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The Art of Winning
by Website Staff

It is how you deal with the ups and the downs that will ultimately determine how successful you will be as a sports bettor and in life. If you visit sports betting message boards, you probably have read more than one sympathy seeking post about the losing streak from hell and how it's time for the poster to take a break from gambling. Usually there is some mention of an endless string of bad beats often due to one team or player. Of course, every handicapper whether they are a professional or purely recreational sports bettor will eventually have to deal with a little bad luck.

It is important to realize that as a sports handicapper your main goal is to make a profitable investment every time you place a wager. Looking at handicapping from this perspective it is easy to see that sports bettors are not much different than someone who trades stocks to improve their financial situation. With this frame of mind, it is much easier to visualize what you need to do to reach your goals and the obstacles that you will encounter.

Inherently most people never plan for failure only anticipating success. Probably because we are taught during our youth that anybody can succeed if they work hard. While I agree with this I think being successful also means having a backup plan before attempting your endeavor. Most people will succeed if they use a little forethought and map paths for multiple outcomes.

The first decision that a winning handicapper makes is what sport, will be used as their investment vehicle. Choosing a sport you enjoy watching or participating in will at least ensure that you will approach handicapping in an enthusiastic manner. In addition, you are probably aware of the match up and situational factors that determine the outcomes of this sport.

As a winning handicapper you will always be looking for an edge. What and when you bet can determine if you find value. You should be prepared to wager on opening lines that have not had all the value bet out of them or specializing in less popular sports leagues. The WNBA and the Arena Football League are good examples. If you want to take this idea to the extreme, try handicapping curling tournaments or Major League Lacrosse.

After narrowing your search to a particular sport, the next step is to acquire as many resources as possible to study the sport you will be betting. Thanks to the internet there is an abundant source of material to use. This may include sports betting forums, fantasy sports leagues and sports news sites that maintain scores, odds and statistics archives for nearly every sport. Additional information can be acquired from books, periodicals, sports handicapping services and fellow gamblers.

The winning handicapper does not bet random angles but scrutinizes every idea to verify that they will produce a significant advantage on future wagers. This may lead to a concept being modified or totally discarded but a system is always thoroughly tested before real money is wagered. Back testing systems is an essential part of the process. Any system or trend must be tested against years after the time they were discovered.

If you find a trend that did very well during a consecutive five year period than it must be tested against following years to prove it is valid. Ideally testing or practice betting should be done on live games. If the trend still holds water, you may decide to use it if you are confident that the sample size warrants faith in it. For handicappers the sample size is usually measured in games played. It may be necessary to review a statistical reference to determine if the sample size is sufficient.

Smart bettors calculate the stakes on each bet depending on their expectation of winning it. Most bettors tend to overestimate their edge probably because they have not adequately back tested the system or trend they are using. If you are not completely confident in your ability to correctly calculate your edge you are better off flat betting the same amount on every wager.

Even the well thought out plans are often thrown aside by gamblers who are not prepared to deal with winning and losing streaks. Overconfidence during a winning streak often leads to betting more than is appropriate. Losing streaks may convince a bettor to give up and disregard months of planning and work.

You must learn to endure losing streaks that test every sports bettor's character and discipline. Having faith in a system that took a year to develop is not that easy during consecutive losing days. This is when it is important to remind yourself that betting on sports is a long-term investment and fluctuations come with territory. Before you place a bet know that the hard work you completed months before the start of the season will compensate you over the long run. If you did your homework than you should be able to persuade yourself that you indeed have a winning formula and your current losing streak is a normal variance.

Remember betting on sports is a grind and sometimes it is necessary to take a break. It's not easy spending hours at a time in front of your computer gathering statistics and handicapping dozens of games night after night. Even if it is just for a few days take some time to recuperate. Exercise to reduce stress and avoid watching games that you have wagered.

At the other end of the spectrum are winning streaks. There is no better feeling than consistently winning. Don't let yourself get to high and keep an even keel. Now is not the time to overestimate your edge and start betting like a madman. Winning will give you extra energy and motivation. Take advantage of this good fortune, continue to educate yourself and improve your handicapping techniques. Now might be a good time to diversify your sports betting portfolio and start the process of handicapping another sport. Remind yourself that this unbroken series of wins will not last forever and although losing may not be right around the corner it will be easy to deal with a little adversity if you are prepared for it.

Viewing a log of your past bets will usually show a series of days when you sometimes won a little and other times lost a little. There will be winning and losing streaks some more severe than others. If you stick with your game plan typically you will find that you have won more than you lost at the end of the year.

Nobody can account for every possible situation that will arise during their sports betting career. Experience goes a long way in avoiding the hazards that trap novice gamblers. Give yourself a head start by preparing yourself psychologically. Use suitable planning and competent execution as a foundation to insure your success. Stay positive, take responsibility for the results and remember profitable sports betting begins with a winning state of mind.

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