Buying low / selling high is one of the cornerstones of situational handicapping, but it must be combined with common sense. People that “auto bet” things, drive me nuts. Even if it is a 55% system in the long run, it could be honed into a 60% system with a little more though.

What are your keys to make successful use of that strategy?

Whale: In my opinion, the sell high is more reliable in general. Sometimes losing is contagious – see the Cleveland Browns – and as they say in the world of investing, “it’s hard to catch a falling knife”. As noted above, “buy low sell high” is most effective when it is also supported by specific match up advantages, key injury effects or situational factors like difficult travel.

Andy: I agree with whale, selling high is often more effective than buying low. A good situational spot for a team (rest/travel/injuries/general matchup) coupled with the opponent coming off of a big “statement win”, perhaps even a big win on a nationally televised game, can result in several points of line value.

What has been your favorite buy low sell high spot of the 2017 season?

Whale: My favorite buy low sell high spot was week three selling the Denver Broncos at Buffalo; Denver had been at home for a month, came off a widely watched beat-down of Dallas to go 2-0, then traveled to a hungry Buffalo team with a good defense and were significantly over-valued at -3.5 (!?!). I wasn’t on the right side but Steelers/Chiefs has been a pretty perfect example, too.

Andy: My favorite was the Eagles going down to Los Angeles in week 14. The Rams had just beaten the red hot Saints and then gone to Arizona and won by 16. The Eagles had a deceiving 24-10 loss in Seattle where they lost the turnover battle 0-2 with one being a fumble at the one yard line. I was very excited to back the Eagles at a pick’em in this spot and it paid off.

Money Management Is The Most Important Aspect Of Sports Betting

By 401kcalculator.org

One of the most important things when it comes to betting is managing your money. It doesn’t matter how many bets you place per day, week or month. You can have success by placing 10 bets per day but you can also have success by placing 10 bets per month. To each his own, every bettor is different. But every bettor has to deal with one thing if he wants to achieve long-term success: money management.

By managing your money I mean that you need to have a reasonable system in place that you follow consistently. Our success rates usually vary over time, but our system of spending money shouldn’t. Our big goal is to consistently profit money from sports betting. Grow the bankroll, withdraw money and move on with a new, bigger bankroll. The key of money management is to have a system that allows you to grow your bankroll when you are successful but limits your risk when you are not. Losing is part of what we do – we can have bad stretches over weeks or months. If you aren’t thinking long-term and just bet for the quick buck, you don’t need to care about money management and this article probably isn’t interesting for you.

We hear the word bankroll very often. A bankroll is the disposable base amount of money you are willing to spend on betting over a certain time span. To go one step further – your bankroll is also the amount of disposable money you are willing to lose over a certain time span. Don’t spend more than you can afford to lose. That amount doesn’t need to be physical, it can be virtual and you only need to have a certain percentage of your bankroll deposited into your sportsbook accounts. Of that bankroll, you calculate a reasonable amount or percentage you want to spend per bet.

If your bankroll is $1,000, you shouldn’t bet $100 per game when you are invested in 10 games per day. If your bankroll is $20,000, betting $100 per game on ten games per month might be a little bit too low and too stagnant to grow your bankroll. I guess you get my point here. On Gambling Twitter you see guys spreading out daily cards with plays ranging from 1 unit up to even multiple 10U MAX BOMB plays which might add up to 50+ units per day. Aside from the fact that probably no one can explain what distinguishes a 10-unit play from a 4- or 1-unit play, I would guess that many followers struggle to project those “systems” to their own money management strategy.

Many ways lead to Rome and there are a lot of strategies bettors use all over the world, but I’ve made the experience that two certain main strategies are very useful. I will explain them along with examples. Before we get to these, we need to talk about the term “unit”. The term unit pops up everywhere in the gambling world, but it is basically just a measurement system for tracking success. Units are something everyone can identify with and everyone can project his own betting sizes to it. If someone is up 10 units, it can be $10,000 for him but $2,500 for you.

Also units aren’t units, as crazy as it sounds. Units can be dynamic or static and bettors can re-define them again and again whenever they want or need to. It is just – a measurement system. And it is probably more reality for someone who bets for his hobby than for someone who does it professionally. Let’s dig into stategies.

Betting a certain percentage of your bankroll on each game

I will use the NFL season as the example for both strategies. Let’s say you start with a bankroll of $5,000 and you want to bet 3% as a dynamic unit of your moving bankroll on each game. You will start by betting $150 per game, or by the base amount bet, you will bet to win $150. Let’s take the latter one as the example with an average line of -110.

If you are successful, your amount per bet is going to raise per day/week. You would evaluate your profit after each week and calculate a new amount to bet on each game. The big advantages of this system are that you have a good risk management for your losses on the one side and that you are able to increase your profits off a good season or a hot run.

Imagine you bet 7 games per week during the NFL season. Even if you go 0-7, you would lose “only” 23.1% of your bankroll. The probability for it to happen is basically zero, but let’s assume you let that 0-7 week follow another 0-7 performanc. Meaning, you start the season with an ice-cold 0-14 run. You would have lost 40.86% (-$2,043) of your bankroll. However, 90% of the bettors in the world would have gone broke by either a poor money strategy and/or by chasing their losses.

After the base amount of $150 in week 1, you would bet $127 to win $115 in week 2. Your base amount going into the third week would be $89. But if you go on to a 14-0 winning streak, you profit +46.41% (+$2,321) of your bankroll and your base amount would be $220 going into the third week. So the disadvantage would be the fact that it’s tougher to get back to a certain amount off an awful run, this is the contrary aspect to the risk management. Assuming you let the 0-14 run follow a 7-0 week, you would be down -28.45% (-$1,422).

Betting with a static amount over time

Again, you set a bankroll to start the season, let’s assume you also start with $5,000 and decide to bet 3% as a static unit of your starting bankroll on each game, meaning $150 as the risk amount or the base amount on an average line of -110. We go with the base amount again, meaning $165 to win $150 on each game.

Off a 0-14 start, you would lose 46.2% (-$2,310) while your base amount stays the same, the one unit of $150. Off a hot 14-0 run, you would profit +42% (+$2,100) while sticking to your initial unit base amount of $150. With the unit-system you would lose a higher percentage of your bankroll on a losing streak, but it’s easier to get back to even. Assuming you let the 0-14 run follow a 7-0 week, you would be down -25.2% (-$1,260).

Because the static amount doesn’t increase automatically while winning, you could set yourself milestones for when to adjust your static bet amount. For instance, you could set the goal of re-calculating when you are up or down 50% (+-16.67 units) of your initial bankroll. Or at 50% on profit and 25% on losses. That’s on you. You can also use the Kelly criterion.

It’s important to have a money management system in place

The differences between these two systems are the following: With the percentage-system, you would profit more money (4.41% on the 14-0 example) on a winning streak and lose less money (5.34%) on a losing streak. It’s tougher to get back to even or a certain amount off a losing streak. As I said earlier, many ways lead to Rome. People adjust their systems, some more often than others. But the most important point is that you actually have a system in place and follow that system with patience.

Remember, sports betting is a marathon, not a sprint! People always want to make the quick buck, but you have to think long-term. You probably want to do this the next 20 years, don’t you? Work hard, never chase your picks and be happy about each profit you make.