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The Best Strategies for Making Money Sports Betting

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There are a lot of ways to make money sports betting. Unfortunately, none of them are passive income streams.

This isn’t investing in stock market for an 8% return long-term. This is day trading sports, aiming for returns above 25% month over month. I’m aware that this sounds crazy to non-sports bettors.

But… Just think about it.

If you have a 3% “edge” in college basketball, and there’s college basketball games every day, then you’d be earning a 90% return, month over month.

So…the next question people ask is: “Why doesn’t everybody retire from sports betting?”

Well, for one. Most people don’t understand variance, the math behind sports betting, etc. But, more importantly, this isn’t a “bet whatever you want” type of thing. Sportsbooks determine what you can wager, not you. It’s just part of the game, and it makes sense. A sportsbook could probably go bankrupt if enough people bet this NFL prop for $1,000.

Sports Betting Limits

Thus, as a profitable bettor, you’re always “grinding.” It can be super lucrative, as explained in here. I’ll be discussing a bunch of sports betting strategies in this article. There’s not one “perfect” strategy for making money sports betting – there’s a lot of ways to do it.

In advance, I apologize for any typos. I’m not a writer, I just didn’t sleep well so I wrote this… Again, feel free to reach out to us at anytime with questions. The goal of OddsJam and reason for starting it was to help sports bettors win and provide free data access (e.g. line shopping) to all. Line shopping is the core of sports betting, but that’s a conversation for another day.

Building Your Own Model

Let’s start here. You could build your own model and try to beat FanDuel.

Seems really hard… This is a big sportsbook, they’ve invested millions of dollars into setting their lines, and they charge 5%+ juice, so they already have a 5%+ “leg up” on you.

My second point is, why are you smarter than everybody else? I’m certainly not, which is why I don’t bother with building models on historical data.

There’s tens of millions of dollars wagered in NFL betting markets each week, if not more. Lines are determined by supply and demand. Why would your model be smarter than everybody else placing wagers? If you don’t respect the market and where lines are set, then you think you have an “advantage” over the millions of other people betting on the NFL this weekend. That’s crazy in my opinion.

It’s like you have a model telling you to buy Tesla because “you know it’s going up and Elon Musk is a genius.” Why are you smarter than every hedge fund in the world looking at Tesla stock every single day?

I say this all the time, but sports betting is a volume game. In an “ideal” world, you’d have 50+ bets each day, all with an “edge.” I’d rather have 50+ bets I’m confident have roughly 3% edge than some model that gives me four plays. That’s just me, though.

Maybe you can do it. Maybe you can build a model and beat the books. I don’t really buy it, though, unless you are using real-time odds in your model. Just doesn’t make sense to me, from a logic / math / markets perspective, it goes 0/3.

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I included a video that my colleague made about modeling if you’re interested in learning more, but, again, I don’t buy it if there’s no real-time odds in the model.

People consistently overcomplicate sports betting. “Let’s build a linear regression model to beat the NFL betting markets” is a prime example.

Maybe you can do it for more niche sports, like golf and Chinese basketball. I don’t know. Good luck if you try. Seems like a lot of work for little reward, but it could be a fun exercise. I don’t build models for fun, though.

Again, this is my overall opinion. People who work with me have different opinions. Many of our customers do, too. This article is just my opinion.

Early Value: Line Shopping

One strategy that has been very effective for me, as well as other OddsJam customers, is monitoring lines when sportsbooks first release odds. Typically, earlier in the week, you’ll find some of the best opportunities. Sportsbooks disagree on where lines should be set. As time goes on and more people start looking for NFL bets for the upcoming week, the market gets more efficient.

Early disagreement = early opportunity.

Early Value in Ryan Tannehill Passing Yards Line

The play above is from the OddsJam Screen. Only two bookmakers, PrizePicks and Underdog Fantasy, posted lines on Ryan Tannehill’s Passing Yards Line so far. They’re 28 yards off from one another…

By game time, there’s almost no chance these books will be 28 yards off. Too many smart customers will “middle bet” this opportunity. You can take the o187.5 passing yards on Underdog Fantasy and the u215.5 on PrizePicks. If Tannehill has, say, 200 passing yards, then both of your plays will hit. You will win on Ryan Tannehill’s “over” and “under.” It sounds strange, but that’s how the sharps/full-time bettors think about sports betting.

Obviously, I played it 😉 Putting my money where my mouth is.

Underdog Fantasy Picks

Positive EV Betting

Positive EV betting is what I do most. It is the most profitable form of sports betting. It’s pretty simple as a user. Just place the bet in bold with a circle around it.

For example, in the screenshot below, you’d want to bet on James Cook under 25.5 rushing yards at +118 odds on Caesars sportsbook. Please note that price matters. This doesn’t just mean “Hit Cook’s under on any sportsbook.” It means, at the current point in time, Cook under 25.5 rushing yds at +118 odds is a mathematically profitable bet with an “edge.”

Example of a Positive EV Bet

Most bets are not Positive EV. Out of the millions of odds constantly updating on OddsJam, there’s typically only 20 or so Positive EV bets. The video below is long, for sure, but it will make you a better sports bettor. I go through Positive EV betting, how to deal with variance, different betting strategies, etc.

