Post game betting habits from a professional - Prediction Machine

Post game betting habits from a professional

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Many recreational bettors aspire to be professional bettors. The fantasy of quitting their job and turning a hobby – watching and betting sports – into a profession, has obvious appeal. The truth is, however, that making a living off sports betting is rare and unsustainable for most people. Just like with lawyers, doctors, and pilots – many people just aren’t cut out for the job no matter how much training they receive.

If you’re a recreational bettor trying to make that unlikely leap to professional bettor, or you want to keep betting for fun and learn tools from a professional to help you improve your track record, this article is for you.

What to do after games

So much emphasis in the media and Hollywood is on what professional bettors do before placing wagers. Things like analysis, risk assessment and bet sizing are prevalent in popular culture and these activities are relatable because every bettor does them to some degree.

However, there are habits most professionals have after wagers are won and lost that separate them from those betting for entertainment.

Saturday and Sunday nights during football season

College football Saturdays and NFL Sundays can be emotionally exhilarating.

While many recreational bettors are celebrating their wins out at the bars or lamenting their losses at home on Saturday and Sunday evenings, pro bettors are already looking ahead to the next week’s action. Placing bets for the following week’s games isn’t a priority on Saturday and Sunday nights for Average Joe bettors, but it should be because that’s when lines are softest. In fact, the reason sportsbooks often limit bet sizes early on is because they recognize they’re vulnerable prior to professionals molding their lines with their early-week bets. If you wait to make your football bets the day of games, like most bettors, you may miss out on value.

This “Bet early” advice can apply to other sports as well, but is most applicable in football because of the long wait between games.

Why track bets?

Whether you’re using bet-tracking software, an excel spreadsheet or the good old fashioned paper and pencil, meticulously tracking is a crucial tool for a winning sports bettor. Before games are played, you should be analyzing the teams and after the games are played, you should be analyzing yourself.

Tracking wagers allows bettors to notice blind spots that are hurting profit margin or other trends they can take advantage of. For instance, maybe you’re hitting 56% of your NBA bets, but you’re doing way better betting totals than betting sides. Or perhaps your MLB record is stronger on the weekend than it is on the weekdays because you have less responsibilities and more time to focus on analysis. Or, maybe the system you use to analyze NHL games is total crap and needs to be calibrated before you keep losing more money. Or, what if you’re a stronger bettor in the fall than the summer because of work responsibilities?

Long term, tracking bets allows you to know if you’re regressing or improving. The amount of data that can be pulled from tracking your bets is seemingly endless. You’ll never be disappointed you have too much data on your betting habits.

What to track?

Obviously your bet, wager size and whether it won or lost are the most important elements to tracking bets. With those simple pieces, you’re already light years ahead of most bettors who do no tracking at all. But here are a few columns you can add to your spreadsheet to give you more valuable data:

1.) A conviction score – A simple 1-10 conviction score can be helpful for several reasons. First, you can utilize it to help avoid making bad bets in the first place. For instance, “I’m only betting games I have a conviction score of 8 or more on.” Second, tracking how well you do on games you have the most conviction in is a good way to assess your handicapping. For instance, if you’re doing better on games you have the most conviction, it may be a sign that your betting system is working as intended. However, if you’re breaking even and getting crushed on games you have the most conviction, then it could be a sign that you’ve gotten lucky to this point.

2.) Yes/No/Maybe – Congrats, you won your bet! But did you win because you nailed your assessment of the game? Or did the game go completely different than you imagined and you won anyway? Or maybe you had a bad beat and “Should have won.” By grading your handicap separately from the result of the game you can keep a closer eye on how you’re doing. I use a yes/no/maybe rubric to determine if my handicapping was accurate for each game.

3.) Margin of victory – While consistently losing basketball games on last-second shots can be frustrating, it could be a sign you’re on the right track. If you’re 15-10 on 25 bets to start the NBA season and your 15 wins have been by large margins, but every one of your losses has been a nail biter, that’s a good sign. Conversely, if your 10 losses are blowout and your 15 wins were sweaty, then that could be a red flag that, despite your success, your MLB betting system may need some adjustment before moving forward.

4.) CLV – Closing Line Value doesn’t pay the rent. For instance, if you bet the Dallas Cowboys -4 and the line closed at -7, but the Cowboys lost by 14 points, then your bet still lost and knowing you got good CLV isn’t much of a consolation prize. However, like other examples on this list, it’s a piece of data that you’re doing something right (despite the loss). Bettors who can consistently get good closing line value, especially with college and pro football where lines are most volatile throughout the week, are more likely to be profitable over the long run.

To read about NFL-specific betting habits from a professional, check out this article.