Sports Betting

Practical Advice to improve your betting

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Every day millions of bettors try their luck on the thousands of sports betting markets offered by modern bookmakers. There’s no doubt that sports betting can be a rewarding and profitable enterprise, but like any other form of betting or investing, success does not come easy. So what are the qualities and strategies that you need to be aware of? Here is a handy practical guide to improving your sports betting skills.

The importance of discipline

If you want to know the main difference between success and failure in sports betting, it can be summed up in two words: self discipline. Without self-discipline, then you will find that the odds are stacked against you before you start, and that your chances of being a successful sports bettor are virtually non-existent.

The reason for this is simple. Self discipline enables you to control when and how you bet, to systematically search for the right bets, to stick to your staking and bankroll plans, to ensure that you put all of your strategies into practice, and to ensure that you don’t bet out of emotion. In sports betting, self discipline is the framework upon which everything else is built.

Bettors who lack self discipline might get lucky some times, but in the long term, they will fail, because deep down their real motivation is to bet not to profit. When you focus on making a profit, you will treat your betting like a business, but if you allow emotion, thrill-seeking, habit or greed to drive your betting, then you are not going to be successful.

There’s a simple test to establish whether you have self-discipline. In fact, its worth carrying out periodically even for successful, establish bettors. The test is this: try not betting for two weeks. Continue to study the form, follow events and build up your knowledge, and find bets, but don’t put any money on. If you can do that for two weeks, not only will you have demonstrated self-discipline, you’ll also have enhanced your betting technique.

Bet what you know

As a sports bettor, the great advantage you enjoy over a bookmaker is that you don’t have to have an opinion on every event. In fact, you don’t have to bet at all. You can pick and choose where and how and how much you bet.

So what should you bet on? Simply put, you should bet what you know. Bet on sports and markets where you not only know the sport, but also understand how the market works, and have a good idea on what constitutes a value price. It need not necessarily be a sport you have followed for years, but it should be one that you know well.

Above all, don’t be tempted to bet in markets or areas outside your comfort zone. Stick to what you know and what has worked for you in the past, whether that is spotting undervalued favourites in horse races or backing the top scorer in cricket games. From this solid foundation you can build and improve your betting technique.

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Keep Records

All serious bettors keep records. They may vary in how much detail they include, but keeping records, both of wins and losses, is essential. Think of it like a business. How likely is a business to succeed if the person running it never records profits and losses? Such a business is likely to be chaotic, inefficient and go bust in a short space of time!

Short term wins and losses can easily colour your judgement, but success can only be determined in the medium and long term. By seeing how much you are winning or losing over the course of a week, a month or a year, you will have a clear picture of how well you are doing, and whether you need to take action to correct a problem.

A detailed betting record, which includes the sport, event and type of bet placed will also give you an idea of your strengths and weaknesses. Which sports or markets do you do well in and which are losers for you? By concentrating your resources on the former and abandoning the latter, you may be able to maximise your profits and reduce your losses. Keeping a betting record is a practical step that will make you a more successful bettor.

Bankroll Management

Bankroll management is a crucial part of successful sports betting. It can help you avoid chasing losses, prevents you from betting too much after a series of wins, and enables you to withstand a losing run without wiping out your bank. A regular review of your bankroll management is a useful exercise for any sports bettor.

The first stage of any bankroll management strategy is to set aside a budget. This is the amount of money that you are prepared to use solely for the purposes of betting. This must be money you are prepared to lose, otherwise you will find that emotion may rule your betting. Remember the golden rule of betting: never bet with money you cannot afford to lose.

The second stage is to settle on a staking plan. A staking plan takes the decision on how much to wager on each bet out of your hands and means that you less likely to be influenced by short term wins or losses. There are many kinds of staking plan and we won’t go into them here, but they fall into two categories: Fixed and Varied, with Fixed plans tending to be more conservative and Varied plans suiting more experienced bettors.

The Importance of Value

The concept of value is fundamental to all betting. Without an appreciation of value, and how to apply it, you are unlikely to succeed as a sports bettor.

A value bet is one in which the true odds of an event occurring are smaller than those being offered by a bookmaker. As you can imagine, these bets are not always easy to find, as bookmakers are skilled at pricing up their various markets, but with practice, it is possible to find dozens of value bets every day. By ensuring that you only bet on propositions that offer value, you will make a profit in the long term.

Working out the true odds of bet can be tricky as there are many factors that can influence the outcome of a sports event, but the best way to learn is to play bookmaker and draw up your own prices. Try to put a percentage or a probability estimate by each outcome, and, using many of the free calculators you can find online, convert these estimates into prices. If you find a bookmaker offering odds that are bigger than your estimate, then you may have found value. Your first attempts may be a little wide of the mark, but with practice, learning how to price up an event will enable you to develop the crucial ability to spot a value bet.

Conclusion

Betting on sport is not so different from playing sport. The more you practice and work on your technique, the more successful you will be. By maintaining discipline, keeping records, betting what you know, understanding value and managing your bankroll you will be taking practical and significant steps towards betting success.