Sports Handicapping Lesson #1.
Play the Correct Number of Teams

Linemaker believes you should play the correct number of teams when making selections. By making the wrong number of plays, mathematically, you could make it harder to have a winning week. The correct number of plays to make are one, five, seven, nine, eleven, fifteen and twenty-one.

Play five games and you need three winners and two losers to make a profit. This is 60 percent winners. And 60 percent winners is considered to be the standard for measuring a winning and losing season. Seven games is 4-3 or 57 percent winners. Nine games is 5-4 or 55 percent winners. Eleven games is 6-5 or 54 percent winners. Fifteen games is 8-7 or 53 percent winners and twenty-one games is 11-10 or 52.38 winners needed to make a profit.

The wrong number of plays to make is two, three or four games. Play only two games and you need 2-0 or 100 percent winners to make a profit. Play three games and you need 2-1 or 66 percent winners just to make .9 percent of a profit. Play four games and you need 3-1 or 75 percent winners to make a profit.

The theory is that you should be able to pick at least half of the games you bet on correctly or 50 percent winners just like flipping a coin for heads or tails, no matter what you do. If you play the correct number of plays Then you can go over the 50-50 mark by one game and win at 4-3 or 5-4 and so on and then win a small percentage for that week, instead of just breaking even.

Sports Handicapping Lesson #2.
Getting the Spread Record Correct.

Linemaker, the nation's outlaw line for pro sports in America, is using the opening line only to record how many games have been won or lost in the season according to the actual line placed on the games.

The opening line is the only line that is constant. That is to say this line is the same for every casino sports book. However, after the line is opened and the players start to bet at different casinos, then the line moves up and down independently of the other casinos in the sports betting business.

What this means is that by the time we get to the closing line just before game time, the line will be different in every sports book in town. In the past almost every sports handicapper in the nation has used this to his advantage. When the handicappers go to compile their winning and losing record, they are always quick to point out that at such and such casino the line was such and such, and they credit that line as a winning play. In fact anyone can have a winning season if they move the line far enough into their favor after every play.

I say that the record should be based on the opening line only. One that can not change. You either win against that line or you lose against that line for record keeping purposes. There is no moving the line around to suit your own needs. Also an important part of the spread record is to keep a personal win/loss record of your own plays. It is easy to make wagers. Sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose. It is important to always know whether you are winning or losing money for the wagers you make during that season.

There is a term in professional gambling called Going Off. What this means is that if you are on a losing streak, and losing every wager you make and for some reason you cannot pull up and stop. Keeping a win/loss record of your own plays is a good way to tell when you are losing to much. Then it is time to stop and take a break. Then regroup and try to win again later.

Sports Handicapping Lesson #3.
Playing the Parlay Cards

No matter where you play a parlay card, you have the worst of the wager. And yet it is the most popular form of betting on pro and college sports in America. It is the wager all bookies want you to make. This is because the odds of winning the parlay are greater than the amount of money paid on the winning card.

You are not getting paid the true probability of winning the wager. For instance in a ten team parlay, the odds of winning are 1,023 to 1. And the usual payout here in Las Vegas is around 800 to 1. The idea of having the odds in the house's favor is that if it takes ten chances to win an event, the house only pays you back eight chances. Every time you win, you lose. The money keeps going back and forth from you to the house as you win and lose. And in the end the house keeps a certain portion of your wagers by not paying you back the true probability of winning the event.

And top that off with the fact that if one team in the parlay loses, you lose the whole card. This makes the true odds of winning much higher. Look at the following parlay figures:

Winners                        Payoff Odds                        True Odds                        % of Payoff
2-2                                        3 for 1                                 3 to 1                                 50
3-3                                        6 for 1                                 7 to 1                                 62.5
4-4                                       11for 1                               15 to 1                                 62.5
5-5                                      20 for 1                               31 to 1                                 59.37
6-6                                      35 for 1                               63 to 1                                 53.12
7-7                                      50 for 1                             127 to 1                                 38.28
8-8                                    125 for 1                             255 to 1                                 48.43
9-9                                    300 for 1                             511 to 1                                 58.62
10-10                                 800 for 1                           1023 to 1                                 80

Sports Handicapping Lesson #4.
Play Low Total Under and Play High Total Over.

There really isn't a whole lot to this type of wager. You either bet that the final score of the game will be over or under the totals line posted on that game. If you wager over the final score of the game must go over the totals line in order for you to win and so on.

Play the lowest total on the board that week to go under, and to play the highest total on the board that week to go over.

