One of the pieces of advice that you’ll get from most experienced sports bettors is that you should only bet on sports that you are familiar with. Knowledge is obviously very important when it comes to effective handicapping, so it only makes sense that if you are betting sports in which you have no knowledge you are making it much harder for yourself than you need to. That’s just good advice. There are times, though, where it can actually make sense to bet sports that you don’t know much about. Here are five such cases:
When everyone else is doing it – There are some events that draw heavy betting action. The World Cup is a perfect example. Last summer during the World Cup everyone and their dog was betting on the games. Most of those people didn’t know much about the games, and they didn’t care. They knew which teams they liked and which stars they had heard of, and they made their decisions based on shallow opinions like that. The heavier the public action, the higher the chances that there will be opportunities for sharp bettors. Even if you aren’t familiar with the sport you can do enough research to gain an edge over the public just by doing a little research and applying your sound handicapping principles gained in your experience in other sports.
When the information easily available is good – When you aren’t familiar with a sport yourself you have to rely on your research skills to get yourself adequately up to speed so you can make smart betting decisions. Getting up to speed is easier when there is more good information available to learn from, and more media coverage to peruse. As an obvious example, it would be much easier to quickly get up to speed betting on the NBA than it would be the WNBA because NBA coverage is incredibly comprehensive, while WNBA coverage is spotty at best.
When you can pick up the basics easily – If you are a committed and successful bettor in one sport then you may be able to make the transition to a similar sport because you understand the fundamentals of the sports and have at least a sense of what works for handicapping. For example, if you are a successful NBA or college basketball bettor it could make sense to give European basketball a try if you wanted to. On the other hand, that same basketball bettor might find the transition to cricket betting rockier. You have to remember, of course, that just because the sports are the same and the basics are the same everything you know about one sport won’t transfer to the similar sport. The NFL and the CFL are both football, but the differences in rules, playing style, and talent level make the sports relatively unique.
When you are looking to diversify – When a bettor focuses primarily on one sport then they can find that the offseason can get long and lacking in cash flow. This can be a particular problem for guys who focus intensely on football – the offseason is eight long months, and there really aren’t any sports similar to football to bet to during that break. If football is the only sport those guys know then they would have to start betting on a sport they aren’t familiar with in order to find some additional action. Extending your betting year round could allow you to turn your bankroll over more times and generate more profit – that’s never a bad thing. As long as you approach the unfamiliar sport cautiously – you won’t want to jump in with the same bet size and aggression that you use in your main sport – then there is no better way to learn how to do something than by doing it.
When you want to have fun – This should be an obvious point, but it is one that is too often overlooked. Sports betting should be fun. At some point every person who bets on sports got into it because some part of it was fun for them. Maybe it was having something to root for on game day, or the bragging rights you get over your buddies when you are right. Maybe it’s the puzzle solving that good handicapping is, or the thrill that you can only get when you have your money on the line. Whatever the reason, something about sports betting is fun for you in some way or you wouldn’t do it. Starting the process of becoming familiar with an unfamiliar sport is a great way to experience those same thrills in a fresh new way. It may even make you a better bettor because you’ll have to think about what you are doing again – it may have become too automatic for your own good in your regular sport.