10 Mistakes That Are Draining Your Bankroll - Prediction Machine

10 Mistakes That Are Draining Your Bankroll

10 Sports Betting Mistakes To Avoid

10 Sports Betting Mistakes To Avoid

1) Betting too many parlays – I’ll skip the soapbox dissertation, because I’ve written about this topic extensively in many places (here for instance). But most recreational bettors bet way too many parlays. Over the long term, betting too many parlays will have consequences on your bankroll even if you’re a very sharp bettor. That’s the reason professionals bet parlays sparingly. For an example of a type of parlay I do like to bet, click here.

2) Betting your favorite team – Sports fans often think they know their team better than anyone else – including oddsmakers. Always betting on your favorite team to win is a losing proposition long-term since every franchise goes through losing spells. Bettors who bet heavily on their favorite teams have more blind spots than a U-Haul truck.

3) Never hedging – Some people hedge their bets a lot. Others hedge their bets a little. Some people never even consider the option to hedge. Hedging is especially important for contest players or people who ignore my “reduce parlays” advice and keep firing away at 8-leg monsters. While there are certainly pros and cons to hedging, there are also certain opportunities where a hedge is the no-brainer move to make. 

4) Not being humble – If you have “know it all” tendencies, sports betting will humble you quickly. There’s often a lot of bravado among sports fans and sports bettors. If you’re too arrogant to seek advice from others who have successfully made a living in this business, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Realize that even the most seasoned professional bettors ask each other for advice or perspective from time to time. By being modest you can also question your own bias. Newsletters, twitter, and podcasts are all great ways to keep learning.

5) Failing to evolve – The sports betting landscape is constantly changing. We no longer use a standard “3-points for the home team” rule when handicapping NFL games. Stolen bases are a bigger part of MLB handicapping and we’re now in the world of “bullpen games.” Imagine if you were still handicapping NBA totals based off models that worked in a decade or two ago. If you’re still applying old handicapping techniques to modern games, you may find yourself struggling and not know why. Professionals are constantly poking and challenging their process to make sure it’s up to par.

Evolving isn’t just necessary on a year-to-year basis. It may be necessary to tweak and adjust your handicapping process mid-season (For instance, I did this a lot during the NFL Covid season with no fans in the seats). 

6) Not tracking bets – If someone tells me they’re a sports bettor and they don’t track their bets, that is a dead giveaway to me they’re not a professional. Whether you’re a pro or a recreational bettor, there’s simply no good reason for not recording each bet. Losing bettors may not want to track their bets out of fear of confronting the disappointing results on a regular basis, but no matter your skill level, record keeping is crucial. For more information on how to track your bets, click here.

7) Not shopping around – If you’re only using one book to place your bets, you’re missing out on the ability to line shop and make sure you’re getting the best price. There are certain times of year that it’s especially important to have multiple books (Super Bowl props and NFL Draft Props for instance) but even on a day-to-day basis, it benefits bettors to compare prices. In the long term, the difference between -115 and -110 adds up.

8) Having rigid habits – There have never been more ways to bet on sports. If you’re only betting NBA sides and totals because, “That’s how I’ve always done it” then you’re missing out on opportunities to hit softer markets (futures, props, etc.). It wouldn’t be wise to go into a new betting market blindly (live betting for instance) and just start testing it out without research, but carefully approach these new markets, research them, and open your betting options.

9) Not balancing bet frequency – It’s important to let data – not emotions – determine when you bet. Betting because you’re bored and there’s nothing else on TV is a mistake. Betting because you’re on tilt from a bad beat is an even bigger mistake. If you’re going “all-in” on the Sunday Night NFL game to “catch up” from a tough Sunday, you’re in trouble. Inherently, I think all bettors understand these things and this advice seems like common sense. But the real advice here is to listen to that voice in the back of your head (AKA your intuition) who says it’s a bad idea before you follow through.

10) Bet size volatility – If you’ve been using Prediction Machine for a while, you’ve probably noticed a theme of consistency with bet sizes. There’s a reason most bets recommended are between 0-1 unit. There’s also a reason that you’ve never seen a 9 or 10 unit recommendation on this site. Some bettors have a tendency to rapidly increase their bet size as they continue winning. Maintaining consistent bet sizes will save you during cold streaks and help you build a bankroll in a sustainable way in the long term.