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Non-Team-Based Sports Betting Strategy

by February 16, 2020

Some of the most popular sports to bet on are the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and even NCAAF and NCAAB. One thing that all these sports have in common is that they are team-based sports. While there is an abundance of player props available for these games, one is betting a particular team versus another team when it comes to the point spread, over/under, or money line. 

Non-team-based sports like tennis, golf, or NASCAR offer a variety of betting options as well. This article will examine how wagering on individual-driven sporting events differ from team-based competitions. In addition, strategies will be offered on how to make a profit on non-team-based wagering.

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Differences in Money Lines

Whether one is betting on a team-based sport or an individual sport, a bet common to both is the money line. Team-based sports rely on a bunch of different players working in unison to achieve great results. In a football game, 22 players (11 on both offense and defense) are responsible for the game’s outcome. With basketball, as many as 10-12 players per team are rotated throughout. In baseball, a bad performance by a starting pitcher can quickly ruin a bet. In a non-team-based sport, money lines are often offered on head-to-head matchups. Thus, it makes the contest easier to handicap in theory, as there are not as many variables to account for.

However, the odds for money lines in individual sports can often be egregious. For example, a typical “pricey” money line in a baseball game (ex. Yankees vs. Orioles) could be anywhere from -300 to -400. However, in a tennis match featuring a player like Roger Federer against a player ranked in the 100s, the money line could be anywhere from -3000 to -8000. 

Oddsmakers think that in a team-based sport, the best teams often lose a large percentage of games. In baseball, you are glorified if you go 100-62. In the NFL, just six teams had a winning percentage of .750 or better. 

Although some money lines are pricier in individual sports, one can always find odds that are more manageable in matchups that are considered more even. Golf and NASCAR find more creative ways to offer money lines. In golf, money lines are offered between golfers for an individual round or for a whole tournament. For example, one could bet if Tiger Woods would have a better score in round one of a tournament than Dustin Johnson. In addition, you could bet which golfer would perform better for the entire tournament. Similarly, NASCAR would offer head-to-head bets of which driver would have better race results. Usually, these money lines are not too expensive since oddsmakers try to pair up individuals of equal ability.

Finding Value in Futures Bets

In placing an early futures bet for an NBA, MLB, NFL, or NHL team to win a championship, one must endure an entire season of games before learning their result. During that time, injuries could happen to star players, or front offices might give up on a season and trade away key assets. In individual sports, futures bets are much more immediate. For example, if one were to place a bet on a golfer to win the Masters, that is a wager on four days worth of golf. For Grand Slams in tennis, players have to win just seven matches. In NASCAR, a futures bet is wagered on one race. Thus, the odds still tend to be favorable and there are much less variables involved as opposed to team sports. 

Trends Are More Reliable in Non-Team-Based Sports

How many times have you heard an NFL trend that says “Team A has won nine of their last 11 games against Team B”? Trends like these leave me scratching my head at times. Some of these trends date back to completely different rosters or coaching staffs. NBA teams from different conferences play each other just twice a year. A game played between those teams five years ago might have less than 25% of the same players currently on the roster.

When it comes to non-team-based sports, the trends are much more reliable. In tennis, one can research the head-to-head records between opponents. As matches are played on a number of surfaces, one can determine the validity of the trend given the circumstance. In golf betting, one can track a golfer’s performance on certain courses. They can do research on a golfer’s likelihood to start a tournament strong or fade late. Race results on certain tracks are easy to find in NASCAR. Since an individual does not rely on anyone but themselves, the data of their past performances are more reliable than those of teams from year-to-year.

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Mike Spector is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @MikeSpector01.

Betting 101, Betting Tips, Strategy