There are two things you can be reasonably sure of when it comes to sports bettors – most bettors are long term losers, and most of them will tell you that they are long term winners. The more you talk to bettors, the more you see that there are a few reasons why most bettors can’t make a profit. Here are five defining characteristics of losing bettors:
Emotional betting – Smart bettors have the ability to remove all emotion from a game. The teams that are on the field don’t matter. All that matters is that they have looked at the game, spot a clear edge, and isolated an opportunity to exploit that edge for profit. Most bettors don’t do that as successfully as they should. They might think they do, but there are inevitably teams that they like more than others, and they let those feelings shade their opinions and their betting decisions. The teams ultimately don’t care who is cheering for them, so if you let that factor into your betting then there is a good chance that are being led towards bad decisions. You need to work hard to get past this. The best way to start is avoid betting on the games that you are emotionally invested in. Over the long term that might limit profit opportunities, but in the short term it can help you avoid sports betting mistakes and can save you money.
Poor money management – If you have read much about sports betting then you have likely heard someone say that money management is at least as important to sports betting success as good handicapping is. The reason you keep hearing that is because it is true. Losing bettors don’t have a good grasp on what good money management is, and they expose too much of their money is situations that aren’t favorable for them. They also don’t have a big enough bankroll for the bets they are making, and they don’t have the discipline to maintain the ideal bet size regardless of whether they are winning or losing. Finally, they don’t realize that chasing losses is the surest way to go broke.
Trusting their gut – Smart bettors will make a betting decision based on a trend they have spotted, a matchup they think is favorable, an injury that is being viewed incorrectly, a favorable line movement, or something solid and justifiable like that. Quite often their bets will be backed by a combination of those factors. Losing bettors may employ those factors as well, but just as often they will be involved in a game because they have a feeling, or because their gut is telling them to be. Unless your gut has been doing some good analysis that you don’t know about this is not the way to go if you want long term profits. Sometimes your gut will be right, and these are the occasions you are going to remember. More often, though, your gut isn’t going to come through for you. If you aren’t basing your bets on something more than some mystical feeling then you just aren’t going to make any money over the long term. Period.
Overvaluing their edge – Sports bettors, almost without fail, have egos. You pretty much have to to be drawn into sports betting. After all, what you are saying by making bets is that you know better than the oddsmakers, that you know what teams are going to do before they do it, and that you can see the future. If you don’t have a big ego then you’ll look for some other way to get your thrills. The downside of that ego is that it inflates bettors’ opinion of their own sports handicapping skills. Losing bettors always think that they are better handicappers than they are, and that they have much bigger edges in a game than they really do. If you are overestimating your edge in a game then you are overestimating the likelihood that you will win, and you will be willing to accept a a price that you shouldn’t accept. A defining characteristic of all winning bettors is that they know what their edge is, they are cautious in assessing that edge, and they are careful to only act when that edge is far larger than the risk involved in the bet.
Betting on the wrong events – Smart bettors know that knowledge is power in sports betting. That means that they will only bet on events that they understand and that they are able to evaluate and handicap effectively. They also know that the more public attention a game has the less likely it is that there is real value in the line. As a result, smart bettors will often look for less popular games to play, and will avoid a game entirely if they don’t know anything about it – regardless of how much people are talking about it. Losing bettors, on the other hand, will be drawn to their betting spots because they are on TV or because they are generating buzz.