Fact #1: I have a very analytical mind. I play poker as my sole source of income, and that has helped develop many skills that one would think would be useful in other forms of gambling such as betting on sports.Fact #2: I know a lot about pro football(insert joke here ). I can tell you random scores of games from years ago and recite statistics that theres no good reasoning for me to know.Fact #3: I am NOT a winning long term football bettor. Sure I've had hot streaks, and sure I think that I'm better at picking games and I think its even possible that I may be able to come close to breaking even over the long term. But theres no way I can say that I'm confident in my ability to make money doing this.Fact #4: I want to get better and make money doing something I love(football).So this thread is dedicated to making us all better at picking games. This thread is NOT a thread to brag about past successes or to show off. One thing that I've taken from poker is that ego is one of your biggest enemies at the table. If we can admit that we need to get better, then we're already ahead of 50% of the people out there. I honestly don't have a whole lot to teach here, but I'm sure that many here do and I really want to learn.First things first: Is it possible to be a consistent and long term winner betting on football? And don't rush to conclusions to answer this. There are tons of people out there who know everything there is to know about football who simply can't beat the spreads(and the juice) consistently. I think this is a very valid question.Now I don't have a whole lot of insight here- as I said, I am not a winning long term bettor yet. I start this thread more for me to learn than to teach. However, I will give a few random thoughts, hopefully a few of them will get us started in our discussion:1. One thing that I think continuously clouds our judgment and our ideas of our own ability is that we don't recognize luck enough. Let me illustrate using poker: If someone told you that they have won $100 for 5 straight days playing poker, most astute poker players would not be all that impressed. Rather, they would want to know the details. And if after looking the details they discovered that the person was merely getting lucky cards, then they not only wouldn't be impressed but they wouldn't think highly of the player at all. Conversely its possible for a poker player to lose money yet his play can still be very impressive when studied.However, we don't seem to do this with football betting. With football betting, we are all about results. "Oh you are 14-4 against the spread so far this year? Oh, you must be good! Tell me what you think about this week's games!!"Let me propose a hypothetical extreme to illustrate my point: Team A is a 5.5 point favorite over Team B. Two sports bettors both do their homework on the game and one of them chooses Team A and one chooses Team B. Team B dominates the game and has a 7 point lead with 10 seconds to go in the 4th quarter. Team A hits a hail mary to tie the game. Team A wins the coin toss in overtime. Then Team A catches a tipped pass and goes in for a TD on the first play of OT to win the game by 6 points. Which bettor was more right: The one that chose Team A and won the bet or the one that chose Team B and lost?I think that one's record against the spread is meaningless unless it is over a very long period of time. Rather I propose that when evaluating ourselves we should use a different type of system. I think that we should award ourselves points for each of our plays. Here is my initial thought on the score keeping system, although I'm sure that it can and will be revised(probably the -.25 category is the one which I'm most unsure of- How many negative points should that be worth?):2 points: This is for a game that you won and were totally right about. For example, if you had Carolina +3 this past week against the Giants, you get 2 points.1 point: This is for a bet that having watched the game(not just highlights) you can honestly say that you'd make that bet again if the game was repeated. Notice that the outcome of the game is not mentioned anywhere here and is irrelevant.-.25 points: This is a game that you think came down to one or two lucky plays which determined the winner of the bet. The -.25 reflects the money reflects the money that you'll lose on the juice over time on these bets which you'll theoretically win exactly 50% of the time. This is basically a bet that if you could go back and repick, you'd chose not to pick because its such a crapshoot. Please note that I think that a large majority of bets will fall into this category.-1 point: Exact opposite of the +1 point. This is a bet that if you could go back and redo the entire bet and game, you'd take the other side.-2 points: A game you lost and were totally wrong about.And then obviously you multiply the points times the number of units you bet on that game to get your score. I think that using this sytem will more accurately reflect how well one is picking games and will give us a better understanding if we are doing well or not. This is key because I believe that one of the worst mistakes that can be made in gambling is too think we are doing well when really its just short term luck- This makes us continue to use such losing methods for far longer than we should and when our luck finally evens out, we think that we're just in an unlucky period.2. How many games should be bet each week? Obviously there is no hard fast rule, but I think its pretty clear that the common bettor bets on too many games because he craves action. My first thought is that there are probably only one or two games that are great picks each week, so we should probably limit ourselves to those. Also, do you guys think that one can effectively bet on or against his home team or rival team without letting his judgment be clouded?3. A few quotes about sports betting from Slansky and Malmuth's book "How to Mkae $100,000 a Year Gambling for a Living":-"You only have to bet on those situations where you have an edge. These edges do occur, and they occur often enought that an astute person who is willing to work hard enough can make a good living. In fact, the most successful gamblers are the big sports bettors. There is an obvious reason for this. Sports betting is the only game where you can increase your bets in proportion to your bankroll and still have virtually teh same edge. You can't do this at the racetrack without dropping your odds. Increase your bet size in blackjack and expect more "heat". Move up to bigger stakes in poker and you run into other pros who will cut down your potential win rate dramatically. Such is not the case in sports. So if you really do learn to beat sports, do your homework, watch as many games as you can, keep records, and treat it like a business, you can forget about that measly $100,000 a year we promised you. In sports, the sky's the limit."-"The line that the bookie puts up is usually 'correct.' When this is the case, you shouldn't make a bet. Since you normally have to lay 11-10 the line must be significantly 'off' for your bet to be profitable. If you bet lots of games where the bookie's line is right, you will slowly lose your money no matter how knowledgeable you may be."Now I realize that I havn't said a whole lot here. As I said, I'm trying to learn myself here. What I would like to hear are some success stories from people who have won consistently from year to year. What games do you look for and why do you think you are successful? What steps do you recommend to get better?