Keeping Records and Analyzing Your Sports Bets

Record-keeping? Math? Yuck! Yeah, yeah, we know this isn’t the most exciting
of topics, but if you enjoy winning money while sports betting and want to keep
winning, you’re going to want to pay attention to this guide. While it’s not the
most glamorous of topics, keeping accurate and organized records of your bets
and properly analyzing them is key to continued success in the industry.

In this guide, we’re going to walk you through everything that you need to
know to keep your sports betting records properly, as well as how to analyze
them. These two components are not a “suggested thing to do,” but are 100%
necessary if you want to succeed as a serious sports bettor. Again, we know it’s
not the most exciting of topics, but we guarantee you will be thanking us later
for sharing this information.

The Importance of Record Keeping

So, why on earth should you ever worry about keeping records of your sports
bets? Well, if you’re taking your sports betting seriously, you need to treat it
like a business. Whether it’s just a source of side income or your main
profession, it still needs to get the same respect. Think about this as if we
switched out sports betting with something else.

What if you were selling t-shirts as a side gig? Would you want to keep track
of your funds and your sales? You’d be crazy not to. It would be impossible to
make correct decisions without knowing exactly how much money you had, how many
shirts you had sold, how many you had ordered, etc. What if you were running a
restaurant as a full-time job? We probably don’t need to beat this dead horse,
as you hopefully see that it’s going to be important that you keep records.

Sports betting should be treated no differently. Without knowing how much
money you have on hand, how many bets you’ve made, or any other pertinent
information, you’re going to be clueless as to whether or not you are winning
and whether or not you have the funds to make the bets that you want to make.

The Importance of Analyzing Your Bets

Keeping track of your bets, wins, and losses is only the first step in
ensuring your success and longevity in the sports betting world. The next step
is taking that data and analyzing it to draw conclusions about your betting.
Properly analyzing your sports betting history can give you a lot of clues about
what is working and what’s not. You can take these clues and patterns that you
see and use them to make decisions about where and what to bet in the future.

Sports betting is not something that you become good at and immediately stop
working on. It’s a constant grind, and you should always be looking for ways to
improve your edges. The second that you stop trying to grow and improve is the
second that you sign your death warrant in sports betting.

How do you continue to grow? The first step is finding what you’re doing
right and finding your leaks. Once you’ve identified the good and the bad, it
becomes fairly easy to know what you should continue doing and what needs work.
All of this can be accomplished by studying your past bets and working through
the outcomes.

The Best Ways to Keep Track of Your Bets

When it comes to keeping track of your bets, there are several different
things that we need to cover. First, we’re going to cover what information you
should be tracking. Second, we’re going to talk about the different ways that
you can go about tracking information. And then in the next section, we will
talk about the calculations you should make from this information and how to
properly analyze it.

The Information You Need to Track

Let’s talk about what sort of information you should be tracking. First,
here’s the list of the vital information that you 100% without excuse need to be

  • Date of Game
  • Who You Bet
  • What Type of Bet
  • How Much You Bet
  • Odds or Spread You Got
  • The Outcome of the Bet
  • How Close You Were

Why is all of this stuff important? Well, you need to know when the game was
so you can properly analyze trends. If you don’t know who you bet or what type
of bet it was, you’re going to struggle to draw any sorts of conclusions. The
amount you bet is important for you to know if you’re up or down as a whole, as
well as on individual types of bets.

You need to know the odds you got, the outcome of the bet, and how close you
were on wins and losses so you can see how “right” or “wrong” you were. We’ll
talk about why this is important in the next section. If you aren’t a huge fan
of keeping records, this is the bare minimum that you need for every single bet
that you make.

The Additional Information You Should Track

As a side note before we go any further, if you’re struggling to find the
energy or drive to do the extras that you need to do to win at sports betting,
you may want to rethink your goals or career path. Sports betting is not easy,
and it requires you to go above and beyond to be a winner. If you’re not up to
the challenge, you may want to move sports betting back over to the recreational
hobby side of your life.

With that side rant over with, let’s talk about something additional that you
should consider doing when you’re tracking your sports betting results. The
above list contained the essentials that you needed to keep track of. What we’d
like to go over now are the additional things that we recommend you track to
help with the analyzing of your data. These data points will help you to
understand better what is working and what is not. This information will empower
you to make better decisions about what bets to continue to make and what
elements of your strategy need to be adjusted.

