The right questions before betting

What’s the first thing you do before you bet on a match? Do you try to predict the result or check the odds? This is an important question, make no mistake. As a matter of fact, it is the most crucial question associated with betting. Try and think of it as entering a convenient store and looking to buy some wine. You won't buy the very first one you see without checking two important things: Its quality and price. If you don't take the time to check those out you're just buying a pig in a poke. The same thing applies when you back a team without checking the odds. No matter which way you choose to see it, you end up making a bad trade for your money.

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The “wrong” betting question

Countless bettors will try to convince you that you should only be concerned with “looking for winners”, teams who win, regardless of their odds. Their main argument is simple: “If you pick a winner, at the end of the day you’ll have managed to add some money to your account. Who cares if the odds were lower than the implied probability? What matters is that you now have more money. This should be the definition of value. Managing to increase your account”.

This leads to the worst possible question a punter can ask when pondering into a match: “Who will win”?

Now, you might be thinking...

"This the most important thing in betting, isn't it? Picking winners is what gives you money. Why is this question wrong?" The only one who benefits from this strategy is none other but the bookie: Trying to only pick winners and not caring about the odds is a safe way of wiping out your bankroll, one bet at a time. Think about it. Each time you win, you are bound to get less money due to the commission. Now add the fact that the odds do not reflect the actual probability and should actually have been higher. You're basically missing out on profit and given that you're likely to lose some bets in the long run, you quite possibly might lose all your money as well.

So, what the right question?

Hopefully you've grasped why you should avoid asking the “wrong” question. It's time to take a look at the “right” one, the one that leads to long-term profits. This question is quite simply “how much do I stand to win”? How much money will the bookie have to pay you if your bet is confirmed?

Let’s look at an example: Chelsea is playing home against Leicester with the Home Win odds standing at 1.80. If you decide to place a bet on Chelsea, you feel that getting an added 80% profit to your stake is valuable , not to mention fair. In the same manner, if you feel that 1.80 odds fall short of the implied probability, then you should not wager a single cent on Chelsea, even if you’re absolutely certain they will win the match.

How to successfully bet on sports

If you ask a seasoned bettor on how to bet on football you’ll receive more answers than you might have hope for. A wealth of rules do exist, but you don’t have to follow all of them in order to decide what to bet on. You should remember the following key steps, to better organize your betting plan:

  1. Budget/Stake: Before getting started, you should decide how much you can afford to lose. Use your surplus and never risk money that is needed elsewhere. Also set a clear staking plan and follow it to the letter.

  2. Be realistic: You should always set a winning limit. Just make sure it is achievable, so that you don't go overboard in order to reach your target. The feeling of success in betting is priceless, as it helps you make better decisions and strengthen your self-confidence.

  3. Document everything: Keep a complete archive of your bets, as detailed as you can. Not just numbers, stakes and “win/lose” series, but also a brief description of the reasons behind your every selection.

  4. Guerilla warfare: You should find ways of hitting the bookies without making too much damage, or else you’ll be banned. Bet by your rules, not theirs. Avoid popular matches with great bonuses, don’t risk too much in order to make them suffer. Long term winning in betting is a result of a guerilla warfare, not a pitched battle.

Is it worth it?

Let’s go to our convenient store example: You've found a 2 lb. pack of juicy tomatoes for the price of £4. Though they do seem appealing, they’re unfortunately overly expensive. Once again the same question wanders in your mind: "Should you buy them?" It all depends on where you wish to spend your money on. Either you find the price reasonable or you leave the package where it is.

It's not a matter of quality, you're almost positive that they are the best ones you could find. However, the fact that they are overpriced, means that it would not be a value-for-money purchase. Quite logically, your main issue concerns getting the best quality for the right price and not spending all your money on a few products.

The same applies to "buying" odds. The only difference is that your main concern is finding underpriced odds, where quality (implied probability) is of lesser importance. On the contrary, if you're only searching for winners by wondering “who will win the match?”you're basically trying to predict the future and not make a long term profit.

If you wonder “how much do I stand to win?” you immediately accept the two inevitable outcomes in betting: winning or losing. Sometimes you'll win, sometimes you'll lose. What matters is to INVEST your money on the best price available.

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