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What in the world happens every Friday afternoon or evening when many sports betting fans have made their picks for the Sunday games? Everybody goes to sleep that night after a bunch of Happy Hour beers thinking that they will go 5-0, 4-2, or 10-4 that Sunday and win a bunch of Money! Then comes Monday morning and most of us are all hung over from way too many Beers or Shots the day before asking ourselves, “What in the Hell happened?”.

The NFL is Frickin’ Crazy! Last weekend was a testament to how nutty this league can be and how devastating it can be on our pocketbooks. From the Lions scoring an NFL record 34 points in the 4th quarter to that insane circus run by Tony Romo and everything in between, last week was just ridiculous. A screenwriter would get escorted off the Lot at Warner Bros. for pitching these stories and yet they happen most every week in the NFL. It is a major reason why we all love the game so much and also why we Wager on the Game so much. Why take the time and money to go to Vegas when you can have more thrills on a Sunday afternoon from the comfort of your own house.

I mention all of this to get us thinking about How we Pick our games. There really is no conventional way to think about the NFL, especially in terms of bettting. One week a team is looking great on offense and their defense is suffocating. The next week that team can’t stop a junior high squad and they fumble twice inside the 20 yard line. The public jumps on some team’s bandwagon and the spread gets a little rich and sure enough the other team, thought to be terrible, plays them tough and ruins many bettors day.

Take for instance this past weekend. You had the Raiders +4 at Miami. Many people were tooting the horn that the Raiders were just trying to get through a couple more months until their Number 1 Draft Pick, Jamarcus Russell, came to the rescue. They had failed to cover in the 1st game of the season at -3 vs the Lions and had lost a heartbreaker 2 weeks before against the Broncos. Miami was at home, looking for it’s first Win of the season and seemed to be getting on track with a strong showing in the 2nd half against the Jets the week before.

What happened was the Raiders went out and blew the Dolphins off the line of scrimmage and Won going away. A quick glance at their ATS record and you find the Raiders, despite being completely written off at the beginning of the season, are 2-2 ATS. That is the same ATS record as the defending Super Bowl Champions, the Colts! The Cleveland Browns were talked about as a glorified High School team after Week 1 and the San Diego Chargers were going back to the AFC Title game at the beginning of Training Camp yet they have completely opposite ATS Records. The Browns are 3-1 ATS and the Chargers are a disappointing 1-3 ATS.

In my opinion this kind of lunacy calls for a similar kind of lunacy in your picks. We all start with some handicapping basics like: Good Quarterback, good Coach, good Defense, historically a winning organization, etc. When you get all of this boiled down you are left with mostly the status quo of who should win and lose. What I think gets left out much too often in the handicapping process are things like: How many frickin’ points can you get, does the Team Need a Win to Salvage their Season, Is the Favorite probably thinking they can cruise a little bit in the upcoming match-up, and finally, Does it Just Sound Crazy Enough to Take this Underdog and the points because, well, the NFL is Crazy.

There is not much argument that the sports betting public wagers more money on the Favorites than they do on the Underdogs. This is one of the biggest mistakes you can make as a bettor and one I myself still battle with on certain Sundays, last week being a prime example. Now I usually bet the underdogs twice as much as I do favorites, but last week I bet on 4 favorites compared with 2 underdogs. I went 2-4 ATS in one of my worst weeks I’ve had in the past 2 years. The only Favorite that covered was of course the Patriots! The other Win came on the Raiders +4. One of the underdogs I lost on is what you would call a ‘Crazy Pick’. I took the Rams +14 precisely because that’s just too many points in most NFL games these days and everything was going too smoothly for the Cowboys up to that point. If it wasn’t for that Nutty play by Tony Romo, on 3rd and long, right before the half, I really believe the Rams go into half time tied 7-7 and they have enough heart to stick around for another quarter and keep that game close enough to pull off a cover. Instead they were demoralized by that play, went into halftime down 7-14 and never recovered losing 7-35. Despite losing that game last week I would bet a lot of money that if played another 10 times I would cover that +14 points at least 6-7 times.