Middle Betting

OddsJam has a “Middle Betting” tool. Middles simply are when sportsbooks set their lines at different levels. Here, for example, Lawrence Cager o18.5 Receiving Yards is -110 on FanDuel. Cager u19.5 Receiving Yards is +110 on Bovada.

Middle Betting Example

Imagine putting $110 on the over on FanDuel, and $100 on the under on Bovada.

The possibilities are:

  1. He has 18 or less receiving yards. You lose $110 on FanDuel, and you profit $110 on Bovada ($100 @ +110 odds). Net profit = $0.
  2. If Cager has exactly 19 receiving yards, then both bets will win. You’re up $100 profit on FanDuel and $110 on Bovada. Net profit = $210.
  3. If he has 20 or more receiving yards, then you win $100 on FanDuel and lose $100 on Bovada. Net profit = $0.

This is a risk-free lottery ticket.

Arbitrage Betting (e.g. “Arbs”)

Arbitrage means risk-free money. It sounds crazy, but… Since sportsbooks have different odds, sometimes you can bet the “over” one sportsbook, the “under” on a different sportsbook and earn a risk-free profit. You have to move fast. Arbitrage betting is not a game for the slow. You need to know how to navigate sportsbooks, etc.

Essentially, out of the millions of odds updating every second on OddsJam, a very, very small percentage of those odds will be arbitrage bets with another sportsbook. OddsJam finds them for you. The whole point of the OddsJam sports betting software is to make data actionable. There’s millions of odds in the market, and the market is dynamic, constantly moving. It’s nearly impossible to find these bets manually without software.

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We have a lot of tutorials about arbitrage betting. Lots of people tell me the video below is a good explanation. You can check out our Arbitrage Betting Tool, as well.

As a note, arbitrage, by definition, is less lucrative than Positive EV betting. If you’re feeling extra nerdy, here’s a strategy video on multiway arbitrage. You can arbitrage bet futures markets – it’s just a little more complicated.

Promos + Bonuses: Odds Boosts, Risk-Free Bets, Etc.

Sportsbooks are in a marketing war. They all want the attention of sports bettors, and they want to keep you coming back to their platforms. This Promos Page should list everything available in your location – we also have an Odds Boosts page to show you the boosts currently available.

FanDuel Odds Boost

Boosts are pretty simple. Just look above. It’s the sportsbooks increasing the odds on a wager from, say, -160 to +100, just like in the screenshot above. Here’s a video tutorial on odds boosts and the math behind them.

Caesars Sportsbook Sign-Up Bonus

You’ve probably seen some crazy sign-up bonuses, just like the one above. They’re (unsurprisingly) really profitable.

It’s not just sign-up bonuses, though. Check out these ones I just found. DraftKings has a risk-free bet for the NFL. Your bet loses, then you get your money back in a free bet (up to $10). Risk-free bets are highly profitable, as explained in this strategy video.

Risk-Free Bet on DraftKings

It’s not just DraftKings & Caesars – it’s every sportsbook. They’re all competing for the eyes of sports bettors, and many of these promos, including the one below, are highly profitable. The sports betting bonus below is on FanDuel sportsbook.

Promo on FanDuel Sportsbook

Trends & Historical Stats

This is pretty irrelevant. People love looking at trends, but real-time market data (e.g. betting odds) already encompasses trends and historical stats. It’s like looking at the price of Bitcoin 10 years ago and trying to determine if it’s going up or down today. It makes no sense. I discuss this topic more in this article.

Watching Sports

Unsurprisingly, not a big believer in this… People who know sports do NOT have a leg up in sports betting. That’s just how it is. In general, people who think they can outsmart sportsbooks by watching “tape” are cash cows for the sportsbooks.

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As said previously, if you think this isn’t true, then why are you smarter than the millions of other people betting on the NFL this weekend? Why do you have a leg up on sportsbooks who invest millions into their trading technology? You need to respect the market…

Like I said previously, for more niche sports, maybe it’s possible. I don’t know. Chinese Basketball, Ping Pong, etc.

Multiway Markets: Finding An “Edge”

Similar to using the OddsJam Screen, finding value in multiway markets is a bit more manual. But it can be very, very lucrative. Multiway markets are typically futures, but not always. Think about soccer moneylines. Those are 3 way markets: Draw, Team A Wins, or Team B Wins. Many player props are also multiway markets (e.g. Last Touchdown Scorer).

NFL Odds on OddsJam

Above, you can see Super Bowl Odds from OddsJam. Of course, if you want to bet on the Bills to win the Super Bowl, then you should play it on DraftKings or 10bet at +450 odds. Always get the best line – that’s the core of sports betting.

Below is a video tutorial I did about how to remove the juice (e.g. vig) from futures odds. I’m consistently able to find value when browsing futures odds on OddsJam. Of course, you can use a no vig odds calculator for two way markets. This is for multiway markets (e.g. futures, first basket scorers, first touchdown scorers, etc).


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