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 tracking.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.