The Rainmans Rules For Successful Sports Wagering
The Rainman's Rules are "must" reading material for anyone who wagers on sports. A condensed version of the Rainman's Rules was first published several years ago when I wrote an article for The Sports Betting Guide. Money management and self discipline are the most important parts of sports betting. Read these "rules", think about them, and then read them again. They won't guarantee you success, but they will give you a much better chance in a game where the odds are normally stacked against you. Every suggestion made here is based on over 30 years experience as both a sports gambler and a professional handicapper. Some very hard lessons were learned during those 30 years. I'll share the experience with you for free.
Theres no reason to have these guys
chase you all year, if you just follow...
Sports wagering is unlike almost any other type of gambling in this country in that you actually have an excellent chance of success, provided you are well prepared, well disciplined, and well informed. As opposed to most casino games, where the outcome of your wager is based entirely on chance and the odds are always in the houses favor, the odds on sports wagering are not inherently in the bookmakers favor because you can choose either side of the bet, and you know the line before you place the bet.
There is, however, a right way and a wrong way to wager on sporting events. The vast majority - let me say that again - the vast majority - of players lose money wagering on sports because of three basic mistakes: 1. They lack the self discipline required to follow the "rules" which can make them successful, 2. They do not understand money management, and 3. They are inadequately informed as to injuries, line moves, and weather conditions. Our "Tips on Successful Sports Wagering" covers those three problem areas, and several others, with basic guidelines that have proven to be successful over many years of sports wagering.
Following these guidelines certainly will not guarantee success, but it will guarantee a much greater chance of success, and it will put you in control of the wagers you make instead of being controlled by the losses most players incur.
1. Have at least 3 places to play, and check the lines at all 3 before you place a bet. It has always amazed me that a person thinking about buying a car, a major appliance, a new suit, or even in some cases a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk, will shop different stores, compare prices and take the best deal available, but that same person will wait until the last minute to place a bet and take whatever line the bookmaker gives him. Having more that one place to play gives you the opportunity to get the best line available. While the actual betting line only comes into play on about 30% of the games, over the course of a football season, a 1/2 pt. or 1 pt. difference in the line you get can make the difference between winning or losing 4 or 5 games, and for a $100 player that is an $800 to $1000 swing in your season results.
2. Once youve established your 3 places to play, get your betting limit set at 2 or 3 times the amount you intend to bet on each play. If youre a $100 player, get your limit set at $300 per play. There will be times, although seldom, when a play may also want to be able to make a larger play than you normally are comfortable with if you are significantly ahead, and playing with "the other guys money". Well discuss that possibility a little later under money management.
Establish your own personal goals for your sports wagering. Determine whether you want to wager just for fun or for profit. There is a tremendous difference between wagering for fun and wagering for a living. Never, never underestimate the importance of those differences. Once you have determined which way you want to play, dont try to mix the two. You can only do one or the other. For instance, if you start off just playing for fun, say $25 per play, and you decide youd like to up your bets and try to make some money, youll have to make some serious changes in the way you play. You must know exactly what you expect from sports wagering, and then you must play accordingly.
Now that youve got 2 or 3 places to play, youve established your limits at 2 to 3 times your normal play, and youve set your
own personal goals that youre comfortable with, we can go on to the guidelines covering the three areas we pointed out earlier that keep most players from being successful.
4. One youve determined youre goals and you understand the way youre going to play, YOU MUST STAY WITH YOUR RULES. For the purposes of this writing, we will assume that you are interested in playing for profit. Self-discipline is THE CORNERSTONE of successful sports wagering. Quite simply, if you feel that you cannot stay with the rules, religiously, without exception, dont play for anything other than fun.. Sports wagering for profit is not for everyone. If you cant play smart, and play consistently, youre beaten before you start.
