It is hard to imagine a more popular sphere of gambling these days than online sports betting.
The plethora of sports bookmakers offer a multitude of specialist markets and a vast array of sports to bet on.
If there is a sport around the world you are familiar with, chances are you can bet on it, and given some bookies broadcast many of these games via streaming on their websites, you should not miss much of the action upon which you have bet.
The knowledgeable sports punter has a buffet of options to explore – more than for any other form of gambling – and with some studious analysis serious money can be made by exploiting the market.
Where to Find Value in Various Bet Types
Head-to-head betting exists in every sport, and there can be value in it if you can identify teams with the ability to buck the trend and eke out wins that seem unlikely.
When you are looking at betting head to head, many consider the best sport to bet on is soccer, as the third option of a draw boosts the dividend for a win either way.
One obvious way to find great value is to find a team which may have suffered a couple of losses on the road but is back on home turf. It’s incredible how often a team will rebound when its players are back in familiar surroundings with the home terraces packed to the rafters and the supporters baying for blood.
In other sports, such as AFL or NBA, draws at full-time are rare, so even in a head-to-head market they are not usually offered. In such instances, the draw is normally an exotic bet that you need to choose.
First to score – goals, points, teams
This type of bet can relate to just about every sport, with serious money to be made if you can correctly pick which team or player scores goals first, or what the first score type is.
First score type relates to the games that have multiple options, such as AFL and NBA, with behinds and goals or three-pointers and free throws in the basketball.
If English football is your betting sport of choice, it is hard to go past first-goal-scorer markets if you are looking to make serious cash. Often if you look to the underdogs, even their strikers are at lengthy odds to start the scoring. Even if they lose the match, there is a reasonable chance they will score first, especially at home.
Conversely, if you are adamant that the dominant favourites will be the first team to score, there’s value in selecting a player in great goal-scoring form. The player at the head of the goal-scoring markets may not seem like value, but sometimes it pays not to overlook the obvious.
If you think you have a vast array of knowledge across a litany of sports, multi-betting is for you.
There is good money to be made combining multiple games to facilitate your bet. Even if you choose four favourites, the prices can quickly add up.
Some outlets will offer you inducements to bet on certain sports, too. They may offer a bonus on any multis placed on US sport, for example.
A lot of betting agencies also offer fantastic promotions to get punters to think differently and take them on.
Certain promotions run from day to day, such as NBA specials – maybe LeBron James to score 30-plus points and the Cavs to win, or Robin Van Persie to score and Manchester United to win. These bets are always shown at enhanced odds in order to entice the punter, and for the most part, there is usually a pretty high chance they will come off.
Following the results and player projections is always a big factor when electing to place a bet such as this; because if you know James averages 31 points for the season, but has only 23 against the opponents on average in the past four contests, it may be one to avoid.
Again, like with the promotional betting, the astute punter can exploit live betting, if they are able to pick trends throughout a game.
Live betting, which is not alway available depending on where you are betting from, can play a vital role for the serious punter who is happy to lock away a certain profit rather than ride their luck to the final whistle. For instance, a punter may have backed a soccer team at $2 before the match and watched as it shot out to a 2-0 lead. The punter may then be able to back the draw and loss in the run for enough to lock in a profit whatever the outcome.
Live betting happens on most big-name sports and offers big returns if you are able to read how a game will fluctuate.
A fantastic element that can be exploited by the canny punter is futures markets. Some bookmakers can be short-sighted when it comes to certain teams, especially when form can fluctuate in the regular season of almost every sport.
For example, the Cleveland Cavaliers assembled a fantastic roster for the 2014-15 NBA season. Before they finalised the off-season free agent signing of Lebron James, they were more than $20 to win the title. When James signed, their odds were slashed to $5.
Then, after luring All-Star big man Kevin Love from the Minnesota Timberwolves, they were installed as $3.50 favourites with some bookies.
However, after some early oscillations in form, their odds went out to as much as $6, but after finding their groove they were reinstalled as favourites for the title.
It just goes to show how well a punter might do by exploiting the fickle market.