Sooner or later every sports bettor endures a losing streak. If they say they don’t they are either lying to you or they don’t actually bet. That’s the bad news. The good news is that every bettor – unless they are hopelessly incompetent – will also eventually enjoy a winning streak. Either kind of winning streak can be a problem for bettors if they don’t handle them properly – the losing streaks because they could go broke, and the winning streaks because they can easily go to a bettor’s head. Here’s a look at some important things to keep in mind when you encounter either kind of streak as a sports bettor:
Don’t panic – The worst thing you can do when you can seem to win a game is panic. When you panic you do stupid things, and in sports betting stupid things absolutely never turn out well in the long run. If you know that you are a winning bettor over the long term – or at least close to it – then you know that you aren’t going to lose every game forever. You just have to keep sight of that and keep your sanity intact when betting.
Look at what you are doing – The last thing you want to be doing when you are losing is to start second-guessing yourself, so you have to be careful here. What you do need to do, though, is to make sure that your losing streak isn’t being caused by a change in the way that you typically do things. For example, you want to make sure that you haven’t started playing more longshots than you typically do, or starting backing teams that you don’t normally pick. In the heat of a long betting season leaks can sneak into your betting, so you have to analyze what you are doing so you can spot those leaks and plug them.
Don’t chase – The worst thing you can do as a sports bettor when you are losing is chase your losses. That’s when you increase your bet size to try and recoup your losses quickly. That can be a seductive approach because it works great if you win. If you lose, though, then you’ll quickly be broke – and remember, you’re stuck in a losing streak already, so a loss isn’t unlikely.
Don’t bet anything you wouldn’t typically bet – When bettors panic during a losing streak they look anywhere they can for relief from the suffering. They might be tempted by parlays or teasers when they wouldn’t normally bet those, or they might bet the moneyline when they typically bet the point spread. You need to remember that there is a reason that you bet the types of bets that you do, and that a losing streak is not the time to experiment with other approaches. You just have to dance with the one that brought you – keep working at the approach you typically use until you find your stride again.
Take a step away – There is nothing wrong with taking a break if you are losing. Sometimes when we lose we get so stressed out and frustrated that we are our handicapping’s worst enemy. If you take a step away from betting and do something totally unrelated to betting for a few hours, days, or weeks, then when you come back your eyes will be totally fresh, and perhaps your luck will have changed.
Don’t believe your own hype – I actually think that in the long term a winning streak can do more damage for most bettors than a losing one. When a guy just can’t help but win he starts to feel like he’s a genius, and that he is invincible. That can lead him to think that he can take risks he normally wouldn’t take, or make bets he normally wouldn’t make. There are few things in life that can teach humility better than sports betting, and the more you forget that the bigger the eventual fall will be. You need to remember that though long term betting success is about good handicapping and good money management, any short term streak – good or bad – has more to do with luck than anything.
Don’t change your approach – As an extension of the last point, when you are winning like crazy isn’t the time to change your approach and do things you wouldn’t normally do. You’ve hit this winning streak because you have an approach, you have applied it, and it’s working. Thinking that you can suddenly change that approach and still keep on winning doesn’t really make a lot of sense.
Consider increasing bet size to press your advantage – Though you don’t want to change your approach you might want to consider changing your bet size once the wins start rolling in. This is a good way to take advantage of your winning streak, and it’s also good money management – winning will increase your bankroll so you can bet a bigger amount per bet without betting a bigger percentage of your bankroll.
Study what you are doing to see if you can learn from it – When you are making winning sports bets it is a good time to look at what you are doing to see if anything has changed. Just like a small change could have a negative impact and drive you into a losing streak, a subtle positive change could be contributing to your current success as a sports handicapper..