I made my first sports wager at the age of 11. It came about following a spirited argument with a friend over which team was better, his Dr. J led 76ers, or my L.A. Lakers.
The teams were facing each other that night, and when the dust settled from our verbal sparring match, I had made my first official bet. My buddy was a bit savvier at that age, and even though I had no idea what it all meant, he had talked me into giving him 10 points.
On the bus ride home, I came to the conclusion that I had just bet on the Lakers to win by exactly 10 points. The Lakers won the game 105-95! I was on top of the world, until I learned the following morning, just what a point spread was, and that I had not won $20.
That was the first of many lessons learned, over my sports wagering career. In the 35 years since that first bet, I've climbed to the top of the mountain, and got knocked off the top of the mountain. I climbed back up the mountain, only to get thrown off the mountain.
I pawned my high school class ring at the base of the mountain, clawed my way back up the mountain, then fell off the other side of the mountain. I became involved with a woman who wouldn't allow me to visit the mountain, waited until she left for work one day, then ran up and hid on the mountain.
When the coast was clear, I began my trek back up the mountain.
How does one become a permanent resident on the mountain? First, you make a conscious decision to join the ranks of the successful sports gambler. That's the easy part. Next, you master the following nine disciplines. Not eight out of nine.
All nine... all out... all in.
You've already decided to do what it takes to become a winning sports gambler. Now find what sport(s) you want to focus on. I can't tell you how to do this. If you've been wagering on sports for a number of years, you know what I mean. I CAN tell you, that very few people can be consistent winners at MLB, NFL, NBA, CFB, and CBB together. Very few, and probably not you.
Hone, hone, and then hone some more. Hone your skills, your approach, and your game plan. If somebody interrupts you while you're honing, simply tell them that you are in the "Hone Zone" and they need to be quiet. Dog wants to play ball? Pat him on the head and make him wait until you are finished honing. Finally, if your significant other complains that you're always honing, don't be ashamed. If they're with you, then odds are that they are always honing too, but will never admit to it.
Management of the money you are wagering and management of the time you need to handicap is crucial. This goes without saying, but it's the one discipline that keeps thousands of people from long term success. The only thing these people manage, is to lose more than they win.
Realize that your devotion and enthusiasm to wagering will not be shared by most of your relatives, friends, acquaintances, and co-workers. Any explaining you attempt to do, will likely fall on deaf ears. Any winning you show them will be chalked up to "luck", and likely be followed up with reminders of your past losses. Understand that they will never understand. Understand?
I struggled with mastering this discipline for many years. "Control" was a word I associated with my girlfriend and people with bladder problems. I then had what alcoholics refer to as a "moment of clarity".
It happened at 2AM one Monday morning at a sportsbook in Tijuana, Mexico. I was up 2.5K betting on NFL football that Sunday, and as I sat there hours after the last game had ended, I suddenly became aware of everything around me.
I was one of three people in the room (the other two being a cashier and a waitress). In my hands were multiple bet slips for the only two events playing on the 50 or so tvs surrounding me...Jai Alai, a sport where a couple of guys in tight pants throw a ball against a wall using some" Tron" like apparatus attached to their arm...and Greyhound Racing, which involves anywhere from five to eight malnourished dogs chasing after a wood rabbit named "Speedy".
When all was said and done, I ended up giving most of the day's winnings right back to the book, but I did end up "seeing the light". This leads us nicely into #6
Know what you are wagering on. Know the bets. Know the game. Know the math. Know what I'm saying?
Some will say not to over analyze. I disagree. If you're ready to get serious about winning, then you should be at the point where you can decipher which stats are pertinent and which are fluff. Analyze all situations from top to bottom. Listen to others analyze, and then analyze that.
The World Wide Web has allowed the savvy sports gambler to increase their winning percentages by shopping for the best lines and wager odds. Getting/giving an extra 1/2 point may not seem like a lot, but it is. You just have to trust me. If you're not using at least five reputable sportsbooks, then you're missing out. I'm not going into detail here, because I'm ready to practice my ninth and last discipline.
Early to bed, early to rise, makes a person healthy, WEALTHY, and wise. So very true.
There they are.
The nine keys to sports wagering success:
If you're having trouble remembering them, I'm not sure what to tell you. Perhaps, you can do some word association, or try reading this article every night at bedtime. Maybe, remembering the first letter of each discipline will help.
Scratch that last idea. Go with memorizing them instead.