3 Easy, Effective Ways to End an Extended Losing Streak at the Sportsbook

By in Sports & Betting on
6 Minute Read
Extended Losing Streak Sportsbook

If you’re like many folks out there these days, you’ve probably enjoyed a little more action with your favorite sportsbook lately. Whether you wager with one of the premium online sportsbooks, or a brick and mortar bet shop at your local casino or racetrack, cashing those winning tickets can be a genuine thrill. By combining your love of the game, statistical knowledge, and research abilities, betting on sports can even become a sweet source of supplementary income. Unfortunately, losing streaks will inevitably occur, so use the three tips below to get back on track and beat the books once again.

1 – Dial Back the Number of Bets Made on a Daily Basis

When you’re nailing winners like clockwork, and watching your bankroll swell as a result, to urge to ramp up your betting activities can be almost impossible to ignore. Sports betting beginners who get a taste of success right out of the gate are notorious for doubling or even tripling the number of plays made to start the day.

And that’s all well and good, until the long arm of the law known as “variance” comes calling…

Remember, even the best sports handicappers on the planet only achieve a sustained success rate of 54 percent. In other words, professional “wiseguys” who bet millions every week still watch 46 percent of their tickets torn up and tossed aside.

Knowing that crucial number, you should always remain prepared for your luck to turn and for a losing streak to begin. When it does, it can easily seem like the sky is falling, but avoiding the urge to panic is the only way to proceed.

Believe it or not, losing streaks can inspire the very same urge to bet bigger and more often that a winning run does. As the flawed logic goes, when you’ve failed to squeeze out a profit six days in a row, spreading your action over several wagers on Day 7 gives you a good chance to finally hit those moving targets.

Here’s the problem with that approach though – unless you beat the odds in a big way to cash the bulk of your bets, you’ll simply wind up breaking even at best. And when your rough run continues, losing that many more wagers can easily eat up the bankroll you worked so hard to build.

Let’s sketch it out so you can see what I mean…

After suffering through a brutal run at the book all week, you make your stand with these six different football bets at $100 each.

  • Miami Dolphins (+5 / -110) over New York Jets
  • Dallas Cowboys (-3.5 / -110) over Carolina Panthers
  • Houston Texans (+4 / -110) over Jacksonville Jaguars
  • New England Patriot (-6 / -110) over Buffalo Bills
  • Arizona Cardinals (+10 / -110) over San Francisco 49ers
  • Kansas City Chiefs (-7.5 / -110) over Oakland Raiders

When the Sunday smorgasbord of pigskin punishment is in the books, the Dolphins, Patriots, and Chiefs book easy wins. Meanwhile, last-minute comebacks by the opposition doom your Cowboys, Texans, and Cardinals tickets to the dustbin.

Nonetheless, you’re just happy to finally enter the winner’s circle once more after that long losing streak. And hey, breaking even isn’t the worst result in the world, right?

Well, not so fast. While you did go 3 for 6 on your bets, the (-110) juice traditionally charged bookmakers on point spread bets eats into your profit margin. Specifically speaking, you only brought back $90.90 apiece on that trio of winning $100 tickets – good for a $272.70 return.

The only thing is, losing the other three bets at $100 per means you’ve actually lost $27.30 on the day.

Had you simply limited your action to the three winners, or cut out just one of the losers, this would truly represent a winning Sunday. But by betting on so many sides at the same time, the increased volume ensured even three cashed tickets wasn’t enough to call the day a win.

When the going gets rough, the smart sports bettors slim down their daily workload to one or two wagers at the most. That way, when you finally buck the bad luck, you can be sure your favorable picks will produce a profit to finally put that losing streak to bed.

2 – Keep Diligent Records to Sort through the Statistical Noise

Another important tool in any serious sports bettor’s arsenal involves carefully recording all relevant details of you wagering activity.

