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Keeping Your Composure

Tips to Keeping Your Composure: Why Sugar Turns Sour in Baseball Betting

By Loot, MLB Handicapper, Lootmeister

When betting on major league baseball, we will hopefully reach a point where we fall into a nice groove. Something in our handicapping clicks and next thing we know, we’re running off a lot of wins and making a nice profit. It may last for a month, the whole season, or even a couple seasons. Things look good and naturally, you will be feeling pretty good about your baseball wagering.

But for even the best handicappers, something will happen that turns a gravy train into a rocky ride. What was working is no longer getting the job done. For a bettor accustomed to winning, this can be a very difficult pill to swallow. You will be left searching for answers and finding the right one may be extremely difficult. After all, you’ve been conditioned in the recent past to win more than you lose and turn a profit. So what do you do when what used to work is no longer getting the job done?

Abandoning What Got You There: There may be something in your overall picking of games that has deteriorated. It could be something specific to your handicapping model. But it can also have more to do with your wagering approach. Perhaps your selectivity has plummeted. Whereas you used to allow your handicapping to point you toward good-value bets, now your opinion has become too strong and you started picking games the way someone throws something against the wall to see if it sticks.

Something can happen to a person’s mind when winning that poisons their approach. The simple fact that you’re winning causes you to lose your composure. The sharp mental approach you utilized to be successful in the first place just withers away in the light of success. Call it hunger or call it urgency. Whatever it is, not everyone can handle success and stay on-point when winning. A bettor’s head can get too big and before you know it, they are no longer the force in baseball betting that they used to be.

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Developing Biases Through Success: Sometimes, when we get successful at betting, there are certain things we are doing in our betting. As an example, a bettor may be a guy who looks for good-value underdogs. That’s a good thing. But it’s not so good when a bettor has a ton of success betting underdogs and then hits a wall. Without even knowing it, that bettor may have subconsciously developed a bias against teams that are favored. So when the field of play changes, these bettors have a hard time adapting. They’ve been so successful doing things one way that it is downright difficult to change the approach.

This can be one of the hardest things to do, but sometimes we need to examine ourselves closely and look for biases we may have created through the winning of certain wagers. It can be because we bet on favorites, underdogs, certain teams, different scenarios, or whatever it is. And through our success, we developed too much of a singular focus and it is taking you off of winning picks.

Be open for change. What works this month may not work next month. If you lock onto a successful pattern. by all means ride it to the end. But be open to making different kinds of bets that force you to break the mold from time to time. A winning pattern is fine, but those patterns end. Where do you take it from there? For a bettor to become a long-term success, you can’t overstate the powers of adaptation.

Changing Your Handicapping Approach: Again, the field of play changes readily in baseball. That applies to the players and teams, so it naturally affects the betting of the games. This can work a few different ways. There are elements of baseball handicapping that you’ve perhaps been ignoring. You got away with it for a while, but now it’s not working and you need to acknowledge it more. Or maybe you added something or put too much importance on something and that threw you off-course.

Maybe, for example, you just ignore weather altogether. For a while, you were okay doing this. But then things happened to throw a different light on it. You bet on pitchers who grew up in southern California and their arms aren’t good in April or October on the east coast. Or you bet on a fly-ball/power-hitting lineup in a game where the air is so thick that what would normally be tape-measure shots are landing on the warning track.

The examples are really endless. Maybe you haven’t been paying much mind to where teams are on their road trips and haven’t been accounting for possible fatigue or team-wide indifference. You look at every game as just another game. But then you notice some teams you picked just aren’t showing up. Or the bullpen was worn-out. Then you notice that team has been jetting around the country, playing in a series of draining games and a light bulb goes off--but just too late.

Take records and after a length of time, see if there aren’t any common threads in the games you are losing. There may not appear to be much rhyme or reason why you are losing bets. But often times, you can see some common threads. When you do, get rid of them. There is probably something that you are over-valuing--a part of your handicapping where you are placing too much credence. Or not enough. Make the proper adjustments and get back on the right track!

At the same time, don’t be rash in making judgments. If something has been working for four months, having a bad week shouldn’t lead to you overhauling your handicapping approach. Make sure that when adding or removing little handicapping wrinkles, that you’re doing it for the right reasons.

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