:: 10 Keys to Wagering Success is a past article written by our staff that appeared in our print edition.
There are two ways one can go about the endeavor of wagering on sports. One way is to let it chase you around, the other way is for you to be the boss. When we evaluate why the majority of players lose money on sports betting it always comes down to the same few factors; 1) they lack a clear plan, 2) discipline is sadly absent from their wagering habits, and 3) they make uninformed decisions. Our paper is designed to help you in all three of those areas. What we’re going to do is give you a checklist that should be required reading at the beginning of each season and even a couple of times throughout the year. Whether you’re a sports lottery player, or you wager through an offshore sports book, you need to read this. We will attempt to provide you with some key points that, if adhered to, will give you the chance of staying on top of the game. Some of them many of you will be familiar with, but the start of the football season is a perfect time for a reminder. Make these ten points your mantra this season.
1) Putting aside a bankroll. If you’ve spent any amount of time at all wagering on sports, than this first rule will not be news to you. It is to establish a bankroll. We simply can’t understand why players continually disregard this one. It is a crucial point for those who are serious about having control of their own destiny in this game. It can save you a ton of discomfort down the road. First , you must put aside a set amount of money you are willing to lose. Yes, we said lose. Not that you will lose it, but one must prepare for the worst possible outcome. If that money is there for the specific purpose of betting, then you know you can afford to be without it. By having a predetermined amount pinpointed for wagering, it is much easier to plan a strategy for the entire season, not just one weekend, or a month. When your bankroll increases, or decreases, it is an uncomplicated process to readjust your strategy. Having an established bankroll also works to keep the emotions in-check, eliminating poor decisions when you’re down a few bucks, or celebrating too hard when you’re up a bit. This leads us to number two on the list.
2) Money Management. Again, many of you are going to have heard this one before because of its close connection to rule number one, but it bears repeating. Have a money management system firmly in place before you begin. Once you’ve set a bankroll, the next step is to institute a plan for turning that money into more money. There are enough systems out there from which one can choose, but the key is to know the good from the bad. Take a little time and find the system that best suits your goals. Having a money management plan in place is the second best thing you can do for yourself. A good one will stop you from chasing losses, while building your bankroll when the winning happens. Stick with the plan no matter how bleak, or how rosy, everything gets.
3) Do yourself a big favor and never, ever let yourself believe that winning at this activity is easy. Once you start thinking that beating the numbers is a walk in the park, you and your bankroll are finished. Consistently beating the line takes work, lots of it. There are no shortcuts. You must be ready to roll up the sleeves and dig in. Or pay someone who will work hard to find those winners for you. Information is the key, whether it is info you need to choose a solid handicapper, or the info from the analysis you use to make your selections. No one who is successful beating the odds picks up a schedule, gets the lines, then makes a decision on a play, or goes about getting down on the game. Be informed.
4) Weather and Injuries. Staying along the same lines as the above guideline, never make a play without knowing what the weather is going to be like at the field, and what the injury situation is. This happens thousands of times every weekend. People will make a wager without any knowledge of who’s in or out of the lineup, as well as the potential weather. Both can have substantial influence on the outcome of a game.
5) Find at least two, and preferably more, places where you get your lines and can make plays. Obviously, for those of you who play the sports lotteries, this can’t be done, but for you other players, it is important. Have at least two places to shop numbers. With the growth of the offshore sports book industry it has become increasingly easier to do. Our suggestion is to call a few of these places up and get them to send you information packs of their companies. Feel them out, ask questions and decide which ones suit your game. There are many, many very solid books operating offshore. Over the long haul, having the ability to shop numbers can add anywhere from six to 10% to your bankroll. Take a few weeks and chart the number of games that land within a ½ to 1 point. 6) With very few exceptions, don’t bet the parlays and teasers flaunted to you by your book. Sure they’re sexy, inducing thoughts of great riches from a small wager, but they just don’t provide real value. Why bet into something that doesn’t pay the correct odds. It’s tough enough winning a one-game bet, let alone stacking up a couple of games or more.
7) Don’t get drawn into the handicapping rut of using trends and statistics as your sole means of selecting a winner. This information can be very valuable when used in association with a well-rounded handicapping strategy, but on their own they can be dangerous. We don’t know of a successful handicapper who can honestly say that their method of picking winners is isolated to trends only. You need to evaluate other information that goes beyond the numbers. Another problem with juicy trends is that any really good one is almost assuredly known by many others, including the guys who make the line. Thus, they have accounted for it by shading the number appropriately, taking away any edge that might, and I stress the word might, have existed.
8) Don’t bet the board. Playing the entire weekend lineup is by no means conducive to wagering success. A good handicapping system should not lead you astray by identifying the entire schedule as possible plays. Take the best ones, and throw out the rest. There is always another day when it comes to betting. Bide your time. The sign of a successful bettor is one who can take a day or two off if nothing comes up as a strong play. One who doesn’t have to have a lot of “action” going on. Don’t be one of the suckers who jump around the entire board firing mindless bets down. Those people never come out in front at the end of the day.
9) Never be amazed or astonished with sport outcomes. The saying that “on any given Sunday anyone can beat anyone”, is true. Good teams lose and bad teams win, and bad teams often cover pointspreads. Keep this in mind when you find yourself constantly wanting to play on the favorites, and conversely, reluctant to bet on the dogs. Don’t let a good or bad game be what you base your opinion on the next week. No team is as good, or as bad as their best or worst outing. Teams play at different levels throughout a long season. The sooner you recognize that, the better handicapper you’ll be.
10) The “flavor of the month” club. Don’t get sucked in by teams that the media happens to be in love with at the moment. Look deeper for keys to a team’s winning record. The media doesn’t approach performances the same way a sports bettor does, so their slant needs to be taken with the realization that it doesn’t mean anything to those wanting to win a couple of bucks. Fight through the hype and get to know the real teams. These are the ones that most of the public will love, providing you with a great number to play into if you know something they don’t.
There you have it. There are other guidelines one could add to the list, ones that you will hear more about in upcoming weekly issues of Winner’s Edge, but these ten are an excellent base. Learn them, stick to them, and we guarantee you will be in the best wagering shape of your life. Good luck picking those winners.