That all-star left fielder for your favorite team isn’t the only one who occasionally falls into a slump. As a sports bettor, in all likelihood you’ll suffer through plenty in your gambling career. The good news? You’re not alone.
The key isn’t about avoiding slumps – you’re already trying to do that every time you make a play. Instead, it’s about how you get out of that losing streak and return to profitability.
In this article, I’ll explain six tips to help you get out of a bad sports gambling slump.
Take a Day Off
This one is actually borrowed from the baseball analogy that I used at the beginning of this article. In the pros, when a player is struggling mightily, the coaches may decide that the best decision is to give that player a day off to breathe and recalibrate. This is good advice for bettors as well.
If you’re like many sports gamblers, you’re happy to bet on any of the major sports that are taking place that night. You probably don’t bet on each and every game, but anything from weeknight MLB action to NFL Sunday is in play on a daily basis.
When you aren’t having any success, sometimes your best move is to simply take a night (or even better, a week) off of betting. You obviously aren’t going to be winning any of your money back by chasing losses, but here’s the important thing to remember: you aren’t going to be losing any money either.
In a time when it seems like every bet you make is ending up in the loss column, there might be something comforting in knowing that you’ll wake up tomorrow with your bankroll looking the same as it did the previous day.
Your losing streak will run out, and your luck will turn around. Just make sure your financial situation isn’t dire by the time that finally happens.
Bet less Money
The idea of betting less money when you aren’t winning any (or many) of your plays sounds fairly obvious, but you might be surprised at how many bettors do the exact opposite.
One of the biggest sports betting mistakes that anyone can make is betting more than usual in an effort to try to win back money that has been lost during a bad losing streak. This phenomenon, known as “chasing your losses,” is fairly common among amateur bettors.
Instead of chasing losses and doubling down, when you’re on a losing streak, try betting less money than you normally would otherwise. A shrinking bankroll means your bets should be proportionately reduced in size.
For example, if your bankroll is $1,000 and you bet between the recommended 2% ($20) and 5% ($50), you’ll need to adjust when your bankroll get smaller. Keeping your same bet amounts as you used when things were going well is an unsustainable strategy.
Take More Underdogs
During a betting slump, the tendency most people have is to look for easy wins and take the heavy favorites. This is not a good strategy for a number of different reasons.
First, if you start relying on favorites and the moneyline to get your bankroll back to where it needs to be, you could find yourself in even deeper trouble than before. It is well-known that the “favorite moneyline” strategy isn’t a good way to bet because of the lower-value nature of the plays. This doesn’t change just because you’ve been losing.
Second, if you start betting heavy favorites you’re falling into exactly the trap that the sportsbooks are looking for from inexperienced bettors. As a general rule of thumb, any time you think a bet seems obvious, it’s usually the other way around.
It’s no secret that the public prefers taking favorites. Psychologically, it’s simply difficult to put your hard-earned money on a team that you feel is going to lose – even when there’s a substantial point spread involved.
I’m speaking personally, but it probably applies to most other bettors when I say: I know I should be taking more underdogs, but I for whatever reason I just can’t quit my bias toward favorites. Perhaps a losing streak is just the thing you need to switch your mindset around.
The old saying goes, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” That actually isn’t the definition of insanity (seriously, look it up – it’s a myth), but the message still applies. Start betting differently than you usually do, likely meaning bet on the underdogs, and you could be surprised by the results.
Stop Doing Parlays
Every sports gambler (especially amateurs) is a sucker for a parlay opportunity. Those high payouts for a relatively small bet are undoubtedly attractive, but they’re also probably hurting your overall bankroll in the end.
When things are going well for you and you’ve had a successful week, I wouldn’t advise against taking a flyer on a parlay and seeing if you could get lucky. However, if you’re struggling to keep your head above water and decide that a crazy parlay win is what you need to get back on top, that’s simply not the answer.
Think of how hard it is to win one bet. Now think that you could win two out of three – which is a high success rate – and still come out with no money won. When you’re trying to right the ship, the last thing you should be doing is making it more difficult to win.
Do More Sports Betting Research
Luck is obviously a huge factor in gambling of any kind. With that being said, the most notable difference between sports gambling and say, blackjack, is that the research you do for sports gambling can have a major impact on your success.
Sometimes you win bets because of the leg-work you did in evaluating the matchup, and sometimes you win despite the lack of time and effort you put into it. One thing is certain though – the 5% win rate difference that separates amateur from sharps comes down to making smarter sports bets.
Putting in a little extra mental work before making your bets can only help. If you feel like you’re slipping, try to put more effort and research into your picks and see if things turn around. Remember, the margin that separates a profitable bettor from a losing bettor is very slim.
Stay the Course
If you’ve read through this article and feel like you’ve already tried all of these things, the only advice left is: stay the course.
No matter what type of gambling you’re talking about, the ups and downs are inherent to the situation. Sometimes the worst thing you can do is to get “too cute” and start making plays or financial decisions that you’d never make if you were winning.
As I’ve mentioned several times before – things will turn around. The key is to make sure you still have some money left in your sports betting bankroll when they do.
Nobody likes losing, but even the best sports gamblers occasionally fall into a rut. How you proceed when you find yourself in a slump will determine if you have a sustainable strategy or if you’re risking serious financial jeopardy.
The next time you’re on a losing streak, try out these tips and see if things start turning around.