The theory is that the oddsmakers in Las Vegas can only make the line so high or so low without tipping the play off to the public. The lowest total is on a game where no scoring if any is going to occur according to the odds. And the highest total is on the game where both teams playing have shown they can get the points onto the scoreboard. Keep a weekly record of these plays to see which one is winning and which one is losing during the entire season.

Sports Handicapping Lesson #5.
Home Team on Monday Night.

I believe on the Monday Night Game played each week that both teams playing are in the national spotlight for professional sports. The entire nation is focused onto only one game. The players know this and they try their very best to win the game and let the spotlight shine onto them for at least one week until the next game of the season. This is when Linemaker software is at its best: When the teams are really trying their hardest to win the game.

And I believe handicappers should use the overall predicted score in making their selections on the Monday Night Game. The overall predicted score has proven over the years to be the best indicator to use in selecting winners.

 The Monday Night Games theory states that you should play the home team on the Monday Night Games to cover the point spread. The same idea applies here about the teams trying harder to win in the national spotlight. And the home teams try even harder to win at home on Monday Night for obvious reasons. Like trying to impress the home town crowd. . Just keep a weekly record of this play. And bet accordingly to the results of your win/loss record.

Sports Handicapping Lesson #6.
The Defensive Power Rating

While you will almost surely use all the offensive statistics in pro football you can to aid you in selecting the winners of the games. You cannot overlook the importance of the defensive indicators in helping you predict winners also. The offense puts the points on the score board. But it is the defense that keeps the points off of the score board. If a team cannot score during the game, because its opponent has a superior defense, then that team cannot win the game.

Linemaker software uses the defensive indicators in several parts of its winning method. It uses the number of points scored on a team in pre-season to help make the initial power ratings. And it has a defensive rating to measure the true strength of each team's ability to prevent scoring by its opponents.

The defensive rating number you need to list next to each team on the schedule is the difference between the overall defensive power ratings of the two teams playing.

That is to say the number listed is the number of points one team is better on defense than another. If one team has a defensive rating number of 40, and the other team has a defensive number on its defensive rating of 32. Then the top team has a (+)8 number. That means this team is an eight point better team on defense that its opponent.

The idea for using the difference in both team's defensive ratings was started to help handicappers narrow down the plays on the schedule to find out which teams were more likely to cover the point spread that week. Make a best bet by using the overall predicted score combined with the adjusted acore, and then further combine them to the difference in the defensive power ratings. When all three matched up you have a best play.For years  I was able to give out winnings plays by using only those three indicators against the line. And I even won a contest at the Castways Handicapping Contest in 1982 by using only the defensive ratings number to make all my plays that season. In 1982 the NFL went on strike. And the regular $1,000.00 entry fee Castaways Hotel contest was cancelled. But they decided to go on with the free entry media contest. It had 125 writers from Las Vegas in it. I went 13-1 in the last week of the season and won the contest by one pick. I got $1,500.00 for first place.

The owners locked out the players in the NFL for the first half of the season. And they put together teams from other players they could get from anywhere. The result was the games played were like watching college games. Which has lead me to make this statement about pro football ever since. The players that play in the pro football are the best players available in the entire country. They are the best available. They are not playing on the team because their dad owns the team. However, inside the league we have different levels of professional football players. We have what I call A players, B players, C players and D players respectively. These different levels of professionalism is what determines who wins and who loses the games every week.

Sports Handicapping Lesson #7.
The Suspect Games
 This type of play is caused by the Las Vegas line itself. What is happening here is that the Linemaker predictions are pointing out games where the line is to low. For whatever reason the line is put out so low that it makes the sports bettor want to jump at the chance to place a wager on a game where he feels the oddsmakers have surely made a miscalculation of the true odds on that game.

Linemaker says that the line is to low on "purpose". That the line is being used to make you bet on the wrong side of the  game on purpose. First the line is lowered by the oddsmakers. Then you bet the favorite at what you think is an outstanding price. And then the game is fixed back the other way so that all the suckers that bet the false favorite lose there money.

Sports Handicapping Lesson #8.
Team One and Team Two: the what and why of this type of wager.

When you look on the records page of this web site you will see that there are two (fixed wagers) you can play every week of the season: team one and team two. What this means is that you can play the team one to cover the point spread every week of the season. Or you can play the team two not to cover the point spread every week of the season. That sounds easy enough. Just bet one team to cover, or  bet another team not to cover the point spread every week..