The one thing that seems to be a given in the NFL is that if you play the Underdogs consistently you will Win anywhere from 55-60% of the time. Of course this, as with everything else in sports betting, is no sure thing, but last year the underdogs Won roughly 58% of the games. By my account, if you had been playing nothing but underdogs the past 3 weeks in the NFL you would have a record of 26-15 with 5 pushes. That’s a winning percentage of roughly 64%!

I know it’s Crazy to take the Browns, Cardinals, Bucs, Chiefs, and Texans but so far they are a combined 14-3-2 ATS. Now I’m not saying they will keep that up. The Vegas Boys will be catching up to their ‘Perceived Underdog Value’ with regards to their lines and you probably won’t be getting quite the points you once did, at least on these specific teams, but the point just keeps ringing true…

TAKE THE FRICKIN’ POINTS AND GET CRAZY WITH THE DAWGS!

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In part one of this series, I talked about the first three of the ten sports betting tips you needs to know before placing a bet on a football game.

Today we are going to talk about the next three:

  1. Getting the line you want
  2. Getting dirt on the two teams involved
  3. Choosing a team based on your head, not your heartstrings

GETTING THE LINE YOU WANT

This is a very important issue and for most sports betting fans, it is one that is often overlooked. This is why I suggest having several accounts with a few different online sportsbooks or if you are lucky enough to live in the Las Vegas area, shop around at the various sportsbooks on the strip to get the best line you can. One sportsbook may have the Colts at -3 1/2 while another has them at only -3.

Obviously if you’re betting on the Colts to win you go with the sportsbook that has them at -3. Shop around and remember to only bet on the line you like and think is going to win you your money!

GETTING DIRT ON THE TWO TEAMS INVOLVED

Resarch, research, research! You can find out only so much by going to ESPN.com or NFL.com. Some of the best sportwriters are the ones covering their local team for the local newspaper and thank to the internet, you can get this type of content very easily. The info in the local papers provide really great information that can make the difference for a smart sports betting fan!
In these local papers, you will get a feel for the psyche of a particular team (which by the way is a huge barometer for me). You will also get a better feel for who is injured and truly won’t play and who is just shaken up a little from the previous week and is truly good to go.

You also find out more details of how confident the team feels for this match-up and whether there are any rivalries going on (the whole locker room “He said/He said” stuff that goes on). ESPN, the NFL Network, FOX, and CBS all do their job extremely well but to find out those extra nuggets of information you need to go to the local papers and then of course here at HotChicksHotpicks.com!

CHOOSING A TEAM BASED ON YOUR HEAD NOT YOUR HEART

Here is where so many sports betting beginngers get into trouble. How many times have you thought that YOUR TEAM was definitely going to upset the reigning Super Bowl Champions only to get blown away 30-7 or worse yet that YOUR TEAM was going to smoke some little underdog by 14 points only to get beat on a last second field goal?

Fact is this stuff happens every week in the NFL and you need to think accordingly. Most games in the NFL come down to a 3-4 point differential. The talent level is so high and it doesn’t drop off all that much between a starter and second string guy. These guys have jobs that are on the line every week so to expect teams to constantly cover five, six, seven and higher point spreads is ridiculous.

Always look for the smart play vs “Oh, hell yeah the Colts are going to win”. The Colts may well win, but will they cover the 8 points they are laying to the Texans? In using your head look for lines of -3 or less when betting on the favorite and +4 or as many as you can get when betting on the underdog.

Do Your Research: Does this team “really needs this game”? Are they good on the road? Do they play lousy after a big win?

Finally, if you think they may win the game but the point spread is too high for you, DON’T PLAY THE GAME. Move onto another match-up. It’s not like there aren’t enough games per week.

It’s a lot like dating actually. Choosing with your heart may give you a great ride for a while but in the end, you’re at the side of the road beaten and bruised with one helluva hangover.

Choose mostly with your HEAD with just a touch of heart and you’re sittin’ on that porch swing when you’re 50 and filthy rich looking into the eyes of your man or woman and thinking, “Man, I’m a smart little thing.”

