Top 10 betting tips for being a successful sports punter
Being a successful sports punter certainly isn’t easy, and therefore unsurprisingly it is something that is rarely achieved. However, making a successful long-term profit can and certainly is accomplished by the minority. There are indeed a small percentage of punters out there, who are successful or even make a living (often a good one at that) from betting on sports.
Profiting from sports betting can by no means be guaranteed and unfortunately there are no quick guides to success. Having said this, for those who are serious about making a success of their punting efforts over the long haul, then there are a number of important ‘tips’ (covered in this article) which if followed can provide aspiring punters a solid foundation for which to build success upon.
Understanding the value in a bet is arguably the key component to long term punting success. An old saying amongst those successful at gambling is: “to profit long term, the punter needs to be betting at odds which are greater than the selections real chance of winning”, there is truth in every bit of this statement. In fact, this short snippet pretty much sums up the concept of value.
For the purpose of this explanation, horse racing will be used as an example.
Value in a particular bet exists when the odds available are greater than the horses’ chance of winning (the horse is over-priced). Let’s say after analysing a race, you believe one particular horse has a 40% chance of winning and therefore should be a true price of 6/4. However, the horse is actually priced up at 3/1 in the market, which would suggest the horse has a 25% chance of winning. Assuming you are correct in your analysis and the horse does have a 40% chance of winning, betting on the horse at 3/1 represents good value.
Perhaps one misconception that punters tend to have, is that for a bet to represent value it has to be a big price. This really isn’t the case. Any horse in any race can represent value.
Even short priced favourites can be good value. If a horse is priced at odds of 6/4, this is the true price if the horse has a 40% chance of winning; however, if you believe that the horse has a 50% chance of winning then the true price would be even money (or 2.00) and therefore placing a bet at odds of 6/4 would represent good value.
Placing bets at odds which are greater than they should be, is vital to achieving long-term profit.
The bottom line is, the majority of punters are lazy. There’s no two ways about it. Most punters either put no time or logical thought into a bet or their efforts to do so are slack. Either way, they arrive at the same conclusion, which is of course – negative results. Realistically, punters are living in a golden age, never before has there been so much information available, yet on the whole, it remains unexploited.
For example, it’s not reasonable to glance over some vague information about an event and expect this to yield results. Nowadays – particularly on the web – there are so many resources for punters to take advantage of. There are plenty of formbooks, masses of statistical data (detailing almost everything imaginable), plus not mention the key resource of video replay footage (particularly useful for horse racing punters). If serious about being successful in the hardest business of all, you need to invest. Not just money, but time.
Avoid chasing losses
Chasing losses is something that – for as long as betting has been around – has been tried and failed by almost every gambler. More so, it is a method that will continue to be tried and failed for years to come. Speaking frankly, chasing losses is nothing but a shortcut to the poorhouse. Although chasing your losses may seem like the way to eventually arrive at a profit, it really isn’t.
Firstly, It’s probably fair to say, that there aren’t any gamblers who can boast of an unlimited betting bank, and therefore, if losses are regularly chased, at some point (probably sooner rather than later) you will go broke. Secondly, when punters chase losses, they’re generally looking for a quick way to make something back. When in this state of mind, logical thought tends to go out the window and thus rash decisions are made. This leads punters to place bets and stake amounts that wouldn’t normally be sanctioned.
It is of course easy to advise punters that they should simply avoid chasing their losses, because most gamblers have been in that position, where after losing a particular bet, the temptation to instantly go back for more can be a hard one to shake. It is the said shaking of such thoughts that can be one vital step towards long term success. The key thing to remember in these situations is that there’s always tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that. The point is that the sensible thing to do is to wait for the right opportunities to arise as opposed to irrationally attempting to make losses back straight away on what are likely to be ill-advised bets.
Nowadays the sheer enormity of sporting fixtures, makes it very difficult to keep on top of everything. It is normal for those who are successful as gamblers to specialise in one sport, and more often than not, specialise in one particular area of that sport.
Attempting to keep on top of all the form across the board, is simply counterproductive. For gaining the best knowledge possible, the aim should be to specialise.
Find a particular area where you can get to grips with all the form. For example, as a horse racing punter you might choose to focus on handicap races on the AW, or novice hurdler’s in the national hunt season. Establish a specific area such as these, watch all of the races in this area and get to know the runners inside out.
