It’s no secret that many Canadians struggle finding ways how to win Proline and other provincial sports lotteries.
We used to beat our heads against the wall with that issue ourselves, trying to figure out how to win Proline every time. Whether it was making foolish bets, not fully understanding the significance of the Proline tie rules, including too many games on our tickets or other reasons, we threw a ton of losing Proline tickets into the trash before finally figuring out the top Proline secrets to hitting more winners.
Although we now prefer betting online to get better odds as well as the ability to bet one game at a time, we’ll still occasionally buy Proline tickets – with the expectation of making money. In this article, we’ll explain how following these 9 simple Proline betting tips will enable you to do the same.
Is There A Way How To Win Proline Every Time?
Unfortunately, there is no way to win every Proline ticket that you purchase.
Even if you always bet on the biggest favourites of the day, there is a lot of luck and randomness that goes into deciding the outcome of sports games. That’s why the best teams in baseball still lose around 40% of their games, and why no NHL, NBA or MLB team has gone undefeated throughout an entire playoffs in the modern era.
Losing some Proline tickets is an inevitability that you have to accept. However, understanding that you’re not always going to win will actually help you become a winning sports bettor. You realize that there are no such things as locks in sports, that you should never risk more than you can afford to lose, and that there is often value to be found in the underdog.
How To Win Proline And Other Provincial Sports Lotteries
A big key to success in any endeavour is to simplify your process by breaking it down into several simple rules to follow, and Proline betting is no different.
As long as you stick to these nine concepts and philosophies, you’re going to find yourself starting to win more money playing Proline or other provincial sports lotteries. The good news is that most of these Proline betting tips are also applicable to betting sports online or in Las Vegas, if you ever decide to give either of those a try instead.
Let’s get started…
1. Always look for value
— SportsbookBonus (@sportsbookCA) November 14, 2013
This is going to be tough since you won’t generally find much value on the Proline betting odds, but there are occasions when the provincial sports lotteries are offering better odds than anywhere else.
That’s because of how frequently (or infrequently) Proline and Canada’s other lotteries change their odds, compared to how often Vegas sportsbooks and online betting sites do. Sites like Pinnacle, 5Dimes and BetOnline are constantly changing their odds based on the action their lines are getting, and if Proline is slow to react, you could suddenly get better value playing your provincial sports lottery instead.
A great example is a Sunday morning during the NFL season when some winter storms are threatening to wreak havoc on some games in colder climates. When wind and sleet are in the forecast, football games are much more likely to be lower-scoring, and it’s common to see the Over/Under on games drop by several points. You could also see the point spread on the favourite drop by a few points, since it’s harder to win a lower-scoring game by a big margin.
Another case of when Proline odds may be better than Vegas and online sportsbooks is when there is some sudden injury news. Betting sites will be quick to adjust the odds or even pull the game off the board entirely to limit their liability, but Proline won’t be as quick to the punch.
Whenever you notice a big change in the odds on a game, make sure to compare the updated Vegas odds to what sportsbooks are offering. Many sports betting experts consider the lines at Pinnacle.com to be the sharpest in the business, so if Proline’s odds are way off, you’ve got yourself some great value to take advantage of.
As a writer pointed out recently in the Toronto Sun, it’s like “buying today’s stocks at yesterday’s prices.” Just imagine how rich you would be if you could do that.
2. Bet with your head, not your heart
This phrase would be in the first chapter of any book about Sports Betting 101, right up there with “There’s no such thing as a lock” and “Don’t risk more than you can afford to lose.”
But even though suggesting that you “bet with your head, not your heart” may seem like another generic sports betting cliche, it’s especially appropriate for Proline players.
After all, Proline and the other provincial sports lotteries are only played by people who live in that province. And since the lotteries know that most Canadians love to bet on their local (favourite) teams and rarely want to go against them, the betting odds on those teams will usually be shaded accordingly.
Hard to find good odds on the local teams
If you live in Ontario, you’re not usually going to find very good odds on the Leafs at Proline. If you live in Alberta, Sport Select probably won’t have the most generous odds on the Oilers and Flames. Heck, regardless of where you live in Canada, odds on the Toronto Blue Jays generally aren’t going to be as good as they probably should be, since the Jays are “Canada’s team.”
There will be times when betting against your favourite team is the only wager that makes sense. Make sure that you aren’t just blindly betting on your local squad regardless of the price. In fact, if you’re not able to take off the rose-coloured glasses long enough to see any flaws in your favourite team or a reason they may not win tonight, you probably shouldn’t ever bet on games involving them.
3. Only bet when you honestly believe you have an edge
Yep, here’s another saying that applies to sports betting in general. But this one also has extra meaning to Proline players, since the parlay requirement of Canada’s provincial sports lotteries sometimes forces you to bet on games that you otherwise wouldn’t.
