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A Guide to Placing Bets on NFL, NCAA Games, and Beyond

How to bet on NFL, NCAA games and more

When it comes to sports betting, there are few who can match the expertise of professional gambler Billy Walters. Known as the greatest of all time (GOAT) in American sports betting, Walters has spent over sixty years refining his craft and amassing billions of dollars in wagers. In his autobiography, “Gambler: Secrets from a Life at Risk,” Walters shares his insights and strategies for successful sports betting.

The Basics of Spread Betting

Spread betting is the most common form of sports betting. In this type of bet, the final score of the game matters. For example, if the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are favored by 7.5 points against the New Orleans Saints, you have two options. You can bet on Tampa Bay at -7.5, which means they have to win by 8 points or more for you to win the bet. Alternatively, you can bet on New Orleans at +7.5, which means they have to lose by 7 points or fewer (or win the game) for you to win the bet. In either case, you’ll need to pay an additional 10% on top of your wager as the bookmaker’s fee.

To break even in spread betting, you need to win at least 52.38% of the time because of the extra 10% you have to pay. Even if you win exactly half the time, you’ll only get back 95.4% of your money. This means that spread betting is not an easy way to make money and requires careful strategy and analysis.

The Moneyline Bet

In contrast to spread betting, moneyline betting is a simpler form of wagering. In moneyline bets, you are simply betting on which team will win the game. Moneyline bets are common in sports like baseball, tennis, and soccer, where scores tend to be lower. The odds for moneyline bets are represented by plus (+) and minus (-) signs. The minus sign denotes the favorite, while the plus sign indicates the underdog.

For example, let’s say the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are playing the New Orleans Saints, and Tampa Bay is a -180 favorite while New Orleans is a +160 underdog. If you bet on Tampa Bay to win, you would need to wager $180 to win $100. On the other hand, if you bet on New Orleans, a $100 wager would win you $160. The final score of the game does not matter in moneyline bets; you simply win if your chosen team wins.

The Three Essential Elements of a Good Sports Betting System

According to Billy Walters, there are three essential elements to a successful sports betting system: handicapping, a betting strategy, and a money management plan.


Being a good handicapper is crucial to becoming a winning sports bettor. Handicapping involves analyzing and evaluating the teams or players involved in a game, considering various factors like performance, statistics, and injuries. Walters emphasizes the importance of having a comprehensive approach to handicapping, using power ratings for every NFL team, as well as in-depth player analysis.

Betting Strategy

A solid betting strategy is equally vital to success in sports betting. Walters emphasizes the need to constantly update your strategy and adapt to changing circumstances. This might involve developing new models or rethinking your approach to certain types of bets. Walters himself has reinvented his thinking about sports betting numerous times over the years to stay ahead of the game.

Money Management

Properly managing your bankroll is just as important as handicapping and betting strategy. Walters recommends setting limits on how much you wager and risking no more than 1-3% of your bankroll on any single bet. This allows you to spread the risk and limit significant losses. It’s crucial to protect your bankroll and ensure you can continue playing over the long term.

Related Facts

  • Billy Walters is widely considered the greatest American sports bettor of all time.
  • Walters has wagered billions of dollars over the course of his betting career.
  • He has reinvented his approach to sports betting multiple times to stay ahead of the game.
  • Spread betting and moneyline betting are the two main types of bets in sports betting.

Key Takeaway

Successful sports betting requires a comprehensive approach that includes handicapping, a betting strategy, and a money management plan. It’s essential to stay updated, adapt to change, and protect your bankroll to maximize your chances of long-term success.


Billy Walters’ autobiography provides valuable insights into the world of sports betting. His years of experience and success make him a trustworthy source for tips and strategies. By understanding the basics of spread betting and moneyline betting, as well as implementing a strong handicapping process, a solid betting strategy, and responsible money management, aspiring sports bettors can increase their odds of success. But always remember, like any form of gambling, sports betting should be approached with caution and moderation.

Denk Liu
Denk Liu
Denk Liu is an honest person who always tells it like it is. He's also very objective, seeing the situation for what it is and not getting wrapped up in emotion. He's a regular guy - witty and smart but not pretentious. He loves playing video games and watching action movies in his free time.

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