Stay tuned for the last installment of Sports Betting 101: Ten Things You NEED to know.

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Posted by | Alikat | in Sports Betting 101

Credit: flickr user JP_PuertaIn Sports Betting Terminology Chapter 1, we talked about The Line, Pointspreads, Over/Unders, Favorites, and Underdogs.  Here in Chapter 2, we are going to touch on some more obscure terms, but ones you should know nonetheless.

1. BUCK:  A $100 wager

2. CHALK:  The Favorite in a game.  For example, in Patriots -7 vs Raiders, The Patriots are the CHALK.

3. DIME or DIME BET:  A $1,000 Wager

4. DIME LINE:  A line where the JUICE is 5%. 

5. EVEN MONEY:  A line where no juice or vig is charged

6. GETTING DOWN:  Making a wager.

7. HOOK:  A half point added to football and basketball betting lines.  For example: Patriots -7 1/2 vs Raiders.

8. HOT GAME:  A game which is drawing a lot of action on one side by knowledgeable handicappers.

9. LOCK:  The easy winner

10. PARLAY:  A sports bet with two or more teams in which all teams must win or cover for the bettor to receive higher payouts.

11. TEASER:  A wager combining two or more games together and giving the player a fixed number of additional points in his favor.  Also known as “The biggest sucker bet around.”  Stay away from all teasers. 

12. WISE GUY:  A knowledgeable or well informed handicapper or bettor.

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Posted by | Alikat | in Sports Betting 101

flickr user: WallygAs I was sitting here catching up on some replays of the pre-season games played last night on the NFL Network, I thought to myself I better put together a quick lowdown of the terms you’ll need to know if you’re going to get down and win some money this fall. I know some of you are very experienced in sports betting, but some of you may be trying it for the first time and since the first time for anything is a little scary, I wanted to give you some definitions of the words your sportsbook or bookie will be using.

1. THE LINE: The current odds or point spread on a game

2. POINTSPREAD: The amount of points the favorite team is giving to the underdog for betting purposes. For example: Patriots -7 vs Raiders means that the Patriots are favored by 7 points. This means that if you bet on the Patriots, they would have to win by 7 or more points for you to win the bet. If you bet on the Raiders, you could lose by 7 points or less and win your bet.

3. PUSH: Neither side wins and all money is returned to the bettors. In the above example, Patriots -7 vs Raiders, if the Patriots win by exactly 7 points this game would be considered a PUSH. If you bet on the Pats, you would get your money back and the same would go if you bet on the Raiders. The only amount you would lose is the JUICE or the VIG, which would be paid to the sportsbook or bookie. This brings me to number 4…

4. JUICE or VIG: The commission paid to the sportsbook or bookie for taking your bet. Usually it’s 10%. Using the same example above, if you bet $110 to win $100 (11-10 odds remember) on the Patriots and they won the game by exactly 7 points, you would receive $100 back. The $110 you bet minus the sportsbook/bookie commission of $10. If however they won the game by 8 points or more you would get your $110 that you bet plus the $100 that you won for a total of $210. If you lose you of course pay the sportsbook or bookie $110.

5. REDUCED JUICE: A 5% commission to the sportsbook or bookie for taking your bet. Most bookies do not give reduced juice lines, but you can find reduced juice lines and programs at various sportsbooks. BetOnline.com has a very good program for this kind of sports betting. Finding these programs are excellent for more serious and wealthy types of bettors.

6. BOOKIE: A guy or girl who takes a client’s bet.

7. FAVORITE: The team that is expected to win the game. In the Patriots -7 vs. Raiders example, the Patriots are the favorite by 7 points.

8. UNDERDOG (DOG): The team that is expected to lose the game. In the Patriots -7 vs. Raiders example, the Raiders are 7 point dogs.

9. COVER THE SPREAD: The amount of points the favorite team has to win by to cover the bet. In the above example, the Patriots would have to win by 8 points to cover, which means if you bet $110 to win $100 on the Pats at -7 and they won by 8, you would collect your $110 you wagered plus the $100 you won for a total of $210.