5. Never Play More Than 20% of the total number of available wagers on a given day. For instance, on a typical college football day, there will be approximately 35 games and 5 totals for a total number of 40 betting opportunities. In this situation, 8 plays would be the absolute maximum number of plays you could make. The lower the percentage of the plays you make of the total available plays, the higher the win percentage, and the higher the net winnings. It is obviously better to go 3 and 1 than it is to go 15 and 13. In both cases, youve won a net 2 games, but if you are a $100 player at 3 and 1 you win $190, while at 15 and 13 you only win $70 because of the 10% "juice" you pay on losing wagers. More importantly, from a mathematical standpoint, it is 13.2 times as easy to go 3 and 1 as it is to go 6 and 2.
6. Decrease the number of plays you make and increase the amount of the plays. For example, if you normally like to play 10 games at $100 per game, you are much better off to play 5 games at $200 per game. You still have the same total exposure - $1000, but your winning percentage will be much higher. To illustrate what I mean, consider the odds on winning consecutive bets. To make it simple, well start with the premise that on each game you have a 50/50 chance or winning, so you have a 50% chance of winning your first play. The odds drop to 25% (.50 x .50) on your second play, 12.5% (.50 x .50 x .50) on the third play, 6.25% (.50 x .50 x ..50 x .50) on the fourth play and so on until the odds on hitting 10 out of 10 reach an incredible 1023-1!
We like to think that our odds are a little better than that because we historically hit between 65% and 70% of our plays, but calculated even at a 70% win rate, your chances of winning the 5th game in a row are only 16.8% or about 1 in 6, which gives you 5-1 odds, against winning that last game.
7. DO NOT PLAY PARLAYS. The lure of the odds on parlay bets is more than most people can resist, but I will promise you this - if you play 10 games a day, throw in 3 or 4 parlays and maybe a couple of teasers (which well discuss next), your bookie will send a cab for you to make sure he gets your bets down! The reason parlays are sucker bets is simple - they do not play the correct odds, and even if you win the number of parlays that you should win, You Will Still Lose Money! Lets consider the example I gave you in No. 6 above. The correct odds of winning 3 consecutive plays are 12.5% or 1 of 8, which is 7-1 odds against winning the third game. A 3 game parlay plays only 5-1 so you are beaten before you start. The more games you parlay, the larger the difference becomes between the odds against winning and the payoff odds, until when you get to that 10 game example I gave you in No. 6, where the odds against winning are 1023-1, and the payoff is only 175-1.
8. WITH RARE EXCEPTION, DO NOT PLAY TEASERS. Once again, its a numbers game, and believe me, you cannot beat the numbers. Lets look at 2 game teasers first, where you get to move the line, or the total, 6 points. For easy math, well use 10 games. If you played every 2 game teaser possible out of 10 plays, you could play 45, two game teasers. Losing one game kills 9 teasers, losing the 2nd game kills another 8 teasers and losing the 3rd game kills another 7 teasers for a total of 21 winning teasers and 24 losing teasers. So if you won 7 games and lost 3 games, after the 6 point move, assuming $100 plays, you lose $870, and thats at a 70% win rate! Our experience has shown us that a 6 point move will not produce a 70% win rate across the board.
Its about the same overall on 3 game teasers. There are 120 possible combinations of 3 game teasers starting with 10 games. In this scenario, however, losing the first game kills 36 teasers, and losing the 2nd game kills another 28 teasers. So if you won 8 games and lost 2 games, after the 9 point move, assuming $100 plays, you lose $1440, and thats at an 80% win rate! Our experience shows that a 9 point move can, under certain circumstances, produce a 90% win rate. Its more difficult in college football, much easier in Pro football. It hasnt taken the books long to figure this out, and for that reason, many books, including those in Las Vegas, will not take 9 point teasers in the NFL. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD YOU EVER PLAY A 3 TEAM TEASER WITH A SIX POINT MOVE, WHERE THE PAYBACK IS 9-5, OR ANY ODDS FOR THAT MATTER, SINCE A 6 POINT MOVE WILL NOT PRODUCE A 90% WIN RATE.
Obviously, there are times and situations that make teasers more attractive, and more likely to succeed. The point of this section is to show you that you cannot successfully bet teasers on a consistent basis. Be very careful - pick your spots, and tread lightly when you walk up to the betting window.
