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How Legalization Should Improvise Your Betting Strategy

The legalization of sports betting has been spreading through a number of U.S. states in recent years. Not only does this reduce the legal consequences of sports gambling, but it also completely transforms betting strategy in general.

While it’s still a challenge to be consistently profitable (some things will never change…), more betting options means more competition amongst sportsbooks, and in turn more advantages for gamblers.

In this article, I’ll explain 5 ways your betting strategy should change as a result of legalized sports betting. Even if it’s not legal in your state yet, this should help you prepare for the inevitable future.

1. Line Shopping Is Easier Than Ever

When betting on sports was illegal in most states, it’s unlikely that bettors had more than one or two places that they could make a wager.

That means when a line came out, you were pretty much stuck with it.

Unless you wanted to take all afternoon looking for another sportsbook to give you that extra half-point on that night’s underdog.

There are more than enough sports betting platforms that there’s no longer an excuse to neglect line shopping. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, line shopping is pretty much what it sounds like: browsing different sportsbooks to find the best line for the bet you’re hoping to make.

You might be skeptical of the idea that a half-point here or a point there is really going to have an impact on your overall bankroll at the end of the day, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Consider the moneyline for example:
If you frequently bet utilizing the moneyline, you’ll start to realize that even a few minor differences in the odds can quickly add up.

When anyone tries to discourage the idea of line shopping, I would simply remind them that if you were going to make a purchase online and the pair of shoes was $100 on one site and $110 on a different site, chances are good that you’d go with the cheaper option.

Especially when you consider that you make a bet on sports at a lot higher frequency than you purchase shoes (probably).

The ability to efficiently line shop is one of the most significant benefits legalization provides to bettors. Don’t be the one who writes it off as something that you can afford to ignore.

2. Bonuses Are Everywhere

As most consumers know, when businesses compete for your attention, you win! This applies to online sports betting platforms via bonuses that can be worth hundreds of dollars if you’re able to make the most of them.

If you’ve ever logged onto a sportsbook there’s a good chance you’ve seen numerous messages promoting bonuses of all types. Personally, I was a little bit skeptical at first, but quickly learned that I had been missing out on what essentially amounts to free money by not taking advantage of these offers.

Most online sportsbooks will offer you these bonuses in the form of “free play.” I know it sounds like there should be some strings attached to such a phrase, but it’s really just that simple. However, it should be noted that “free play” does not necessarily mean “free money”….or does it?

Here’s how it works when utilizing free play:
If you have $100 in free play and you bet that $100 at even odds and win, you’d now have $10 of actual money that you could cash out. This is different than if you bet $100 of your own money on a game, in which case you’d had $200 to cash out. Still, in the case of free play, there’s literally no risk, so it’s hard to complain.

Now here’s the trick (keep in mind that I know it works at the sports betting platforms I’ve used, but I can’t confirm if it works for all sports betting platforms). If you want to get the full $100, you can ignore this idea and move on – however, if you want to get a guaranteed $50 (or so) of cold hard cash that you can use to bet or cash out, this is what you should do – it’s so simple you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.

Find a game that has close to +100 odds:
Meaning you can win about the same amount as you risk. Take your $100 of free play (or however much free play money you have) and bet half on either side of the same play. It’s not that exciting, but it’s a guaranteed way you turn that free play money into real money, and for most bettors, that’s good enough.

It’s understandable that some bettors prefer to play things a little more straight up, but when it comes to sports betting, my philosophy is ‘get it however you can.’ The next time you log on to a new platform that offers you some free play, give this strategy a shot!

3. The Conversation Has Gone Mainstream

As sports gambling has become increasingly less and less taboo, it has been completely embraced by sports media, and even the leagues themselves. Just 10 years ago it’s hard to imagine seeing odds under every single game matchup preview, but now there are a handful of shows that only talk sports betting on a range of different networks.

Even the leagues themselves have decided to get on board with the movement.

DraftKings and FanDuel, two daily fantasy sports companies that dabble in traditional sports betting (mostly FanDuel), have become major sponsors and it’s hard to watch any sporting event without hearing one of these two names mentioned.

So how does the availability of information have anything to do with your own personal betting strategy?

The answer is:
You need to be paying at least some attention to the conversation. Of course, I would never advocate anyone just follow “experts” blindly – most of the time they’re no better than you are at predicting games.

With that being said, there are a select few who deserve your attention. At the very least you should hear them out. You never know when someone will make a point you hadn’t considered which changes your mind on which way to bet.

4. The Stakes Are Higher Than Ever

Any time big businesses take ahold of something which was previously happening underground, the stakes get raised. It’s important to recognize that big gaming companies are out to make a profit, and will do whatever they have to in order to make it happen.

My overall point here:
In terms of how this should change your betting strategy is simply to say that you need to be wary of betting with the public.

Yes, I know that’s not new information, but when the volume of action is so significant, you can rest-assured sportsbooks aren’t just going to take a bath on a regular basis. Being on the side of the sportsbook’s profitability is usually going to have better results than the alternative.

Though I don’t have the exact specifics on-hand
I doubt anyone would argue the sentiment that when a huge percentage of the public’s money is on one side of a bet (let’s say, 70% of more), it’s almost always going to wind up going in favor of the house. Simply, they have more at stake, and more resources at their disposal to make sure they don’t bleed money from a huge public-money win.

Even if you’ve always subscribed to the “fade the public” theory, it’s most important now than ever.


In many ways, legalization has ushered in a new age of sports betting. It’s not just accessibility that’s changing, but rather the very nature of what it means to be a sports bettor itself.

For those looking to get involved with it for the first time, there’s never been an era that provides you with such an opportunity to capitalize on sports knowledge.

As long as you put in the time and do your research, including taking advantage of the options available to you, there’s no reason you can’t turn sports betting into a nice side hustle.

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