Summer Betting Tune-Up
by Trevor Whenham - 6/12/09
There is really no true offseason for committed, addicted sports bettors. But this time we are entering right now is about as close as it gets. The NBA and NHL are in their final throes, the NFL is as dormant as it gets, major college sports are in hibernation, and so on. Baseball plods along relentlessly, but that's not for everyone - at least not at this time of year. Since things are relatively slow, now is a great time to give your sports betting activities a summer tune-up.
By looking back at where you have been, and forward at where you want to be, you can set yourself up for an even better year than you had expected. Here are seven ways you can start to do that:
Check your record keeping - You do keep good records, don't you? If you don't track the bets you make and their results then you really, really need to. If you do, then you can look at how well your record keeping system works, and whether there is a better way you could be doing it. Could you switch from a notebook to a computer? Could you design a spreadsheet that tells you more information more simply? Is there something that you wish you knew about your betting that you don't? Putting the time into improving your record keeping will pay surprising dividends.
Look for leaks - By looking back at your records for the past year you may be able to spot things that you are doing that cost you money. After a while we all tend to fall into habits that cause us to lose, but which we don't even realize we are doing. For example, a couple of years ago I realized that I had a bad habit of favoring teams that I had seen play live. My attachment to those teams made me subconsciously favor them, and to force bets on them in situations where it didn't necessarily make sense. Spotting that problem and addressing it made an immediate impact on my results.
Assess your sportsbooks - Are you happy with the sportsbooks you use? Could you benefit from bonuses offered elsewhere? If you don't have multiple accounts t facilitate shopping around for the best odds then you really should, so now is a time you could check that out. Sportsbooks are in a very competitive business, so there is no reason at all that you should settle for less than good service and fair prices.
Evaluate your bankroll - Are you working with a safe bankroll? Are you being too conservative? Taking the time to look at where you are financially and if it makes sense is a very worthwhile practice. Maybe you are risking too much and risking going broke with an inevitable slump. Or maybe you could safely be betting more. You'll hear again and again that money management is the key t successful sports betting, so take the time to manage your money while you have it (both the time and the money).
Read, read, read - A little slow time is a great time to study and read to improve your knowledge and understanding of sports betting. This can take many forms. You can pick up one of the many good books on handicapping and money management. You can choose to study specific teams or leagues to get to know them better than ever. You can study philosophy or theory about different sports to get a better sense of the sport in particular. That can only lead to better understanding and stronger handicapping insights. The best thing I ever did a couple of years ago was to read an old copy of Football Scouting Methods, the classic book by Bill Belichick's dad, Steve. It's a masterpiece on how to scout an opponent and get prepared for a game. I'm obviously not a coach, but it gave me a whole new way of watching games and assessing plays. That book has now been reprinted, and is very worthwhile if you have no better ideas.
Make goals - I don't know about you, but I am very motivated by goals. I'm a competitive guy, and having a goal written down is like having a contest with myself. Every year at this time I like to sit down and assess my sports betting goals. I don't find it productive to focus on specifics - I'll make this much money, or win this many games. Instead, my goals focus more on the sports I will bet, the ways I will prepare for them. In other words, I focus more on process than performance. If the process is sound then the performance will follow.
Take a break - Sooner than you think things are going to heat up again. Football will start, baseball playoffs will arrive, then comes bowls, college basketball, NFL playoffs, the NBA, NHL, and before you know it another year has come and gone. It's a long and demanding grind. By taking some time now to forget about sports and recharge you'll feel fresher and more focused when it really matters. You know how long you need - a week, a month, or longer. Whatever it is, a bit of time when you aren't checking scores constantly, watching SportsCenter religiously, and worrying about moving point spreads will be time very well spent.