“I’ve got a system to beat the books on (insert any sport).” We’ve all probably heard a friend say this or overheard someone talking about their fool-proof system in a bar or sportsbook. What were they talking about? Do they actually have a way to beat the sportsbook? What’s a sports betting system?
All of these are great questions that we’re going to dive into today. In this guide, we’re going to walk you through the basics of what a sports betting system is, why you might want to look into using one, and how you can go about developing your own system. Whether you’ve never heard of sports betting systems before or you’re looking to expand your existing base of knowledge, we’ve got you covered.
The Basics of a Sports Betting System – What Is It?
A sports betting system is a collection of repeated practices or rules that a sports bettor will do or use in order to make winning sports betting picks. That was a mouthful. Let’s look at a few simplified examples to make this clearer.
If you decide that you are going to bet all NFL home underdogs when the spread is greater than 7 points, you’re using a sports betting system. If you decide that you’re going to bet all state champion wrestlers during their UFC debut, you’re using a sports betting system. If you choose to bet any NFL home team that is favored by three to seven points and is coming off of two straight road wins against opponents that have a home record above .500 only if their opponent has a losing road record on the season, you are using a sports betting system.
Basically, any set of parameters that you come up with that helps you to pick winners is a sports betting system. The system can be simple like the first two examples, or it can be much more complex like the third example we gave. Believe it or not, sports betting systems can get even more complex than this by using a lot of complex formulas and math to try and calculate value and winners.
Sports betting systems can be made up of as many or as few parameters as the creator sees fit. Additionally, there is no limit to what these parameters can be. They can include things like past wins/losses, team stats, matchup statistics, weather conditions, playoff implications, individual player stats, game location, or literally anything that the creator deems as having an effect on the outcome of the game.
Sports betting systems can be a check-off system or a mathematical formula that produces a desired line.
Additionally, the amount that a bettor bets on a game could also be dependent on their system. If the game comes in as a big opportunity, the system might call for a bigger bet, whereas a lesser opportunity might call for a smaller bet.
Origin and Creation – Where Do Sports Betting Systems Come From?
The next logical question to ask is where these sports betting systems come from. Well, they are created either by professional sports bettors or by sports bettors like yourself. You’re not going to find these systems posted online somewhere. Why? Well, the value of the system goes away if everyone is jumping on the bandwagon every time there is an opportunity. All of the lines will instantly correct, and the opportunity will go away.
For this reason, anyone who comes up with a winning system will usually keep that system to themselves. Sometimes they will sell their picks (or give them away for free on rare occasions), but they will never let you see their system. Think of it like KFC. They are happy to sell you their chicken, but they aren’t going to give you access to the Colonel’s secret recipe.
As you might guess, coming up with a winning system is not easy. If it were easy, there would be no value in sports betting because everyone would be crushing the books until all the good opportunities dried up. It would be near impossible to get your hands on any value unless you were the quickest bettor in the land. The sportsbooks would also put out perfect lines because their system would be flawless.
You’ll get a much better idea of how they are created when we talk about building your own sports betting system in the section below.
The Benefits of a Sports Betting System – Why Use Them?
Before we talk about how to build your own sports betting system, you probably want to know why you would invest your time into creating one. Is it right for you? Is there a strong enough benefit there to make it worth your while? To answer these questions and more, let’s take a look at some of the benefits of using a sports betting system to make your picks and bets.
Find a Winner, and You’ll Print Money
If you’re good enough to develop a winning sports betting strategy, you’re going to have a money printer. The point of a sports betting system is that it has checks and balances that make it profitable under any condition. This means that once you are able to develop a winning strategy, you can start pressing your bets and winning big.
This should be the first and the last benefit on this list. When you develop a winning sports betting strategy, you have a sure-fire way to continually make money betting on sports. Isn’t that everyone’s end goal?
Removes Emotion from the Equation
When your system has parameters rooted in statistics, it makes it hard for emotion to come into play. The only way that emotion can creep in is if you are undisciplined and refuse to stick to your system. If you’ve got self-discipline problems, though, you probably shouldn’t be anywhere near a sportsbook until you get that under control.
