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Sports Betting – The Fallacy of the Numbers Game

When betting on sports, it’s important for the gambler to remember that the primary goal is to show a long-term profit, and not worry so much about short-term profits. Over the course of a season, every sports bettor will have winning streaks and losing streaks and periods where things seemingly can’t go wrong and spells where they can’t catch a break.

One error many sports bettors make, even those who have been gambling on sporting events for a length of time, is to worry too much about short-term profits, or losses, and lose focus of the long-term goal. As the old sports betting adage goes, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

One of the more common methods of focusing too much on short-term goals comes in the number of games a bettor makes wagers on. There are some bettors who will refuse to bet an even number of games in a day, believing it’s more difficult to show a profit when they have to go 2-0 or 3-1 than it is if they have to go 2-1 or 3-2.

If the only goal of a sports bettor is to show a profit daily, there would be some merit in that type of thinking, but successful sports gamblers adhere to long-term goals and let the day-to-day wins and losses take care of themselves.

If you are a successful sports handicapper and your handicapping tells you there are two good bets for the day, why would you add another play that you don’t like as much just to give you a total of three plays? Sure, there will be days that the extra game will give you a profit, as opposed to a slight loss, but there also will be days that the extra game gives you an even bigger loss, as opposed to the slight loss a bettor would have by going 1-1.

To truly adhere to the strategy of betting on an odd number of games on a daily basis, a bettor should be wagering on 19 games per day, as mathematically, it is easier to go 10-9, which will give a profit, than it is to go 2-1. While that sounds ridiculous, it really isn’t all that different than betting on an additional game, or subtracting a game your handicapping says is a good bet, for the sheer reason of wagering on an odd number of games.

If a person is solely interested in showing a profit every day, they are much better off putting their money in a savings account or a CD, where they are guaranteed to have a bit more money at the end of the day than they started with and stay away from any speculative endeavors, such as sports betting or the stock market.

If your handicapping tells you there are only two games worth betting, or only four games worth betting, go ahead and bet only those games. While there will no doubt be plenty of days of small losses, by going 1-1 or 2-2, the successful sports handicapper will show a bigger profit in the long run by only betting those games in which they have the biggest edge.