Discipline in sports betting

Discipline is the bane of so many potentially successful bettors. Whilst most common football fans might have the level of knowledge to identify some winning selections, most don’t have the discipline to protect that money. It’s easy to fall into a trap of winning a few bets and becoming overly confident. It’s a frame of mind that can lead to less research, greed to win more and over-confidence which can lead to double stakes. If you double stake at the wrong time, you could undo a winning run that took weeks in the space of an afternoon. Discipline is all about planning and emotional control. A good bettor can plan ahead, place their bets and accept the outcome. Win or lose, the process of researching and betting can wait until the next matchday.

Pros and Cons of discipline as a sports bettor

Pros

  • Having good discipline when betting makes it easier to protect your bankroll and make long term betting profits.
  • Discipline is largely about emotional control, and being able to separate yourself from losses. Doing so can prevent poor decisions and chasing losses.

Cons

  • It can be frustrating when your progress is slow and steady.
  • When trying to remain disciplined, you’ll encounter some tough situations. Being willing to bet through your losses without fear is a challenge.

Discipline is not just key in betting, but in life. With the absence of discipline in day to day life, business will fail to grow, your monthly wage won’t stretch very far or your diet won’t last. Betting is no different. Betting is all about the art of discipline and understanding what exactly that is. It’s OK to say that you need to be disciplined when betting, but it’s another thing to execute it. Most gamblers will tell you that discipline is key, but there are some who will not know what exactly being disciplined entails and how you go about it. Below are some key areas that you need to consider when aiming to become a disciplined bettor.

Betting Bank (Bankroll)

Bankroll is a term that you’ll see time and time again on the Tipstrr platform. A betting bank is a good foundation of a disciplined bettor. Having a bankroll ties in with other good practices such as staking plans, but first and foremost the role of a bankroll is to separate your day to day finances from your betting funds. It makes no difference as to whether you are placing your own bets or following a professional bettor, you are definitely better off having a separate betting bankroll. If you look at betting as a business type investment, you'd better accept that whilst your bankroll will fluctuate up and down, your end goal does not change. The major flaw of betting out of your own day to day finances is the emotions and desperation it brings with it. If you’re losing your own money, you’re likely to make bad decisions in an attempt to get it back.

Staking Plans

Having a staking plan can be encouraged by having a bankroll. Without a set staking plan, how much do you place on each bet? You might for the most part bet a quarter of what you have in your bookmaker account, or maybe even more if that’s what's in your comfort zone. But as soon as you lose a couple of bets and realise half of your money is already gone, you panic, you feel uncomfortable. You’ve now brought emotion and fear into betting and at that point, it’s probably end of game. Your staking plan should be a very small percentage of your overall bank. If you have a betting bank with £100 in, you shouldn’t be betting more than £5 in most people's opinion. Maybe even £3 to £4 is more realistic. And if you work on a percentage system instead, your bets will increase and decrease as your bankroll does, which promotes growth and reduces loses.

Don’t Chase Losses

This is something that will be less likely to occur if you stick to the above. Even if you are a compulsive bettor you may find that following a very strict bankroll and staking plan that focuses on protecting your finances, your thought process may change. Research shows it takes as little as 21 days to begin forming new habits. Betting is a more complicated thought process and it could take a little longer. But by the time your first loss comes around, you just might find you no longer feel the urge to win that lost money back. When you chase losses you make bad decisions that come from the heart and not the head. Your head knows you’ll likely keep on losing, but you let your heart and desire trick you into thinking just one more bet. But don’t chase losses. Never, ever chase losses - sports betting is a psychological battle as much as anything, and industry expert Joseph Buchdahl covers this in the most recent of his three books:  Squares & Sharps, Suckers & Sharks: The Science, Psychology & Philosophy of Gambling

Patience vs. Greed

The subject of greed ties in with all of the above points. It’s important to understand that you will not get rich in a night, day, week or month. If you do, you’ve either won the lottery or struck a big bet that’ll never come in for you again. Understand that greed leads to bad decision making and big losses that only lead to chasing. Once you’re in that hole, it grows. Think of it as an out of control debt that leads you to taking out a new credit card every month just to pay the last one. The gambling losses you accrue can hurt you just as much financially, but greed allows us to believe that just a couple more big bets may be the answer to our problems. Don’t be greedy. Understand that you’ll need to be extremely patient. There is no endgame in betting when you get rich and retire, so don’t let there be one where you end up broke. Slow and steady wins the race.

Value

Understanding value is very important and ties in massively with discipline. People think that if you can identify winners at a rate of 55% and stick to best odds of 1.90 or greater than you’ll make money from sports betting. That may be true, but is it value? A misconception when sports betting to seek value is that betting on big odds are value. If you bet £10 and win £30 plus your £10, that’s good value because you made a 300% profit, right? No, not necessarily. Value is about finding sports bets that have a better chance of winning than the bookmakers odds suggest. By doing this, you will beat the bookmakers. You’ll find that you may naturally be betting on higher betting odds but by finding this value, you might only need a win percentage of 40% throughout your sports betting career. That’ll mean more losing bets than winning ones. It takes discipline to form an understanding that over the course of time, winning at good value betting odds is a good betting strategy that ensures true profit from betting.

Research and Planning

If you don’t even research your sports bets, how do you know it’s a good bet? Rarely does intuition or gut feeling allow you to win in the long term. Planning ahead is also important. If you find yourself rushing to place bets before kick-off, or waking up an hour before a game you already somehow knew you’d bet on then you’re betting on impulse and for enjoyment. Research means hours of meticulously looking at form, highlights, news, conditions, history, etc. Whichever sport you bet on you should have a solid knowledge of that league that grows every time you research a team or game, and you should have your bets placed long before the day of the game. Some strategies involving placing a late bet, but for the most part you should have a clear idea of where your money is going well in advance.

A professional bettor will understand the art of discipline and embrace it. Only by using the keys to disciplined sports betting will you be able to make continual profit from sports betting in the long run. Casual bettors who fail to plan, research and devise a bankroll with a staking plan are likely to come unstuck. The art of discipline when betting is lost on them and no matter how much money they have available to bet, they’ll likely find a way to lose it. The art of discipline when betting should mean an almost business like approach that only professionals or the investment-minded may have. Every and any sport calls for discipline when betting, otherwise progress will not be made.

"Fail to prepare, prepare to fail".

It’s an old saying but one that still rings true. Sports betting as a form of investment isn’t about having fun or releasing your emotions, it’s the opposite. The art of discipline helps you realise that betting is an investment. If you wish to bet seriously and with discipline but cannot quite control your staking or emotions, then consider a separate account when you can have some fun. But separate your feelings from your real betting bank and understand that things like need, greed and a desire for quick and easy wealth have no place in the mindset of a disciplined and successful bettor.