Paper trading can be a very useful tool in sports betting. It can help complete beginners, professional bettors, and everyone in between. Many people fail to see the value in it though, and as a result tend not to bother. This is a mistake, as paper trading provides a number of genuine benefits.
There's no real excuse for not doing it either, as it's not exactly difficult to do. All you need to do is keep a record of any bets you want to place, how much you would have staked, and the end results. If you do this for a reasonably significant number of bets you can then easily see whether or not the approach you are taking would actually be turning a profit or not.
What probably puts most people off the idea of paper trading is that it is not as much fun as placing real bets, and there is a risk of missing out on potential profits. However, the benefits of paper trading definitely outweigh these points in our opinion. We explain more about the biggest of these benefits below.
This is a particularly significant benefit if you're a complete beginner to sports betting, or just relatively inexperienced. Paper trading for a period of time allows you to get a clear idea of whether you have the necessary skills to make a profit from betting on sports, without the need to risk any money of your own.
You don't necessarily need to actually show a profit on paper before getting started for real, but if you are showing heavy losses then you may want to consider whether sports betting is really for you. At the very least, you'll know that you have to rethink your approach. Once you come up with a method that does better, you can start betting for real and look to improve further as you go along.
Paper trading to start with is also a good way to avoid losing money from the mistakes that many beginners make. If you make these mistakes while only betting theoretically, you can learn from them without them costing you any money.
There are an almost infinite number of different systems and strategies you can use when betting on sports. Many of these have been shown to do very well, but even when using proven strategies you still have to apply your own knowledge for them to be effective. They won't all be right for you, and there is no magic system that you can simply follow to guarantee consistent winners.
Ideally you want to try several different systems and strategies, and see which ones are the most profitable for you. It can be expensive doing this when betting for real though, as some may not work at all for you and can result in big losses. You can avoid this potential cost by testing systems and strategies through paper trading. This will give you a clear idea of which ones you can use effectively and which ones are perhaps not right for you.
Paper trading is also useful for developing your own strategies. Many of the most successful bettors are constantly devising new systems and strategies that enable them to make consistent profits. This is not easy to do though, and usually requires a lot of trial and error. This, again, can prove to be expensive if placing real money bets. With paper trading you can fine tune your own strategies, without risk, until you perfect them.
Emotion can cause problems when betting on sports, as it can cloud your judgment and prevent you from being rational. To be successful you really need to eliminate all emotion from your decision making process, but that is not easy to do for most people. It's perfectly natural for emotion to be involved, particularly when you have real money on the line.
Paper trading can help you to remove the emotion, primarily as there is no real money involved. You can look at everything entirely objectively, and act based on rational judgments. This is almost certain to lead to making better decisions. You will then hopefully find it much easier to ignore the emotion involved when you do come to betting for real money, as you will be used to doing so.
Analytical skills are invaluable for sports betting. If you're good at analyzing statistics, trends, and other relevant data, you stand an excellent chance of being successful. This is not something that comes naturally to a lot of people, although it is possible to improve your skills as you go along.
By paper trading you can work on your analytical skills without running the risk of losing money. You still need to analyze everything in the same way as if you were betting for real money, but any losses will only be theoretical. You can therefore fine tune your skills for no actual expense. You should be analyzing your results too, to see if a strategy is ready to put into practice for real, which will give you even more practical experience.
It should now be clear that paper trading can be very beneficial to your chances of success when betting on sports. It's definitely something you should consider if you're a beginner, as it will probably save you money. At the very least it will help you to improve your overall betting skills before putting your own money on the line.
You don't need to paper trade for months and months before you start betting for real money. It's really just a matter of waiting until you're confident that you're ready. You can, and probably should, continue to paper trade once you have started though, as it will still be useful for experimenting and fine tuning your approach.
Even if you're already an experienced bettor you should still consider paper trading. No matter how much experience you have, or how successful you are, you should always be looking to improve your betting skills, and your results, in any way you can.