How to Develop Sports Betting Systems and Strategies
We just talked about how you can take existing betting strategies and make adjustments to them in an attempt to make them (more) profitable. That’s a valid approach, but it’s not the one we’re going to focus on here.
The Betting Lab is all about teaching you how to build viable and potentially successful betting strategies entirely from scratch. That’s exactly what we’ll be doing as part of this project, and we’ll keep you updated every step of the way for each new strategy we implement.
As with most aspects of sports betting, there’s no definitively correct way to go about things here. There are a few different ways you can go about creating and developing the systems and strategies you want to use. Here’s the process we recommend, though.
- Come up with an initial idea
- Add additional factors to refine the basic concept
- Finalize the precise rules to follow
These are the stages we’ll be going through for all of the systems and strategies we develop in our Betting Lab. Let’s now take a look at exactly what each one entails.
1. The Initial Idea
Bettors who are paying the right attention will often spot potential trends in the sports that they follow and bet on.
For example, they might notice the underdogs in their favorite league win more often than they are expected to in certain specific situations.
A lot of bettors don’t act as they should when they spot such trends. They just keep the idea in the back of their minds and use it to influence their individual betting decisions to some extent when appropriate.
Some bettors, however, will act more proactively. They’ll start looking at some past results and trying to determine whether the trend has any kind of real foundation. If it does, then they’ll explore things further and potentially start to specifically make wagers based on the trend.
This is effectively the start of them developing their own strategy, even if they don’t actually realize that.
Identifying trends is one of the best ways to formulate ideas for betting strategies and systems. It’s not the only way, though. You might simply come up with an idea for a strategy that you want to work on, based on nothing other than instinct. For example, you might have a feeling that road favorites in the NFL don’t tend to cover the spread as often as they technically should.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter HOW you come up with your initial idea. It can be based on spotting a vague trend, some in-depth analysis of relevant data, a moment of pure inspiration, or anything at all, really.
It doesn’t really matter WHAT the idea is, either. A solid betting strategy can potentially be formulated from the simplest of ideas or even ones that might seem a little crazy.
What DOES matter is how you act upon the ideas that you have. You shouldn’t just assume that you’re onto something and dive straight into making wagers. You need to work through the idea, trying to turn it into a working model for a betting system.
This is the moment you should sit down and try to make things clear. Spend some time to broadly identify the circumstances and specific set of conditions that potentially make the difference.
This is how every single strategy in our Betting Lab will kick off. And then we move on to stage two.
2. Additional Factors
Once you have your initial concept, it’s time to refine it. This is where you need to use both your general betting knowledge and your knowledge of the relevant sport to add other factors that might further improve the basic concept.
For example, let’s go back to the idea of betting against road favorites to cover the spread in the NFL. Would you want to bet against ALL road favorites covering each week, or would there be some additional criteria to factor in?
You don’t NEED to factor in additional criteria, and you certainly shouldn’t do so for the sake of it. But as a general rule, the more precise a strategy or system is, the better its chances of success. That is, of course, based on the assumption that the criteria being applied actually has some merit in the first instance.
Once we’ve polished the selection criteria for our Betting Lab strategies, we progress to stage three.
3. Finalize the Rules
A betting system needs rules to work. There has to be a clearly defined process for making selections, or it’s not really a system at all. It’s just a vague notion on which you make your betting decisions.
These rules should cover more than just selecting your bets, though. There are, in fact, three primary things to consider here.
- Criteria for selecting bets
- Bankroll management/stake sizing
- Where to place wagers
We’ve already talked about setting the criteria for selecting bets. We’re going to expand a little here, though, because this really is a vital part of any betting system or strategy.
You must make sure that you define what you are looking for in a measurable way. For example, if your strategy involves backing underdogs in certain conditions, you’ll need to set a price point that determines what constitutes an underdog.
A price of 2.50 on a team or player winning suggests that the bookmakers evaluate the chances of that happening as 40%. Is that enough of an underdog? If not, you could go for a price point of 3.00 that suggest a probability of 33% or even for 5.00 that equals 20%.
There’s no right or wrong here. It’s about deciding what you think best fits the strategy. The important thing is that you have a clear and quantitative way to define every single rule you add. You must rely on facts and figures, not on assumptions and guessing.
We talk about the importance of bankroll management and staking plans regularly on this website. That’s because it’s one of the fundamental things you need to get right if you’re going to be a successful sports bettor. We won’t get into the detail of exactly what bankroll management entails right now, but we should mention its relevance when developing a betting strategy.
Simply put, a betting strategy should include clear bankroll management rules that define how much should be staked on each wager. Each of the systems we add in the Betting Lab will do exactly that, and the rules will be fully explained at the outset.
In terms of where to place wagers, the key here is usually to use a selection of bookmakers and betting sites. This brings a number of benefits, the most important of which is that you can shop around for the best prices for each wager you place.
The difference in prices between bookmakers and betting sites is usually quite small, but a lot of small differences over time can have a significant impact overall.
In the case of the Betting Lab, we are in a bit of a tough spot when it comes to selecting where to place the wagers for our strategies. We have users from all over the globe, and not all betting sites are available to bettors in all countries.
This is why we decided to divide the bookmakers we will use for each strategy into two groups. One group will include US-friendly betting sites, as a big percentage of our userbase is from America, and US bettors have fairly limited options for trustworthy and reputable gambling sites compared to many other parts of the world.
The other group will be for sites that are broadly available across most of the rest of the world.
That’s pretty much it in terms of setting the rules for developing a strategy. It’s basically how we’ll be doing things within the Betting Lab, although we may occasionally add in some additional rules.
For example, we might want to add some extra conditions for our wagers such as utilizing ongoing promotions from betting sites that may add extra value to our strategies and systems. Those additional rules will be detailed as part of each individual strategy.
And that’s basically everything in terms of the initial stages of developing sports betting strategies and systems. You now know the basics of the steps we’ll be following here in our Betting Lab and how to develop your own strategies from scratch.
Next, we’re going to talk about testing and analyzing strategies once they’ve been implemented.