My idea of alcohol abuse is opening a nice, cold beer and letting it go warm. My idea of a problem gambler is someone who doesn’t know how to properly manage their money and someone who bets more than their bankroll actually allows.
In my 40 years of sports wagering I have also fallen into this group one time or another. Unfortunately, most sports bettors learn the hard way and fail to use discipline when wagering on sports.
It‘s amazing that many of us run or work within successful businesses backed by good ethics and a sound money management theory, but refuse to use these same techniques when it comes to sports betting money management. Would you bet 25 percent of your retirement fund on a single stock that had a 40 percent chance of going in the tank tomorrow? Would you invest in a real estate development under the same scenario? Nobody would do either of these propositions, yet many people are willing to bet 20 to 30 percent of their betting resources a single game. The books know that most of us lack discipline and that greed, sooner or later, will get the best of the gambler and that some early returns for the bettor will likely eventually swing to big profits for the bookmaker.
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Gordon Gecko said that, “Greed is good.” Well, he obviously wasn’t talking about betting on college football spreads or NFL spreads. And like with many endeavors, being greedy can get you in big, big trouble. (Just ask Bernie Madoff.)
If you put $5,000 into a bank savings account and let it draw interest for a year, you could expect to make about $100 to $150. (I think even two or three percent is unlikely these days, but we’ll use this as an example) But many of us get very greedy when using that same $5000 to bet sports and feel that a $1000 or $2000 seasonal profit is unacceptable. Yet this is roughly 10 times what you would have made by putting the same amount of money it into the bank and, personally, I don’t know of too many investment advisors, individual stocks, ETFs, bonds, or mutual funds that can make you a consistent 15 -30 percent each year, do you?
It does not take long for gamblers to find out that winning and losing often comes in streaks. It’s inevitable to happen, since there is no such thing as a “lock”. In my 40 years of handicapping, I have seen every imaginable thing happen on the playing field. Unless you can view tomorrow’s box score today, any game can win or lose.
So what is the best theory on money management? There are several methods that have proven successful by many professional gamblers. In speaking to most of these individuals, discipline being the main ingredient. I personally believe that one should never bet more than 20 percent of their season bankroll on any given week. An example would be if a gambler starts with a seasonal bankroll of $5,000. Thus, they will have $1000 (20 percent of your bankroll) to bet with on opening week. If we were to release eight football picks on the first week it would look like this:
6-unit on Georgia
5-unit on Ohio State
4-unit on Iowa
4-unit on Florida
4-unit on Oregon
5-unit on Dallas
4-unit on New York
4-unit on Seattle
If you add these all up it comes to 36 total units. Divide that by your weekly budget on $1000 and it comes to roughly $28 per unit. Therefore you would bet $168 on Georgia, your 6-unit selection. On all the 4-unit selections you would bet $112 (Iowa, Florida, Oregon, New York, and Seattle). And so on and so forth for the rest of the picks.
I know that everyone wants to bet like they are Warren Buffet. But guys that have been successful in any “speculation market,” which is essentially what sports betting is, have done so through patience and savvy. I know it’s not “sexy” to say that you bet $112 on a game. People would much rather play for $500 to $1000 per game. But let’s leave sexy for the MTV crowd. To me being smart with your money and slowly growing your bank account is the best way to really make gambling part of your long-term enjoyment.
As your bankroll increases (or in some cases, decreases) after each week, so will the size of your bets. Betting on sports will usually come in winning or losing steaks and this strategy allows you to bet more when you are winning and cut back when you are losing. Using this method will also allow you to never go broke since you are essentially starting out with a new bankroll and betting about 20% of that new bankroll each and every week.
It does not take a mathematician to use this system and it will give you a great chance to be successful. But it does take a special type of person to be able to maintain the discipline to use sports betting money management system throughout the course of a six-month football season. Your bookie counts on you to value greed and expects you to reload often during the football season. Be a real player and manage your sports betting like you would a business. If you follow this system you will be pleasantly surprised with your bankroll come February. Many players that make a living wagering on sports use a strong money management similar to this. Be a smart player, and do not let the bookie control you hard earned cash. If you have any questions please feel free to give me a call at (866) 238-6696 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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Best of luck,
Doc's Sports Staff