One of the biggest reasons that new and even experienced sports bettors fall is that they let the media, others’ emotional opinions, and their own emotional responses creep in and mess up their judgment. When you have a sports betting system that you are confident in, this doesn’t happen.
Forces Immersion into Stats
As you’ll see in the coming section, sports betting systems are heavily reliant on statistics. Instead of using your gut to make picks, you’re using a system that has hard and fast parameters in place. In order to create that system, it will force you to dig into the stats of the sports you are looking to bet.
This will inevitably make you a much more educated sports bettor. It will help you to find trends, patterns, and other factors that you might not be aware of. Employ these findings in your betting system, and you’re going to have a lot more success. You see, “feel” bettors have a tendency to avoid taking the time to look at stats. Whether this is out of ignorance of their availability, arrogance, or laziness, we don’t know. Regardless of the cause, it’s not a smart way to place a sports bet.
The more informed and knowledgeable you are about the sport you are betting, the better picks you’re going to make, and the better your sports betting system will be. Even if you don’t develop a system, just the act of trying to create one will make you a much higher-level sports bettor, which will most likely reflect in your results.
Gives Structure to Your Betting
Ever feel completely lost when you’re sports betting? Ever feel like you’re just throwing darts at the wall, or you’re just not sure where to start every week? Sports betting systems help to alleviate this problem by giving your betting structure. When you have a winning system or at least a system that you are testing, you have a jumping-off point every week. You know exactly what sport to start with, which games to look at, and what you’re looking for.
Even if you aren’t leaning heavily on your sports betting system, it still gets you into the stats and helps you to get your week of research started properly. Structure is not necessary to win at sports betting, but it’s something that the most successful bettors have in common.
Developing Your Own Sports Betting System – How Do I Get Involved?
Now that we’ve covered what a sports betting system is, where they come from, and the benefits of developing one, we want to talk about some functional steps that you can take to start developing your own sports betting system. As we’ve mentioned, sports betting systems come in all shapes and sizes, and the data points that you choose to use could be anything and everything.
For that reason, the tips and steps below will be somewhat general but should help to push you in the right direction. Ultimately, it’s going to be up to you to dig through the stats and look for the important factors and trends that you think are important to picking winners.
Decide What Sport You Want to Bet On
The logical first step to developing an effective sports betting system is deciding which sport you want to bet on. We recommend that when you’re first getting started, you stick to one sport unless you have a lot of time to dedicate to this process. Doing this the right way will require time and effort, and you don’t want to be spreading yourself too thin by jumping on multiple sports.
We recommend choosing the sport you have the most knowledge in. While this might seem like common sense, you’d be surprised at how many people choose the sport they want to be good in or whatever sport happens to be in season. If you’re just looking for entertainment, choose any sport you want. If you’re looking for profit, start with the sport you are the best at. Once you are sufficiently crushing it there, you can look to expand your horizons if you choose to do so at that time.
Begin Researching Stats and Factors You Think Are Important
Your first and last stop when creating your sports betting system should be statistics. Start by making a list of things that you think are important when selecting the winner of a game. You can even start assessing how important you think that each of these stats is. In our Understanding Sports Betting Value article (which you NEED to read if you’re building a mathematical sports betting system), you’ll see that you can even assign percentages of importance to each factor that you come up with. You can then mathematically deduce a team’s likelihood of winning a game. Seriously, please read that guide from start to finish with extra emphasis on the “Calculating Predicted Actual Probabilities” section. You will not be disappointed.
When selecting stats to use, you need to make sure of a few things.
Also, think outside the box. Look for statistics that you think are important regardless of what other people might think. Don’t try and force something, but it’s okay to expand your horizons and dig deep for stats that build a winning system.
Create a Checklist or a Formula
As you start to find the important criteria, you’ll want to start plugging them into a checklist or a formula. If it’s a checklist, you’ll want to focus on which criteria work together and which do not. You may find that you come up with a few different checklists that you want to try. If this is the case, that’s okay. When we talk about testing and tracking, you’ll be able to flush out which ones work and which ones do not.