  • How Confident You Were in Your Pick
  • Why You Mainly Chose That Side of the Bet
  • Flag Any Reason You May Have Lost the Bet

Notice that none of these are numbers, but they are more notes that you’ll
need to take on each bet. For confidence, you could make that on a scale of 1-10
to keep it as a numerical data point. We will talk in the next section about why
this information is important.

Be Honest with Yourself

Before we talk about the different ways that you can track your data, we want
to make one important point. When you are writing down your bets, you need to
make sure that you are honest with yourself. This means that you need to make
sure that you write down and record every single bet you make. Some bettors have
a tendency to make up excuses as to why a bet they made “didn’t really count.”


A bettor might want to leave a bet off because they made it
while they were drunk. They also might want to leave a bet off because they
don’t feel like they researched it as much as they should have. While these
extenuating circumstances would have an effect on your bet, you still have to
count them in your records. Why? You have to count them because they are bets
you made.

The fact that you did something stupid or made a bet with a lazy amount of
research doesn’t mean you get to magically erase it from your records. Who you
are and how you conduct yourself while you’re betting is also something that
you’re going to want to track. Do you think a stockbroker gets to erase a trade
they made when they were drunk? Of course not. They have to put it on their
track record and live with it.

If you choose to lie to yourself just so your stats can look better, you are
only doing yourself a disservice. Bite the bullet and be honest on your tracking
sheet. It will help you in the long run to become a stronger sports bettor.

Ways to Track this Information

You have several options when it comes to how you want to track your sports
betting data. The first is the most old-school and probably the one we recommend
the least – pencil and paper. If you’re not someone who is any good at
technology and you aren’t interested in learning, you can always keep your
records in a notebook.

This obviously has quite a few drawbacks. First, if you lose your notebook,
you have no backup and you’ve lost all your data. Second, you have no technology
to check your calculations to see if you’ve made any mistakes. We’re sure you’re
a wizard at math, but everyone makes mistakes. Third, the only way that you can
analyze your data is by using your eyes and scanning it. You have no way of
running any functions or programs through your data to pull out conclusions. As
you’ll see in the next section, this is a huge drawback. But if it’s your only
option, it is better than nothing.

Your second option and the one we recommend the most is Microsoft Excel.

If you’re unfamiliar, it’s the spreadsheet program that comes with Microsoft Office
and is usually on most PCs. Excel allows you to input a lot of data easily and
then allows you to sort and sift through it with ease. If you’re familiar with
Excel, we 100% recommend that you use this option. If you’re not familiar with
it, there are a ton of resources online that can easily teach you as long as you
aren’t allergic to computers.

The final option that you can utilize is sports betting apps that do the
tracking for you. These are nice because you can have them on your phone, but
they do lack the element of flexibility that we like. Usually you are locked
into only tracking the data that they think is important. Sometimes they do a
decent job of putting in the right fields, but we prefer to make our own
decisions on that. They also sometimes don’t have compatibility to move from one
phone to the other. So if you upgrade your phone, you may be stuck losing all of
your data and starting back over, which is not helpful.

How to Analyze Your Sports Betting Records

Having data is great, but it does you no good if you don’t know how to
properly sift through it and draw the conclusions necessary to make
profit-affecting decisions. In the sections below, we’re going to walk you
through everything that you need to know to make sure you’re getting the most
you can out of your sports-betting data.

Understanding Sample Size

The first thing that you need to understand before you start analyzing your
betting data is that you need to have an adequate sample size before you try to
draw any conclusions. If you only have a handful of bets and you start making
decisions based on the data, you’re going to be making mistakes. Sports betting
has an element of variance that could cause short-term runs that are not in line
with what is really going on.

Have you ever flipped a coin before? If you flip it three or four times and
it lands on heads every time, is the coin more likely to land on heads? Of
course not. It still has the exact same chance of landing on tails as it does on
heads. But because you are only looking at a short-term sample, you may be
inclined to think differently.

When it comes to analyzing your sports-betting results, more is always going
to be better.

You’ll probably want to have at least fifty bets of a certain type
for a certain sport before you even think about drawing some serious
conclusions. You may be able to draw some conclusions earlier, but this will
ensure that you’re starting to see real trends and not just the coin landing on
heads a few times.

