Successful sports bettors are a very rare breed. Statistically, it is very
uncommon to find an individual that is profitable over the long haul on sports
betting. Unfortunately, luck and basic sports knowledge will only get you so
far. These successful bettors tend to possess some common traits that aid them
in being better at sports betting than the rest of the pack.
Below, we’ll go into detail on some of the common traits of successful sports
bettors. After reviewing this list, you might decide to work on some of these
areas in an attempt to be more like them. By fine-tuning some of these skills
yourself, you might be able to become a more successful sports bettor.
Common Traits of Successful Sports Bettors
We’ve compiled a list of some of the most common traits of successful sports
bettors. While not a complete list by any means, this list encompasses the vast
majority of important traits held by these bettors. It’s important to note that
a successful bettor doesn’t necessarily need to have all of these traits, but
they will possess most of them. With that said, let’s get into it!
Knowledge of Sports
This common trait of sports bettors should be pretty obvious, but we wanted
to make sure that we stated it regardless. In order to be successful, sports
bettors need to have a solid knowledge of sports. Without this trait, it is
honestly near impossible to become good at sports betting.
Having a good knowledge of sports allows successful sports bettors to
understand better things that might impact their wagers. Using their knowledge
of sports, these successful bettors have a good understanding of the many
different things that can impact the outcome of sporting events. This allows
them the chance to make better-educated wagers than someone that is not as
knowledgeable about sports.
Strong Math Skills
Betting on sports involves a ton of numbers. From historical performance data
to bookmaker odds, there are lots of numbers to look at and analyze. If you’re
not good at math, it can be tough to understand what all of these numbers mean
to you and your sports betting wagers.
Successful sports bettors tend to have very strong math skills. Using this
skill set, they are able to quickly understand what the data they have access to
means. Often, these types of bettors will then crunch some serious numbers to
help them determine what wagers they want to place. At the end of the day, these
bettors use their strong math skills to quickly analyze and interpret data for
the sake of making quick and educated betting decisions.
Excellent Money Management
Something else that successful sports bettors do well is manage their money.
Without excellent money management skills, it’s hard to make a long and
successful run in sports betting. If you end up betting too much of your
bankroll on single games, it could be detrimental to your bankroll balance. This
is a common mistake that recreational bettors make.
A successful sports bettor will have established strict money management
guidelines for themselves, and they will stick to these no matter what. These
money management lines will determine how much of their total bankroll will be
placed on each wager. Instead of swinging for the fence on each bet, the goal of
a successful sports bettor will be to make money over the long haul.
Evaluation of All Game Factors
A recreational sports bettor will often just look at a handful of factors,
such as which team is favored, when making their betting decision. Even though
there is much more information that could be evaluated, your average sports
bettor tends to stop right there. However, successful sports bettors make an
evaluation of all game factors, not just the basics.
When it comes to successful sports bettors, they are peeling back as many
layers of the onion as possible. While basic stats are great, these bettors go
much deeper in an attempt to evaluate all game factors.
bettors will consider the health of all players, not just the quarterback and
wide receivers. As well, they’ll often consider things such as team grudges and
teams coming off of big losses and how that might impact the game.
For you to be more of a successful sports bettor, you’ll want to do your best
to evaluate everything you possibly can. It can take a bit to train yourself to
think outside of the box, but this is how you can work to get a leg up like the
professionals do. By thinking differently and looking at all aspects of the
game, you’re more likely to catch something that many others will miss.
One of the biggest things that separates professional gamblers from
recreational gamblers is that professionals can control their emotions.
Unfortunately, this is not something that too many recreational bettors
understand. Like some other things on our traits of successful sports bettors,
emotional control is something that is easier said than done.
Often, recreational sports bettors let their emotions get the best of them.
If a recreational sports bettor grew up in a diehard Green Bay Packers family,
he’d probably have a hard time not betting on the Packers, regardless of what
the odds or data says. However, a successful sports bettor that also grew up in
a diehard Green Bay Packers family will know when to toss his love for the
Packers aside to make a smart betting decision.
Emotional control is a tough habit to master. However, it will be impossible
to become a successful sports bettor if you can’t set your emotions aside.
Emotions all too often get in the way of making sound betting decisions based
solely on data. If you’d like to become more of a successful bettor, you’ll have
to learn emotional control so that you begin to make decisions based on data as
opposed to your emotions.
Another common trait of successful sports bettors is that they shop their
lines. Unlike recreational sports bettors that typically rely on just one
sportsbook, these bettors will usually shop their lines across multiple
sportsbooks. By shopping around, the successful bettors can make sure that they
are getting the best bang for their buck.
In many cases, lines tend to be pretty close from one sportsbook to the next.
However, this is not always the case.
If a successful sports bettor is able to
find a sportsbook offering a wager at 0.5 points better than the market average,
they’ll be coming out ahead if they win the bet.
What’s nice about line shopping
is that it allows you to get the maximum value from your winning wager.
If you’re not currently line shopping, you should definitely consider it. At
a minimum, we’d suggest that you sign up with at least two different
sportsbooks. When you’re ready to make a wager, be sure to shop the lines
between the two sportsbooks. Your goal should be to find the one offering you
the best pricing. While it might not seem like much on an individual bet basis,
line shopping can add some serious growth to your bottom line as you become
better at sports betting. By not line shopping, you’ll end up leaving money on
the table, and that’s no fun!