If you’re building a mathematical formula, begin assigning the importance of each (covered in the article referenced in the section above). It’s okay if you are not sure on a percentage and want to make a few different formulas to test. Again, we will talk about how to deal with this during the testing phase below.
Find Games That Meet Your Criteria and Start Testing
Once you have your preliminary checklist(s) and formula(s) ready to go, it’s time to find games that register as winners and begin seeing if your system is any good. Now, there are two ways that you can go about this. Neither is right or wrong; they just depend on your personal preference.
You can create a spreadsheet and track your “bets” without actually making bets. This is a great idea if you are able to differentiate between a bet you would really make and a bet that you might not actually pull the trigger on. Basically, it’s a lot easier to write in a spreadsheet that you would make a bet when you don’t really have to make it.
Utilizing the spreadsheet method ensures that you won’t lose any money if your system is not a winner. It also allows you to test out multiple systems at once without risking a lot of money. The drawback is that if your system is a winner, you won’t have made any money off of it. We’ve also heard from a lot of people that love to sports bet that it’s just not as fun, either. While this is about making a profit and not about fun, we are human, and we get this.
This is why we like to offer up the second method of testing that you can try. You can bet your system with very small bets. This will force you to see if you have any issues with following your system when money is on the line, give you a chance to make money if your system is good, and give you some entertainment value to keep you from going crazy.
If you have multiple systems but still want some action, we recommend a hybrid of the two. Pick a system that is your main system and make the small bets on that system. With your other systems, just “make your bets” on your spreadsheet and track and test them that way.
Track Your Results Closely
The most important step of this process is tracking your results. Yes, you need to be tracking which bets you win and which you lose, but you also need to be tracking a lot more. You need to be tracking how the games go and what aspects of your formula might need to be changed. This can be tricky, but it’s the most important step of the process.
If your system is not working, you need to be able to identify why and what needs to be changed. Even if your system is winning, you’re going to want to track what is working and what isn’t to try and make your system better. Constantly building on your system until it is perfect is the name of the game.
Due to the fact that you can’t figure out the validity of your system overnight, you’ll want to take heed of the advice we gave you in our last step. Don’t blow your whole bankroll on a system that hasn’t been proven yet. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun, though.
Tweak Your System and Continue Developing
As we alluded to in the prior tip, you’re going to want to take your results and use them to continue developing your sports betting system. Don’t expect to come right out of the gates with a winner. If you do, awesome! But being realistic, it’s going to take quite a bit of time and effort to get to a winning sports betting system.
Constantly evaluate each statistical data point that you’re using and make sure that it’s working for you and not hurting your system. If you find things that aren’t working, toss them out and either replace them with a more fitting data point or leave them out completely. There’s really no reason to completely scrap your system and start over unless it’s all a mess. Small changes and tweaks are the name of the game here.
Also, make sure that you’re patient with tracking your results and making changes. Just as it’s not smart to draw initial conclusions without a decent sample size, the same is true when you make changes. Just because you’ve tested your initial system on 100 games doesn’t mean you get to say your sample size is 101 games on the next game after some changes. When you make changes to your system, your sample size resets.
Press When you Find a Winning System
When you finally do stumble on a winning sports betting system, it’s time to scream hallelujah and start making some money! Stick to your system and start hammering the books. Remember, even the best of sports betting systems will have ups and downs, so make sure you’re practicing good bankroll management.
Additionally, make sure that you’re still tracking your results. Your work is not done once you find a winning system. You need to continue making sure that the system is a winner and keep looking for ways to improve it.
Keep up, or you risk seeing your moneymaker going away.
Sports betting systems are a great way to add structure to your sports betting and provide a fantastic, emotion-free way of crushing the books. Developing your own system definitely has its benefits, but it will require a lot of hard work, research, and some expertise. If you’re ready to take your sports betting to the next level, look into developing a sports betting system.