The conventional wisdom says, "You can't win betting a large number of games each day." Everyone has heard warnings such as, "When you bet a lot of games the vig will eat you up." The betting public has bought into this alleged "wisdom" completely. Some sports services charge more for "one strong game," and recommend betting big on it. Others give out 5 games every Saturday and 3 games every Sunday. In a different direction, some handicappers and newsletters, provide opinions on every game on the board.
QUESTION: What is the ideal number of games to bet everyday?
The ANSWER is simple and logical. A bettor maximizes his profit and minimizes his risk by making bets on ALL the propositions which provide an advantage.
For the winning professional, the ideal number of games to bet is as many games as possible, so long as they all provide an edge.
If you have a statistical edge in 20 games on a big college basketball Saturday, the surest way to make the most money is to bet all 20. If you only have an edge in one game, then only one game should be bet, no matter how many games there may be on the board. If you cannot find an edge in any game on a given day, then the proper number of games to bet is NONE. If your bankroll can't handle bets on all the games that present an advantage, then you are betting too big for your bankroll.
Bookmakers know the above rule instinctively. Thanks to the vig, most bettors provide an edge to their bookmaker on every game they bet. As a result, the bookmaker wants bets on every game on the board for as much money as he can cover. When the bookmaker identifies a bettor who wins consistently, however, he doesn't want any bets from him. He will cut the winner off because that bettor makes bets that give the bookmaker a negative expectation. Many offshore and Las Vegas bookmakers publish rules reserving the right not to pay, or to refuse bets from, any bettor they identify as part of one of the successful betting syndicates. Smart bookmakers refuse to take bets on correlated parlays for the same reason.
The majority of professional sports bettors play an astonishingly large number of games. The reason they bet so many games is the same as the reason that the bookmaker takes action on so many games and the casinos want full tables-- that is, they have the edge. Professional bettors can often uncover an advantage, or manipulate the line to gain an advantage, in many games on a given day.
The mathematical Law of Large Numbers dictates that for a bettor who can win at a rate above breakeven, the surest way to win the most money is to diversify by betting as many games as possible in as short a period of time as possible.
The Law of Large Numbers simply says that in any situation involving probability, the more trials you have, the closer your results will come to expectation. If a professional bettor can expect to win 6 games in every 10 (60%), he is much more likely to have a losing day betting only 1 or 2 games than he is betting 20 games. Luck has a much greater effect on daily results when it is concentrated on 1 or 2 games, than when it is spread out over 20 games.
For the 60% handicapper, betting all his money on one game would be foolish. The one game he picks could be one of the 4 in every 10 that he will lose. Dividing his bankroll over 10 or 20 games significantly reduces the risk of losing everything. The probability of being 0-1 or 0-2 is much greater than the probability of being 0-10 or 0-20.
In Part 2, we'll discuss the mathematical fallacy of the "One Strong Game Theory," and the psychology that causes losers to wrongly think that betting one strong game each day is the road to riches.
Diversification is just as important for the skilled sports investor as it is for any other type of investor. You will always win more money with less risk by betting all the selections of a winning handicapper. The best way to get all the selections of any winning handicapper is to sign up for a week, month or season of full service. To get weekly and monthly packages providing access to all the selections with an edge that we release at the Crowne Club daily, CLICK HERE.
c. Robert Crowne & Assoc., September, 2008