Tips for a Successful Football Season of Gambling

We’ve all been here before; counting the precious hours until they start-playing football for real.  Here are a few helpful tips to make the 2016 football season your most profitable yet.

Develop a plan

Is college going to be your focus or will it be NFL?  How do you plan to allocate those precious handicapping hours during the week?  Is the goal to have action on all the biggest prime time games or to only be invested when a real edge presents itself?

These are the hard questions recreational bettors need to ask themselves before the season starts.  Understanding the challenges presented by a season long grind before you actually encounter them helps preserve a much healthier outlook through the inevitable ups and downs.  Everyone in the wagering game approaches the fall differently; go into the season knowing what’s best for YOUR wallet and state of mind, not someone else’s.

Manage your money

Everyone talks about sound money management regularly in this business.  Depending on whom you ask this is a more difficult skill to master than actually picking winners.  Knowing when to step up your bet size compared to backing off creates the difference in a profitable season or breaking your bank. Budgeting a bankroll is essential for keeping tabs on your gambling finances.  Having an actual starting point dictates so many of the weekly decisions from how many games you plan to bet to an appropriate max bet size.  Here’s an overly simplistic guideline for average bet size based on your presumed starting roll.

$100: average bets from $2.50 to $5.00
$500: average bets from $12.50 to $25.00
$1,000: average bets from $25 to $50
$5,000: average bets from $125 to $250
$10,000: average bets from $250 to $500

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Track wins and losses

This is the single hardest (and sobering) thing for new bettors to do (hell it’s annoying for us grizzled veterans). Knowing where you’re winning and losing wagers allows for growth as a bettor.  Are you doing well with favorites, underdogs, sides, totals, conferences, etc?  Without keeping an accurate log you’ll have no idea exactly what the season’s balance sheet looks like.  For some keeping accurate records isn’t an option; they’re not willing to see the red figures associated with their football wagering.  Regardless it needs to be a priority so you’re always cognizant of bankroll health during the inevitable hot and cold spells.

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Leave your emotions on the sidelines

All of us are initially drawn into watching sports as fans.  We grow up rooting for our favorite teams and players, unfortunately that’s diametrically opposed to what you do as a sports bettor.  Check your emotions at the door; see teams on the field as commodities for buying or selling.  However there’s more to remaining emotionless when it comes to gambling and it’s avoiding the personal agenda.  What I mean is you don’t want to keep riding a team blindly that’s been good to you or continue fading a side because your grudge has become personal.  Eventually the market corrects itself and teams that were on the go against list shift to the bet on side or vice versa.

Have a short memory

Having a short memory is remembering that no team is as good or as bad as they looked the last time you saw them.  We’re all human; it’s tough to eliminate a last impression of that six turnover performance from our brains when we’re making a case for the same team this week that just lost 58-0 six days earlier.  Oddsmakers understand public perception and it’s essential for a sharp gambler to identify inflation or deflation in the market to be successful.

Identify good outs

Everyone doesn’t live in Vegas; hell I’d say way less than 5% of you reading this article have the same multitude of sports books at your disposal residents in Nevada are privy to year round.  That being said you can’t expect to be successful long-term if you’re just betting into one set of lines.  From local bookmakers to offshore shops, there are plenty of strong options for bettors living in Charlotte or Cleveland that become reliable outs offering different sets of numbers.  Make sure if you’re depositing money offshore you use reliable sites with an established track record of paying customers on time while posting point spreads in a timely manner.

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Never chase

I’d like to think this tip needs no explanation.  There’s no “due factor” when it comes to sports betting.  Digging yourself out of a small hole is easier than trying to claw your way out of the Grand Canyon.  We all have bad days and weeks when betting games; take a deep breath and accept losses when they happen.  Come back better than ever the next day instead of compounding a few lousy bets or bad beats with poor judgment and reckless money management arising from increased frustration

Set a schedule

This tip probably sounds foolish.  Quite frankly it might not apply to everyone but it’s something I take very seriously.  Devise a betting schedule that fits into your daily life.  Maybe it’s analyzing the lines on a Monday, reviewing previous week results on a Tuesday, reading a few articles on Weds, and then betting your games on Thursday.  I’m not saying everyone works on the same time frame; customize it to fit your needs.  Changing things up every week doesn’t allow you to maintain the routine required for long-term success.  I know those reading these tips aren’t looking to make betting sports a second job however giving yourself the best chance for success should always be of interest rather than lighting your money on fire.

Create realistic expectations

Let me be the first to tell you winning 100,000,000 this football season won’t happen.  You aren’t going to take a starting bankroll and grow it 10,000% no matter how talented you are as a handicapper.  Keep your expectations aligned with your bankroll and risk threshold.  Looking to pick up 10 positions is more than reasonable if you’re doing this part-time.  Most bettors treat wagering on football as recreation meaning breaking sometimes should be considered a major success.  It reminds me of a quote from a buddy in college, “I hope I break even this week, could really use the money.” We all hate losing, that’s not up for debate. Nevertheless everyone in this game needs to be realistic with what their time and bankroll constraints allow him or her to accomplish.  Going in with a goal of what you expect to accomplish keeps you focused right from the start instead of chasing an unattainable dream of profits.

Have Fun

If you’re betting sports as a form of recreation, have fun.  Always wager responsibly; don’t bet more than you can afford to lose (we can all afford to win more). Refrain from the immature temptation to take out losses on inanimate objects, pets, or loved ones.  View betting games as a way of putting skin in the game for fun, a distraction, that keeps you engaged for a few precious hours.  Gambling can be a dangerous hobby if wagering controls you, don’t become that guy (or girl)!

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