Set aside a specific betting bank
A fundamental error made by the vast majority of gamblers, is the failure to set aside a sum of money from which bets are made. A specific betting bank. Regardless of the system used, something all gamblers need, is a betting bank which is separate from all other finances and is used only to fund their betting activities. It is essential that a betting bank is separate from personal finances, this should – to some degree – reduce the emotional attachment involved in the decision making process of a bet.
The size of the betting bank depends entirely on the individual and will no doubt vary depending on how much you have/wish to set aside for betting purposes. Failing to use a betting bank, results in the punter betting randomly with whatever money they have available. This often leads to losing more than you can afford, and keeping on top of your betting activity becomes a lot harder.
The punters out there who have the right attitude and are serious about making their gambling work, will set aside a betting bank which consists of an amount they can afford to lose.
Use a disciplined staking plan
Just as many punters fail to set aside a betting bank, they just as carelessly, fail to appreciate the importance of a staking plan. Having a betting bank is one thing, but it becomes irrelevant if the punter proceeds to bet amounts at random without working out a logical stake.
Depending on the amount available in ones betting bank, punters should align their stake accordingly, so that on any one bet they are only staking a small percentage. This percentage is really up to the individual, it could be 2% or it could be 5%. It is highly recommended however, that no more than 5% should be staked on a single bet. Betting up to only 5% of the funds available means a bet can be placed without seriously affecting the bank roll.
It is unwise to stake large percentages at any one time. For example, if your betting bank stands at £5000, staking large percentage amounts such as £2500 (50%) is an ill-disciplined action. Even if you were to win one, two or even more bets of this nature, continuing to staking high percentages, would – before long – result in nothing other than a bank roll that stands at £0.
Keeping a betting record
A very simple but effective tool, is to keep an easy to follow record of every single bet made throughout any given season. The record should detail the type of bet made and the amount staked; as well as the amount returned if the bet was a winning one. Keeping a record allows the punter to analyse their performance financially and assess whether things are going well or not. It is important to be on top of your results. And the best way of doing this is to keep a record. Some people might argue that this isn’t really necessary and could say that it’s easy to judge how well you are doing just by knowing whether the amount of money in the betting bank has gone up or down. Although you should be able to tell whether you are in profit or loss just by measuring the current balance against the starting one, this won’t provide you with any further insight into you performance.
Being able to control your emotions is key. As the saying goes, you have to be able to take the rough with the smooth. If you’re someone who places a bet and then paces up and down filled with nerves or hides behind the sofa as the event takes place, then betting probably isn’t for you.
When you’re winning don’t get too carried away and reversely, when losing (which every gambler, regardless of how successful will be at some point) don’t allow yourself to get too down about it. There are going to be plenty of close calls, bets that would have gone your way but for one bad pass in a football match or the jockey on your horse not getting to the front quick enough thus losing out by a nose. These things will happen that’s for sure, but it is important that you forget about them and move on. Don’t allow the highs or lows to cloud your judgement moving forward.
Understanding the maths
Unfortunately, if you’re someone who isn’t very good at maths or at the very least doesn’t have someone who is good at maths on hand to regularly help, then realistically, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to make it as a gambler.
In contrast to this, people might say that it’s more about having a feel for betting or that they know plenty about the sport they’re betting on so maths isn’t really that important. In reality, betting on sports is a numbers game. Having a solid understanding of the maths involved is absolutely key to being successful.
Form your own prices/odds
Pricing up events for yourself, ties in very closely with the understanding of value. It is being able to price up races which allows the punter to exploit the existence of value.
It cannot be stressed strongly enough, that pricing up races is absolutely pivotal when aiming to profit from sports betting in the long term. There have been any number of great form judges, whose failure to price up events and bet according to value has largely contributed to their punting downfall.
The best way to come to an accurate conclusion of when to place a bet is to price up races to 100%. For example if you price up a three runner event at evens, 3/1 and 3/1 but the prices available are 6/4, 2/1 and 5/2, the value lies in betting the 6/4 shot.
By pricing up events and betting only when value exists, the punter not only maximises their chance of success, but will avoid wasting money on ill-advised bets that they would have otherwise been placed.
The tips written above won’t turn anyone into a profiting gambler; however, understanding all of these factors along with keeping them in the forefront of the mind can help to form a solid base for success.
At the end of the day, whether a punter enjoys sustained profit in the long-term is very much down to the individual. Be disciplined, learn everything there is to know about your chosen betting area and invest not just money, but more importantly, time.