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Controlling Your Emotions

Football Betting: Controlling Your Gamble

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper,

When betting on football, it’s important to take a sincere inventory of your outlook. This is gambling. It’s not sitting at a slot. It’s not playing blackjack. It’s one of the few forms of gambling where your decisions are a crucial part of the equation. But it is still gambling. So we all need to be honest with ourselves when determining our strengths and weaknesses in that area.

Football betting will test your resolve. If you have leaks in your gambling make-up, football wagering will turn it into a gaping hole. If you are prone to getting steamed and losing control when gambling, football betting will offer you no relief in this area. It will likely only exacerbate it.

A lot of us are kidding ourselves. A lot of bad gamblers think they can do sports betting and suddenly shed all their bad tendencies. The next thing they know, they’re acting like Pete Rose trying to double up taking the under in the East Carolina-Marshall game.

You know how you are in a casino. If you think losing after getting dealt a “20” in blackjack by a backdoor “21” hurts, wait until you see all the treats that are in store when betting football. You’ll wish you were back at the blackjack table watching the dealer peel off a 6-card “21.” Are you able to handle those kind of setbacks that occur at the casino in stride? Or do you start losing control a little bit?

Maybe you were a poker player before betting football. Again, you might think you know pain. And while there are certainly bad beats that buck incredible odds in poker, at least it only takes a few minutes at the most. When playing poker, you’re playing a ton of hands. Sure it can be devastating, especially in a tournament, but the best poker players are the ones who know how to handle losing without it disrupting the overall quality of their game. They take the hit and move on unaffected mentally. The best ones do.

That’s the most important quality to possess when betting football--the ability to take losses in stride without getting upside-down mentally. Some can do it and some cannot. A lot of highly-intelligent people just can’t gamble. There is something about gambling (the same something that makes casinos a great business to have) that clashes with their personality. Gambling is really a test of character. And a lot of these parts of your character won’t be tested until you gamble. It might become the first time certain parts of your make-up are even brought to light.

You may or may not pass the test. Most can keep in control. But a lot of us know guys who seem otherwise totally solid. They are responsible across the board. But when they go Vegas, they fall apart. They look and act totally normal when they show up. But in a few days, they’re disheveled and walking around downtown looking for discarded free drink coupons. It can get really ugly with some people.

We should be aware of how we are when we gamble. If we get even slightly psycho when we gamble, we need to address that. Maybe we can change that part of ourselves. Admitting it is the first part. Denying it and plunging into football betting will lead to ruin. The best in this business are the guys who have no leaks. Maybe they did at one point, but they patched them up. That requires being honest with ourselves.

Picking winners in games is important, but let’s not forget to handicap ourselves. If we are gamblers who on a bad day can blow everything, we need to acknowledge that and keep it in check. If every time we win, we start making wild moves while playing with the “house’s money,” we need to deal with that, too.

If you have shown issues with being a problem gambler, it’s not a good idea to deposit money into an online account and expect all your problems to disappear. If you fall apart in Vegas, it’s just that much easier in your own room. Online books and casinos are murder for anyone who has shown glimpses of having a form of gambling degeneracy. It’s guaranteed disaster. Before taking the step into the world of football wagering, make sure you can give this a really good go. If you know yourself and conclude that you will at some point probably blow it, then deal with that before taking the plunge.

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