Keep Accurate Records or Lie to Yourself.



This is a boring topic, but it addresses an issue that every single sports bettor MUST be concerned with. If you consider sports betting an investment - and I do - there has to be a method of gauging how successful your investment is. The only method that makes sense is accurately tracking your results. Bettors that stick their head in the sand will never really know how well or poorly they are doing. Nor will they realize which types of bets they are most successful with, and with that information capitalize on the opportunities that it presents. Simulated sportsbook sites like Wagerline.com and Bigguy.com are not an acceptable substitute for record keeping - they don't let you enter your own line, they only allow limited bet sizes, and they don't allow for any wagers except straight bets on sides and totals. To be able to really gain value from your own record keeping, it must be done accurately each and every time - track each and every wager you make - no exceptions.

There are basic categories of wagers to track. I keep results of all my bets: straight bets, halftime bets, money line bets, bets on totals, parlays and teasers. This information lets me know whether I am winning or losing at each individual type of wager. Halfway through the '98 season, I realized that I was losing money regularly on my halftime bets and my parlays. Armed with that information, I simply eliminated those wagers from my betting routine, and the results were dramatic - a bigger return on my investment. Last year, I began to bet the halftimes again with some success, but have still kept the parlays (money losers for me) out of my betting arsenal.

Find out what kinds of bets you are successful with, and stick to them. Either lower your units for those types of bets you are least successful with, or eliminate them altogether, and play them on paper only until your success rate improves. This is basic common sense, yet many bettors fail to keep even the simplest kind of records - wins and losses.



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But, there is much to keep track of besides basic wins and losses. It is very important to break down your information into numerous different categories to find areas of strength and weakness. Our ultimate spreadsheet does what I have been doing for years - it breaks down your wagers into many categories. Are you betting way too many home favorites, while your success rate on road dogs is much better? Are you winning those bets when you are taking double digits, but losing when you are backing shorter dogs? Last October, I found that I was 17-4 betting home fav's in college. The last few weeks, I looked for more plays on home favorites - my leans became bets, and my bets became bigger bets. I didn't hit 80% any more, but I still hit over 60% on these types of bets …with many more plays and more money on each one. This is but one example of how this type of information can help you bet better.

I also look at my results betting on or against each team. Bettors usually have good reads on many teams - but certainly not all of them. When you analyze how you are doing wagering by team, again, after a few weeks you may be surprised. In November of '99 I found that I was 5-1 betting on or against the Chargers, while I was only 1-4 while betting on or against the Lions. So, down the stretch, I made plays in almost every Charger game - my leans became bets, and my success with that team continued. Meanwhile, I laid off the Lions games (except one, and I wish I had laid off that one too), and saved money in the process. Identifying teams on which you have a good 'read' on, vs. those which you don't is another key element of record keeping.

Let your record speak for itself. Real, accurate results don't lie. Take a few minutes each week to track all your wagers, either with Whocovers Handicapper's Ultimate Spreadsheet, or by any other tool you wish to use. The first few weeks, there won't be many patterns, but you'll at least see what types of bets are winning you money and which types are costing you profit. By the 2nd half of the season, you'll be able to accurately gauge how well you are doing in all kinds of pointspread situations, and how well you are doing by team. This will allow you to maximize your profits for the 2nd half of the season, and keep your investment growing year after year.

One note about Whocovers Handicapper's Ultimate Spreadsheet. The data you enter is 100% confidential, available for your eyes only - even our webmaster or an IRS subpoena can't drag it out into the open. So, you can feel confident using this powerful tool, knowing that your information is well protected. The spreadsheet itself has presented a few programming difficulties with its automation. Temporarily, halftime bets, parlays and teasers are unable to be automatically updated - this problem should be solved within a fairly short period of time. In the meantime, I would recommend that you track these types of wagers by hand - you need to know if they are producing long term profits.



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