Sports Betting Tips: How to Best Deal With Losing Streaks
As wonderful and as enthralling as sports betting can be, it can be one of the toughest things to take part in. Every single person who has laid down more than one bet in their life has, at one time or another, suffered a terrible beat. I'm talking a meaningless touchdown that throws the total out of whack or a half-court buzzer-beater that turns a cover into a non-cover. Losses like those happen to everyone, including the best of the best.
Nobody in the sports betting industry is immune to losing. Nobody has ever picked winners at a 100 percent clip. Heck, the greatest and most prolific handicappers in the betting industry can only hit around 60 percent winners. Now, 60 percent is pretty extraordinary, but the point is that everyone loses bets. The difference between great handicappers and mediocre ones is their ability to limit the losses as they very rarely go on losing streaks that span more than a few games.
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A losing streak is one of the worst situations a bettor can endure. There is something about not being able to pick a winner over an extended stretch of time that really impacts not only the bankroll but the overall confidence of a bettor. If you've ever been on an extended losing streak, you will know what I'm talking about. If you haven't, here are a few ways to deal with it and get out of it.
No, the gods of the world are not conspiring against you to take all your money. Even though it may feel like that, no amount of praying will help you get out of the funk you are in. In my experience, a losing streak is caused by two simple things. The first thing is out of your control, and that's luck. At the end of the day, sports are played between two teams who give it their maximum effort in hopes of winning the game. At one point or another there will be things that happen that you've never seen before and you will either profit off of it or fall victim to it. During the losing streak, these things may seem to go against your selection more often than not, but it's important to remember that the game would have played out the same way regardless of it you had a bet on it or not.
Change the Process
The second thing a losing streak boils down to is the fundamental handicapping process. There is something that you are doing between circling a game and then placing a wager on that game that is not adding up.
Handicapping a game is such a delicate process that one wrong thought could lead you to the wrong side, especially when your thoughts are cloudy and the confidence is low. There are so many narratives that can be taken out of context from previews, expert analysis or anything else you read that might give you a hot take or an opinion on the game.
During the course of a losing streak, it's crucial that you are able to take a step back during the handicapping process and look at the game as a whole. Ask yourself plenty of questions about the two teams in question and about the line and about whatever you feel you need answered before diving into the specifics of stats and trends and injuries and travel and game plans and all of that other intricate stuff that goes into the decision-making.
Scale Back the Risk
This is a two-fold proposition. First, if you feel like you can't pick a winner with tomorrow's newspaper then there is absolutely no reason why you should be risking the same amount of money you would when you are on a winning streak. A losing streak brings the confidence of a bettor down to a low point, so there is no way you should be able to confidently risk as many units as you do on a single game until you start winning again. The second and most important part of this is to never chase your losses. A bad beat can put bettors on tilt and push them to double up on the next bet in order to come ahead at the end of the day. If you've lost several bets in a row then never ever try to recoup all of your losses back with one major bet. Your streak will not end because you placed an enormous wager. You are likely to go broke before then, and you will have no more bankroll left to play with.
Understand the Odds
If you come across a pro bettor that tells you he or she has never had a losing streak, they are lying through their teeth. The one constant in sports betting -- similar to life with death and taxes -- is that losing streaks are inevitable. They happen to the worst handicappers and the best, and there is nothing that can be done to avoid them.
Let me explain something to you quick.
If a gambler were to make 500 wagers on 50/50 propositions over the course of a year - which might be a low amount for the regular bettor - the odds state that he or she should lose 10 straight bets 21 percent of the time. That means that there is better than a one-in-five chance that a player who bets on a regular basis will lose 10 games in a row over 500 bets. Depending if you're an optimist or pessimist, that stat can be alarming but somewhat comforting.
Let's even take it a step further. A player who makes 500 bets a year will almost certainly go through a 10-game losing streak at least once in a five-year span. Those odds are comforting in the sense that you know a losing streak is bound to happen and you can write it off as part of the process and not have those streaks shake your handicapping confidence.
Below are the odds calculated for wagers that are 50/50 propositions (a standard spread bet) and are assessed over a 500-game period.
Two-game losing streak: 100 percent
Three-game: 100 percent
Four-game: 100 percent
Five-game: 99.97 percent
Six-game: 98 percent
Seven-game: 86 percent
Eight-game: 62 percent
Nine-game: 38 percent
The odds of an extended losing streak are very high up until the eight-game mark. So, there is a very good chance that over a year's worth of sports betting you will lose seven games in a row. Of course, the better you are at handicapping, the less frequent those losing streaks will be. However, simply understand that those long losing streaks are bound to happen and there is nothing the sports gods can do for you.
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