Almost as important as picking winners is the ability to make smart wagers and manage your money. It’s a sin to have a winning percentage and lose money!
Some of you may ask how you can have a winning percentage and lose money. Easy! There are a number of sports bettors that have terrible betting strategies. They don’t understand that the chances of winning one game are identical to winning another game. Let me explain.
It’s a college Saturday and you’re starting to make your college football picks. You go to your online sports betting website and get the current college football betting odds. Now you start the process of selecting the games.
The first thing you look at is the starting times of the games. On this particular Saturday there are eight games that kick off at 12:00 noon EST. Of these eight games, you really like two of the games, but two of the other games are on TV, so you have to make a small wager. Let’s say you are a $200 player, so the two games that you like you’re going to wager $200 on each of those games. Then to have some action on the TV games you wager $100 on each of those two. So, you have four active wagers, two at $200 each and two at $100 each.
As these games kick off, you look at the rest of the games, including the night games. You handicap the games and see a big line move on a 3:30 EST game that you like, and you have a system play on one of the 7:00 EST games. The 7:00 EST game is on ESPN so you want to have a little extra action on that game. Also, you love watching Notre Dame play and as always they’re on television this afternoon. So now, you go ahead and wager $200 on your 3:30 EST selection, you up it a bit on the ESPN game and put $300 on that pick, and just for a little action you put $100 on the Irish.
So let’s take a look at your betting sheet:
Game 1 – $200 wager on the 12:00 EST pick
Game 2 – $200 wager on the 12:00 EST pick
Game 3 – $100 wager on a 12:00 EST TV game
Game 4 – $100 wager on a 12:00 EST TV game
Game 5 – $100 wager on Notre Dame
Game 6 – $200 wager on the 3:30 EST pick
Game 7 – $300 wager on the 7:00 EST ESPN game
You have seven wagers and a total of $1,200 bet. Let’s say you go 4-3 on the day, which is a winning percentage of 57%. This is a very strong winning percentage! If you go 2-1 on the $100 bets, 2-1 on the $200 bets, and lose the $300 bet what is your net profit or loss for the day?
You would win $90 on the $100 bets (+200 – 110), you would win $180 on the $200 bets (400-220) and would lose $330 on your $300 bet. The net result for the day would be a net loss of $60.
If you would have used some basic money management principles, one being to wager the same amount on every game, you would have won money. Wagering $200 per game would have netted a plus $140.
Over the course of a college football season, let’s say you make seven wagers per Saturday, and wager for the 12 weeks of the season. That would give you 84 wagers. If you can pick four winners out of seven each week your record for the season would be 48-36. At $200 per wager, your net profit for the season would be $1,680. In our previous example of erratic wagering, if you lose $60 per week times 12 weeks your net loss would be -$720.
In betting we quite often talk about the “swing” in the net wins or losses. If that game would have won instead of losing it would be a big “swing” in our favor. The swing between these two betting scenarios is $2,400. (Winning $1,680 versus losing $720).
So how can you stop from falling into this betting trap? There are a number of suggestions that we can offer to help you:
- Establish an existing bankroll – At the beginning of the football season come up with a total amount that you are willing to deposit to wager for the upcoming season. You’ll notice that I didn’t say amount you can afford to lose. When wagering on football, I never feel that I’m going to lose. It’s very important to have a winning attitude and outlook so if you’re going to bet you might as well bet to win.
- Establish at least three betting accounts – Let’s say for example that you have decided that your bankroll for the upcoming season is going to be $6,000. You should then find three reputable online sports betting companies and make deposits of $2,000 each. For a complete explanation of how to choose the right online sports betting companies visit the wagering info section on the site.
- Establish an amount for each wager – The question often is how much should I wager on a game, and do I follow a rating schedule. Always wager an amount equal to a fixed percentage of your bankroll and NEVER rate games higher than others. A good rule of thumb is to wager 2-3% of your bankroll. Based on a $6,000 bankroll that would equate to a starting wager of $120 – $180 per game. If you’re a more aggressive player, or you play less games per week you might want to go up to 5% of your bankroll which would be $300 per game. Keep in mind, that once you start wagering, the amount of each wager will go up or down depending on your results. For example, in the first week of the season let’s say you make five $300 wagers and go 3-2. Your net profit would be $240. Therefore, you’re bankroll would grow from $6,000 to $6,240. Wagering 5% of your bankroll on your next set of wagers would be $312 per wager. This is an aggressive betting approach that takes advantages of winning streaks. It also reduces your exposure when you are losing, as your bankroll shrinks during a losing streak the amount of your wager reduces.
- Shop for the best lines – In item three above, the main reason we advise three betting accounts is that you have to always try to get the best line possible. Never make a wager at one online sports betting company unless they have the best line. Getting an extra half point will result in a 3-5% increase in your winning percentage. This takes some moving of money around, or re-depositing if one of your Sportsbook accounts gets low, but NEVER get lazy and make a wager at a “bad” line or not the best available line.
- Minimize the amount of wagers – One of the biggest mistakes that most sports bettors make is that they make too many wagers. What is the right number of plays per week? Only you can answer that. But remember, the more wagers you make the more “juice” your going to pay the Sportsbooks. We always recommend to our players that 3-5 plays on a Saturday and three plays on an NFL Sunday is probably the right amount.