Let’s say you’re an Ontario resident who is at the convenience store on a Sunday night in February. You’re a big hockey fan who loves betting on the NHL, but there are just two hockey games tonight. Since Ontario Proline requires you to have a minimum of three outcomes on a ticket (you can do as few as two if you’re playing Point Spread, but the payout of 2X your wager make that a total waste of time), your choices are pretty limited:
- Bet the Over/Under and the moneyline on one of the two hockey games, just so you can get to three outcomes
- Combine a bet on another sport with your two hockey picks
Neither is a very good idea. Unless you’ve got a really strong read on one of the hockey games, it’s generally pretty tough to hit the moneyline and Over/Under on the same game. Otherwise, you’re forcing a bet on a sport that you don’t follow as closely, just so that you can have the minimum three outcomes on your ticket.
When you don’t really like enough games on a Proline card to fill out a ticket, you’re better off not buying that Proline ticket at all. It’s hard enough to consistently pick winners on games you feel strongly about, let alone some shots in the dark. And it’ll drive you nuts if you hit the two picks you really liked, only to lose your Proline ticket on the one game that you forced.
Remember, if there are just one or two games that you really want to bet on today, online betting sites allow you to bet on as few or as many games as you want.
4. Keep your parlays as small as possible
There’s a reason the provincial sports lotteries aren’t begging the federal government to change the law and make single-game sports betting legal in Canada: forcing people to play parlays drastically reduces their chances of winning.
Think about it for a second. Based on the standard -110 odds that Vegas and online betting sites offer on point spreads, you’d only need to pick 55% winners in order to make a lot of money over time. That doesn’t seem like a very high bar to clear. Yet, how many people do you know that are making big money betting on sports?
If hardly anyone has better than a 55% chance of winning one point spread bet, what’s their chances of going 6-for-6 with a parlay? Assuming that same 55% probability of winning each point spread wager, their chances are about 2.7% (0.55 multipled to the power of 6). That means that for every winning Proline ticket they hit, they’ll be throwing 40 in the trash.
Your only chance at winning at Proline (and keeping your sanity through long losing streaks) is by keeping your parlays as small as possible. Limit your Proline tickets to three games whenever you can, regardless of how little the potential payout is. Even though it may be tempting to add a 1.20 “sureshot” to a 3-game parlay to beef up the possible winnings, it’s just another game you’ll have to win in order to get paid.
That doesn’t mean that you can only bet three games on a given night. If there are more than three games you like on a certain Proline card, a better option than betting one big parlay is to…
5. Use a proline rotation strategy
Proline rotations are a great way to bet all the games you want while not making it more difficult to win money. In fact, you can still earn a profit by going 3 for 4 or 4 for 5 or even 4 for 6 if you use Proline rotations properly.
We wrote an article that fully explains the Proline rotation strategy, but here’s a quick summary of how it works.
If there are 4 games you want to bet on, instead of combining them all onto one ticket, buy four smaller tickets and play all four possible 3-game combinations. If you get three out of your four picks right, you’ll cash one of your tickets, and if you go four for four, you’ll win all four of them.
This is identical to the 4-game rotation, but with 1 more game thrown into the mix. In order to play every possible 3-game combination out of those 5 games, you’ll have to purchase 10 tickets. But going 3 for 5 will allow you to win one ticket and minimize your losses, 4 for 5 will mean 6 winning tickets, and a perfect 5 for 5 will result in 10 winners!
We’re sure you get the idea by now. The biggest problem with using 6 games in a rotation is that you’re going to have to fill out 20 different tickets in order to play every single 3-game combination. But 4 out of 6 will win you 3 tickets (which might even result in a profit, depending on the odds you’re getting), while 5 for 6 or better will result in a pretty nice payday.
How to play big Proline rotations while buying less tickets
If you’ve got 5 or 6 games you want to bet on but you aren’t interested in filling out 10 or 20 tickets, you can tweak the rotation strategy a little bit. Pick a game or two that you feel the strongest about (ideally the biggest favourites) and use those games on every ticket you buy, along with different combinations of 2 other games.
You do put yourself at risk of losing every ticket if just one or two games lose, but you won’t have to buy as many. And if the game(s) you put on every ticket do win, you’ve got yourself a nice head start for a bunch of winning tickets.
6. Be aware of the Proline tie rules
— Gordo (@Adrien_Beaky) April 10, 2013
If it weren’t for all the different Proline tie rules, we might actually still be playing the provincial sports lotteries instead of betting online. Unfortunately, not only are those Proline tie rules a bit complicated and confusing, they also stack the odds severely in favour of the government.
Make sure you’re aware of all the ins and outs of the Proline tie rules when you’re filling out your ticket. This is definitely the most critical when betting Proline football, since so many NFL games are decided by 3 points or less. But there are tie rules in other sports that you’ll want to account for when you’re making your Proline predictions.
For example, did you know that most of the provincial sports lotteries don’t count overtime goals or shootouts when grading the result of a hockey game? Or that any baseball game decided by one run is considered a tie in British Columbia and the Atlantic provinces?
