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Betting 101 – Lesson #2

I hope your adventures in football betting are going well. I hope you’re not blindly taking favorites and laying tons of points every week. I hope you’re laying off parlays and aren’t digging too deep into your bankroll.

Remember that this is a marathon and not a sprint. No one will judge you if you decided to lay a stack of cash on the Rams as a 5-point road favorite even with the line jump because of all the parlays tied to the game. This a no judgement zone. This is a Trust Tree where we can discuss good bets and bad bets and how not to make really bad bets.


We know this isn’t going to happen with everyone. Why lie? But we need to address it. Generally speaking, no individual bet you make should be beyond about two percent of your bankroll. If you’re starting off with a bank roll of $2,000, then you should be making $40 bets. Play around with different strategies, and learn what works, so you can extend your playing time and also build your bankroll.

Slow and steady can build your bank in a hurry and you’ll be able to make bigger bets.

Remember you can start with a bigger bank roll by taking advantage of sign up bonuses at various legal online sportsbooks. Sugarhouse has a 100% deposit match bonus right now. Caesars Online Sports Book also has a hefty signup bonus for new players.


It takes discipline to do this and it’s not easy, but it will allow you to focus on trends, your own betting patterns, and to learn how the market on certain teams fluctuate. Also, minimizing your exposure will save you a lot of frustration. Smaller bets will giving you ample opportunity to track stats, learn how to pick spots, when to go contrarian and when being square is perfectly acceptable. You will develop your own betting style.

That means that when you listen to a podcast or read an article you are critically paying attention instead of just relying on other people to synthesize information for you. You become a part of the conversation and find yourself calling bullshit on some people’s reasoning while agreeing with others. Not because they confirm your biases, but because you’re along the same line of reasoning.


It’s tempting for newer players to buy picks from touts. Don’t. Some of those guys don’t publish their wins and losses and paying for someone else’s opinion on a matter where ALL of the information is already available to the public can get you into trouble. 

The long history on touts is that guys who worked the horse racing circuit would sell customers their best bets on an individual basis. That way they could tell each person that a different horse would win and they could then claim that they gave out winners.

A lot of modern-day touts position themselves as the equivalent of financial advisors or money managers a-la stock pickers, stock brokers, or portfolio managers. They sell their picks with very little accountability or long-term records available. Some of them do have proprietary spread sheets and betting models that they put together, but they keep a lot of that secret. Because if everyone followed the same model then edges would not exist.

Trust yourself to make your own picks and if you’re on Twitter following some guys (like me @SeanNeumann) who bet and also write gambling columns and appear on podcasts, you can easily find them publicly making their picks and they do it free of charge. I am not saying to tail every pod cast host. I am saying that there are people who are popular for a reason and it’s not because they come at you saying that they will guarantee wins with no real guarantee.


Don’t be afraid to look at everything. Experiment. Look at everything from a team’s road record to injury reports to weather reports. Anything that can have an effect on the game is open season for you. As you go along you’ll prioritize what’s important and what isn’t.

You need to gather information from everywhere. Go find the sites that link you to local coverage of each team. You can find the locker room gossip that may betray a team’s attitude coming into a week. Then you’ll know whether or not they are demoralized by some bonehead play or outcome the week before. Or learn if they are embarrassed and pissed off and hungry to shove it back in everyone’s face. Local coverage will tell you about lineup and roster changes, the mood of a team, and whether or not the coach has lost the players.

Also, continue to do deep dives on stats that cover things like situational opportunities. How does a team handle clock management? Are they efficient in the red zone? How many of their drives result in scoring opportunities? If you’re catching my drift then you know that it’s really about studying each team and each potential play as if you have money riding on it, because essentially you do.

Follow Sean on Twitter @SeanNeumann

See Sean Neumann’s NFL picks each week at

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