When betting on sports, you analyze an array of factors to try and find value and place profitable wagers.
Because there are so many factors at play, (including luck!) you can expect to lose almost as many bets as you win, even if you become a pro.
So, that means that there is a lot you cannot control when wagering on sports.
You cannot control what takes place during a game, and you cannot control the outcome of a bet.
That can be a pretty unsettling reality, especially if you are at all risk-averse.
But that is why it is important to focus on the things you do have control over when you bet.
Even though you do not have the power to guarantee that any specific, individual bet you place will win or lose, you do have the power to increase the likelihood that you will be a winner over the course of many, many bets.
You can do that by optimizing the way you handle each of the following factors as you bet.
Your stake sizes
One of the things you have control over when you wager on sports is the size of each bet you take.
While you cannot control whether you win or lose a bet, you can at least control how much of a risk you are taking with each.
To do that, you will need a staking system.
I suggest a simple, proportional betting system. Stake between 1-3% of your account on every wager you make, or whatever you are comfortable with in that range. Do not vary the size of your bets.
This will keep your risk tightly controlled, and also encourage good habits with respect to other aspects of your wagering. You will treat every wager with equal seriousness.
Using a smart, logical staking system is so critical that sometimes, it makes all the difference in the world.
If your strategies are sound but you have been wagering random amounts, you could even find that wagering a flat, low percentage like this can make you profitable.
For just a little more about this, check out number 2 on this list of “11 Mistakes You May Be Making While Betting Online“
The next thing you can control when you are betting on sports is the analysis you conduct.
The more analysis you conduct and the more time you are willing to spend getting as comprehensive as possible, the more you empower yourself.
True, there will always be factors which you cannot possibly account for when you are running your analysis (flukes, for example).
But there are many factors which you can account for. Can you control them or change them? No, but you can make an educated guess about what impact they are likely to have on an event.
At what odds you place your wagers
After you finish conducting your analysis, you should be able to generate your own odds for an event.
Once you have completed that process, you can calculate the implied probability.
With that implied probability, that you can shop the odds at a variety of sportsbooks online.
You never need to accept odds you are not happy with. In fact, in situations where you cannot find value, you probably should not be betting.
This is one of the most critical factors that you can control when wagering on sports which many bettors simply choose to ignore outright.
Learning to calculate implied probabilities and shop the odds involves a learning curve and some practice, but it is the only way to determine whether you have an edge over the sportsbooks or not.
If you find yourself needing some help in getting started and learning how to read sports betting odds, check this out!
What sportsbooks you do business with
Speaking of sportsbooks and their odds, something else you can control as a bettor is what online betting sites you decide to join.
One thing which dis-empowers you is choosing only to sign up at one online sportsbook.
By signing up at more than one, you increase the chances that you will be able to jump on favorable odds when you see them, even at short notice.
You also will open the doors to further benefits such as more promotions, more feeds for live events (see below), more betting markets, and more types of wagers.
Likewise, you also can decide not to do business with shady companies offering betting online.
Just being selective about where you bet can save you a lot of money.
What feeds you watch
A lot of sportsbooks online offer live feeds for events, especially if they also offer live betting.
While there is often a small fee to use these feeds, they may be faster than the feeds you get on TV or through other streaming services online.
Plus, sometimes you may want to watch and wager on events which are not available to watch through other channels. In that case, you might only be able to view those events through sportsbook feeds.
The quality and speed of your feeds matters. In fact, while betting live, even a tiny delay can result in a lost bet.
So, it is critical to minimize delays when you can. That is something which is very much within your control now that there are so many options available to you.
Sportsbooks online should post directly on their sites exactly how long the delays are in their live feeds. You also should be able to get this information for broadcasts or streams through other services.
Paying a nominal fee (for example, in the form of a $1 wager) for a feed with a shorter delay can more than pay off in many circumstances.
It could make the difference between winning and losing some of your live bets, and every wager counts!
From whom you accept advice
There are many psychological factors which influence how we perform when we wager on sports. Among them are the voices that you allow into your head.
I saw some research that indicated that friends and family are the people to whom bettors are most likely to turn in search of advice on bets.
Are any of your family and friends betting experts? If so, do any of them see eye to eye with you on the basic principles upon which you are building your strategies?
If you can answer “yes” to that, then maybe listening to advice from those people does make sense.
But letting just anyone influence your judgment when you gamble is unwise.
Our brains are like sponges, soaking in not just information, but also misinformation and opinions readily.
But it is within your capacity at all times to critically evaluate both the source of what you hear and the contents of it too.
There may be someone in your life who has genuine expertise who can help you out with your sports betting, but that person may or may not be a friend or relation or spouse.
The point is that you should only take what someone else says to heart if you have a rational reason to rely on their expertise.
That goes not just for their opinion on your betting techniques, but how they see you as well.
For more information on this, be sure that you take a look at the article, How Do You Manage a Crisis in Sports Betting?
In what physical and psychological state you bet
Most of us at one point or another will lose a wager for a reason unrelated to our betting skills.
Maybe you place a bet when you have a cold and didn’t get a lot of sleep the night before, or perhaps you wager while your mind is spinning because of a fight you just had with your partner. Or perhaps you decided to bet after having a couple drinks. Or you might simply be wagering on a day when your plate was particularly crowded with other responsibilities.
When you bet in states like these, your judgment can be compromised. You may think you are making sound decisions, but you could easily make mistakes. There are too many distractions in your mind, or there is too much fatigue in your body.
But it is easy to control when you do and do not bet—at least, it is easy to control the latter.
Sometimes you may not be able to bet when it would be ideal (i.e. because you are at work and cannot get a moment on your smartphone), but you can at least refrain from betting when you are not in the clearest frame of mind or are not functioning at your best physically. This will spare you unnecessary losses.
What you learn from your past wagers
Another thing you have control over is the learning process.
While you cannot foresee and prevent every mistake, you can choose to confront those mistakes as directly as is possible in order to turn negative experiences into positive ones.
Doing such may require you to cultivate extra humility and to brush up your self-monitoring skills.
But you can learn from these as well. And once you do, you should find it easier not just to learn from your mistakes when you wager on sports, but also to learn from your mistakes in general.
The more effort and willingness you put into learning, the faster your skills will grow, and the sooner you will become profitable, or more profitable.
Whether or not you give up
If you have been struggling a long time to try and become a successful sports bettor, there may be periods of time where you feel like quitting.
But something else over which you have control is whether or not you do quit, and when.
The nice thing about quitting is that you never have to do it. No matter how long and hard you have worked for something without result, it is completely under your power whether that represents a reason to quit or not.
You can wake up the next day and decide to keep going because it is your will to persevere.
What is the worst that can happen? You can always quit tomorrow.
And while not every bettor who ever stuck with it has become profitable over the long run, one thing is sure. Those who quit certainly did not.
Want to learn how to use research to become a profitable bettor? Check out this article.
Find the Most Competitive Odds Online Now
Over the long run, if you keep your focus on the factors above and you make decisions which are conducive to success, you should be able to compensate somewhat for some of the factors which are out of your hands.
That means that even though you might lose your next wager through no fault of your own, when you average out your results over the next few months, or the next year, you may find that your overall stats are improving.
Ready to start seizing control of your sports betting career by wagering on sites with more competitive odds, bigger bonuses, faster live feeds, and better customer support? Check out our recommended online sportsbooks.
And make sure that you also take a look at,