That’s What Winning Looks Like
About two-thirds of the way through the 2018-19 college basketball season our Premium Handicappers Chis & Adam (mostly Adam) went 31-18 (63.27%) over a 5-week period. It was unquestionably their most extended “good” run of the season and we promoted it every chance we could (on the site, in the newsletter and on social media).
Our marketing efforts came to fruition on Saturday, February 23, 2019 as a dozen subscribers purchased our weekly college basketball package that morning.
It was the best sales day of the college basketball season.
Adam promptly went 0-4 that day and 7 of the 12 subscribers cancelled their subscriptions the very next morning … and a few were even kind enough to share with me some very “colorful” emails.
WELCOME TO SPORTS BETTING REALITY
Of the 7 subscribers that cancelled, 6 were new subscribers. Which meant that all 5 of the subscribers that did not cancel had purchased a subscription from us in the past.
Over the next two-weeks Chris & Adam (mostly Adam) went 8-7 before Adam went on a 10-2 conference tournament run.
The 5 people who purchased a CBB subscription on February 23, 2019 and didn’t cancel … and of course practiced good money management … were currently up 3.7 units (18 wins – 13 losses).
The 7 people who purchased a CBB subscription on February 23, 2019 and cancelled the next day were down 4.4 units … and they were probably pissed … at us no less.
After a disappointing NCAA College Basketball Tournament (we went 13-14), we ended the 2018-19 College Basketball Season at 94-81 (53.71%) for a profit of 4.9 units.
Let me repeat that, 53.71% for a PROFIT of 4.9 units.
THAT’S TERRIBLE, IMO!
I’ll never forget the comment we received after our first college football season (2012) on The Saturday Edge. We had just finished up the regular season and in the weekly summary post I wrote:
“The 2012 college football regular season at The Saturday Edge ended on a successful note. We hit over 57% for the regular season. We had 10 winning weeks (out of 14 total) and at one point we had a six-week winning streak. Definitely a good first year”
This was the very first comment we received in the comments section:
The best part about this comment is that I didn’t even need to respond to it. Several of the more experienced sports bettors on the site responded for me:
Terry, Jerry & Gail are still LIFETIME SUBSCRIBERS to the site. I have no idea where DK is or what he is doing, but I can almost guarantee he’s not hitting 57% long-term.
WINNING LONG-TERM ISN’T EASY!
The main objective of this article is to introduce the novice sports bettor to a few realities about winning. IT ISN’T EASY!
Studies suggest that 97 percent of sports bettors lose money betting long-term.
And what win percentage do you think the 3 percent of winning sports bettors are hitting, or should I say striving to hit long-term?
So the next time you hear someone touting their 60 or 70 percent win rate ask them the following questions:
What is the sample size for those wagers and is that win percentage against -110 widely available lines?
Keep in mind, anyone can have a great run and/or a great season based on a small sample size (100 or 200 games), for reasons they may not be able to replicate the following season(s).
A good example is the 2009 college football season. GoSooners and I were “dialed in” that season to Arizona State, Nebraska and Oklahoma totals.
More specifically we just bet the under on every single game those three teams played. They went a combined 30-8 to the under (ASU 9-2, Nebraska 11-3 & OU 10-3).
It was amazing. It was also an anomaly.
Luck is also a HUGE factor. Both kinds of luck. I still remember games from the 2007 season that I had absolutely no business winning. I hit 60%+ (my first 60% season) on over 300 wagers. It took me nearly 10 years to have another 60%+ season … on far fewer wagers.
Bottom line – BE SKEPTICAL of anyone claiming to have long-term/large sample size win rates of 60% or higher … or even 58% or 59%. Those figures are almost impossible to sustain.
WINNING LONG-TERM ISN’T LINEAR!
Another issue I’ve noticed that first-time sports bettors (and even some seasoned veterans) seem to have is there inability to deal with losing.
Guess what? If you’re going to be betting on sports, you’re going to lose … A LOT!
If you’re good enough … and/or fortunate enough … to win ~55 percent long-term, or even over a full season or full calendar year, I guarantee you are not going to go 5-4 (55.56%) or 6-5 (54.55%) every single week.
Linear: progressing from one stage to another in a single series of steps; sequential … is NOT how sports betting works.
