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Take the Points!

Why is it that 65% to 75% of the time amateur sports bettors go with the favorite when they bet the point spread? That’s the stat on amateur bettors and it’s sort of an amazing one. Why is it amazing? Because the whole point of the spread is to even out wagering on both sides and if a line is really doing that then the question becomes who is taking the points? Someone has to be taking points and they must be doing it consistently. And if sports bettors are doing it consistently, then they are probably winning.

The answer is the professional sports bettors and pick guys are taking the points. Why would they do that? There are a bunch of reasons and if you’re wagering on spreads you may want to consider them.

The first reason to go with the underdog in spread betting is the fact that there is value in doing so. If there’s one thing that all professional sports bettors are looking for, it is value. Imagine, you’re going to bet on a team and someone is willing to give you an edge. Before the team takes the field, they’re ahead by four, seven, 10 or more points!  That’s not a bad deal and when a professional bettor spots a soft line that they can exploit they are going to take the points and use them to their advantage.

Another reason as to why the pros love the underdog has to do with, as they say in poker, how many outs they have. When you go with the favorite you have one out—that is, one way to win. A team must beat the spread in order to payoff. But when you go with the underdog, you have two outs. They can win with the extra points or they can win the game outright. The team that’s not favored has a 2-1 advantage over the favorite when it comes to outs, and pros like to take advantage of this fact. Maybe you should consider doing the same?

A team’s motivation is key when it comes to beating the spread. In professional sports a win is a win. One point or 40 points, it really doesn’t matter, as all wins look the same in the standings. Thus, although the favored team may certainly win the game the question is do they possess the motivation to beat the spread? Do they really care? If anything, a team that is considered to be inferior will be motivated to prove that they are not as bad as indicated and will certainly try hard to win the game. Even if they don’t succeed, the dog may simply do well in negating the point spread.

As an example, you’re looking at New England and Cleveland and the line has the Pats favored by +10½. They win by three. They beat the Browns and got their “W.” But if you took New England, you lost with that point spread. The Browns didn’t beat them but they made it a lot closer than expected. This happens a lot.

When you watch enough sporting events, you see that more times than not the underdog will make a game of it for at least the first half. They may take the lead into the locker room or at least have kept it close. The favorite may come out for the second half with guns blasting, and they may even win the game. But will they be able to beat the spread? That can be one tall order, especially if they are far behind at the break.

If the top team does come out and performs well in the first half, the fact is often they don’t dominate in the second half. Sometimes it’s due to complacency and other times it’s because the dog has made adjustments. More times than not when down the underdog will outscore the favorite in the second half and win by using the points. That’s why many bettors take the team that’s behind when they bet the second half of a game. That club often does outscore the leader in the second half even if they don’t win the game outright.

All that has been outlined above is true. However, it is never a done deal until the game is played. The fact is that favorites do win and the above-discussed strategy should only be employed after carefully handicapping a game. Be sure to focus on matchups, motivational aspects of the contest and trends. Do your homework. The trick in taking the points is finding games where the points will make you a winner. It happens a lot with lines but it does not occur all the time.

Still, if you find yourself wagering on the favorite a majority of the time then chances are you also find yourself losing more than winning. Take the points when warranted. They can be extremely useful. It is that simple when you’re dealing with point spreads.

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