A tip and some advice for new sports bettors

Published 10:00 pm Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Llllleettt’s get ready to gammmbllllleeee!!!

Sports betting is now legal in Mississippi, and Vicksburg has sports books open at RiverWalk, WaterView and Ameristar casinos. It’s a moment everyone except the neighborhood bookies have been waiting a long time for.

People always like to think we sports writers have some magical inside information that will help them get an edge. The sad truth is, most of us are just like you — well-educated fans. We can take good guesses and put some knowledge to work, but even a great picker of games is doing well to go 6-for-10.

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With that in mind, I’m not going to offer many gambling tips. It’d be a waste of all of our time, and I really don’t need readers forming angry mobs in the parking lot because I cost them more than the 50 cents they paid for worthless opinions. You can get those on my 1-900 line. Coming soon.

I will, however, give you a few pointers and one statistical trend that I do follow:

4One of the best bets this or any other season, believe it or not, is picking against Alabama — but only in certain games.

Since the start of the 2011 season, the Crimson Tide are 5-15-1 against the point spread when favored by 30 or more against non-Power 5 conference teams, and 2-11-1 when the spread climbs to at least 39 points.

Alabama is favored by 36 ½ against the Sun Belt Conference’s Arkansas State this weekend, and also faces Louisiana-Lafayette on Sept. 29 and The Citadel on Nov. 17, so circle those on your calendar.

4When it comes to the NFL, there are generally four very good teams and four very bad teams in a given season. With everybody else it’s a coin flip between 6-10 and 10-6. Nearly half of all NFL games in the last 20 years have been decided by seven points or less.

That said, betting on whoever is playing the Browns will usually put the “money” in “money line.”

4Finally, always keep in mind two time-tested truths.

Bet with your head, not with your heart. You might want to lay money on Ole Miss or the Saints, but it’s not smart to do when they’re in the middle of a 2-10 season.

And bet with your head, not over it. Never gamble more than you can afford to lose, have some sort of a budget and take the long view. Losing some money in Week 1 hurts, but don’t chase after it. It’s a long season and there are plenty of opportunities to lose more in the weeks to come.

Ernest Bowker is the sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at ernest.bowker@vicksburgpost.com

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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