Stephen Nover is a handicapper with Covers Experts.
They still tell the story in Las Vegas about the time a little old lady politely entered a loud, boisterous craps game. When it was grandma’s turn to roll the dice she astounded the room by making 20 passes in a row.
Grandma was a hero. The gamblers at her table made thousands riding her hot hand. What did she win? The little old lady won $20. She bet $1 on each roll.
You may be a great handicapper, or the luckiest person in the world, but you’re not going to do well unless you understand proper money management techniques. Money management is just as important, if not more important, than handicapping when it comes to sports wagering.
Smart money management is not betting whatever is in your pocket, or whatever is on TV. It’s being disciplined. It’s betting more when you’re on a hot streak, and betting less when you’re on a losing streak. That’s the fundamental principle. But gamblers sometimes violate this simple concept, forgetting they sing the Star Spangled Banner every day.
Sometimes ego gets in the way. People become too impatient to ride out the normal fluctuations of winning and losing. Losing a bet on a bad beat is tough to handle. But it’s part of gambling. If your emotions get the better of you it can be a death rattle.
Some handicappers favor a shotgun style approach. They like to fire away on multiple games. My style is more conservative. In NFL betting, I have a one unit, two unit, three unit, four unit and five unit system. Rarely, though, will I ever go above three units. You have to have a healthy respect for the numbers. The number may not quite be as good as it looks.
This is a season-long process. The goal is to finish the year with a profit. It takes discipline to achieve this because you need to be above 52 percent to come ahead factoring in the bookie’s juice. Keep in mind, too, top professional bettors make a nice living hitting 55 percent. Anything in the 56-60 percent range is a phenomenal season.
Bettors have edges on the house because we can pick and choose our spots. We can play to our strengths, which in my case is NFL and NBA, while the bookmakers have to put out numbers in every sport. Yet we must exercise smart money management. Part of that is not getting greedy, and having the mental fortitude to ride out the natural highs and lows. Remaining on an even keel is crucial.