Bad streaks are inevitable in sports betting. No matter how good you are at picking value spots, you can’t avoid the variance. It feels great to have a winning streak, but most bettors cannot handle a long losing streak. Here’s how to deal with it.
Accept the variance
Variance is a major part of sports betting – for good and for worse.
It is the reason why some players get lucky and cash in a lot of money. But it is one of the reasons why most people lose their money in the long run, and it can make players fall out of love with sports betting.
In any case, you need to accept the variance. It’s always a part of betting. If you accept it from the beginning, you can make your adjustments, and as a serious bettor you will already be aware that you might have days where you lose 10 in a row – but also days where you win 10 in a row.
Follow bankroll management
Bad streaks can really hurt your bankroll. That’s why you should manage it well. Keep your stakes small in proportion to your entire roll – that way, you won’t lose everything when bad luck hits you.
We recommend betting between 1-2% of your total bankroll on each bet. In other words, it would take at least 50 bets in a row to get you bankrupt – which is obviously unlikely.
If you are a very aggressive bettor and you bet 10% or more, then it won’t take much to get you down. 5 bets lost and you’re already down half your roll. This doesn’t work in the long run, so if you are serious about sports betting, you need to have solid bankroll management. This will guard you against the worst bad streaks, and it will allow you to slowly but surely bounce back from them.
Take a small break
Variance is a part of the game. Bankroll management protects your money somewhat.
But what about the psychological effect?
It can be very tiring to lose bet after bet. Sometimes you might even be choosing the right sides, but things still don’t go your way. If the streak is so bad that you are getting frustrated, we advise taking a break.
Often it helps a lot to stop betting for a week. It gives you a chance to snap the bad streak, get out of it and reconsider your strategy, perhaps try to find out what went wrong if you made any wrong choices yourself. And after that, you can come back and bet again when the frustrations are gone.
Every time you experience bad streaks, you can take a break, and then come back. It gives you some experience, and you find out that losing streaks don’t last forever. You learn how to handle it better.
Keep finding value bets
Value betting is a must. It is the only way to win in the long run.
Keep your focus on that.
When you lose several picks in a row, it seems like you are making the wrong choices. That may or may not be the case. But don’t try to force anything, and don’t make picks any different than you normally would. Keep looking for value and pull the trigger when there is clear value somewhere. If there aren’t any good bets, then don’t force anything, and if there is only a slight value, you might want to skip it since there can be some uncertainty during bad streaks.
Track the closing odds
The results are not always showing the whole story. Again, variance plays a huge part. Even with over 100 bets, it is hard to tell if a bettor is capable of making a long-term profit.
A better metric is to look at the closing odds.
During your bad streak, take a look at the odds you played, and take a look at the closing odds – how the lines ended just before kickoff. Take a spreadsheet and compare them. Ideally, if the closing odds are lower than the odds you bet. In other words, the market goes in the same direction as you after you have placed your bets.
If you have beaten the closing odds on a majority of the bets, you are doing things right. If you are not beating them, you might want to look into your process and make some adjustments.
The closing odds aren’t always accurate – at least not on every single game. But at an average, the closing odds will be the most accurate representation of the probabilities that we have access to, so if you beat them on average, you are on the right track. You can check closing odds at odds comparison sites such as OddsPortal.
Remember that winnings streaks even things out
Losing streaks don’t last forever. A good way to get motivated again is to remember that winning streaks also happen. If you are good at spotting value, there will eventually be a winning streak that even things out. Ultimately, it’s all about the long run, and if you are capable of beating the market, losing streaks shouldn’t be anything else than a small frustration and perhaps an opportunity to make some adjustments to your strategy.