Bettnbear is my street handle. You never use your actual name in the betting world. I am a tax accountant by profession so numbers come easy for me. How did I get started in the handicapping business? Let me tell you the interesting story. I did learn the hard way.
After I got divorced I moved to Carson City, NV. It is a small town, about 35 miles south of Reno, with lots of casinos. It is the state capital of Nevada, so you have a lot of money coming through there.
I have always played Keno and a few tables, but never bet in a sports book. Carson City has lots of sports books. Even the smallest casino has a line you can bet on. Very profitable for them.
Football has always been my favorite sport so I figure I will make a few bets and maybe win a buck or two. Well folks that did not happen. I lost my ass. I thought I knew football and I did, but I did not understand that betting is about point spreads and not football teams. ( Very important lesson in football betting ).
After the first full football season cleaned out my piggy bank, I thought to myself, there has to be a better way. So I started to chart some statistics on the teams. Now remember, 27 years ago there was no internet, and the only stats you had were from the Monday morning paper. Football was not the game it is today so information was very sketchy at best.
We did have the Las Vegas Gold Sheets and Harrahs’ Casino always had a weekly recap of good betting ideas. They would give out free football information hoping to help their customers. Bill Harrah was a real gentleman and always did right for his customers. People always thought he wanted the customers to win and he did, but the odds are always against the players and football pools are no different. So he could be the nicest guy in the world, but he still got your money.
Well, the next football season I started to chart numbers and as the season progressed, I started to minimize my losses. I made up an extensive Excel Program charting all of the football teams and their numbers. That year I did lose, but not very much. My handicapping knowledge was growing.
In the second year of charting numbers I started to win my games. Not all of course, but I did make some money so I expanded my football program.
My third year of handicapping was very profitable so I would give my picks to friends so they could win. My girlfriend thought I was the dumbest dude on earth for giving the picks away for free. After a few weeks she talked me into selling them. Now I was a professional handicapper.
The 1990’s was a great time to bet. We had dominating teams that almost always won. The secret was how do you handle the point spreads. My Excel Sheets guided me on which ones to bet and we did very, very well. My percentage of wins was always in the low to mid 70’s percentage. The dominating teams were what we bet on and if you can find them with some low point spreads, you couldn’t miss. It was a no brainer time for handicappers.
The internet was coming into full swing in the 90’s so I set up a web site selling my picks and then I sold statistics. As long as I was winning, the customers kept coming back. My Excel program listed over 3,200 stats so I was loaded with information to base my picks on.
Then the bomb hit the handicapping business. Pro Football changed to free agency and they instituted a player’s salary cap on each team. What they wanted to do is level the playing field for all teams. Some had a lot more money than others so they could buy the best players. At the same time free agency gave the players the right to switch teams so players could improve their financial situations.
Even though it hurt the handicapping business it was a good overall move for football. Now all teams have a chance to win, not just the dominating few. If you look at the year end win / loss records for the past few years, you can see it did accomplish what it was meant to do.
Pro Football has changed so much in the past 10 years. The money is getting bigger so the pressure to win is getting bigger. They do not play football the way they used to. It used to be a rockem and sockem type of sport. Now it has become a cat and mouse game on the approach to winning. Sure the game is played at the highest level ever and the hits are devastating, but the game plans are not the same. Coaches know they can lose 3 – 4 games and still make the playoffs. They can rest their players when they play a weak team and save them for the big games.
This really hurts a handicapper in their picks. A team should win by 14 and they barely win by 3. Why? The good teams are not pumped up for the game while the underdog is all fired up. Many good teams lose because they are thinking about next week’s game against their big opponent.
Another cat and mouse strategy is the prevent defense or back door cover. With a 7 point lead and 2 - 3 minutes remaining, teams play a soft defense and let the other team complete short passes to take time off the clock. If the other team gets lucky they can score real quick then the lead and point spread is long gone. I lose about 23% of my games this way and there is not a damn thing I can do.
I had back surgery last year in the middle of football season. I was going to lose several weeks of stat preparation so I had a problem. I laid in the hospital with nothing to do but feel sorry for myself, so I really gave the handicapping business some serious thought.
I know stats are very important in picking teams. But because football has changed so much I needed another system to make my picks. So after days of agonizing thoughts, I came up with a great plan to make picks. Stats and ------------------? I used the new system for the balance of the season and did about 67% winners. It was too little too late, but I made the change and here we are today. Did I make the right changes? Only time will tell.