Setting Goals For Football Season
by Trevor Whenham - 08/28/2008
The football season is about to start. If you aren't ready for it you can burn through your bankroll before Donovan McNabb has his inevitable season ending injury (I put the over/under at Week 6, by the way). Before the insanity of the season arrives, it's a very good idea to take some time and set some goals for what you want to accomplish as a bettor during the season. This is a great way to get focused for the long, tough season, and it gives you a better chance of staying on track and avoiding costly errors.
When I sit down to set goals I like to think about the size of bankroll I am going to use during the season, the types of bets I will be making, the situations I am going to be looking for, and the mistakes I will be looking to avoid. Once I have done that, I like to develop a few simple, concrete, and measurable goals and write them down. That last part is crucial. Once my goals are on paper I can refer to them regularly during the season whenever I need motivation, reassurance, or grounding. Writing them down makes them real and, I have found, makes them more likely to be achieved.
What you don't want to do when you are setting goals is to set ones that will force you to do things that you wouldn't otherwise do. It doesn't make sense, for example, to set a goal for the minimum number of bets you will make during the year. Successful sports bettors only make a bet when they have an edge, and there's no way of knowing in advance when that edge will be available, so if you have a target number of bets you might bet when you don't have an edge to meet you quota. A better approach is to set goals regarding the size of edge you will look for before you make a bet.
If you decide that sitting down and setting goals for the football season is a good idea (and it is), then here are a few steps you will want to be sure to consider:
1. What is my purpose in betting? - This seems like a simple question, but how you answer it will seriously affect the way you approach the season. Are you just looking to have some fun and have something to cheer for every week? If that's the case then you're just on the lookout for the games that are most interesting, and you don't need to be as worried about your edge. You'll be looking to make bets every week, and it won't matter as much how good the bets are. That's a far different mindset than someone who is serious about making a profit. They will be more focused on betting only when their expected return on investment is positive, and they will have to be more patient and picky if they want to succeed.
2. How much time do I have to commit to handicapping? - If you work a full time job and have a busy family life then you may only be able to spare a few minutes each week to look over the games. There's nothing wrong with that, of course, but you do need to be realistic about what that means - your handicapping won't be as comprehensive, and your returns will be lower than they would if you had more time. Your goals need to reflect the reality of your situation, or you won't achieve them. The upside of asking this question is that it can identify a problem and lead you to find a solution. If you know that you have limited time then you can invest time and potentially money in finding a way that you can get the information you need in the time you have.
3. How big is my bankroll? - This is another crucial but often overlooked question. Before the season starts you need to look at how much money you have to bet with. That means you need to know how much you could lose without creating a personal financial crisis. The size of your bankroll will determine the size of your wagers, and it will tell you what is realistic in terms of a profit goal for the season. If your bankroll is $500, for example, then it is pointless to set a goal of making a $10,000 profit on the season. It just isn't going to happen, and you may take unnecessary gambles in your pursuit of getting there.
4. What types of bets will I look for? - If you don't think about this before the season then you will be jumping around from bet to bet based on whatever sounds good at the time. Do you prefer sides or totals? Do you like the money line? Are you into parlays? How about teasers? You don't have to limit yourself to just one type of bet - successful bettors fit the bet to the situation to maximize their edge - but by thinking about it in advance you can develop a game plan and avoid desperately leaping for a bet that you aren't comfortable with or one that doesn't make sense in a situation.