4 Things You Should Be Tracking On Your Sports Bets

By Jason Lee
Published on February 07, 2018
Checklist and Sports Figures

Look, I’m going to be real with you. If you care about how well you do at sports betting and you’re not tracking your bets, you’re crazy. Not only are you crazy, but you’re setting yourself up for failure. Keeping good records of your bets is not only important to know how well you’re doing, but it’s crucial to aid you in improving your betting game.

What I’m going to cover today are 4 things that you have to be tracking when you’re making sports bets. I’m also going to talk about why these things are important and how you can use them to better your chances of being a long-term winner betting on sports.

I know that you’re probably rolling your eyes right now because no one likes to hear they have to do more work. The thing is this, though (yes, I’m about to climb up on my teaching soapbox, so get ready):

Sports betting is not an easy task to conquer.

It’s challenging and difficult to best, which is why so many people try it and fail. Armed with this knowledge, you should be looking for every single angle you can get to better your chances of making it. Otherwise, you might as well quit while you’re ahead.

I’ll climb back off my soapbox now. I only get up there and share this information because I truly want you to succeed. As someone who has been in the business for years, I know how challenging it can be and how important every single edge is. You don’t have to take my advice, but I would really hope that you do. I’m not sharing it to hear my own voice or to sound cool. It’s only being shared in hopes that it helps at least one person reading the article.

Let’s dive into the things that I think are the most important for you to be tracking when you make a sports bet.

The Basics

The first things that I need to cover before we get into everything else are the basic things that you need to track. Now, just because these are called “the basics” does not mean they are not important. In fact, they’re probably the most important and essential things that you need to know. Here’s what you should be tracking:

  • The date of the bet
  • The type of bet
  • How much you bet
  • What odds or spread you bet at
  • Whether you won or lost (the outcome)

These are the bare-bones minimum of things that you need to be tracking for every single sports bet you make. They need to be tracked in some sort of spreadsheet that allows you to quickly see how much you are up or down and how you’re doing at different kinds of bets. While it’s important to look at your betting as a whole, it’s equally as important to break things down and analyze them by individual bet types and sport.

You’re going to want to know which sports you are excelling at and which sports you’re struggling with. Without this information, it will be near impossible for you to make any sort of positive changes to your betting strategy.

When I first started betting, I tracked all of my bets together. Hooray for me for at least trying, but I blew it in terms of tracking each sport individually. At the time, I was betting NFL, NBA, and college basketball. I was winning, so I didn’t think that there was anything wrong. However, once I started tracking my bets by sport, I realize that I had no idea what I was doing when it came to the NBA. In response, I stopped betting the NBA and focused my efforts on college basketball and the NFL. Much to my happiness, my bottom-line profit went up when I stopped setting money on fire with the NBA.

Your Confidence Level

One of my favorite things that I started tracking with my bets is my confidence level. Basically, I wanted to know how confident I was on a pick when I made it. This information helps me to identify spots where I might need to rethink my strategy. If I lose a series of bets where I was not very confident, I might stop betting lower-confidence bets in that sport. If I start losing a series of bets where I was very confident, I know that I may need to rethink my strategy and how I am picking my winners.

Comparing different confidence levels is hard if you use qualitative data.

What I choose to do is assign a number to how confident I am.

Personally, I use a scale from 1-10, with 1 being not very confident and 10 being “lock of the century” confident. Make sure that you’re assigning these confidence numbers before the game or you may be tempted to fib to yourself about how confident you were to protect your ego.

Your Main Reasoning

While I use a lot of different criteria when I am making my picks, there is usually one main driving reason that I’m getting behind a team. What I like to track is what this main driving reason is for each bet I make. If it’s a tossup between two things, I’ll write them both down for the pick. The idea here is to have information that I can dig through.

Let’s say that I decide I want to put some time into analyzing my college basketball bets. I realize that a large chunk of the games that I’m winning are because I’m betting home teams with strong defense as underdogs. You can probably guess what I would do with this information. I’d start looking to bet a lot more home underdogs with strong defenses in college basketball.

This information is something you also want to track before the game, so you aren’t influenced by what you see. You can also analyze this data with games you are losing to remove things from your strategy that aren’t helping you. Remember, make sure that you have a large enough sample size before you start drawing conclusions. Just because you lost a few games for the same reason does not mean that your logic is flawed. If you lose 100 games because of the same logic, though, you might want to look into rethinking your approach.

How Close of a Win or Loss

An additional stat that you’re going to find very helpful when working through your results is how close of a win or a loss the game was. This can help you to determine better how well your strategy worked out.

A strategy that is winning you games by 5 or 6 points could be something that you want to start assigning more importance to. Subsequently, a strategy that is winning and losing you games by 1 point would be something that you would want to either keep the same or lower your usage of.

Make sure you don’t look too deeply into this if it’s a game where something changed to affect how much the score moved. For example, if a game is a blowout because one team subbed in all of their scrubs, you might not give that as much credit as a blowout when all of the star players are in. Use your discretion on this, as your main goal is to get the best data possible for yourself. The more accurate your data is, the better decisions you can make about how to proceed with your strategy.

A Caveat on Honesty

One aside that I want to touch on when it comes to tracking your results is honesty. Sports bettors are notorious for lying to themselves and using fuzzy math when it comes to their results. Why? Well, a lot of the time it has to do with ego and a desire to be the best. Bettors will choose to omit certain bets from their results for different excuses and justifications.

You might choose not to track a bet because you made it while you were drunk or because it was just for fun. If you were a recreational bettor, that would be a different story; however, as a serious bettor who cares about their bottom line, this is unacceptable. Every bet counts and every bet needs to be tracked. 

In the end, the only person that you’re hurting is yourself.

You’re going to end up thinking that you’re doing better than you really are, which might feel great but is going to hurt when you realize you have less money than your records say you should. Start with being honest with yourself from day one, and it will be a lot easier to stick with it moving forward. You never have to share your records or results with anyone, so why not just be honest? It will help you to be that much more successful in the long run (something you can really brag about).

The Wrap-Up

While there are plenty of other things that you can track with your sports bets, these are the things that I think are going to be the most beneficial to you. If you want to track more and you come up with things that you think are helping you, awesome! The whole goal is to get as much data as possible to figure out what is and what is not working for you.

Remember, records and tracking stats are worthless if they aren’t honest and accurate. They’re also worthless if you never take the time to look through them and try to spot trends. If you never make any decisions based on your data, then you’re wasting a valuable resource. It doesn’t take long as long as you’ve kept good and detailed records for yourself.

You should always be working to fine-tune your betting game and the first step to that is identifying your strengths and weaknesses. If you’re a new bettor who has hopes of taking things more seriously, start with the tracking now. Good habits are going to pay off handsomely in the long run, and they’re much easier to start from the beginning.

Good luck out there!
4 Things You Should Be Tracking On Your Sports Bets
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4 Things You Should Be Tracking On Your Sports Bets
Tracking your sports bets is the key to improving your odds of winning more over the long term. In this blog, I’m going to share with you the 4 most essential things that you need to be tracking if you want to succeed.
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