Winning ways to wager: The saga continues

We’ve talked repeatedly in the past about how to effectively gamble on sports, all with the intention of hopefully making us a little coin.  Of course, if I had every answer to these questions that so elude us, I’d be on a yacht somewhere in the Caribbean.  Suffice to say the proper amount of research put into a wager can pay off handsomely if you know what you’re doing.   Maybe not yacht-handsomely but at least a step in the right direction.

With sports gambling becoming legalized in more and more states, if you’re a fledgling sports fan looking to make a wager (and ideally a healthy return on said wager), you may want to learn a thing or two so that the casinos you frequent don’t add a wing in your honor.  Trust me when I tell you no cashier will ever apologize for taking your money on an ill-advised bet.

We’ve talked specifically from time to time about golf futures.  Before most tournaments, Las Vegas will release odds on each participant winning that tournament.  Generally speaking, the hotter or more familiar the player, the lower the odds you’ll find.  The colder or less unheard of the player, the higher the odds.  It’s pretty much that simple of an equation.

There are a number of different ways to wager on golf.  You don’t have to lay all your eggs in one (or several) golfers winning the tournament outright.  If you want to bet a golfer to finish in the top five, ten or twenty, you can decrease your return by expanding your room for error.  So, for example, prior to the British Open, you could have placed a wager on Brooks Koepka to win the tournament outright, which would have come back at +2000 or 20:1 or you could have also, as I suggested, bet him to finish in the top five, which would have come back at +400 or 4:1.

That makes sense, right?

Las Vegas will also reset the numbers on the final day, reconfiguring odds based on who is in the lead and which other golfers are a few shots back.  That’s not a bad way to wager if you don’t like the guy on top to hold the lead.

But there is another way to wager I found out about recently that paid off handsomely for a friend.  You guys know him as Croshere and his was a wise wager indeed.

You see, there’s a golfer on tour whose name is Louis Oosthuizen.  He’s a South African golfer currently ranked 13th in the world who’s been playing hotter than Cape Town lately.  If you watched golf’s previous two majors, you’d know that Louis was in contention the whole way.  In fact, he finished second in the US Open and tied for second in the PGA Championship.  He also finished in second place in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.  With all this happening within the last three months, it’s been quite a run for Louis.  The glass half empty fan sees Louis as a guy who’s been unable to win the big one (even though he is a Major winner, the 2010 British Open).  However, the glass half full gambler may have outsmarted the odds makers, which isn’t all that difficult if you just pay attention.

Knowing that Louis had come oh so close to winning majors, Croshere decided to add a wrinkle to his betting strategy.  Instead of taking Louis to win the tournament outright, which he also did, he found that his service offered the opportunity to take Louis to be the sole leader at the end of the opening round.  This ticket paid +3100 or 31-to-1.  Those aren’t bad numbers if you can get ‘em, especially when they pay out, which they did.

Croshere knew that, while Louis is one of the best golfers in the world, he’s also had problems closing tournaments.  He’s been able to start ‘em, just not finish ‘em.  So why not take a stab at an early, hot start?  It was wise thinking and it paid off.  Louis led wire to almost wire, atop the leaderboard Thursday, Friday and Saturday, yet fell short on Sunday.  As it turned out, a one-over final round, combined with a four-under round from the eventual champion Collin Morikawa, kept Oousthuizen in the top five but outside the top spot yet again.

We’ve talked about hunches and educated guesses until we’re blue in the face.  And it’s quite possible that Croshere got lucky with his ticket.  After all, 155 golfers teed off Thursday morning with the chance to win the Claret Jug.  Louis just happened to have an early morning tee time, before the heavy winds descended upon Royal St. George’s.  No one even came close to Louis’ six under that afternoon.  So, a pleasurable, well-researched ticket was cashed before the tournament had even ended.

Now I’m not saying every wager you make has to involve a fair amount of research, and of course it’s important to remember to always wager within your bankroll.  But it sure as hell is rewarding when you put in the work, trust a hunch (and a little bit of homework) only to see it pay off handsomely.

Of course, previous performance doesn’t necessarily translate into future outcomes… or does it?  Gamblers have been debating that fact since the first bet was wagered, however, with limited information and the inability to see the future, it might just be the best indicator we have.

Do your research, trust your hunches and don’t let your service take your money if you can avoid it.  And as always, happy wagering.

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