Most bettors are trying to win the weekend. Actually, in many cases, they’re trying to win back what they lost last weekend.
Regardless, very few have the mindset that leads to long-term profitability. But that begs the question, what does a long-term profitability strategy even look like?
The good news is that there are some fairly concrete answers to that proposition. The bad news is, it’s going to take a much higher risk tolerance than a win-now strategy.
In this article, I’ll lay out a few of the ways that sports bettors can demonstrate a sustainable betting plan.
1 – You Don’t Want to Reload Your Bankroll
First of all, you’d better have a sports betting bankroll. Having a well-planned, trackable bankroll is without question the first step to any profitable betting game plan.
Once you’ve created your bankroll, your goal should be to reload it as few times as possible. In fact, you should aim to never have to add more of your money. Here are some ways that you can make it last.
Make Smaller Bets
Most experts recommend betting between 2% and 5% of your total bankroll on any one play. That means if you have $2,000 set aside, you wouldn’t bet more than $100 (5%) on a single bet. This simply prevents you from major losses that set you back in a matter of hours.
Don’t Take Moneyline Favorites
The moneyline favorite is arguably the most “amateur” bet offered by most sportsbooks. The reason why is because it seems like the easiest win. The reality is that the value is rarely there when taking a moneyline favorite.
Instead of telling you to choose carefully, I’ll just say that 99% of the time, anything lower than -120 is better off avoided.
Do Take Moneyline Underdogs
If moneyline favorites are the worst, moneyline underdogs are (or at least can be) the best.
The key to picking out the right moneyline underdogs is going to simply come down to doing the research. If you look hard enough, there are always opportunities for an upset where the public is way off.
Finally, any time you can win more than you have to risk, it bodes well for your long-term goals.
2 – Don’t Chase Losses
The quickest way to lose all the money in your bankroll is to turn one bad loss into two bad losses. Unfortunately, that’s what often happens when you try to chase your losses.
My personal rule is that if I lose multiple bets, I’ll never—under any circumstances—double up on a third bet and try to win back the money I lost on the other two.
It’s completely understandable that nobody wants to end the day down in the money column, but it really shouldn’t be the end of the world. If you’re a weekend gambler who calculates their wins and losses on a weekly basis, it becomes much more difficult to see the big picture.
One way I’ve found to combat this myopic way of looking at betting is through setting up a bet-tracking document. I include each and every bet I make, denote whether I won or lost, and then calculate what that means for my bankroll overall.
It takes a few minutes of work, but it has undoubtedly saved me from many bad plays for one simple reason: I’m able to recognize that the most important number isn’t what I’m “up” or “down” on that current day, but rather the running bankroll total.
It’s a lot easier to hold back on making a crazy bet when you consider the impact it could have on your overall bankroll. Plus, you’ll start to notice that although winning the day is nice, it’s more important to try to grow your bankroll over time and you must avoid unnecessary risks (like the huge bet on Sunday Night Football after a bad betting day).
3 – Know It’s Okay to Lay Off
Some of the best bets are the ones you don’t make. I know that sounds cliché, but when betting with a long-term mindset, it must be mentioned time and time again.
You’re never going to run out of games to bet on. Each time you pass up on betting a game you don’t feel confident about, you’re saving money to put toward a game you do have a good read on. Recognize that the more selective you are, the better your results are going to be.
It’s not the most exciting play in the world to pass on a game, but rest assured knowing that it’s a guarantee your bankroll will not be any lower after its conclusion.
4 – Throw in Some Futures Bets
One of the areas where bettors can find the most value is futures bets. If you aren’t familiar with the term, futures bets refer to gambling on things that may happen days, weeks, months, or in some cases, even years in the future.
Some examples that are popular amongst a high percentage of gamblers are things like who will win the Super Bowl, which team will have the best regular season record in the Western Conference of the NBA, which team will win the NL Pennant, and endless others.
With all of these bets, as the name “futures” might suggest, the idea is that you would make your wager long before it’s clear who will even be in the running. You might be thinking that’s making an uninformed decision, but it’s important to consider the odds and recognize why it justifies the risk.
For starters, when it comes to futures bets you’re almost always going to be able to find plus-money options, even for the favorite. However, it might be a good idea to find your value a little further from the top.
Another aspect to futures betting involves taking a few heavy underdogs (those towards the bottom of the list of offered plays), and placing a small amount of money on a potential miracle. Yes, it’s not likely that they’ll hit, but if you can turn $10 into $1,000 on a 100 to 1 odds bet, isn’t it worth taking a flyer?
If there’s one truth that has stood the test of time, it’s that the difference between bettors who slowly win money over time and those who go through wild ups and downs is the long-term mindset.
If you’re truly a gambling enthusiast, there is no beginning or end to your hobby and it shouldn’t be treated as a week-to-week endeavor, but rather a project that is constantly needing to be refined.
If you follow these tips, you’ll start to notice that the more time you put in and the most risk you can tolerate, the better your results will be.