Pythagorean Theorem…Money Management using The Kelly Criterion…The REAL value of buying a 1/2 point in the NFL when the total is below X…You know what that sounds like to the average bettor?

If you have multiple outs, only bet MLB into dime lines, scalp, use bots or can understand more than half of what Sports Cheetah or Bryan Leonard are talking about this article is not for you. If you have a 9-5, like to bet $20-$50 on a game, have used the same local or sportsbook your whole life and like to bet teams and not numbers, this is for you. Will the read below turn your betting into a profession or require you to call the accountant for all the money you will make this football season? Nope. You will still need to go to work on Monday morning and odds are you will still lose at the end of the year (there is a reason you have had the same bookie forever and he smiles when he sees you). BUT, I can guarantee it will do at least one of the following:

-Give you a BETTER chance to break even, win a little or not lose as much.

-It will make betting football more enjoyable.

-Get you to follow me on Twitter (most important of the three)

I only did a once over on grammar and spelling since I am not trying to win any journalism awards, so all you English majors might want someone to give you a cliff notes version. I have booked (worked under the famous Joe “Detroit Joe” Monro and alongside Bobby “Bookie Bob” Liggs“. I did an impromptu interview with Joe one night at dinner. You can listen to the full version here). I have bet almost my entire life. I have sold picks and owned pick selling sites. I have had dinners and partied with “old school” and “new school” bookmakers. Below you will find my personal thoughts and opinions from being involved with the world of sports gambling since I made my first $10 bet on a pay-phone with “Bookstore Eddie” 30 years ago.

Some of the Dos:

Pick a non-Power Five conference or handful of smaller schools and become a mini-expert: Beat-writersA good place to find a list of writers that covers teams is over at SPORTSMANIAS. Everything from NFL to International Soccer is covered here. For example, Team Feeds>NCAAF>Alabama-Birmingham Blazers (example)>Click the Twitter names and either follow them direct or add them to a list made for that team or conference. These guys and gals are at practices and warm ups and from breaking injuries to roster changes, they will have it before ANY major media outlet and for the smaller schools maybe the only ones really reporting it. I have been to the office of the paid lines service all the books use for injuries and updates and they have paid employees doing nothing but monitoring Twitter all day. A few years back (want to say Tulane) their stud QB was supposed to be sitting out. I happened to follow their beat writers on Twitter and saw a tweet that he was dressed and throwing passes and he ended up playing (the line was based on his bum backup playing and they ended up covering the game). Follow the degens, check out places like RIVALS and bookmark all the team forums. These are the die hard fans and I have seen everything from reports of fist fights at practice to a guy trying to bang another players girlfriend (swear to god). The flow once at the site is RIVALS>Teams>Sun Belt (example)>Arkansas State>Forums>There is a pay and free (if you REALLY want to follow a team consider paying for the premium access).

Las Vegas Stories with Vegas Frank

Direct from Las Vegas, WagerTalk TV host Marco D’Angelo (@MarcoInVegas) talks with special guest Professional Gambler “Vegas Frank” about living in Las Vegas since the beginning of Sin City to today along with some interesting tales of that lifestyle.

Free education and information: There are tons of videos and forums out there with some really smart people that share great information. For example, the video library at WagerTalk TV has everything from how to bet season totals to tips on live wagering. One of my favorite old school reads is a discussion back and forth over at MajorWager (here is the link).  Even though I am a big fan of paid lines such as Don Best , there are tons of great FREE live lines options for those on smaller betting budgets. For example, (shameless plug) the WagerTalk Live Lines is actually powered by our friends over at Don Best with a slight delay. Watch sharp books like Pinnacle and do they have a consensus number or they almost asking for action on a certain side? This is better over a coin flip on the side or total to take.

Meet the Bookie: Former Pinnacle Oddsmaker Mark Herberholz

Direct from Las Vegas, WagerTalk TV host Marco D’Angelo (@MarcoInVegas) and special guest former #1 ranked Magic: The Gathering player & Pinnacle oddsmaker Mark Herberholz (@herberheezy) talk the world of Magic and offshore gambling.

Bonus whore: Leading into football season the books offshore offer tons of deal and offers to get your business. Spread your bankroll around and get as much free shit as you can! Use a place like Sportsbook Review as a good reference point and focus on the books with the higher grades. Playing with a local? Do not be afraid to say you want 10% rebate on losses, free plays, dime lines in baseball, etc. I have seen the backend for these PPH places and all the above is possible. They also will almost always have the ability to give you a sharp or square feed and both have their benefits. If you tend to bet dogs, getting the square feed will almost always get you better lines on the dog, while since sharps tend to pick off value on dogs, getting the sharp feed will usually get you better value on your favorite and/or over bets.