When it comes to successful sports bettors, another common trait that they
have is a strong discipline. Using this strong discipline, these bettors are
able to stick to a plan and remain focused on the overall long-term goal.
Unfortunately, this is not a trait that the majority of recreational bettors
Strong discipline is key in the grand scheme of things if you want to become
successful at sports betting. Successful sports bettors will utilize strong
discipline in areas such as staking plans, bankroll management, and the overall
wager plan of attack. Emotions can play into making poor discipline decisions,
which is why these bettors tend to have emotional control and a strong
discipline. Without them, it’s too easy to get off track.
Ability to Understand Value
A successful sports bettor will have a good ability to understand value. When
it comes to recreational bettors, they don’t usually analyze the value of a bet.
For them, they’ll just pick a winner and call it a day. Successful bettors,
however, will look at a bet’s overall value to determine if it is worth the
What successful sports bettors look for are wagers that have a high value. An
ideal wager will have a big potential payout with a relatively small risk. The
goal of these bettors is to not risk a huge amount of cash for a relatively
small overall return.
By understanding value, successful sports bettors work to get more bang for
their buck. Unlike recreational bettors that don’t look for value, successful
bettors will come out ahead in the long run by searching for this extra value.
If you’d like to learn more about value, check out our article about
probabilities and value.
Strong Analytical Capabilities
Something else that successful sports bettors typically possess is strong
analytical capabilities. When it comes to sports betting, there is a ton of data
that needs to be analyzed. To be successful, you need to be able to review and
interpret historical data, bookmaker odds, and much more. Without these skills,
it is tough to become successful over the long haul.
Often, successful sports bettors will have created their own systems to help
them analyze all of the data that is important to them. In some cases, they use
programs like Microsoft Excel or other proprietary software that they have
created. The goal of these bettors is to review and analyze as much data as
possible to make the best informed decision they can.
Unfortunately, analyzing data is not something that comes naturally to many
people. Unless you’re a financial analyst or banker, then the odds are that
you’ve not had any formal training in data analysis. What’s nice is that you can
learn to be better at data analysis if you’re willing to take the time to study.
If data analysis is not currently a strong suit, you can find lots of good tips
and research on the internet to help you begin to sharpen your analytical
Ability to Take a Long-Term View
Patience is a key trait of successful sports bettors. Many sports bettors
quickly become unmotivated after having a few bad losses in a row. What
differentiates successful bettors is that they are able to step back and take a
Successful sports bettors know that they won’t win every bet. However, sports
bettors set a goal for themselves that they want to win more often than not.
Even in runs of losses, successful bettors understand that there are highs and
lows in what they do.
Overall, a successful sports bettor on average will win somewhere between 50%
and 60% of their wagers.
It’s important to note that this means that they are
still losing plenty. To keep their head in the game, these bettors will learn
from losses and realize that losing sometimes is still part of the process.
It is important for you to be able to take a long-term view if you’d like to
become a better sports bettor. Along the way, there will be setbacks. However,
you need to not get discouraged by these setbacks, and continue to hone your
skills. If you give up too quickly and easily, you might be missing out on
something much larger. The sooner that you can train yourself to take a
long-term view when it comes to sports betting, the sooner you’ll be more in
line with successful sports bettors.
Strong Organizational Skills
Another key trait of successful sports bettors tends to be strong
organizational skills. As we’ve discussed previously, there is a ton of data
when it comes to sports betting. These bettors will be able to properly organize
and sort this information so that they can make sense of it. It doesn’t matter
how much data you have access to if you’re not able to sort it and make educated
guesses about it.
Strong organizational skills also come in handy with tracking the bets that
you have placed. Tracking your bets is an important part of bankroll management.
If you’re not able to keep this organized, you might quickly find your bankroll
in trouble. A successful bettor will keep meticulous records of bets placed,
along with tracking any associated wins and losses.
If organizational skills are not a strong suit of yours, you can definitely
work to improve them. We’d suggest that you start by tracking your bets. You can
use something as easy as pen and paper, but we’d recommend using something
computer-based, such as Microsoft Excel. Your ultimate goal should be to record
a history of your sports betting wagers. Using this organized data, you can then
refer to it to review your historical trends to see what worked for you and what
didn’t. As an added bonus, you’ll have a better view of the health of your
sports betting bankroll.
Flexible, Adaptable, Resilient
To be successful, sports bettors need to be flexible, adaptable, and
resilient. A successful sports bettor will know that things change over time,
and that in turn means that their plans and strategies must also change. Being
flexible and adaptable is key. Those unwilling to change their ways are less
likely to be successful over time.
Resilience is another key trait of successful sports bettors. Sometimes
you’ll feel like the king of the world, and other times you’ll feel like an
elephant has just trampled you. A successful bettor will remain resilient even
in the down times, knowing that you have to take the good with the bad.
If your goal is to become a more successful sports bettor, you should work to
be all three of these things. It’s much easier said than done, but you should
work to become more flexible, adaptable, and resilient over time. By adopting
these qualities, you’ll better align yourself with some of the traits of
successful sports bettors.
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