Whether you’re new to sports betting or a betting pro, our Sports Betting Strategy and Advice page is for you. You can get started with our 101 section — including Common Sports Betting Terms — or head to more advanced strategy — like 10 Tips to Become a Sharper Sports Bettor — to learn more.
When it comes to betting on sports, the margin is razor-thin for those who can actually turn a profit in the long term when regularly placing wagers. For professionals and novices alike, tracking the bets you place both by each game/event and the amount won/lost, is necessary to make your profession or hobby anything that resembles a stable operation. While setting up a spreadsheet is what I find the best way to keep track of your betting tendencies and financial balances, apps exist such as BetSperts that will track your bets right in an application for you. Let’s take a closer look at some more bet tracking strategies that have worked for me over the years.
Setting & Managing Your Bankroll
Before setting your budget for your sports betting endeavors, you’ll want to come up with an amount that you could lose 100% of and not sacrifice your quality of life. Make no mistake, even if you think you have the perfect model, the hardest to get inside information, or a mixture of both; you are still gambling. Once you have that amount you are okay with losing, also known as your “bankroll”, you’ll want to make your average bet between 1% and 3% of that total amount to weather the inevitable losing streaks every bettor goes on. With that in mind, set up a spreadsheet with the following columns: Date, Type of Bet (Straight/Teaser/Parlay), League (NFL/NBA/etc.), Pick, Spread/Odds, Risk Amount, Win Amount & Result.
From there, after the bet is finalized, either put the risk (a negative number) or win (a positive number) amount in the “Result” column, based on the result of the bet at hand. Whether it is right after you place each bet or a catch up once a week, setting up a spreadsheet like the one described and using it consistently, will allow you to track your bets over time, win or lose, and avoid things getting out of hand by making the damage (or winnings!) visible every time you look at your spreadsheet. If you do decide to go the spreadsheet route, I would suggest setting it up in Google Sheets so you can access it from your laptop, tablet or smartphone. Having constant access will make you more accountable and drive home a discipline that if done consistently, will make you a better sports bettor for years to come.
Identify Your Strengths & Weaknesses
If you set up a spreadsheet like the one described above, you can then identify which sports you truly are best at picking. Additionally, by tracking the type of bet, you will be able to see if those teasers and parlays you are constantly so sure of, are actually benefiting your overall bankroll when the week/month is all said and done. For me personally, this method often tangibly proves that while the occasional parlay hit does temporarily boost my bankroll, I lose far more money when summing up the amounts that I risk on parlays every month. For those placing a high volume of bets, expanding the fields in the spreadsheet mentioned above will also allow you to identify quickly which leagues, conferences, or even teams you are strongest at predicting in a set period of time. Conversely, it will also show you, with real dollar amounts, the sports, leagues, and conferences you aren’t quite as good at predicting as you once believed.