Why sports bettors should have a betting plan

MGM Grand betting

The US sports betting revolution over the last four years has enabled more sports fans than ever before to get more involved in their favorite sports by making wagers. 

In some states, there is now a flourishing betting sector, as anyone who has visited sports betting sites in New Jersey will tell you. There is a host of sports betting companies fighting for sports betting customers and offering bonuses and promotions to entice new players to sign up. 

Yet there are dangers for the unwary sports betting enthusiast. Betting companies will be keen to tell you how great their odds are and why you should take their bonuses and join their site, but what they don’t mention is that making a profit from sports betting is rare and extremely difficult.

Most sports betting customers will lose money in the long term, so for most of us, sports betting should be a pastime that we indulge in occasionally with money that we can afford to lose. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t take steps to reduce your losses and move yourself ever closer to making a profit. And top of that list of things you can do is to make a betting plan. 

Bet like a business

Let’s say you have a realistic understanding of how hard it is to make a profit from betting, but you think you can make it work and want to try, and so start betting without a plan. How likely is it that you will succeed? To even come close to making a profit from sports betting, you need a plan. No business person or entrepreneur would embark on a new venture without a detailed plan, and neither should you. 

Strategic planning

Before you start betting, it is a good idea to make a strategic plan. The first step in this plan is to decide what you are hoping to get out of sports betting and then work out in general terms how you are going to do that. How much money can you set aside for betting, bearing in mind that you should be prepared, in a worst-case scenario, to lose it all? What sports are you betting on? Are you a boxing expert or is football your sport? What is your edge? How much time can you devote to sports betting during a normal year and will this be enough?

Launching into sports betting without having addressed these fundamental questions is a recipe for disaster and can quickly result in disillusion, not to mention significant losses. 

Practical planning

As well as working out a strategic sports betting plan, it is important to develop a clear idea of how you will go about your betting on a daily basis. What markets will you bet on? What odds will you accept? How will you do your research? Will you be betting live or pre-event?

Setting these details out will help you to avoid some of the risks of getting distracted when you are betting at a sportsbook, as there are many markets and events out there but it is unlikely that you will be able to find an edge in more than a handful of those. Having a clear idea of the practical steps involved in your sports betting will also give you a framework to rely on when you’re low on confidence.

Planning your sports betting stake

Many sports bettors put a lot of emphasis on staking plans, but we should be clear. No staking plan is going to turn a losing bettor into a winning one. The more complicated the staking plan, the more likely it is to fall apart under the pressure of losing runs or bad luck. 

But that doesn’t mean you don’t need a staking plan. Betting without a clear staking plan can quickly lead to your bankroll becoming depleted, and can produce a feeling of chaos, which can sap your confidence. Set a sensible, robust staking plan that is proportionate to the number of bets you expect to be making in a day, and to the size of your bankroll, allowing a significant amount to be set aside as a backup fund. 

A plan for losing runs

Just like top-level sportspeople, successful sports bettors have to consider the psychological elements of what they do. As a sports bettor, even if you are a genius, you will have losing runs. Keeping on an even keel during a long losing run and being able to separate random variance from potential flaws in your betting is essential, and the best way to do this is to draw up a losing run plan; a series of steps that you will follow if you are in a losing run. 

This can include ideas such as taking a break or reducing your betting while you figure out what the problem may be. Having such a plan to hand can be invaluable and can help you to get through losing runs and lack of confidence when you are betting on sports.