10. TOTAL AND OVER/UNDER: The total amount of points expected to be scored between the two teams. Beating our dead horse of an example, if the Patriots -7 vs Raiders has OVER/UNDER of 42 points, this means that these two teams are expected to score a total of 42 points in this game. If you best the OVER, you are betting that the total score will be more than 42 points and if you bet the UNDER, you are betting that the TOTAL will be less than 42 points. Of course if the game ends up at exactly 42 points, this game would be considered a PUSH.
So there you go boys and girls, Sports Betting Terminology, Chapter 1. Stay tuned for Chapter 2 coming in the next few days.

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Posted by | Alikat | in Sports Betting 101

As we near the start of the 2007 NFL season, I thought I would take all of you fun loving sports fans who may be interested in making a little extra dough this season through a little basic training!

Today’s installment covers the single most important thing you’ll need to know about in sports betting - “The Line” - which is why it’s the first of this three part sports betting 101 series.

casino8.jpgWho makes the line?

Las Vegas Sports Consultants (LVSC) are the major oddsmaking company in the world and the most respected authority in the business when it comes to making lines for the major sports (check them out, they aren’t cute!). Since betting on the NFL is our bread and butter, we will deal with the NFL lines at this time.

LVSC is made up of 4-5 oddsmakers who set the lines for the NFL games based on their own unique handicapping skill and opinions. Nowadays, these guys are basically sports junkies who love to research trends and statistics. They follow the teams throughout the season to come up with a line that is good for action on both sides of the line. While these guys do get paid for their service, I suspect that they would do it for free if you asked them to.

Notice I said a little earlier “action on both sides of the line.” This brings me to -

What does the line truly represent?

The line does not represent how much Vegas thinks the favorite will win by as many sports betting fans think but rather what the LVSC think will bring equal action on both sides of the line. Since the various sportsbooks have a built-in advantage over the player (11-10 odds) as long as the money wagered on both sides of the game is relatively equal, the sportsbooks will make money. More about the 11-10 odds advantage later. Always keep in mind sports betting fans that you are playing for or against the line and not someone’s opinion on who will win the game.

How the line is made

NFL sports betting lines are made using a variety of methods but they usually start with each oddsmaker’s Power Rating for the respective teams. Power Ratings are adjusted after each game of the season and represent the oddsmaker’s value of that team. For instance at the start of this 2007 season the teams with the highest Power Ratings will likely be: Patriots, Chargers, Bears, Colts, and Saints.

After this has been decided, the oddsmakers will take into account the following factors:

How the team plays against the upcoming opponent?
How do they play on the road?
Are there any major injuries on the team?
What is the psychological state of mind of the team (usually felt out by reading local newspapers, blogs, etc.)?

The final piece of information used to determine the “Opening Line” is the sports betting public’s bias towards certain teams. Certain teams carry with them a huge fan and sports betting base.

Take for instance the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburg Steelers. They are loved all over the country and have fans that always believe they are going to win no matter who or where they play. This translates into more money being wagered on these teams just because they are who they are. The oddsmakers may make a line at -3 in favor of the Cowboys to start with and then finally come up with a line at -4. They know that so many more people will bet on the Cowboys at -3, because they have such a bias, that a line of -3 would not generate “equal action on both sides of the line” which is, after all, their number one priority.

Finally at the end of the day the oddsmaker looks at his line and ask himself, “Does it feel right?” Common sense and sports intuition come into play here and the oddsmaker puts forth his line to be weighed against the other oddsmakers at LVSC. They have a discussion and come up with a consensus line to give out to the sportsbooks and then you bet!

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Posted by | Alikat | in Sports Betting 101

Photo: Flickr user ficturesIt’s that time of year again guys and gals! Training camps are half over and this weekend marks the “dress rehearsal” games of the preseason. We’re all expecting big wins from our teams this coming season and all you sports betting fans out there are sure you’re going to be huge winners this fall.

Here at Hot Chicks Hot Picks we are going to use a combination of our women’s intuition and intense data study (which has given us a winning rate of 58.3% in 2005, 64.2% last year, and 62% over the last five years) to give you the edge (and the most sassy commentary known to man) that you’ve been looking for!

