|Assessing Handicapping Results
By: William D. Foote of
I will be the first to tell you, there are ungodly highs and lows being a student of sports betting. And that is especially true for the select few who make a profession of it. Quite simply, the nature of the endeavor dictates as much and I surmise it will never be any different. So the question becomes; how does one cope with misfortune, or perceived bad luck, or a prolonged bout of losing? Similarly and maybe even more important; how does one properly handle a run of luck, a protracted hot streak, etc.?
My opinion is that a calm and objective study of each win and each loss is the correct recipe. In other words, after each game concludes ask yourself one straightforward question. What would the line would be if the game was played again? This exercise will allow one to decipher bad luck from bad handicapping as well as good luck from good handicapping.
For instance, letís say you wagered Philadelphia -3 over Jacksonville. Letís also say that Philadelphia lost the game and you lost your bet. To assess whether or not Philadelphia was a good selection, ask yourself this simple question; if Philadelphia and Jacksonville were to play again the next weekend, what would the line be? If Philadelphia would be posted at -3 or higher you were likely on the right side of the game but lost anyway. If Philadelphia would be posted at -2.5 or lower, you were likely on the wrong side of the game and deserved to lose.
You see, there are so many variables and uncontrollable events occurring on any given game, it is entirely impossible to handicap them all with accuracy. Yes, we mean the proverbial bad officiating call, or the bad bounce, or the unforced turnover. What you are looking for however, is a slight edge in many games over the long haul.
Professional handicappers understand that when on a hot streak or on a cold streak; they must analyze the why and wherefore of that particular streak.
Have you been on the right side of most games but are enduring some bad luck? If so, donít worry. Your luck will turn around. Contrary to what many believe, luck plays no favorites over an extended duration and it will always even out in the end. This dynamic is similarly true when you are gathering wins on games you are supposed to lose. In such an instance, luck will turn for the worse.
If however, you decide an outdated system or poor decision making is the culprit of your losses, then it is time to change your strategy. You see, handicapping is a never ending series of adjustments. After all, what has worked in the past is not guaranteed to work in the future. Odds makers adjust, the game changes, coaches change, players change, etc.
A good example was this yearís NFL (2002-2003 season). An enduring and tremendously successful handicapping strategy in the National Football League was projecting line of scrimmage dominance. Quite simply, teams that can run the ball are usually very successful and have traditionally covered the spread at a high percentage.
If this strategy is so successful however, then why are 13 of the leagues 14 top rushers sitting at home for the Post Season? And if this strategy is so successful, why did it flounder this season? Is it chance? MaybeÖ Or maybe the West coast offense of short passing has replaced the running game? Moving forward it will be the handicapperís job to discern whether or not this is true.
We reiterate; handicapping is a never ending series of adjustments and what has worked in the past is not guaranteed to work in the future. Odds makers adjust, the game changes, coaches change, players change, etc.
Longevity is the name of the game and to attain success over the long run, one must analyze their results with a finite microscope and painstaking honesty. Do not fool yourself into believing your losses are bad luck if they are not. Whenever I say this, it reminds of a gentleman I play cards with. He complains about the shuffle on very hand, until he has good cards. Just remember, one manís bad break is another manís good fortune.
I surmise many gambling lessons are really life lessons in disguise. How many folks are you acquainted with that walk through life with a tainted vision of reality? You know; the oneís that do the same thing over and over and expect a different result. The oneís that blame their current situation on everybody else, rather than their own actions. Not coincidentally, those are the same folks whose unfortunate situation never changes.
And then there are the enlightened ones; the folks who routinely analyze their behavior and learn from mistakes. The oneís constantly adjusting their methods as they go. Yes, those are the ones that prosper.
Sports betting and handicapping are first nature to William. Check out his site
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