The purpose for this type of fixed wager is to clearly show you that you can  bet just one team all season long and make a profit for betting on the teams that season. Every week of the season you can play the team one, or you can play your own team two of your choosing. Isn't that how sports betting in America really got started? Everyone was betting their favorite team every weekend. Everyone was betting their home team every weekend. Everyone was betting only one team each week for the entire season?

And at the end of the year if the team won more games than they lost against the betting line then you would make a profit betting sports that year.

Why bet on more than one team each week? The more games you play just makes it harder for you to overcome the betting  percentage against you, and unless you play at least five, seven, nine, eleven or 21 games each week you will have the worst of the wagers no matter which teams you decide to bet on. .
Sports Handicapping Lesson #9.
Play teams not to cover the point spread on Sunday when they have played a Monday Night game the previous week.

The idea is that the pro teams that play on Monday Night lose that extra day of rest before the game played on the next Sunday, and they are more tired than the opposing team when they play the game on Sunday. And losing that extra day works against them the following Sunday when they play again.
Sports Handicapping Lesson #10.
Play teams that had a "Bye" week the week before to cover the point spread the first week they return to playing.

Because of the new schedule used in pro-football there are many weeks in the season where some teams have the week off. That is to say that the teams all have one week during ther season where they do not play that week. They get to take a week off and rest up.

Play these teams to cover the point spread the very first week that they return to play on the schedule. These teams are important to watch the very next week they play after their bye week. As the season progresses many teams are plagued by injuries. Some players are just plain tired. That week off gives the players a chance to rest and heal. And when they come back they are ready to win.
Sports Handicapping Lesson #11.
Home Field Advantage and Disadvantage

Up until the time linemaker invented the idea of a home team disadvantage in pro sports it was always agreed on that the home team in pro football was a three point advantage. Since the invention of the linemaker system this idea has not only proven to be wrong. But the home team has been shown that there was never a three point advantage ever. And all teams have a home team disadvantage from time to time during the course of a season also.

The basis for the idea of a home team disadvantage is easy to understand. How do you give a team that has never won a home game a three point advantage? Example: Carolina has played two games at home during the regular season and has lost both by five points and seven points at home. Carolina's home team disadvantage this week is -6.

Example: Washington has played three home games this season and lost all three games at home by 35, 22 and 21 points. Washington will be playing at home next week. This team's home team disadvantage is now at -26 points. If a team never wins a game at home ever then you cannot give it a three point advantage simply because the team is playing a home game.

Sports Handicapping Lesson #12.
The Revenge Theory

The revenge theory is exactly as it sounds. Teams that are out for revenge try harder to win the game than their opponents. The theory is based on teams that are beaten so bad the week before and they are humiliated by that awful loss.That they actually bounce back for revenge the following week of the season. These teams looked so bad the week before that actually they have nowhere to go but up anyway. And they can run over the team they play the following week of the season.

Sports Handicapping Lesson #13.
The Back To Back Theory

The toughest time I have ever had to prove a theory for handicapping pro-football is called the back to back theory. Every time I try to pinpoint a team that is involved in this type of activity I have had a hard time hancipping that game. And yet, I see this idea coming in time and time again throughout every football season.

One of the important points about following pro sports is: what did the team do last weekend?  Did the team win or lose and why? If a team losses the game on "purpose" and it is obvious to everyone involved in sports betting. There is a chance that same team will lose the following week as well. The theory simply stated means a team will lose the game this weekend just like it lost the game last weekend. And cover up its activities by losing again on purpose the very next week of the season. To make it look like they should of lost the last game anyway because they are playing so bad now.

My theory follows what happened the previous week of the season, but with a little twist. My theory states that a team lost the game last weekend when, in fact, the team was a big favorite to win the game. But for whatever reason the favorite got beat by the underdog.

Now comes this week. I believe that the back to back teams lose the next weekend also to back cover for losing the game the week before. It is the idea of what sticks in the public's eye about the games being played. And what the public reaction to the games are this weekend also. So the team loses again to justify it for blowing the game the week before. This is so we can all say, "Sure, they were supposed to lose this week. Look how bad they played last week too.?" 

Also the same theory applies to teams that win the week before as a big upset game, and then they win the following week again no matter who they play. This idea is difficult to call in advance, but in hindsight these types of plays can become very obvious once you know what to look for.

Sports Handicapping Lesson #14.
The Looking Ahead Game.

