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Patience and Staying the Course

NFL Betting: Patience and Staying the Course

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper,

The percentage of NFL bettors who make money over the course of a season is miniscule. Most players begin the season with promise, only to fizzle out way before the playoffs start. And while there are many reasons for that, one of the main ones is that the general betting public is impatient. They want immediate results and for their bankrolls to swell. They want to blow up and do it quickly. But the ones who last are the ones who are steady.

Success in NFL betting is not as glossy as some might think. There might be images in your heads of limo rides, extravagant lifestyles, and guys hitting 90% of their bets. Reality is a lot less shiny. You might see the ad in the magazine with the blinged-out snake oil salesman promising 80% against the spread and talking about "locks" with infinite star values given to it, such as the "ten-star lock." Listening to these guys, a weaker person would be tempted to bet his house on the game. But those who put their bankrolls at risk on so-called "locks" are soon no longer around making bets.

You can almost judge how full of crap a tipster is by how grandiose his claims are. If a handicapper were honest and straight-forward, he might claim he wins 57% of his bets, not 80%, which is a ridiculous claim. And anyone killing the book at an 80% clip wouldn't be in the business of selling his picks because he would be too busy counting his money.

The real heavyweights in the world of NFL betting will tell you that success is gained in a steady fashion. Profits are accumulated slowly. Let's use the previous example of 57%. Your eyebrows would probably go up if you hear a radio ad with a guy claiming to pick winners at a 57% clip. It just doesn't sound very prolific. Think again.

Let's say you are a guy who can pick 57% against the spread. You begin the NFL season with a $4000 bankroll. You make an average of 28 bets per month, always betting the industry-accepted standard of 5% of your roll on each bet. By picking at just 57%, you will increase your bankroll 28% a month. That computes to 112% every 4 months, which means you will be more than doubling your money. Project that over years and you can begin to see why the tortoise wins the race sometimes.

It takes patience. And some people can't afford to begin with $4000, which makes the climb all the more taxing on your resolve to stay the course. It could take quite some time to build up to something meaningful. But when you think of the alternative, it's not a bad option. Again, the vast majority of NFL bettors are not around come playoff season. Would you rather still be in the game with double your original bankroll or at home wishing you could bet?

Having more than double what you started with at the beginning of the season is a major achievement. It takes poise and resolve. The player who is just able to pick 57% winners didn't light the world on fire, but he didn't have to. He just chugged along at a steady rate. His 4K turned into over 8K and if he can maintain that clip, he could be looking at serious money in a few years--all by just being steady.


It's important for us to look at this like a marathon. And to finish the marathon, we need to be steady. We can't start panicking and break into a sprint when we fall behind. You need to have the confidence to know there are stages of the race that will be difficult, but in the end it will all even out and we will achieve the satisfaction of finishing the marathon. And a lot more than a few percent of people who enter a marathon finish it--as is the case with NFL betting. So that even enhances the importance of having this mindset. That the people who last in this business are not the guys who have flash. They're the ones who just keep plodding forward, simply winning a few more than they lose.

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