As most gamblers can attest, there are many ways to lose a bet and a precious few methods to winning. The first step to becoming a profitable bettor is realizing that you are never going to cash your tickets every time. Patience is certainly a virtue in wagering and must be used at all times.
For those who make college basketball picks, this is especially true since, on a given night, there could be in excess of 90 or 100 matchups. Knowing which matchup to play and not having a huge card (number of bets) is the key to success.
While we will delve into a number of ways to avoid losing in this article, the foremost piece of advice is that you need to look at sports gambling as a business, whether it’s recreational or not. Meaning whether one team is your favorite team or you despise one of the sides, it’s critical to look at each game objectively and bet with your head and not heart, as the old adage goes.
Never Ever Chase
Chasing bets is a dream for bookmakers and a nightmare for bettors. It is the single/most ineffective way to make money in both the short and long term. By definition, chasing a bet means after losing a few bets, desperation sets in, and one begins to either bet more games or in larger denominations to recoup their losses.
One particular strategy is called the Martingale System. Basically, in this system, if bettors lose their first bet for $100, they would make their next bet for $200 in hopes of breaking even. While statistically, this may eventually work, having the capital and resources to employ this system can become problematic.
For example, if a number of bets in a row fail to cash and the gambler finds him/herself in a significant hole, there may be limits on games, and one may never be able to climb out of the hole. In short, losing streaks are bound to happen.
Every bettor, no matter how much they play and no matter what sport(s) they fancy, will go on hot streaks and cold streaks. Just as a discipline and knowing when to walk away when winning, it is just as important to cut your losses, stop chasing and live to see another day.
Play The Number, Not the Team
A common mistake made by many is that they become emotionally attached to certain teams for a multitude of reasons. One reason is that the gambler is a fan of the team and has fond memories of rooting or cheering for the squad.
A second reason could be that in the recent past, bets either for or against this team worked out in the bettor’s favor or caused them to lose money. These biases are counterproductive when it comes to winning bets.
Keep in mind that the point spread is made in an effort to attract equal action in the game. Very rarely do bookmakers commit major mistakes, and more often than not, when a spread or line is too good to be true and looks too easy, it usually is. Knowing how to spot value and objectively find games that offer it are key to building your bankroll.
Know Who to Trust
With the legalization of gambling in recent years, there is more and more information about betting available. It seems that there’s a podcast or website on every figurative corner of the interwebs. Knowing who to trust and listen to is key when making bets.
Blindly trusting someone who you may be a fan of is similar to having a bias for or against a team and can come back to haunt you. While most bettors don’t have the time to do research and develop their own models, the information out there certainly is useful and, if used correctly, can be profitable.
A tip we have is to always trust touts and handicappers who post their picks prior to the start of games and show their year-to-date record.
While you may not have the time, energy, or frankly expertise to know what his/her “secret sauce” is, at least you know that they’re honest about their results and seemingly have a repeatable system.