This theory means to say that many times a team will be looking ahead to the next week of the season, and will then lay down or play the game they are now playing in a manner so that no one player gets injured before the big game the following week. There are looking ahead games every week of the season, but they are hard to find in advance of the games played. One idea is to look for teams on the road that are playing out of their conference now, and then they must return to a home game in a battle with the team in their division that is either just ahead or just behind them in the conference standings. Teams that are looking ahead a week usually blow the game they are playing in now.

One way I see this in hindsight is when a team is winning more games than they are losing. Then they go on the road and lose one or two games in a row. As if they are trying to get you to stop betting on them. And then they come home to play in a big Thursday, Sunday or Monday Night game. And they then win the game by alot of points in front of the home crowd. And you did not bet them in those games because they just lost two games in a row.

Sports Handicapping Lesson #15.
Using Linemaker Software to Make College Football and College Basketball Power Ratings

As you can clearly see the Linemaker Software handicaps pro sports. However, you can use these programs to make the initial power ratings for college sports also. All you need to know is the following trade secret that I am going to be the first professional handicapper to publish in the United States. From then on throughout the season you will have to adjust the college power ratings by hand. It usually takes about one hour a week to do about 45 college football games and about the same time everyday to handicap the college basketball teams on the daily schedule.

This trade secret has been around for a long time. And alot of professional handicappers know the secret to making college ratings. And before I reveal this idea let me point out that I did not invent this idea. But it is the most reliable way I know of making ratings for college teams, and I have used it over the years with much success.

The idea is simple to follow. Instead of using the linemaker software to make the intial power ratings for the entire professional league. Just make the college power ratings by using the software to make them one college conference at a time. Example: Just go to the setup icon on the linemaker software directory. Call up the setup screen. And then list all the college teams for that conference. Then list the win/loss and total points against numbers for those college teams. And make the college team power ratings..

Then print out the first set of ratings. Then go back to setup. And then list the teams in the next college football conference. And so on. They are the: ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac 12, Southeastern, Western Athletic, Mountain West, Independents, Conference USA, Big East, Big West, Sunbelt and the Ivy League. There are NCAA web sites that give all of the needed data on college teams for you to use. Or you can get the statisitics in the yearly college football publications that are published each summer.

Once you have the power ratings made for each conference you will have to handicap the remainder of the football season by hand. That is, you will have to do the math yourself. But in doing this math, and with all the endless posibilities, you will be able to gain an advantage over the oddsmakers. 

Linemaker teaches everyone how to pick winners in only one method. So when everyone uses the same method they all come up with the same conclusions. Or the same plays. But in college it is different. Because no one has ever come up with the ultimate system for college. Why? Because the players in college are just kids fresh out of high school. And they play and make mistakes during the games.

You do not have to use the first three games of each team playing this season. Although you can if you like. But what if that idea is not working for the college football games this year. You could go back and use the last three games from last season? Or you could use all the games each team played last year to figure out how to make the power ratings in each conference.

But whatever method you do use you must remember that college power ratings made from last years statistics have to be adjusted after they are made the first time to compensate for all the seniors that graduated last year that were on last years teams. This is a very subjective method, and it is solely up to you on how much to change a power rating based on the total number of last year senior players that are not going to play this year.

And you can also gain one more small advantage over the oddsmakers line by adjusting the power ratings up and down using different parameters than I use in the professional ratings. There is one school of handicapping that says you should not adjust a college rating up or down more than two points after any one game. In the pro football it is up to four points maximum. And there is another school of handicapping that says you should never adjust the college ratings all year after they are made. Just use the same ratings every week. Experiment and see if you can find the golden adjustment. And take the sports betting gold to the bank every weekend

Sports Handicapping Lesson #16.
Using the Power Index for handicapping Hockey at NHL. Com

In my opinion the hardest sport to handicap is hockey. Then the next hardest is baseball followed by football and then basketball is the easiest. As you can clearly see on this web site: there is no hockey software. Despite how much I know about using statistics to rank teams in pro sports, I never figured out how to do it in hockey.

And yet, the NHL has done it for us. They have figured out a way to rank each team in the league by compiling nine different playing and skating stats to make an accurate rating of  the teams for the first time in sports handicapping in America. They call it the NHL Team Power Index. And it is very accurate.

To give you an idea of how hard it is to figure out how to handicap hockey and rank these teams, I would like to point out that the first attempt by the NHL.Com web site at using these stats failed to predict the winners with an high degree of accuracy. What happened was they only ungraded the power index ranking once a week. The  teams would play all week long. And at the end of the week the staffers who upgrade the power index would then upgrade the team rankings using the same nine sets of stats for the following week. And it was not accurate enough because these teams play everyday. And the stats and ranking need to be upgraded everyday to be completely accurate.

