Should I Buy a Sports Betting System?
Sports betting is a tough area to break into, at least if you want to do it successfully. It’s hard to devote the time and energy into learning everything you need to know about a sport, and research is often boring – it’s the action that’s the fun part. And even if you do everything you need to do to win, you’re told time and again that winning 55% of your bets (against the spread) is great, and getting up to 60% is amazing. Considering the amount of work required just to get that relatively small edge, some people wonder whether it’s really worth it at all.
But then, while searching the Internet, they find a website advertising a sports betting system. It promises to take all the work out of winning by providing picks that will win 70%, 80%, or even 90% of the time or more! Chances are that the person who created this system bills themselves as an expert on the sport in question, who will do all the hard work for you. They’ll talk about how last year they had a record of 55-3 with their picks. You can’t lose!
Of course, this information doesn’t come for free. Many of these systems cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars to obtain. The real question is this: given how successful these systems are, how much should you pay to get in on the winners?
The correct answer, of course, is nothing. No system of picks can possibly provide that level of success on a consistent basis. If one did, there’d be no reason to sell it to anyone else – the inventor could just use it themselves and become a millionaire in a matter of months! And if one person could come up with a system that made it that easy to win, there would be plenty of people having lesser success – if winning were simple, the sportsbooks would all go out of business.
So, how do these systems work? Most of them rely on Martingale-like bet progressions that fall directly into the gambler’s fallacy. For instance, a simple system might tell you to bet on any team you want, in any sport that uses a point spread – for instance, basketball or football. If you win the bet, congratulations! If not, bet on that same team to cover the spread again in their next game, but betting twice the amount. If you win that game, you’ve covered your loss from the first game, and still made a profit! If you lose again, simply double your bet again. Keep doubling until you win; after a win, pick a new team and start again with the original small betting amount.
Of course, there are three big problems with this. First of all, each game is independent; just because you lost the last three bets doesn’t change the odds of you winning your next one. To be fair, this isn’t strictly true in sports betting; if a team fails to cover three games in a row, the odds on their next game might shift too far, making them a smart bet. But the correlation is very small, small enough that the idea of the gambler’s fallacy holds true – just because you’ve lost a few times doesn’t make you (significantly) more likely to win the next bet. The second problem is a related one; since sportsbooks typically have limits on how much you can bet on a given game, chances are that you’ll soon hit a losing streak that will require doubling your bet past the limits of what your favorite sports gambling site is willing to take.
So how do these systems claim they win so often? That’s the final problem with them. Of course, it’s totally unverifiable; but even when they’re being “honest” about their records, they’ll usually count any run of wagers that ends with a profit as a win. Lost seven games in a row, but keep doubling and win a few dollars overall by covering the eighth game? That’s a win! In other words, the records advertised do not at all reflect the percentage of games these systems win – they’re just claiming that you’ll usually score a win before going broke.
In summary, when it comes to sports betting systems, the best bet is just to stay away. Use your money to give yourself a healthier bankroll – don’t waste it on scams like these.