9. Stay Away Form The Big T.V. Games And other Marquee National Matchups. Notre Dame/Florida St., Tennessee/Alabama, Nebraska/Colorado, Michigan/Ohio St. Who wants to handicap those kinds of games? For that matter, who can handicap those games? Ill answer that for you - nobody can! Theres far too much emotion, the teams are usually pretty evenly matched, the teams are usually both very good, the game can be won or lost on a single play or a single turnover, and the lines are usually very different in different parts of the country.
If you absolutely have to play T.V. games, at least recognize that they are usually the worst betting situation of the day, and set a limit, no more than 25% of your normal play, to wager on those games. Also understand that were not talking about any game that happens to be on T.V. With cable, satellites, and local broadcasts, there are many more games on television than in the past. Were talking about nationally televised, prime time matchups. Were looking for games that dont attract a lot of attention, thereby leaving the line unaffected by public opinion, which is often swayed by television shows and the media hype that surrounds the big games. We want to find the mismatch. We want the game to be over by half-time. We want to bet on a team that goes in to the game knowing theyll win, and we want to find them matched up against a team that goes in to the game knowing theyre going to lose. They're not the most glamorous games - but who cares? We want to cash the ticket, and thats all that matters.
10. LEARN TO BET AGAINST YOUR FAVORITE TEAM OR YOUR ALMA MATER. I cant begin to tell you how many times Ive given out a play - a good play, only to hear "Oh, I cant bet against them. I went to school there". Who cares? Youre not going to change the outcome of the game because you bet for or against any team, but you can sure change the thickness of your wallet by betting on your favorite team when you know they probably wont win, or by not betting against your favorite team when you know they dont have a chance. On a personal basis, I love the University of Memphis - I went to school there. I also love Mississippi State - my uncle was the head basketball coach there for several years, and I root for Tennessee on a regular basis. I will also bet against any one of them in a heartbeat if I thing thats the right play. BET WITH YOUR WALLET, NOT YOUR HEART. Dont eliminate excellent betting opportunities because of sentimental reasons. Now that weve set the basic guidelines, and they should be written in stone, lets go on to the second reason that most players lose money.
11. NEVER BET MORE THAN YOU CAN EASILY AFFORD TO LOSE. Even if you do everything right. Even if you follow all the rules. Even if you are the best handicapper in the Universe - you can still lose. Thats why they call it gambling. If you have to do anything other than get into the cookie jar to pay your losses, or if the amounts youre playing make you nervous or change your personality if you lose - STOP PLAYING. Go back to item No. 3 of these tips and re-establish your personal goals. When you start playing again, make sure its for an amount that you are comfortable with.
12. ESTABLISH YOUR BANKROLL AT 10 TIMES YOUR NORMAL PLAY, and be prepared to lose it. I didnt say start the season expecting to lose it, I said be prepared, emotionally and financially, to lose it. If its going to kill you to lose your bankroll, emotionally or financially, dont play. Why start with 10 times your normal play? Because youre not going to win every game. Youre not going to win every day. In fact, youre going to have some losing weeks! Even the best players have losing streaks, and they have to be able to weather them. You have to deal with outright upsets, you, or your handicapper will occasionally just plain make a mistake, and youll occasionally have to deal with what is known in the business as a "bad beat". Thats a play where you did everything right, you had the game handicapped right, the game went exactly like you thought it would for 59 minutes and then a crazy play, or bad call, cost you the win.
13. PLAY EACH DAY TO BREAK EVEN. Our first goal every game day is to do no worse than break even. We want to live to fight again another day. Understand that sports wagering is day in, day out grind. It takes patience, patience, and more patience. Forget about burying your bookmaker - its not going to happen. Youre not going to win a fortune in one weekend. Its how you wind up at the end of the season that counts. If you gear yourself mentally, and position your bets financially, so that on your bad days you break even, when the really good days come along and you go 3-0 or 4-0, your bankroll gets a little bigger. The only way to be a winner at the end of the season is to be around at the end of the season. If you blow yourself out after the first 3 weeks, youre more than likely done for the season.