So  for the first time on  NHL.Com they started to make the ranking everyday of the season.  And I consider it now to be the most powerful rating for pro hockey available.

By changing from upgrading once a week to everyday of the season they are now handicapping each team's current strength. All you need to do to figure out each winning team is to use the ranking numbers side by side for each team on your handicapping sheet. The team with the lowest number is the best or stronger of the two teams.

However, as time has gone on, the hockey league has gone back to updating the power rating index only once a week again. Be sure to keep this in mind when you use it to make a selection on the pro hockey games played this season.

Sports Handicapping Lesson #17.
Starting New Power Ratings for Pro Basketball after the All-Star Break.

While handicapping pro basketball you will come to notice each season that the power ratings do not always correctly pick the games in the second half of the season. I like to divide the season in half by the All-Star break. While I will continue to use the same power ratings I have from the beginning of the season. You can start a new set at that time of the season

Just get the two stats needed to make the ratings from each team's next five games that they play after the all-star break. And then enter the data correctly onto the linemaker program and start over. Many times I have found that by starting over you get a more fresher set of ratings that better reflect the winning ability of the teams in the second half of the season. Try it and run both sets if you have the time to do it everyday. And then after a while decide which set you want to use. And then go with the set that is wining. This can confuse the oddsmaker here. Because he can only be at one place at a time. Or one line at a time.
Sports Handicapping Lesson #18.
Making Baseball Selections Using the "Streak Theory".

At the baseball web site on the standings page you will find a statistic labeled STRK. This stands for the word streak. It is a current record of the team's standings in the area of how many games in a row that team has won or lost its previous games. Look at it and you will see that some teams can win up to 10 games in a row before losing. And some teams can lose five games in a row also. Since in baseball there is no points on a game, only a price line, then every time the team wins the game it also wins the wager for you.

The best streak theory published to my knowledge used baseball for the streak theory. And it clearly showed that you can get on a team after it wins three games in a row, and ride it out until it loses, raising your wager a little more each game until the team loses.

The point of all of this information here is to show you that the baseball web site is making it easy for you to find the teams that are streaking. What you do with this info after you get it is a matter of personal preference. 

Sports Handicapping Lesson #19.
Play the totals wager Under in games where the location of the games may be in below freezing weather.

The idea is to simply look at the weather reports on Sunday mornings during the month of December. Look for games that are played in the Midwest, Northeast and East coast where the temperature is below freezing. And then play those games to go under. It is very difficult to score touchdowns when it is cold and snowing. Especially for West coast teams getting caught in the cold for the first time this year. But you must play these games this way every week in December until the end of the season to get the maximum winning percentages.
Sports Handicapping Lesson #20.
Stay away from playing teams already out of the playoff races.
The season only has a few more weeks to go, and many of the teams are already out of the playoff races. These teams may win all of the games until the end of the season. But it is certain they do not have the incentive to try and go all out to win anymore. I look for these teams to start laying down in the games especially when playing on the road in the final weeks of the season.
Sports Handicapping Lesson #21.
Stay away from playing teams in the last weeks of the season that are already guaranteed a playoff spot.

The one thing any team does not want when they are going into the playoff games in the post season play are injuries. So the teams that will be playing in the playoffs will be looking ahead to the post season games. And they will most likely not even win the last few games remaining on the schedule so that no key players are injured before they begin to play for the post season showdown.
Sports Handicapping Lesson #22.
Play teams in games where the playoff race is still undecided for that team's conference.

That is to say find the teams that are only out of the playoff race by one or two games. Use the linemaker indicators to make the correct play for these teams. The theory is that teams that still have a shot at the playoffs by one or two games will try harder to win in the last two weeks of the season.

That also goes for teams that are only ahead by one game or even tied for the playoff spot. No one wants to be the team that blew it in the last week of the season. The incentive is there for these teams to go all out in the game. And the harder the teams try to win the game the easier it is for you to predict the outcome of each game. 
Sports Handicapping Lesson #23.
Try to figure out who will win the Superbowl.

The playoffs are the sudden death overtime for all teams remaining in the run for the Superbowl. Once a team losses here it is over for them until next season. And now that the regular season is over it should be apparent which teams is actually the better teams.

Try to figure out now, at the beginning of the playoofs, which two teams you feel will wind up playing each other in the Superbowl this year. Then play those two teams all the way throughout the playoff games this year. If you are successful in handicapping those two teams now, you will win every play made during the post season games.