Personally, I prefer to use an excel spreadsheet on my laptop. That way, I can toggle directly between my online sportsbook account and my records after placing every bet. With that said, any form of recordkeeping will do, so feel free to use a Word document, old-fashioned notebook, or even a handheld audio recorder if it suits your style.

The point here isn’t necessarily the records’ format, but the valuable insights they can provide a thinking bettor. When the next losing streak invariably rears its ugly head, having a wealth of data that relates directly to your own action can help you detect any deviations from the norm.

The data in question should cover all the bases, so don’t skimp on the notetaking. I’m talking about the betting market (MLB baseball, NBA basketball, NCAA football, etc.), the wager type (point spread, moneyline odds, parlay, etc.), the amount risked and potentially won, the eventual outcome, and any variables such as weather conditions, roster movement, in-game injuries, and officiating errors.

With all of this information in hand to provide a running “diary” of your sports betting exploits, you should soon be able to detect trends and patterns. No, I’m not talking about those silly trends like “X Team is 8-1 when favored at home by 3 points or more” that touts use to swindle unsuspecting bettors.

Instead, try to spot behavioral patterns in your own betting that might explain where your current losing streak originated.

Perhaps you we’re humming along and building your bankroll betting on NFL Sundays, only to add in those tricky Thursday Night Football (TNF) contests with their short week of preparation. Ditching the TNF action altogether might just end the streak before it gets out of hand.

Or maybe you’ve added parlay bets to your repertoire of late, without fully realizing how unlikely these highly volatile wagers are to produce sustainable victories. You might be overly reliant on a specific team that performed well early in the season, only to see the bookmakers catch up when the stretch run starts.

No matter how you tackle your sports betting pursuits, keeping detailed records is the best way to identify and patch “leaks” in your approach. And if you’re ship isn’t leaking, you’ll soon find the odds of it sinking into a long losing streak are cut down considerably.

3 – Use Those Records to Hone in on Your Best Chance of Success

On the flip side of that coin, when a losing streak arises, the best way to cut it off at the pass is by booking a quick and easy winner.

And while there aren’t many “easy” winners in the sports betting world, you can use your records to focus on the bets that have historically worked best for you. One of the things I like about my Excel spreadsheet is how it allows me to calculate and sort profit margins. I won’t bore you with those details, but to make a longish story short, my records show a little something like this when I sort by betting market and profit margin:

  • NFL Football Player Props = +$345.60 (per $100 wagered)
  • MLB Baseball “First Five” = +$298.75 (per $100)
  • NFL Football Point Spreads = +$155.10 (per $100)
  • NBA Basketball Moneylines = $109.30 (per $100)
  • NFL Football Moneylines = -$75.75 (per $100)
  • MLB Baseball Run Line (-1.5) = -$129.00 (per $100)
  • NHL Hockey Moneylines = -$211.15 (per $100)

As you can see, Canada’s great game of hockey isn’t really my thing. On the other hand, when I bet on player performance specific football prop bets ahead of NFL football games, I generate a tidy profit of 3.45x on my money spent.

Using these cold, hard facts, I respond to any losing streak (during the Fall football season anyway) by loading up on well-chosen NFL player props. Only when I’ve staunched the bleeding and rebuilt my bankroll do I even think about dabbling in my less successful markets again.

The key lesson here boils down to deploying your sports betting dollar as wisely as possible. Losing streaks have a way of spiraling out of control, even for seasoned veterans, so play it safe by limiting your tickets to the markets and bet types that already provide you the most bang for your buck.

Conclusion

None of us like to think about the bad times, those dreadful streaks of failure when you can’t seem to cash a ticket to save your life. Losing streaks are an inexorable aspect of this industry, however, and we simply can’t wish them away when times are tough. Climbing out of the hole requires discipline and a willingness to adapt.

When you stick with the same old script, you’re just asking the sports betting gods to punish you for that hubris. Instead, stay humble and use the three tips above to shake things up and return to your winning ways.

Michael Stevens

Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. ...

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