Be prepared for a wild ride and you know what? Losing streaks are inevitable. If you bet on sports long enough losing streaks are statistical certainties. They happen to the worst handicappers and they happen to best.
A great example I can offer is from the 2018-19 college football season (last season). We started out the year hot going 9-5 in Week 0/1 and 8-4 in week 2, only to get CRUSHED in week 3 (3-9).
The very next day, once again, a handful of new subscribers cancelled their subscriptions. Really? After three weeks? Last time I checked 20-18 (52.63%) is still NOT losing.
I even received the customary “after a bad week” email telling us we were frauds because no reputable service would ever hit 25%.
The following week we went 11-3, as it turned out our best week of the season, to bring our YTD record to 31-21 (59.62%).
That is an outstanding number, but the manner in which we got there was simply too stressful for some sports bettors. Had we gone 8-6 in week 1, 7-5 in week 2, 8-5 in week 3 and 8-5 in week 4, I guarantee none of those subscribers would have cancelled.
There is a reason we’ve only lost a handful of LIFETIME SUBSCRIBERS over the past 7 years. They are mostly experienced sports bettors who understand how weeks, months and seasons typically play out.
If you’re practicing good money management (1% to 2% of your bankroll per wager) and you at least have a basic understanding of probability theory, any short-term streak – good or bad – should have little to no affect on your betting psychology.
Bottom line – If you cannot write-off and/or accept losing streaks as part of the process, you really should consider a new hobby or job. Because there is absolutely NOTHING you can do to avoid them.
Bad beats, bad calls (by refs and coaches) and losing streaks are going to happen. How you react to them will often decide your success or failure as a sports bettor.
IN CLOSING …
There are no hard and fast sports betting rules that you MUST adhere to, but there are many “best practices” that you should consider.
Good handicapping processes and good money management are of course at the top of the list, and we’ve covered both these subjects on several occasions, and we will continue to do so in the future.
But some of the more “minor” sports betting issues like the ones we examined today need to be addressed and understood. Because overlooking them could negatively affect your overall handicapping and money management.
You MUST Have Realistic Expectations
For those of you who are new to sports betting, it’s essential to have the right expectations from the start. Betting on sports can be fun, and it can be profitable.
However, for you to make money, you’ll need to become knowledgeable and disciplined.
Having unrealistic expectations will just lead to frustration and disappointment.
Or worse, it could lead to bad decisions that will affect your bankroll in a catastrophic manner.
When you see people claiming “too good to be true” win rates, just ask yourself (or ask them) what is the sample size they are using to determine these numbers.
A great, and real, example I can give you is last year’s March Madness when Adam went 18-4 (81.82%) in the tournament.
As most of you know, we promoted the heck out of last year’s success. We were called liars, scammers, cheats and touts … the full array of negative terms to describe sports handicapping services.
But that still didn’t take away from the fact that Adam went 18-4 in last year’s NCAA Basketball Tournament.
What’s important for our discussion is that 18-4 … 22 games over a 3-week period is a very small sample size.
He went 11-12 during this year’s tournament … 23 games, again a very small sample size.
So what was the difference between his 18-4 run in last year’s tournament and his 11-12 record in this year’s tournament?
Luck. It’s that simple. Any short-term streak – good or bad – has more to do with luck than anything else.
In the past 5 years, Adam has a win rate of nearly 55% on over 600 games of college basketball.
That’s what winning looks like.
You MUST Be Able to Deal With Losing
And I can assure you – and everyone who followed Adam’s CBB picks this season can tell you – consistency was nowhere to be found. He was all over the place. Winning streaks, losing streaks, bad beats, lucky bounces. It was a true roller coaster ride.
But in the end I return to my original point, we finished the 2018-19 College Basketball Season at 94-81 (53.71%) for a profit of 4.9 units.
That’s what winning looks like.
Sure we’ve had more “glamorous” seasons, especially in college football, where we’ve hit over 60% in 2 of the past 4 years.
But there is nothing guaranteeing we will do that again. In fact, as I pointed out, 60%+ over an extended period of time is unsustainable.
What is sustainable, and what is most important is our 55% win rate on 3,500+ picks across CFB, NFL & CBB in the past 7 years.
If you are able to achieve that type of success, and you practice sound money management, it doesn’t really matter how many short-term losing streaks you have to endure ,,, and you’ll have to endure a lot of them.
Long-term, YOU’RE WINNING!