10 Common Sports Betting Myths Debunked

07 / 20 / 2021 By Ally Mielnicki

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“The fix is in!” 

“What does Vegas know that I don’t?”

“Well, that’s what the experts are picking, so I’m going to go with the trusted source.”

You’ve heard this before. These are common sports betting myths that the public mistakenly believes to be true. Often, when individuals lose a bet, it is almost routine to blame every outside factor and force. In reality, you just were utterly wrong.

It’s time to bust these sports betting myths and provide a reasonable explanation as to why casual sports bettors may think the way they do.

Sportsbooks/bookies have the “inside information

No, your local bookie does not “know something you don’t” or have an inside scoop of the outcome of a game or match. Sportsbooks create odds and adjust lines to ensure the action is as close to 50/50 as possible. They want to mitigate the risk, so they balance out both sides of the betting column. They don’t want to gamble the potential of losing millions on one side of the bet, so they do as much as possible to drive the stakes equally down the middle.

The public is always wrong

Many times experienced bettors, who think they are a step above the casual bettor, automatically go against the betting public. In their minds, siding with the sharp money is a sure bet. Wrong. Sharps are not always correct with their wagers. Even the most successful professional sports bettors have a winning rate of 53-55 percent. Don’t shy away from siding with the public just because 65-70 percent of the bets are on the home favorite. If you take the time to do the research and feel comfortable going against the sharps, by all means, do. It may be their turn to be wrong.

The “I’m due for a win” mentality

You haven’t hit a bet to save your life for days. It’s not going onto day 7 of being stuck in the losing column, and what better way to get back on track than wagering on as many games as you can for football Sunday, right? If you are in a funk with your betting, it probably is because you haven’t been looking at the right trends or analyzing the correct statistics. Perhaps you have solely been betting favorites in hopes of hitting a few “easy” bets or centering on underdogs to win back what you lost. Take a step back and figure out the common denominator. Just because you haven’t won lately doesn’t mean you are finally due. Take the time to evaluate how you can avoid making the same mistakes.

Injuries to a star player will give you the edge

The night before the Tampa Bay vs. New Orleans game, the injury report comes out, and Tom Brady is officially declared “out” for the game. The line moves from Buccaneers -1.5 to EVEN. Public bettors jump on this line and take the Saints knowing that Brady will not suit up. Not so fast. A 1.5 line movement is not as significant as many would think in football, especially the road team. However, just because Brady is out doesn’t mean his backup should be overlooked. Pay attention to how many points the line does indeed move. Oddsmakers adjust lines based on money coming in on both the public and sharp sides. If an hour before game time, the spread is still EVEN, that should give you insight that even though the public is pouncing on New Orleans, the edge still may lie with the Bucs.

Games are fixed

Not everyone is Pete Rose. These are professional players with high-paying careers looking to maximize their success, not throw a game for a risky payout. Players, coaches, and referees can face a hefty fine and even be banned from the game if caught intentionally trying to rig the outcome. Yes, there are cases where this has happened in the past, but not nearly as often as people claim. There will always be bad calls, wrong coaching decisions, and players underperforming. Still, the chances are meager this is to ensure a particular outcome of a game.

Bet the better team

Oddsmakers handicap lines to even out the playing field for two teams in a game or match. Usually, the more talented team is the favorite, but the money line may be way too high or worth the risk for a minimal gain. Just because a football team is favored by 10.5 does not mean they will cover – or even win, for that matter. Upsets happen all the time. If you constantly bet who you consider the better team, chances are you will lose more bets than you will win. The spread provides a disadvantage for the favorite and an advantage for the underdog. Don’t shy away from taking the points, especially when everyone predicts a blowout. 

Heavy public money moves lines

The majority of the time, it is the complete opposite. The public tends to place wagers with smaller dollar amounts. Casual bettors are not risking hundreds or thousands of dollars on a single game. Even though 70 percent of all bets wagered fall on one particular team, most of the money may be on the other team. Sharp bettors do their due diligence and research before making a wager. When they feel confident and strike at a line’s best value, the amount of money they are risking to win will often cause oddsmakers to adjust the line to prevent other sharps from getting the best value. 

The sharps are the only reason for line movement

Although sharp money is a significant factor for line movement in odds, it is not the only reason. Unexpected player injuries can factor in why a line may shift up or down and environmental factors. For example, if there is heavy rain and wind in the forecast for an NFL game on Sunday, there is a good chance that the line on the game’s total (over/under) will go down. 

Listen to the “experts”

Just because someone claims to be a professional sports bettor does not mean they are indeed an “expert.” This notion applies to talking heads we see on various sports betting shows and podcasts as well. Anyone can have a blog and give their take on a game by laying out stats that support their view. Chances are there are just as many stats that undermine their opinion that they fail to disclose. Beware of sports betting sites where they list “experts” that charge a fee or monthly membership to receive access to their picks. Most sharps try to stay out of the public eye. Rarely will they reveal which side they lean towards when placing a bet. 

Online gambling sites will suspend you if you win too frequently

Many individuals are skeptical about betting online, citing that the site will ban them too often if they win too much or too often. This belief is not valid. Betting sites have banned users before, but the reason may be that they violated the company’s terms and conditions or engaged in illegal actions on the site.

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