All of these rules will have a drastic impact on the results of your Proline tickets. After all, that’s why those Proline tie rules exist – to give the government as much of an edge as possible. So you definitely need to be aware of what’s a tie and what isn’t in each particular sport.
7. Don’t pick too many ties
— ProlineStadium (19+) (@ProlineStadium) May 30, 2016
Proline tie odds can be really seductive. Having the opportunity to triple or even quadruple your money if the NHL game goes into overtime or the football game is decided by three points or less is hard for many of us to resist.
But as good as those odds may look, they’re also a pretty big longshot to come in with any consistency. After all, 3.00 odds imply a probability of 33%, and we already know the Proline odds aren’t fair to begin with. If the tie pays 3.00, there’s probably closer to a 25% chance of the tie actually taking place.
There will be occasions when the Proline tie is a sensible wager, and you might even find value in it once in a while. But when you’re betting parlay tickets where just one wrong pick will spoil your entire bet, you shouldn’t make longshot bets like Proline ties a common thing. And definitely don’t use them as part of a rotation strategy, where they can ruin a lot of tickets in one fell swoop.
8. Be selective with H+ and V+ picks
When many of us are filling out our Proline tickets, a common way to beef up the potential jackpot is by taking the H+ and V+ on favourites. But just like Proline tie odds pay more because they’re pretty unlikely to happen, H+ and V+ picks are also stacking the odds against yourself even more than they already are.
In case you’re not familiar with the H+ and V+ option, they’re when you require the Home (H) or Visiting (V) team to win by more goals/points/runs than usual. The upside is that you’ll win more money if the Home or Visiting team wins by a comfortable margin, making it look more attractive than the low odds on a favourite to simply win the game. But the reality is that big favourites don’t win comfortably as often as you might think.
Nearly half of hockey games are decided by one goal
Let’s take hockey for example. When you bet the H+ or V+ in Proline hockey, you’re requiring your team to win the game by two goals or more. That may not seem like much, especially considering that if the other team is losing by one goal with a minute left in regulation, they’ll pull their goalie for an extra attacker and the leading team could easily score an empty netter to win by two. However, nearly half the games in the NHL are decided by one goal, and things get even tighter in the Stanley Cup playoffs. By taking the H+ or V+, you’ve cut your win probability by half.
Many football games are decided by a touchdown or less
The H+ and V+ in Proline football also creates a large mountain for your teams to climb. Each of those options requires the team you bet on to win the game by eight points or more. Problem is, 7 points is the second-most common margin of victory in the NFL over the years, ranking behind only “3” as the biggest key numbers in NFL betting. And approximately 45% of NFL games from 2002-14 were decided by a touchdown or less, resulting in a loss for anyone who took the H+ or V+ in those games.
Like the Proline tie, the H+ and V+ can work for you when there appears to be the strong possibility of a blowout. Just make sure you don’t fall into the trap of simply taking the H+ and V+ to increase your payout while underestimating how hard it is for teams to win by comfortable margins.
9. Stay disciplined
“Sports betting is all about money management, so the most money won on one event is not the most important thing.” pic.twitter.com/xooGaoRVUX
— Bettin.gs (@Bettin_gs) July 15, 2016
One final critical tip about how to win Proline is the absolute necessity to stay disciplined with your wagering.
Money management is essential in any type of gambling. Professional gamblers don’t often risk more than 2% of their entire betting bankroll on any sports wager that they make, and those are usually single-game bets that have around a 55% chance of winning. Having a hard and fast rule about the percentage of what they’re willing to risk on an entire game keeps them from betting bigger to make up for losses during a cold streak, and it also prevents them from wiping out a solid run of profits by losing big on one game.
Cold streaks are inevitable for any bettor, but they’re going to be even more common when playing Proline. That’s because even the best Proline players aren’t going to win half of their tickets, since you have to go 3-for-3 or better in order to cash a Proline parlay. If the laws of Binomial distribution make it possible for a 50/50 proposition (such as a coin toss) to have the same result 10 straight times or more, just imagine how many Proline tickets you could lose in a row at any point!
Don’t vary bet sizes based on recent results
If you regularly risk $2 on your Proline tickets, resist the urge to up your wager to $20 after you lose a few in a row. If you regularly bet $20, don’t up it to $100 to make up for some recent losses. Varying your wager sizes is an effective gambling strategy when you do it according to the size of your edge, but it’s a recipe for disaster if you’re only doing it because of how you’ve been doing lately.
Also, make sure you don’t “go on tilt” (a poker term for when a player lets emotion and frustration take over their decision-making process) following a tough loss in Proline. It’s really easy to do on an NFL Sunday after a bad beat in one of the early games, making you want to run down to the convenience store to buy some more tickets for the late action.
A good general rule of thumb is to short-list the games that you want to bet on in the morning, buy your tickets for the day and then don’t buy any more until the following day. A good night’s sleep will usually be enough for you to shake off any tough loss in Proline and be able to think more clearly in the morning.