How to Go from a Hobby Sports Bettor to a Pro Sharp

A lot of people love betting. For most, however, it never becomes more than a hobby. But if you have the time, skill and ambition, it is possible to go from a hobby sports bettor to a pro sharp. Here are some of the steps you can take during that journey.

Focus strictly on value

The thing that separates pro bettors from hobby bettors is the focus on value.

As a pro, you would only bet value. That means analyzing the odds properly, and not just betting on whichever team you have a “feeling” about.

It requires a serious approach to be a pro, and the first step is always to learn how to identify value and pulling the trigger whenever an opportunity comes. All while discarding all non-value options out there.

Serious bankroll management

Most hobby bettors don’t really have any bankroll management. For hobby bettors, it’s all about betting whatever amount that seems fair and hoping for a win.

But if you want to take it to the next level, you need some strict bankroll management. Pro bettors only bet a tiny percentage of their bankroll on each bet. They have an entire budget set aside for betting, and 0.5-3% of that will be staked each time, depending on unit count, value and strategy. We advise you to never bet more than 3-4% of your bankroll per bet, and on the small occasions when you reach 4% or so, it would only be in cases with massive value.

Patience and bankroll building

If you want to be a pro sharp, you will need a lot of patience. Because sports betting will not make you rich overnight – it is a long grind where you are adjusting the probabilities in your favor long term, and you need a large enough sample size to beat the variance!

So keep going, even when it’s rough. Follow strict bankroll management, only bet value, and keep the bankroll growing.

You can adjust your staking size based on the percentage of your roll quite regularly. This will enable compound growth over time, assuming you are winning more often than not. You won’t earn much from sports betting in a week, but you can earn huge amounts over a few years if you simply keep going. Compound growth is very powerful!

Create a routine or system

Most pros create a system of some sort. It is hard to sit and manually select a bunch of games, so there has to be at least some kind of strategy with a clear focus or a model that helps you find interesting spots.

You can have a simple routine where you look at a few particular leagues and select the most interesting games to focus on. You can have your sources (statistical websites, team news sites, odds comparison sites) ready and find some kind of flow where you save time and where you can quickly spot value. A betting model works for some pro sharps, and it is easier to make a model than you think. Of course, the model should only be supporting your own analysis, but it is very beneficial to create a routine or a system that helps you speed up the process of finding value bets.

Analyze your performance

Hobby bettors rarely analyze their performance, aside from having some rough idea of how much they have won or lost.

Pros regularly analyze their performances in order to spot mistakes and become better. That’s why it’s so important to have a spreadsheet and keeping track of your bets!

Here are some things you can look into in order to become better:

  • Closing line value: Are you beating the closing odds more often than not?
  • Did you make any bad bets? What was the mistake?
  • Were there better odds available with other bookmakers/exchanges?
  • Could there be a more time efficient way of finding the value bets?
  • What type of bets has worked the best for you – spreads, totals, outrights, something else?
  • Should the staking size be adjusted?

As a pro bettor, you could regularly look at your performance to take some notes, while making a major analysis every month or every quarter.

And that’s it – 5 relatively simple principles that will allow you to go from a hobby bettor to a pro sharp, as long as you put in the work and try to optimize your performance in every way. Good luck!

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