Have fun: Unless you are moving money for a betting syndicates or monitoring 100’s of outs and taking advantages of bad lines, put aside some money for fun. Start the week with a $20 bet and double each win. Spend $10 a week on a crazy parlay. Pluck down $100 for your local team to win the Super Bowl to start the season (yes, even if you are a Detroit Lions homer like me). Want to have some real fun? Get a few friends together and enter the famous Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook NFL SuperContest. Entry fee is $1,500 and contestants pick 5 pro games against the contest spread each week. Five friends, one pick per week and a full season of degen fun for only $300 each! Last season there were 1,854 contestants vying for a share of $2,578,520 and the winner was a guy slanging coffee at Starbucks who took home $895,482. Interesting side note is in 2004 we tied for first and took home $131,520 (dreams do come true). Our team was and in 2004 there were only 411 total entires (link to contest history: The only thing that sucks is you have to enter the picks in person, but what does not suck is you can use a proxy and they can represent you and enter the picks for you. My friend Kelly in Vegas runs a proxy service (plus she is pretty damn hot) if you are looking to enter. You can get more details at her web site and make sure to tell her Johnny Detroit said “what’s up”…

Some of  the Don’ts:

Fading the public: Look, I love seeing the public betting percentages just as much as the next guy and do think it can be used when trying to breakdown a game (team goes from +4 to +3 but 75% of the public is on the favorite). But there are a few things that are not debatable and you need to make sure to understand. First, ignore most of these numbers up until closer to game-time. Joe Public is not betting his games when he wakes up. Second, realize almost all of the %’s you see are overall tickets and not money. Plus, the ones that do a consensus % are getting only a percentage from some books and no ticket count and some give both the ticket count and percentage. Problem? Well, if book A is 10x the size of book B and book A is at 75% one way and book B is at 50%, saying the % is 62.5% is not 100% accurate. Now the most important one,  -110 vs -100. The constant theory I hear is fading the public and being on the side of the bookmaker. Uh, not really. Why? Well, the bookie is collecting $110 on a $100 public losing bet and you are collecting $100 on that same bet. On the flip side? The book loses and the public wins they are paying out $100 to the winning $100 bet and you are paying out $110.

Trends: I tweet out tons of trends, but does that mean you should be betting them blind? Of course not. 90+% of trends that sound amazing are still a coin flip going into that next game. Rule changes, different coaches and players, etc are all things that make most trends useless. That being said I love them because they are great bar chatter and always interesting to work into a conversation about a certain game. If you want to nerd out and look up billions of betting scenarios we have a free tool you can use.


Buying daily picks with a small bankroll: I know the forever ongoing debate on whether to buy picks or not. There are a few things I do know. Back before they went crazy on pricing and everyone knew about them and making it impossible to get their numbers, the most money I ever made betting was playing RAS college basketball totals when released and betting it back with another out after it moved 3-4 points (which it did on almost every release.) I was at Pregame and now work at WagerTalk, so Stevie Wonder can see my side of this fight on whether to buy picks or not. So if I work with places that sell picks, why is this on the Don’ts? First, if you are a small bettor and you pay $20 for a pick to bet $50, stop. Like now. Second, if your handicapper has some type of Game of the Year or Game of the Month on a daily basis, run away. Like now. Do your research. If you have the bankroll and ready to make an educated choice go longer term. Wait for a deal. Shit, email the handicapper or site and tell them what you are willing to pay or you want a deal. A year at WagerTalk is $1599 retail. Using a promo code like DUMMIES50 (another shameless promotion) will make any yearly access only $799.50. Do the math, say a handicapper has plays daily (for sake of argument and to make my math easy) that is 365 x $20 or $7300 (saves $6500, or a shit ton of bets).

College Football Handicapping Tips & Predictions

Marco D’Angelo, Sports Cheetah and Johnny Detroit break down some tips and predictions for handicapping college football.

Bottom line is that Calvin Ayre did not become a billionaire owning Bodog because this (being a sports bettor) is easy or reading a few books will change your life. Fact is 99% of the people reading this will never bet for a living or ever win something like the NFL SuperContest. You know what? Who cares! When you think you CAN do it for a living or change your life is when you get in trouble and bet more than you should and lose everything. Make it fun. Put aside what you can afford. If following a beat writer for a small school gets you a line before it moves and makes you a score, sweet… You and four friends put in $300 and you get the excitement of coming up with your 5 picks each week for the SuperContest over 16 weeks, that seems like a worthy expense (plus, you never know you can be that 1% like I was or finish down the food chain and still hit a score (there was a 6-way tie for 3rd all collecting $116,119.45 last year).  That being said, my hand is getting sore from typing, but you can always stay on top of betting tips and other gambling information by following me on Twitter or emailing me direct at

Good luck this football season!

-Johnny Detroit

? WagerTalk Text Club (100% Free): Just text WAGERTALK to 33222 to get a $10.00 coupon for signing up (plus free picks and other special offers)!




Johnny Detroit

Professional sports handicapper and gambler that has been involved with sports betting for 15+ years.

Johnny Detroit has 792 posts and counting. See all posts by Johnny Detroit

Johnny Detroit

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