Often we talk about professional sports bettors and the fact that they are in the game for the long run. What that means is that they are dedicated to doing the work that will enable them to grind out wins when they have to, to carry on through losing streaks, and to enjoy riding the crest of the winning wave when it seems as though they will never lose again.
Of course, the facts tend to speak for themselves. So here is the reality: Really good sports bettors win an average of about 57% of their bets (ranging from 55% to 60%). In doing so, they are making money. How can they make money by winning about 57% of their bets? Here’s how.
Pros wager using units. Let’s say a unit is $10.00 and on games that look like locks, they place three-unit bets. On games they are less sure about, they bet two units, and on games they like but not that much to risk a lot, they wager a single unit.
They make three bets worth three units each, two worth two units each, and four worth one unit each. Here’s how it looks:
• 3 bets at $30 (3 units) per bet = $90 (9 units)
• 2 bets at $20 (2 units) per bet = $40 (4 units)
• 4 bets at $10 (1 unit) per bet = $40 (4 units)
9 bets $170 (17 units)
Let’s say you win 60% of your wagers, or five bets. If in our scenario above, you won two bets at three units, one at two units, and one at one unit, you would have won nine units and lost eight. You’ve won cash. If you win 60% and all three of your top wagers come in, you’re way ahead of the game. In other words, by winning just five bets you could win all three of your three-unit wagers, one at two units and one at one unit for a total of twelve units won and five lost.
Also, by using units, you cut your losses. I could win one of each type of sports bet above for a total of six units won and nine lost. Not a great day, but better than losing all of your cash.
Defining a Losing Streak
Losing streaks can be relative, or at least the effect can be. If you’ve been running great, winning almost every bet and have increased your bankroll by 175% over three weeks, then three days of losses won’t be as significant in your mind as they would be if you’ve been struggling to stay ahead for three weeks and then end up in a deficit for a three- to four-day period.
Whatever the case may be, if you find yourself missing the mark for four days or more, take some time to reassess your process and how you’re making your picks to see if you’re:
• Making too many high-risk wagers
• Not taking enough time and making enough of an effort in handicapping
• Not using proper unit distribution
Go back to the basics. You may have forgotten some of them.
Stay True to Your Process
Following up on the last point, it’s important to stay true to your process. Have you gotten lazy? Are you distracted? Have you lost some bets in which you did a great job with your handicapping but a freak event or call by an official made the difference? A sporting event is comprised of many actions, all of which lead toward one team winning and the other team losing. These actions are often imperfect. When the spread is incredibly tight, sometimes it comes down to one play.
Figure out what’s going on and make adjustments, but don’t do anything extreme. Also, take time to plan out your next sports betting sequence.
No Panic Betting
Too many sports bettors go into panic mode. This is not pretty by any means. They start risking 50% of their bank on one bet and lose, or they begin playing six-team parlays, thinking if they hit just one, they will be even. They double, triple, and quadruple bets, and they start playing ridiculous props. These are not solutions to your problem. Whatever you do, don’t go into panic mode.
It may be a good idea to circle the wagons and bet fewer units, even on games that look like the sure thing. Obviously, if you’re in a funk regarding winning, those sure things have not been very sure. Try placing one unit wagers for a while to see if you can get your bearings. When you start to get your mojo back, slowly work towards making bigger unit bets again.
Take a Break
If nothing else works, walk away for a while. Everyone needs a break sometimes. Do something you love that will distract you from the negative energy that seems to have become a part of your sports betting karma. Sometimes things get so confusing that you simply have to clear the air. In order to do that, you must disengage from the betting process. If you do this, stay connected to the sport. When coming back, take time to find some firm ground with solid, low risk bets.
When that horse throws you to the ground, you have you get back up and ride it again. At some point, it will be time to get up and start making bets again. Make sure you’re ready to do so, and stay true to those sports betting basics and principles that, in the long run, make for winners.