Whether you are experienced in sports betting or a newbie, there are a few things to keep in mind as you prepare for the upcoming season:

1. The single most important question that needs to be ask and answered before the start of every season: What type of sports bettor are you?

Do you like to just have some action on the games for fun? Or do you intend to make a small supplemental income from betting?

Are you a big-time player? Or just $50 a game type?

Are you willing to spend several hours per week doing research and learning to handicap for yourself? Or do you just want some “flip of the coin” rush to take you away from the office on Sunday?

Knowing the answer to this very important question will make your Fall that much more enjoyable. Whatever kind of sports betting fan you are is fine, just know which one it is so you don’t get in over your head. Sports betting should be fun and controlled. It should never be some agonizing torture routine that you sweat over every week wondering if you’re going to have the money to cover the mortgage - or buy that cute girl at the bar a drink.

So find out who you are and don’t let “the guys,” or the media for that matter, push you into something you’re not.

2. Manage your money

After you know what type of sports betting fan you are then you can sit down with yourself and figure out how much money you have to wager for the season. Money management is the key to being able to stay in the game for the whole season! You can’t go out and blow the whole pot on a couple of games because you think the Patriots are on a roll and couldn’t possibly lose to the Jets on the road. Would a shrewd investment fund manager bet more than 5% of his purse on the latest hot microchip stock? No, and neither should you.

Never bet more than 5% of your bankroll on any given game. The greatest gamblers in this business hit consistently between 57%-63% and maybe go on some streaks where they hit the high 60’s or even low 70’s for just a bit but at the end of the year they end up in that 57-63% range.

If the greatest gamblers in the biz hit these marks and manage their money accordingly why wouldn’t you do the same? You’re going to go on some losing streaks and that’s just the nature of the game. By putting down no more than 5% of your money on any given game you can ride these bad streaks out and come out a winner at the end of the year by listening to us here at Hot Chicks Hot Picks and doing you’re own homework.

Which brings us to…

3. Multiple sportsbook accounts

Now that you got your money in order and have figured out what type of player you are you need to select a few sportsbook accounts. The things you should be looking for with multiple sportsbooks is “value.” As sports bettors we always need to be looking for the “best line” or value in a chosen line. You need to have several different options to get that line you want. The other huge things for sports bettors are bonuses and “Low Juice” programs.

One of your sportsbooks should offer good bonuses. A comfortable percentage to look for is between 10%-20% on deposits and 10%-15% on reload bonuses. Any sportsbook offering any more is a little too eager beaver to have your business and I would be wary (if it smells too good to be true it usually is).

The other sportsbook you’ll want is one with a Low Juice Program. This is a program that gives you the ability to play your games at reduced juice. Most games are set at the standard -110 (you have to risk $110 to win $100).

On reduced juice games you are only having to play at -105 (you risk $105 to win $100). This may not seem like much on paper but over the course of the season it adds up to potentially hundreds or thousands of dollars depending on the type of player you are and the size of your bankroll.

The Vegas House advantage in a -110 standard bet is 4.55%. In order to break even on 100 bets betting $110 to win $100 you need to pick 53 winners out of 100.

With reduced juice lines (-105) the house advantage is reduced to 2.38%. You have to pick 52 winners out of 100 games.

These reduced juice programs make more sense if you are playing $500 and above per weekend. For my money, it doesn’t matter whether you are a big time player or just $50-$200 per weekend, it still makes sense to have the option to play at these better rates.

You can’t go wrong with having at least two sportsbooks and I would recommend a minimum of three to four. Two online sportsbooks that I highly recommend are Bodog.com (excellent overall sportsbook with great customer service) and BetOnline.com (program for both healthy Bonuses and a great Low Juice Program).

I’ll be back with many more articles in the coming days detailing the do’s and don’ts of sportsbetting as well as my thoughts and previews of the upcoming season. Until then find out what kind of bettor you are, get your little savings account (the “Fun Account” as I call them) in order and research the various sportsbooks.

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