Casual Gambler’s Guide

With the football season upon us, there will be a significant uptick in gambling especially by the casual fan. Here’s a short guide to gambling do’s and don’ts.

Big Board Las Vegas
Image Courtesy: (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

With the football season upon us, there will be a significant uptick in gambling especially by the casual fan. Here’s a short guide to gambling do’s and don’ts.


Every true sports gambler will tell you Vegas’ sportsbook live on the weekend guy who comes in there with a short bankroll so he’s trying to get bang for his buck. Ladies and Gentlemen, that’s what the parlay was made for. It’s the Used Car lot of gambling. It’s is your stereotypical “you too can have a top model Mercedes despite your average salary and below average credit score just like the big time guy over there”.

Most deep pocket gamblers stay far away from parlays mainly because it’s hard enough to get one game right, nevertheless, try to get 4+ games correct knowing that one wrong means you lose the bet in its entirety.

The worst thing that can happen is hitting an early season parlay and watching the casual gambler give it all back plus more thinking that they can do it every week instead of accepting that their win was a statistical anomaly.

Statistical Data

The internet is great for providing tons of statistical data but do you know how to use it? That’s the million dollar question when casual gamblers start rambling off numbers. The first thing I will ask if “which of the statistical categories do you emphasize and what’s the impact not only on a team winning but a team covering the spread”? That’s usually met with a confused look.

If you want to use statistical data not only do you need to know how it impacts a team’s chances of covering but you have to identify which data category has the most impact. That’s not going to be the same for each team. It’s also not going to be the same for college football and the NFL.

Spouting off numbers might sound good to your buddies but doesn’t do much for you at the window unless you know how to use them.

Don’t Be Afraid of Teaming

It’s nice to try and come off to your buddies as a “know it all” but it’s extremely difficult to bet the entire country especially in college football. Some gamblers have formed teams where each of their members focuses on a conference or two from a gambling perspective and then they exchange notes finding the games that give them the best chance of getting a return on their investment.

What tends to happen when the casual gambler bets the entire country, they will bet on teams that they’ve spent 5 minutes of research on or try to get a huge payoff by better a heavy underdog on the moneyline because they are enticed by the potential payoff, which by the way, they’re never going to get.

This is where the Internet is your friend. There are plenty of websites and individuals that focus on a single conference. Read their articles and get a feel for a team or a conference. Most of those sites can give more in depth analysis than the big news outlet websites because of their singular concentration on coverage.

Take Heed to the Old Adage: Bet with Your Head not Above It

If you’re a casual gambler remember at the end of the day it should be fun. As we have found from the investigation into sites like DraftKings and Fan Duel, there is information that casual gambler, even with the Internet at their fingertips, doesn’t have that the insiders do have. It’s why there is a very low percentage of true, big time winners.

Like anything else, there is a bit of “luck” when it comes to gambling but the skill component is much higher than people want to believe, despite the fact that numbers show it to be true.

Take fun in having a high percentage of wins over the course of the season (60%+ is extremely good). Don’t focus on the dollar amount. Even if you only bet $1 a game, it is cool to see how good you can be and heck, you can even start thinking about starting your own blog where people can see your awesomeness!

Marcus “Mook” Washington is the host of Making The Cut.

Follow Mook on Twitter: @mtcwithmook and IG: MTCWithMook

About Marcus Washington 149 Articles
Born and raised in the DMV, Marcus Washington is a former high school basketball coach and currently a member of the USBWA and FWAA.

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