Whether you’re talking about sports betting, playing basketball, or a litany of other activities, an age-old debate rages on. Is it better to be a jack-of-all-trades or a specialist?
Both archetypes are celebrated in their own ways in various fields. The specialist is often rigid, obsessed, and unable to adapt to new and different challenges. The well-rounded participant is typically adequate at all activities, yet can’t hit the high marks of the specialist in their specialized field.
In many ways, this applies to sports gambling as well. Some handicappers choose to focus on one league at a time, while others take advantage of the full slate of action on any given day. Betting on multiple sports offers bettors the ability to be pickier when making their selections, only wagering on the contests that fit their systems ideally.
On the other hand, the gamblers that choose to specialize have more time to dedicate to their league of choice. This gives them a more profound wealth of knowledge concerning the matchups in that particular game and may allow them to develop more complex models and systems.
In this article, we’ll look at several of the pros and cons of betting multiple sports. Including those mentioned above, there are plenty of reasons a handicapper would want to take either approach. As always, the right decision usually depends on the individual.
I prefer to multitask, but admit that there are times when I’ve got too much on my plate to give every contest the time it deserves. Let’s look at some of the benefits and setbacks associated with gambling on numerous sports.
Pros of Betting Multiple Sports
Gambling All Year
One of my main reasons for being a proponent of betting on multiple sports at the same time is that it gives me year-round gambling coverage! Most of the leagues overlap in some way, so as one is winding down, another is starting back up. I wouldn’t want to bet baseball exclusively, then when it ends in November have to jump into the NBA or NFL seasons midway through.
I like that just as I’m getting into the swing of things with one sport, another ends, and one more league begins warming up. Just as the MLB season is peaking, the NFL starts. Right around the time that I’m finding my rhythm and gaining an edge with football betting, baseball ends right around the same week the NBA tips off. Football ends in February, the NBA takes us into May, and Spring Training is back for baseball.
Another obvious reason that gambling on more than one sport at a time is the pure volume of games and the additional opportunity they bring. For the majority of the year, handicappers that diversify their bets have a broader range of choices from which to pick from.
If you have betting systems for all of the sports that you bet, as you should, this increase in options can be a major deal; which brings me to my next “pro.”
Can Wait for Best Bets
The most significant benefit to having so many more betting options on any given day is that you can wait for ideal wagering scenarios. Let’s say you’ve organized your bankroll to accommodate five bets per week. Well, if you’re only gambling on a single sport, those five games might not all perfectly match the conditions you’re looking for with your top betting systems.
As long as you have decent models and strategies in place for every league on which you’re wagering, having a bigger field to choose from only helps ensure that those five weekly picks are the highest-probability-of-winning games at your disposal, based on your handicapping. Just a minor increase in overall winning probability per week can add up to drastic differences in your bankroll over the course of a year.
Yet another benefit of utilizing a more extensive slate of weekly games and betting all year is that it keeps you sharp. Sure, the different sporting events require different systems and strategies as well as unique data collection methods, but the fundamentals remain the same.
When you stay in the rhythm of gambling, it keeps your mind sharp at tasks like quickly converting odds to implied probability. It also keeps you thinking about betting value and making the calculations necessary to determine quality bets.
You also stay in the routine of collecting data, modeling it, and tweaking your findings to make your predictions more accurate. It doesn’t matter that the details are different, the day-to-day basics stay the same.
Possible Crossover Ideas
It may seem crazy, but there are times when I’m handicapping games for one sport, and it gives me an idea for another. Think about how the analytics revolution has spread through all athletics. The advanced stats and analytics revolution started with Major League Baseball and Moneyball. After seeing the A’s success, more franchises adopted these new stats, and took their math and extended it even further.
Next, you saw the rise of Sabermetrics in the NBA. Suddenly teams were neglecting post play and mid-range shots for the far more efficient three-pointers, shots at the rim, and free throws. These same philosophies revolutionized the WNBA next. Now, we’re seeing the statisticians moving into the NFL, though they’re still working to find reliable regression trends.
Similarly, it was my baseball handicapping that made me look into advanced football stats. I thought, “If they have a way of isolating only the pitcher’s contribution to a play, without the fielders or park factors included, why can’t we do the same for quarterbacks.” It’s hard to know how a QB played at times since their receivers may drop passes, or tip them creating an interception.
Lo an behold, I found sites like Football Outsiders who have begun working on such statistics. Now I have one more weapon in my handicapping arsenal when researching football matchups.