14. DONT CHASE A LOSING STREAK. Be prepared to accept a losing day. Doubling up or tripling up to make up for a losing day or a losing weekend almost invariably leads to higher losses. Sometimes it may seem that youre just "out of tune with the Cosmos". There will be days like that, and when they come along, just accept them like you accept the days when it seems like you cant do anything wrong. Cut back on the number of plays and the amount of the plays when youre on a losing streak. Conversely, dont be afraid to let your winnings run when youre on a winning streak. Never play from less than a full card. What does that mean? Well, heres an example. Lets say you start the day ready to play 4 plays out of a 35 game card with 2 morning plays and 2 afternoon plays. When your games are over, youve won 1 and lost 3, so youre down 2 units, but wait - there are still 5 or 6 night games left. Forget it! Accept your losing day and wait until tomorrow when you have a full card to choose from again. If any of the 5 or 6 games remaining had been enough to play, you probably would have selected them to begin with. Additionally, you have passed up many other games during the day, which while not as good as you thought your original games were, may well have been better plays than the games left at night. Dont put yourself in a position where you are trying to catch up on a bad day and you have to pick from games where there is no advantage to be found. For this same reason, never try to catch up from a losing weekend on Sunday night or Monday night games. Try to catch up the next weekend when you have a full slate of games to pick from and you have the opportunity to look for the best plays. YOU MUST CONTROL THE BETTING SITUATION INSTEAD OF LETTING THE SITUATION CONTROL YOUR BETS.
15. WITH RARE EXCEPTION MAKE EVERY PLAY FOR THE SAME DOLLAR AMOUNT. How many $3.00 baseball games would you play? Probably not very many. When you play 2-3 times your normal play in football or basketball, youre essentially turning a regular play into a $2.00 or $3.00 favorite, and youre playing against a point line that serves to somewhat equalize the game. While it is true that there are certain games, certain matchups, certain situations that warrant playing extra money over and above your normal play, those games dont come along every day. If you lose a game youve bet 3 times your normal play on, youll have to win 4 other games to get back to the plus side. Or worse, youll get caught up in "chasing", where youll play a couple of other games at higher amounts trying to make up for the get play you lost. This scenario is why I strenuously object to services that put out plays based on "units" or "stars". Its bad money management, and its misleading as far as their record goes. Lets say a service puts our 4 games for Saturday morning as regular plays - and loses all 4. Then they come back and put out two 5 star plays in the afternoon - and win both of them. Their record for the day will be 2-4, but theyll tell you they won six stars or six units for the day. Excuse me, but thats bull..., and heres why. In the first place, youd be crazy to play 5 times your normal bet on a service that lost 4 straight that day. In the second place, if you are a $100 player, you probably couldnt play $500 a game, even if you wanted to, and in the third place, its just plain bad money management, because its a great example of "chasing", which weve already talked about. So it all boils down to this service telling you they won 6 stars or units you while youre trying to come up with the $240.00 you lost. The example gets even worse when you start talking about 10 star or 15 star plays.
As I said, there are times when extra wagers are warranted - thats one of the reasons I told you to set your limit at 3 times your normal play. But be aware of the fact that those plays come along only once in a while. A good handicapper will hit his average over a given period of time. The problem is, no one, and that includes the great team of handicappers at All-Star Sports, knows which game or games they will lose on a given day. If we did, wed take the losers off the card.
16. DO NOT PLAY PARLAYS OR TEASERS. Ill reiterate this again under money management. Giving your money away on sucker bets is not managing your money very well. For all the reasons not to play these bets, review Nos. 7 & 8 under self discipline.
17. IF YOURE HAVING PERSONAL PROBLEMS, DONT PLAY. Remember that you dont have to play every day or every weekend. If youre having personal problems - problems with your spouse, the kids, at work, or financial problems, just take some time off. Anything that makes you operate at less than your best diminishes your chances of winning. Distractions are not allowed in sports wagering! It takes a lot of time, effort and dedication to win. If you cant give it, for whatever reason, take time off. The games will still be going on when you get back. Know when to play and when not to play. Avoiding a loser is every bit as important as picking a winner.
