Learning From Losing Streaks

One of the hardest things to get a sense of in sports betting is is when you need to stick with what you are doing even when it isn’t working, and when you need to make a change. No matter how good you are you are inevitably going to go through losing streaks. If your handicapping is strong and effective then the worst thing you can do is make radical changes when you are losing – if you stick with it things will turn around soon enough. If your handicapping is flawed, though, then the more you stick with it the more you are just throwing good money after bad. The problem is that it can be tough to tell which situation fits you, and therefore what you can do. Here are three things to help sports handicappers decide for themselvesf:

Look back at your records – Whenever you are in a losing streak the first thing you want to do as a handicapper is look back in your records to see how you have done in similar situations in the past. Say, for example, that you have lost five games in a row betting baseball home underdogs. This is a good time, then, to to look back at how you have been doing on home underdogs in the past weeks, months, and years. It could be that he reason your bets are losing now is because you just aren’t any good at picking home underdogs, so this is a big leak in your betting. By plugging that leak you can improve your bottom line and hopefully end your losing streak as well. If you find that you have been quite successful with betting the home underdogs then you can be reasonably confident that it’s just a bad stretch, and you can wait it out. Really, what you are looking at and really asking is if you are a winning bettor – either overall or in this particular type of bet.

Of course, this assumes that you keep good sports betting records. I talk about this all the time, but I can’t say it often enough – if you don’t keep good records of your bets then you can’t be a long term winning bettor. It doesn’t have to be fancy or time consuming – just a simple Excel Spreadsheet will provide more than enough information for you, and keep it in an easy to manage format. Heck, even a simple notepad and a pencil will get the job done. I don’t care how you keep records of your handicapping successes and failures. Just keep them.

Look at your decision making process – If you are losing more than you feel you should as a sports bettor and you have looked back at your records and made sure you don’t have a leak then you need to look at your handicapping process. It’s common in a losing streak for someone to think that they are doing what they have always done. It’s also common for someone to develop bad habits that they don’t even notice that they have picked up. The best thing you can do to spot and solve these problems is to very consciously go through your handicapping process. You should very deliberately go through every step you take in handicapping a game. Have you always done it this way? Are you skipping a step or adding extra steps that you didn’t include before? Are you taking shortcuts that you haven’t always taken? It can be very easy to cut corners, and over time those cut corners can turn into losses. A losing streak is a good time to tune up your process and make sure it is tight. There’s a qualifier here, though, and it comes back to what we talked about in the last point – it only makes sense to tune up your process if you know that at the root of things you have a winning betting process.

Look at how you are losing – Before you drive yourself too crazy thinking about a losing streak you should look at the games you have lost and how you have lost them. Not all losses are created equally. If you have lost several baseball games in a row because typically strong bullpens have collapsed – despite the starters performing like you expected – then you probably don’t need to worry. Sometimes sports are just cruel. If you are losing badly on a regular basis, though – pitchers you like aren’t coming through, and pitchers you are writing off are consistently performing well – then you could have a bigger problem. Bad luck is unfortunately a part of sports betting. You just need to make sure that your current problems are just bad luck and not bad picking. The key thing to remember here, though, is not to overreact. Even if you are consistently losing badly on a regular basis that shouldn’t be reason to totally overhaul what you are doing. It’s just an indicator that you should look closer at what you are doing as a sports handicapper and bettor.

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