Not every reason for betting on multiple sports needs to be tied to a gambling strategy. One of the reasons I enjoy wagering on more than one league at a time is because it keeps things exciting and staves off boredom. Sure, I may have to keep track of various models and databases for the different sports, but it’s worth the extra work.
Plus, I can’t think of a single sporting event that isn’t made immediately better by putting some action on it. No matter what contest I’m watching, I prefer to have some added stakes, and that means placing bets on games in all kinds of leagues.
Chances for Mixed Parlays
If you’re planning to bet on multiple sports, even on the same parlay card, you may first want to read our gambling site reviews. Make sure they’ll allow mixed-league parlays, and that you’re getting the best odds possible on each matchup. If you can make cards with games from many different sports, you’ve got another excellent option at your disposal.
Many of the great parlay strategies involve finding moneyline odds in a particular range and playing them together. However, there aren’t always enough contests that match those odds during a weekend of sports. If you’re someone who bets on multiple leagues at a time, you’re more likely to find matchups that fall within the range of betting lines that you’re looking for.
Cons of Betting Multiple Sports
There are some downsides to betting on multiple sports simultaneously as well. The fact is, you lose a certain amount of specialization and mastery by spreading yourself too thin. If you’re collecting data and creating models for numerous leagues, you won’t have as many hours to refine your numbers and dig deep into the stats to find hidden patterns.
If your gambling habit is one-hundred-percent about turning a profit, betting on multiple leagues might not be for you. To maximize your likelihood of growing a bankroll, your best bet is probably to obsess over a single sport and spend all of your handicapping those datasets.
Less Time to Create Systems
Handicapping numerous leagues also leaves you with less time to create betting systems. These are formed by applying various filters to a set of data until you find patterns in the historical numbers that you may be able to use to predict future outcomes. The more time you have to try these different combinations of conditions, the more likely you are to find and develop a useful gambling edge.
Attempting to wager on several sports at once may cost you some valuable strategies because you’ll be spending a good deal of time getting basic working models for every league. You won’t have as much time to refine those stats and dig deeper to find the really valuable trends and data correlations. So, while you’ll have decent predictions for all your sports, you won’t have that crazy accuracy in any of them.
If you’re not someone who enjoys the chaos of a hectic week of games, trying to handicap multiple sports could possibly become overwhelming. With so many numbers and figures and sets of data, some people may struggle to get anything worthwhile done merely due to the intimidation caused by a massive list of bettable games.
Without the laser-sharp focus on a single league, the betting board might just look like too much. It really depends on your general mindset and whether you’re someone who’s a multitasker or more rigid and disciplined about getting one thing done at a time.
If you’re anything like me, you not only want to bet on a variety of sports, but you want to be equally good at all of them. In order to pull this off, you’ll have to drastically increase the number of hours spent handicapping and collecting data so that ever league is getting the attention you’d typically give a game you’re specializing in. You might even pull it off for a while, but for how long will you be able to dedicate so much of your life to sports gambling?
If sports betting isn’t your passion, how long will you sustain such a schedule before burning out on gaming altogether? If you’re an all-or-nothing person like myself, probably not very long. While it’s tempting to dive in and wager on everything under the sun, you may be better suited for a one-league-at-a-time approach that’s more measured and organized.
The Wrap Up
If you’ve read our many gambling site reviews, you’ve probably noticed that the grand majority of online sportsbooks offer odds on a wide variety of sports and events. If you wanted to, you could buy action on every contest, competition, and race that takes place on the planet in a given day, from Major League Baseball to Indian Premier League cricket to Australian rugby matches. But opinions about whether this is a smart idea vary.
On the one hand, wagering on several different sports keeps a handicapper focused, thinking about finding value, and continuously calculating probabilities. Plus, they can be more selective with their picks (if on a bankroll restriction), create exotic parlay cards, and stay entertained all through the year.
On the other hand, bettors who specialize in a single sport or league have an advantage in betting that competition. With all of their time and effort devoted to a single game, these gamblers are more likely to find obscure trends in the data which may help sharpen predictive models for the handicappers who encounter them. What you lose in variety, you gain in understanding and mastery of a single type of contest.
Indeed, there are benefits and drawbacks of both methods. Which approach will work best for you ultimately depends on how your brain works. Are you someone who enjoys multitasking? Can you have several datasets at your disposal without getting them confused or being overwhelmed?
If you’re someone who already likes learning about a wide range of topics, who’s always multitasking, you’re probably made for betting on multiple sports. But if you enjoy mastering one skill before moving on to another, you’d most likely be best at wagering on one league at a time.