Now that weve covered the major points on self discipline and money management - and bear in mind that the two subjects are very closely related, lets go on to the third reason most players dont win. Poor or inadequate information.
18. Information, information, and more information - its the heart of handicapping, and its the one thing most people just dont have. Your local newspaper gives you some. USA Today gives you some. The tip sheets give you some. The problem is you have to put it all together, and you have to know which parts of it are accurate, which parts are out-dated, and which parts of it are important.
This is the area of handicapping where a professional service, such as All-Star Sports has a tremendous advantage over the average player. In todays handicapping world, with satellite feeds, computer banks full of statistics , and lines that move on rumors as well as fact, information, and the time it takes to accumulate and assess it, is the heart and soul or picking the winners. We simply have access to 100 times the information that the average player has, and since handicapping is our only business, we have the time to put it all togehter. Besides the computer and published information we have access to, we also have contacts at many colleges and pro teams. Im not suggesting that this constitutes "inside information", you already know how I feel about that - but it does provide us with good, reliable information that you probably dont have. If our source tells us that a key player has an injury, but will still play, we have a great feel for how effective hell be. We also get information on game plans - will they try to control the clock and run, or will they open it up. Team morale, rivalries, overall conditioning - all important factors in assessing a teams chances to cover or win.
Here are a few other types of information you need to handicap games:
1. Weather conditions at game time - in every part of the country. Weather is a great equalizer.
2. Instant access to line moves - and the reasons behind the move. Do you know what the game actually opened at, or do you just know what the difference is between todays line and yesterdays line?
3. Accurate injury reports. How many times have you bet a game only to find out later that one or more key players did or did not play?
4. Bench strength and depth carts. Do you know who the backup quarterbacks are for all the major college programs in the country? Do you know which ones can play well enough to still get you the win if the number one quarterback goes down during a game?
|A good professional
service has access to all this information and a whole lot more. Believe me, it makes all
the difference in the world!
And finally, a few tips on picking a Sports Service. Be aware on the front end that youre swimming with sharks. The vast majority of Sports Services only care about how much money they can get out of you and how fast. As much as we love this business, we are the first to recognize that there are many disreputable handicapping services. Follow these few tips, and you can easily avoid becoming one of their victims.
a. Get to know the Service before you spend any money. If you cant talk to them, dont play with them.
b. Stay away form Services that list only an 800 number and no address. A post office box number does not count.
c. Look for a Service that offers a low key professional approach and multiple services. Avoid high pressure sales pitches and Services that claim to have "inside information" or information on "fixed games". Avoid Services who offer "lock" games. There is no such thing.
d. Avoid Services who call you out of the blue with outrageous claims and great deals. They got your name and number from other Services who sell their lists. Unsolicited phone calls usually identify boiler room operations who are great at marketing and lousy at handicapping.
e. Avoid "consensus" lines who give out opposing picks from several handicappers. Its confusing, and you wind up with little or no information at all. Consensus plays should be on the top 2 or 3 choices among several handicappers - a true consensus.
f. Avoid "free" plays as a come on to get you involved in a program. Even the free plays on ours , and other Services comp lines arent free - you have to listen to our advertisements, and thats the price of the play.
No matter who you chose as your handicapping service, whether its All-Star Sports, or another reputable service, stay with them for at least a month. You cant judge anyone, good or bad, over a couple of days.
Sports wagering can be fun - and profitable. Just follow the rules, play smart, and you can have the edge. If you need help, or if you want to discuss any of the rules weve laid out for you in this article, just call our office at (901) 368-5577 and ask for the Rainman. Unlike a lot of other services where once they have your money you can never seem to talk to the head man, Im always available. Im here to help. Lets not kid each other...if I can help you win, youll send money to us with a smile on your face. When you win, we win. Its that simple.
If youd like more information on All-Star Sports, but youre not ready to talk to anyone, we understand. Just call our Memphis Comp Line and press 2 anytime during the greeting. That will get you information on monthly and season service and any specials we might have. When youre ready to talk, call the office at 866-357-7678 or 901-683-1500 or my cell phone at 901-461-4600 and well be glad to help. Give All-Star Sports a try - youll be glad you did.
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