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How to Choose Between Betting on Sides or Totals

There are many different ways for sports handicappers to bet on a game, and some will work better for you than others. The two most popular are betting on a side and betting on totals. Lots of bettors successfully play both kinds of bets, but there is almost certainly one type of bet that works better for those bettors than the other. Each type of bet requires different mindsets and mentalities to succeed, and some mindsets are easier for some than for others. If you are aware of the differences between the two groups of bet types you can decide which work for you, and you can be prepared to make the shifts in thinking required to succeed in both. Here are three factors for sports handicappers to achieve success with each type of bet that are different than their alternative:

Sides

Have to focus on which team will win – When you are handicapping a side your primary focus has to be on who is going to win the game. That seems like a very straightforward and obvious point, but it is a crucial one to get comfortable with if you want to bet sides. there a re countless ways that a team can win a game and you can’t anticipate them all. What you can and must do, though, is determine which team is more likely to come out on top in more different circumstances. That’s the starting point for any side bet, and that’s very different from totals wagering.

Have to be very aware of not just winner, but where value is – Picking the winner is important for the sports bettor, but it’s not the only thing. In fact, if you only focus on the likely winner then there is a good chance that you won’t come out on top. Beyond picking winners you need to be very focused on value. You need to make sure that you aren’t just worrying about who you think is going to win. You need to make sure that the team you bet on is, in your opinion, going to win or cover the spread often enough to turn a profit in the long term. In other words, if you are right 5 percent of the time then that’s great if your average price is +100, but really lousy if your average price is -140.

Favorites are seductive – Oddsmakers know that the betting public loves betting favorites, and the craft their lines with that reality in mind. It can be tempting for many bettors to go for the favorite and ignore the underdog in many cases. That’s not always the right decision. In fact, often it’s not. If you want to succeed as a sports handicappers while betting sides then you need to be willing and able to look beyond the favorites and impartially look for the best value.

Totals

Winners don’t matter – It can be hard to get your mind around if you are a fan as well as a bettor, but when betting totals you really don’t have to worry about who is going to win the game. A game can obviously go under or over the total regardless of which team comes out on top, so it is irrelevant. That can lead you to cheer not on for what you normally would at the end of a game. Some sports bettors find that very hard to get used to, and ultimately not very satisfying.

Multiple ways to get to a total – One of the big benefits of betting totals for sports handicappers is that there is plenty of room to be wrong and still be right. You might think that a game will go over the total because one team is going to have a very good day. If it turns out that that team struggles you can still win your bet if the other team has a good day. If you are betting a side you need one basic outcome regardless of the sport – you need your team to score more points than their opponent. The increased options in betting sides can be very attractive to some bettors.

The over is very tempting – Just like the public likes betting the favorites they are also consistently drawn to the over. That’s generally because the public prefers offense to defense, so they usually expect the best from the offense. Oddsmakers know that and will often craft their totals so that they can exploit that tendency. It is important as a sports handicapper that you are aware of that and what it means for you.

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