Remember, if you have fifty bets that are for different sports and different
types of bets, you don’t have an adequate sample size. You’d effectively be
comparing apples to oranges. Think about it this way: if you are down on the
account when you look at it as a whole, should you make changes? Well, what if
half of your bets are basketball bets that you’re crushing on, and the other
half are NFL bets that you’re getting destroyed on? You can’t look at everything
as a whole.

ROI vs. Win/Loss

Another important thing that you need to be aware of when analyzing your
results is how you should be measuring your success. You should NOT be looking
at your success in terms of correct picks versus incorrect picks. A win/loss
record does not tell you whether or not you are successful at sports betting,
even though a lot of people think it does. You can have a losing sports betting
record and be making a ton of money. You can also have a winning sports betting
record and be losing money badly.

What you should be looking at when you’re trying to figure out how you’re
doing with sports betting is how much money you’re making. The statistic that
you should be using is called your Return on Investment (ROI). This statistic
tells you how much money you are making based on how much you are putting in.
It’s normally expressed as a percentage. Here’s how to calculate ROI:

ROI = (Net Profit/Total Investment) *100

So for example, let’s say that you made one bet for $10 and you made $1 on
that bet. Your net profit is $1, and your total investment is $10. So,
($1/$10)*100 = 10%. Your ROI is 10%. Basically, for every $1 you bet, you should
expect to get a return of 10%, or $0.10.

This will tell you what percentage of return you are making on the money you
are betting. This is the only way that you should be measuring your success when
it comes to sports betting.

Analyzing by Sport

When you start pouring through your data, start by sorting it by different
sports. Take a look at which sports you are doing well in and which sports you
might be lacking in. Now, just because you aren’t doing well in a sport does not
mean you should automatically stop betting. What you should do, though, is start
looking for reasons why you may be struggling.

Remember all those additional pieces of information we told you to list?
Start by sifting through these. Were you only struggling with the bets you were
least confident in? If that’s the case, cut those bets out and only bet the bets
where you’re the most confident. This is why assigning a numerical value might
help to separate the data.

Additionally, look through the reasons why you think you lost your bets or
the reasons why you chose the losing side.

What you’re looking for are trends.
Try to find the reasoning behind why you’re losing.

For example, maybe you start
to realize that you lost a ton of bets by betting on home favorites. If that’s
the case, you may want to work that into your betting strategy when you’re
making picks.

If after a while you continue to struggle with a sport and can’t find any
reason, then you might want to look into backing off your bets on that sport or
shifting your focus to your more profitable sports.

Analyzing by Bet Type

Additionally, you’ll want to break down the individual sports into the types
of bets. It takes different skills and different predictive abilities for
different kinds of bets. For example, the skills it takes to predict the
over/under of a game are going to be different than the skills it takes to pick
the winner of the game. While there is some crossover, these should still be
analyzed separately.

Follow through with your findings exactly the same as we advised in the
Analyzing by Sport section above. Look for trends of winning and losing. When
you spot trends, try to find causation. Again, this is where the additional
things we told you to record will come in handy.

What to Do With Your Sports Bet Analysis

So, let’s say you’ve found some trends and some data that you think is
useful. What’s the next step? Well, it depends on whether or not the trends are
positive or negative. If you find areas of betting that you are excelling in,
you can consider betting more on these bets or expanding to more similar bets.
For example, if you’re crushing NFL totals bets on the games you’re betting,
maybe you should consider betting more games. Only do this, though, if you think
it’s going to be profitable. Sometimes expanding the games you’re betting on can
work against you. It’ll be up to you to decide how to proceed.

If you find areas where you’re struggling, you need to figure out if it’s
because of variance or if you’re maybe doing something wrong. If you deem that
it’s not just variance, look through the data and try to find out what’s causing
your losing streak. If you happen to find a common thread, do what needs to be
done to fix it. Make the necessary adjustments to your strategy and continue to
track to see if the changes fix your leak.

The Final Word

Well, you made it through the “less-than-glamorous” guide. We hope by this
point, though, that you see why this information is important to your bottom
line. If you’re serious about your sports betting and have hopes of doing it for
a long time, make sure you follow these guidelines to a T.

Record all of your
bets, be honest in your recordings, and take the time to analyze your records
properly. The results will make you and your wallet pretty happy.