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What are the Challenges of Betting Early in the Season?

Whether you are thinking of placing a pre-season outright (also know as a futures bet) or you just want to get in on the action early, it can be difficult to place smart wagers early on in the season for any sport.  There are a number of challenges you face that tend to be elevated at the start.  Awareness of these challenges can help you to overcome them.


  • There is not a whole lot of data.  When you are at the beginning of the season, you may have only a few games or no games to judge a team’s current performance from.  You can look back at past seasons, but that data is already quite dated as there may have been numerous changes off-season.  Try looking at preseason data to fill in the informational gaps—but know that this information is also pretty paltry since starters are often held back until the season starts.
  • Unpredictability is the norm early in the season.  Think about it. Teams are all still adjusting to staff changes, and are still honing their new strategies.  They are coming back after time away, and all of those changes can make for a turbulent transition.  Teams that look rough at the start may be performing very well by the end, and vice versa.  So you may want to take what you see with a grain of salt.  Once players and coaches finally get into the groove of playing, the real patterns will emerge.  How can you work around this?  Sometimes the only way is to wait out the early period and save your wagers for later down the line. 
  • Value is hard to establish early on as well.  Why?  You still don’t know how the lines are going to move.  Line movement becomes far more predictable later in the season.  So you may think that you are going to get a good value if you wait, only to be unpleasantly surprised.  You may need to be willing to take an acceptable (not amazing) line now, because if you wait, things could turn against you. 


Betting on your team can make the early season an even more dangerous time to wager.  Emotions run high at the start of the season.  After months of anticipation, you finally get to see how your team is going to perform.  With all your hopes on the line, you can get swept away.  Needless to say, you need to make betting decisions with your brain, not your heart. 


If you are able to make smart betting decisions early in the season based on logical analysis, do it.  But do it with full recognition of the limitations of your knowledge, and only wager if you can keep your emotions in check.  You may want to wager a smaller percentage of your account on early season trades, and save your full investments for later on when you have more data to work with.  Experiment and find out what works for you.


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