Don’t Believe the Hype

By Loot, Sports Handicapper,

Sports Betting Advice: Don’t Believe the Hype

For fans, there really is no downside to being taken in with hype. They might not have the most elevated understanding of sports, but who cares? When we step into the world of sports betting, however, we begin to see how important it is to be independent thinkers. That means not having our analysis poisoned by the hype machine.

As a sports fan or anyone who follows sports for any reason, you will hear a lot of voices. You hear the folks on TV talking about sports. A couple guys at your office talk sports. You and your pops may talk sports. Then you have all the people on the Internet with their opinions and the guys you listen to on the radio on your way to work or the store. It’s a lot of input and it can be hard to sift through the junk to find the few nuggets of info that can actually help you in the world of sports-betting.

We need to know how to categorize the voices. And when the voices are on ESPN, the radio, the tavern, or the water cooler at your place of employment–you can be sure of one thing. They are not winning bettors! Lou Holtz and Mark May probably wouldn’t even know how to lay a bet. The guy at your water cooler would probably lose to a monkey betting blind in a handicapping contest. And that know-it-all you hear on the radio is no more of a handicapping whiz than you’re a tuba player for the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra.


Put yourself in the shoes of the commentators or the pontificators you see and hear on TV or the radio. They’re trying to generate listenership and viewers. They want to talk about things that are of interest to the general sports fan. That’s fine and dandy. But that’s not really what we’re looking for, is it?

We want stuff that is going to get us closer to covering wagers. That’s a whole different ball of wax than what governs the thoughts and interests of casual sports fans and non-bettors. And even if they’re trying to cater to the sports-bettor, like when Chris Berman does his Swami routine on ESPN, it’s not terribly elevated. Chris Berman is a legend at what he does, but his profile does not include the title “winning sports bettor.” Those are the people we want to be listening to, if we’re actually relying on anyone but ourself.

It’s hard for even savvy and experienced sports bettors to not fall under the spell of hype. If you hear something enough times, you might start to believe it. That’s a bad slippery slope to go down. First, there’s the issue of if it’s even true. And even if it is, the value is probably terrible. Take the 2012-2013 Lakers, for example. All you heard in the offseason was how they got Steve Nash and Dwight Howard. The Lakers are sometimes an over-hyped team anyway, with their glorious history and major market placement. If you bet on them during the 2012-2013 regular season, you found how awful an affect hype can have.

When something is hyped up to a certain extent, it’s bound to lose its value. Everyone, including the casual betting man, is subscribing to a certain belief. The bookie knows it can jerk with these people and set the lines extra-high, knowing the public will eat it up regardless. So where do we want to fall into this equation? Betting with the hype means we are likely getting poor value, in addition to being on the same side as the public–a group not known for their sports-betting prowess, to say the least.

This doesn’t mean we want to develop a knee-jerk aversion to hype. Don’t just start betting on the side you think gets the least hype because that probably won’t work. We just want to make sure that our overall analysis and how we apply it to sports-wagering isn’t poisoned by the element of hype. We also want to be aware of when hype is contributing to the creation of a certain line or point-spread. Then we want to rely on our organically-created insight to form better wagers. Hype can cover the spread sometimes, so we don’t want to get carried away with trying to make our observations so original. We just don’t to let hype cloud our vision.

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