Sports Betting 101: How to Properly Keep Track of Your Wagers
Sports betting is similar to the rabbit hole you find yourself in on a random Tuesday night while browsing YouTube. First you play all the old 90's hip-hop jams you grew up with, then you start watching videos about who shot 2Pac and Biggie, then that spirals into some sort of Illuminati videos and so on and so on. The next thing you know it's 4 a.m. and your convinced we are not alone on this planet.
Sports betting is no different. Once you get hooked on the exhilarating ride that is placing a bet, watching the game and rooting for your selection, you are in it for life. The highs and lows of the actual game itself can sometimes be enough to overtake the sheer joy of winning a wager and cashing your ticket. When the picks are winning and the good times are flowing, sports betting can be extremely fun.
However, similar to many things in life, in order to enjoy the benefits and the fun, you must first put in the hard work and show some semblance of dedication to the cause. Sports betting has a very boring side to it that not many causal bettors know about. It's called record-keeping. A successful sports bettor must be brutally honest with himself about whether he is a winning or losing player, and the only way to do so is by tracking each and every single bet that is made. Whether that's a $2 bet on a long shot of 1000/1 or a $1000 bet on a favorite of -1000. Each bet counts the same.
Look at Sports Betting as an Investment
Regardless of if you are betting for fun and entertainment purposes, or if you are taking it more seriously in hopes of turning a profit, it would be foolish of you to throw around your hard-earned money without potentially seeing some sort of return on investment. There are two ways to see a return on your investment. The first is the hard part -- winning bets.
The second way to see any returns is by keeping daily records of your bets. There is no business in the world that does not keep records of daily transactions, expenses, and everything in between. If there is a business like that in the world, chances are it won't stay open for very long.
The whole idea behind keeping records is to help you succeed as a sports bettor. Once you have kept records for a few months or even years, you can look back on them and gain a valuable insight into your betting habits, trends, and win-loss records. Even if you are simply sports betting as a hobby, keeping records will keep track of the one stat that you need to know - your profits or losses.
How to Keep Track of Your Bets
Record keeping can be as simple or as detail oriented as you want it to be. There are several online tools/mobile apps that you can download for free to utilize. The most basic way to keep track of your bets, however, is by hand writing them down in a notebook.
Here is a quick list at how your records might look:
Type of bet: Money Line
Amount wagered: $115 to win $100
Bet: Boston Red Sox -115
Outcome: Win - Boston 4. Baltimore 0.
I would advise keeping a separate log for each sport. There are times where you will want to go back and look at your betting history and it will be a lot easier to look through one sport then go line by line and sift through eight different sports. If you decide to forgo the old school pen and notepad (welcome to 2018), I would highly recommend downloading an app or online software that does all the calculations for you.
Pros of Tracking Your Bets
Tracking your bets to find out your bottom line is only half the story. Tracking your bets is helpful because it will allow you to look back at the data you have kept and analyze it to the point where you can learn what works and what doesn't work. Remember, the end game of a betting hobby is to turn a profit over time. This is not a get-rich-quick scheme.
Tracking your bets will also allow you to kick the habit of placing random bets without thinking twice about it. If you are honest enough with yourself and are dedicated to tracking every single wager, you will be hesitant to throw money away on stupid things like the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating contest or a random Japanese baseball game during the midnight hours. Once you look back at your data and see how much money you wasted on events that you have no clue about, you will look foolish and be pissed off that you threw money away aimlessly. Tracking bets keep you honest and it is important if you are serious about becoming a good handicapper.
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