What are your goals for this season?
In another week the boys of summer will be back in action for another season of Major League Baseball. During the start of each sports season I like to evaluate how things went the previous season, and set my goals for the upcoming season. Regardless if you are a professional handicapper/gambler or just a casual bettor it is important to take some time to evaluate past performances and set realistic goals.
In sports betting the goal is to make money, period. So the first question that you should ask yourself is how much money would you like to make this baseball season? From that number you can then determine how much of a bankroll you should start with for the season, how many games you will need to bet on, and how many of those games you will need to win. To better explain this I will outline a simple baseball bettors "business plan".
A. How much money do you want to make?
Let us say that your income goal for the MLB season in 2005 is $300 per month, or approximately $1500 profit for the season. (I will use a 5 month example of May, June, July, August, and September for this.)
B. How much money do I have to set aside for baseball wagering?
You have a $3000 bankroll ready to use for your baseball wagering. Based on what we will discuss below your monthly income goal should be about 10% of your bankroll.
C. How much do I need to bet on each game based on my bankroll?
This is a risk vs. reward situation. The higher the percentage of your bankroll that you wager on for any one game, the higher your odds of going bankrupt. I have found good success with betting 2% of your bankroll, and potentially increasing that to 5% for higher rated plays such as, "Games of the year or month, etc.")
In this situation based on a $3000 bankroll, your 2% bets would be $60 per bet. You would have to go 0-50 before you would lose your bankroll. This type of conservative strategy is safe and important in grinding out long term profits.
D. How many games do I need to win per month to reach my monthly goal?
Because baseball betting price outcomes can vary since most wagers on done on the money line and not straight 110-100 odds, it is a bit difficult to say EXACTLY how many games or what winning % must be attained to reach your goal. For the sake of this article I will assume that most people betting money line plays stick with underdogs in the +110 to +150 range, or even a bit higher in some cases. If you are someone who typically bets favorites, I would warn you that over the long haul this can be a very disastrous practice and will eat up your bankroll in a flash! Explaining the mathematics behind this is beyond the scope of this article, but I will expand on this in upcoming articles.
I will show four examples below of playing different money line prices, and the winning percentage needed from each of them to reach your monthly income goal. I will use 80 games wagered for each month, this would correspond to 2-3 picks for each day of the month.
If you can pick 46% winners at +130, you would win 37 games out of 80 , and if you bet $60 per game your monthly profit would be $306.
If you can pick 44% winners at +140, you would win 35 games out of 80, and if you bet $60 per game your monthly profit would be $240.
If you can pick 42% winners at +150, you would win 34 games out of 80, and if you bet $60 per game your monthly profit would be $300.
I discourage you from betting too many favorites, but if you can pick 56% winners at -110, you would win 45 games out of 80, and if you bet $60 per game you monthly profit would be $390.
Over the years baseball underdogs win about 44% of the time, so you can see that if you can handicap well enough to find these winners, you can be successful. With 30 MLB teams there are 4860 total games played for the season, and in the above situation you are playing 80 games per month, or only 8% percent of all the available games. If you are selective with your picks the above is a very attainable goal for any gambler.
E. Applying the above to your bankroll and goals
The above example shows a realistic goal of what is possible if you have a good money management plan, and can pick a reasonable amount of winners.
For your individual situation pick your monthly income goal, that should be approximately 10% of your current bankroll. Realistically, if you want to win more money than that, you either need to pick more winners than the above example shows, have a larger bankroll, or increase the amount of your bets, which can be a hazardous practice, and is not recommended for long term success.
F. Evaluate your progress each month
Each month you will want to evaluate your progress. If you made money, the size of your 2% of bankroll bets will increase, if you lost money one month, they will decrease. A more conservative approach is to calculate your 2% of bankroll on a weekly or even daily basis. That way your bet sizes will decrease during a colds spell, but increase during a hot streak. Monitor the types of games you are wagering on. If you are struggling you should look at things like: are you betting too many favorites, or too many +250 long shots, are you following the 2% bet strategy, or maybe you are just taking some "bad beats"?
If you are struggling with your picks there are professional handicapping services available. Align yourself with a reputable, documented company. A new website to keep an eye on is http://www.PayAfterUWin.com. This site is being developed by Professional handicapper Dave Scandaliato and will provide tons of good handicapping information for all sports.
Hopefully the above information will give all gamblers some things to think about. For the beginning baseball bettor this gives you some basic fundamentals to use as a guide. For the professional gambler evaluating past progress and setting and following goals are a very important aspect of long term success.