Halfway through the NFL season, it’s very easy to get ahead of yourself if you’ve been winning 70 to 80 percent of the time. Many fantasies may run through your mind, such as being able to afford backstage passes at your favorite band’s concert the next time they hit up New York.
But other fantasies are betting-related, like having more betting power to wager more games, bet more money on those games, dive into alternate point spreads and over/unders. Some of us may even feel we’re so ahead of the game that we will consider handing in a letter of resignation to an employer.
That said, it’s never more important to exercise restraint and common sense than it is when it comes to keeping the same game plan you started with three months ago in August.
Here are five strategies to avoid when you’re ahead.
Upping the Ante
Alright, with more profits comes more monetary power. And yes, you won’t believe how many people make the mistake in upping the ante. Instead of betting $50 for their primary game, they’ll bet $60, $70, or even $100.
Look, even if you’re winning three out of four bets, never assume the dominos will fall your way that often 100 percent of the time. You will hit hot streaks in the betting realm, but you will also hit cold streaks.
By upping the ante you can very well be on your way to greater profits, but you can also be very well on your way to greater and sometimes devastating losses. And the last thing you need to do is to lose out when you’ve been up all year.
If you’re up by a wide margin, it’s best to take the money you won out of your betting bankroll and use it for other investments like home improvement, the stock market, starting your own business, etc.
And I get it: Winning bets in the NFL can be easy money. You’re conducting research throughout the week, placing money on who you think will win you a profit come Monday (or Tuesday) morning, and hopefully when that time comes, operating in the green.
You don’t need to lift a finger, and the feeling can be euphoric.
But it shouldn’t give you a ticket to lose your head and turn that $50 bet into a $100 bet because luck fell your way far more than it avoided you. Stick to your initial strategy, bet with the same amount of sense you’ve been betting with all along, and don’t take that risk.
Betting on More Sports Games
Rather than betting more money on one game, perhaps you decide that to win more money, you’ll bet on five games this week instead of the usual three. So you place 50 percent of your wagering money on your usual game, 20 percent on two other games, and 10 percent on the two additional games.
As mentioned in the top heading, just because you have more potential betting power if you’re keeping your winnings in your bankroll shouldn’t give you a ticket to bet on more games and hope for a profitable outcome that you can’t control.
Instead, continue that climb into the green by betting the same number of dollars you would on the same number of games each week. Sure, the chance to win more money is always there if you bet on more games, but the chances of you losing also exist.
And in a realm we have zero control over, it’s always best to play it safe than bet aggressively only to see us nosedive toward the red.
Betting With Alternate Spreads and Over/Unders
Sometimes, we may try to bet more often on a single game. Therefore, we’ll place our usual bet then we’ll see what the odds are regarding alternate spreads and over/unders. Sometimes we have better odds to win with these alternates, and other times, our odds grow slim.
With slimmer odds to win come higher payouts and with better odds to win come lesser payouts. Often, we will think we can cover a few more spreads or predicting the upset because of our recent success over the first half of the season.
Once again, you’re playing a dangerous game here that involves an increased chance of losing the bet. Especially if you’re betting on a spread where your odds to win are slimmer. Don’t fall for it. Just place your usual bet and move on.
Remember, if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. And don’t attempt an upgrade if you don’t need one.
Quitting Your Day Job (Seriously)
You see this more often in poker than you do in sports betting. Not that there are people out there who are so desperate to quit working that they’re willing to do whatever it takes to leave the rat race and make a living from gambling.
You will have weeks, months, and perhaps even seasons where everything goes your way and you earn a five-figure profit. Fantastic. And for some of us who love to roll the dice, it may mean enough to earn a full-time income.
Okay, great. But there will be times where there are days, months, and seasons where we crash and burn, operating in the red for months.
That said, save yourself the heartache and keep your day job. If you’re winning your bets consistently, think of them as another cash flow. A fun cash flow and a nice break from the rat race. But don’t go pro in such an unstable field.
Not Sticking to Your Tried and True Gambling Strategy
This one happens to the best of us, regardless of what sport we wager our money on. But sometimes we think we will never lose another bet. Or at least embark on the inevitable losing streak. When this happens, we often forget when to quit, believing luck will remain on our side.
Regardless of how much effort put into handicapping sports games, luck will always rejoin the dark side. Perhaps a team we think should easily cover a two-score spread catches a weeklong case of the yips.
Or worse, a star player goes down with an injury during the game or sits out the game as a game-time decision with an injury.
The aura of uncertainty is always alive and well in the betting realm, and with each subsequent bet we make beyond our usual amount, or monetary wagering, the higher the probability that we will lose the bet. Even if we have been winning consistently for two months.
Always adhere to the old saying to “Quit while you’re ahead.” Or better yet, “Stick to the same strategy while you’re ahead.”
Or in this case, don’t change your strategy and take more unnecessary risks that can set you back. Because if you take such risks and you operate in the red, the higher the likelihood you will resort to desperate measures to return to the winning track.
And that can lead to a downward spiral.
Don’t start betting $400 over six games with your highest perceived probability or worse, turn those $400 bets into $800 bets because you’re winning all the time.
Nope, stick to the strategy that led you to your winning ways. Don’t get rid of Drew Brees and opt for Philip Rivers, in other words, if you want a correlation.
It is easy to fall into the trap of wagering more money or wagering on more games if you have a hot hand in the NFL betting realm. But the more money you wager and the higher the number of games you bet on, you have just as much of a chance to lose as you do to win.
Stick to the same strategy that propelled you to operate in the green and don’t take unnecessary risks that can plummet you into the red.
It isn’t worth taking the risk, only to have to claw your way back into the green. Because often, you are prone to make common betting mistakes when playing catchup.
Instead, stay the course, don’t change the strategy, and keep up those winning ways over the second part of the season just like you did over the first half. And keep your day job.