There are two kinds of gamblers… those who lie about their losses and those who don’t. Very few people who gamble come out ahead.

However, you can sometimes win betting on college basketball if you a both smart and lucky.

These bettors have a few things in common. Most important are a set of rules and the determination and self-discipline to stick to them. The best basketball bettor I know has made these rules for himself.

1. Draw up a contract for yourself, in writing, before you begin betting. Included in it should be the maximum amount of money you will bet on any individual game, a limit on the number of games you will bet each week, and a ceiling on the total number of games on which you will place wagers during the season. If you ever find yourself tempted to exceed the limits set in your contract, get help…you may have a gambling problem.

2. If your goal is winning, treat every wager as an individual investment decision. Research, analyze, and weigh the options.

3. It is far easier to pick a few winners than a lot of winners. Do not bet on a game unless you have done a careful analysis of it, and bet only on contests about which you feel most confident about the result.

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4. Be wary of attaching too much importance to trend data, especially if some of that data is historical, as opposed to current. How well a team has shot free throws during the last five years may not tell you much about what its percentage from the line will be this year, for instance. TV and radio analysts will sometimes give you a lot of “gee whiz” information or make statements they could not defend against the questions of a high school debater. You have to decide which information really means something in determining the outcome of each game on which you consider wagering.

5. Continue to question and analyze the method by which you select games and winners. Do you tend to select games which interest you instead of games in which choosing a winner might be easier? Too you place too much value on a team’s ability to shoot three pointers? Do you tend to favor teams from tough conferences without deeper analysis? What kinds of games have you been more likely to win?

6. Be sure to appropriately factor in the home court advantage. In no other sport is playing at home as large an advantage as it is in basketball (especially college basketball).

If you follow the six rules above, you can probably make money betting with your friends, and few things are more fun than that. Betting on the net or in the casino sportsbooks is an entirely different story.

Rob Webster enjoys making small stakes wagers on college basketball. Aside from sports, his interests and areas of expertise include online degrees, financial aid, online colleges, and college life.


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