Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Regular Season is Done!

I had a terrible record in 2014, yet I could hardly be happier right now. How is that possible? To start with this was to be the year of discovery. I discovered things I wasn’t looking for, found out some answers, maybe THE answer, and found my biggest weakness.

The first thing on my list was to see how my Ranking System would do over a full season. It’s a system a decade in the making that all came together in the fall of 2013. I suddenly saw how things connected and a simple way to piece together several of my ideas and theories into a grand unification system that I named The Ranking System. I used it for about 50% of the 2013 season, working as a test in a limited fashion in the second half of the season. It did great. I worked very hard in the off season, spending countless hours developing the ideas into a massive spreadsheet to track games. Then I created another massive spreadsheet to calculate the picks. I thought I was ready but I severely underestimated how much time it would take me per week. The system was to start in week 5. Before the week could be done I had to get rid of 75% of what I wanted to do because of time constraints. I was so disappointed that there was no way I could come close to using it at its full potential. Even at just 25% of what I wanted to do, the first time through took me about 15 hours. Week 6 was quicker as I knew what to expect and had time to think of short cuts. By week 8 I had the time down to about 9 hours a week. Still, it was taking too much time. At that point I had to make a choice. I had given it my best shot but it was overwhelming me. I gave up doing another 75% of the system. While I was now only using less than 10% of what I wanted to do, that part I was doing was the very heart of the system, very similar to what I had used in the prior season. The results exceeded expectations.

So why was my record so bad this season? The answer is rather embarrassing, because it took me so long to realize it. While friends and family were begging and pleading with me to just use the systems picks, I continued to use my own. My reasoning was that The Ranking System was an experiment in progress and I didn’t want to follow it blindly and after all, my track record has been very good throughout the years. So even after the system was winning every week for the first 6 weeks, weeks 5-10, I overruled it and in some cases went against it for best bets. I finally realized around week 13 that because I was spending so much time working with the system, that I wasn’t putting any time into my picks. I was not doing the work and just going with my gut. That, to say the least, didn’t work out.

The worst thing that happened this year to me was myself, the human element. I crashed and burned, while the system soared. I got so burned out from the work that I still haven’t calculated week 16 or 17’s picks yet, even as the playoffs are starting. I have the information ready to go, I just have to force myself to get the picks. I’ll have them within 2-3 weeks. Then I’ll have a full report of how the system did. As long as it doesn’t do horribly in the last 2 weeks, the season as a whole will be as good as I could have ever dreamed. It’s a strange feeling that I’m so burned out right now yet I can’t wait for next season. And yet, there remains a problem. The truth is I can’t do this again. Not in this form.

After I gather the picks for weeks 16 and 17, compile the records and compare them to what I got from last year, I’ll have a clearer picture of things. In the offseason I’m going to attempt to write a program to get rid of the spreadsheets. The problem is that, while I’ve programmed before, the last time being over a decade ago, I’m self-taught and rather slow at it. Plus this will be a huge undertaking. If I can’t do it, I’ll have to find someone to write it for me. I just know that there is no way I can do everything I want by hand on the spreadsheet. I could just do the very basics, which did very well, but even that takes me about 3 hours a week. It’s just so tedious.

Be sure and check back for progress reports. The best is yet to come.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Week 15

I'm going with the Browns this week. Johnny Manziel has had plenty of time to learn the system. The browns have been winning this season because of their defense, so as long as he doesn't lay a complete egg at home, they should win.

PROGnosis: Cleveland -1

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Week 14

I've had no time to even look at the games this week. I'll be back next week.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Week 13 Final Picks

PROGnosis: N. Y. Giants -2.5

PROGnosis: Oakland +7

PROGnosis: Tennessee/Houston under 42.5

PROGnosis: N.Y. Giants/Jacksonville under 45

PROGnosis: Carolina/Minnesota under 42.5

PROGnosis: Arizona/Atlanta under 44.5

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Week 12 Final Picks

PROGnosis: Cleveland +3

PROGnosis: Philadelphia -11

PROGnosis: Green Bay –8.5

PROGnosis: Jets +2.5

PROGnosis: Tampa Bay +5.5

PROGnosis: San Diego -5.5

PROGnosis: Washington +9

PROGnosis: Baltimore +3

These are all best bets, but I want to be clear here that my system has 5 of the best bets while I’ve added 3 on my own. My system has had an excellent season so far while I’ve struggled. I’ve put more time into my picks this week and I hope to a return to prior years form. My picks are Cleveland, Green Bay and Baltimore.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Week 11 Final Picks


PROGnosis: Minnesota +3

PROGnosis: Atlanta -1

ROGnosis: Atlanta/Carolina under 47

PROGnosis: Tampa Bay +7.5

PROGnosis: San Francisco -4

PROGnosis: San Francisco/New York over 44

PROGnosis: Denver -9.5

PROGnosis: San Diego -10

PROGnosis: Seattle/Kansas City under 42

PROGnosis: Pittsburgh -6


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Week 11

So far this season the home field advantage in the NFL is a very high 5.6, while historically it’s just about 3. Does that mean we should just automatically take the home teams? Not at all! As it turns out the home teams are 68-77 ATS so far. Remember, a good home field advantage doesn’t mean a team is winning at home, just that their point differential is better at home.   

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Week 10 Picks

I've identified my first lock of the year. I love the Saints -5.5. The 49ers just don't have a good pass rush, they only have 4 sacks all year from their defensive line. If the only way they can put pressure on Drew Brees is to blitz him, he should eat them alive. On my locks of the year, of which I normally have but 1 or 2 a year, I recommend betting 2 units.

PROGnosis: New Orleans -5.5   2 UNITS!!

PROGnosis: Baltimore-9.5

PROGnosis: Pittsburgh -4

PROGnosis: Atlanta -2.5

PROGnosis: Arizona-6.5

PROGnosis: Green Bay-7

PROGnosis: Denver-11

PROGnosis: New York/Seattle under 44.5


Sunday, November 2, 2014


Week 9 Final

This week I’m 1-0 so far.

PROGnosis: New York Jets/Kansas City over 42

PROGnosis: Washington +1

PROGnosis: Washington/Minnesota under 43.5

PROGnosis: Indianapolis -3  

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Thursday week 9

I'm going with New Orleans -3 tonight.

PROGnosis: New Orleans -3

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Week 8 Picks!

I’ve started the week out at 2-0 getting both the side and total Thursday night. It’s go time! Here are my picks for the rest of the week:

PROGnosis: Detroit/Atlanta under 46.5

PROGnosis:  Seattle/Carolina over 45

PROGnosis: St Louis/Kansas City over 44

PROGnosis: Baltimore -1

PROGnosis: Houston -2

PROGnosis: Indianapolis -3

PROGnosis: Oakland/Cleveland under 43.5

PROGnosis: Green Bay +2

PROGnosis: Green Bay/New Orleans under 55.5

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Week 8 Thursday Night Pick!

I like both bets here and this is the kind of situation where I think it's hard to lose both bets.

PROGnosis: Denver -9

PROGnosis: San Diego/Denver over 51

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Week 7 Comes Up Big For the Prognosticator!


I had a great week with 8 wins, 3 losses and a push.  I’ve won the last 3 weeks in a row. The YTD numbers look like this:


units won


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Week 7 Final Picks

I’ve been working all year for this moment. I've NEVER worked so hard in the offseason as I have this year. Now is my time. I’ve finally got enough data from this season to unleash all my power plays and games where I see advantage. Lots of picks this week.  My Best Bets are:

PROGnosis: Tennessee +6

PROGnosis: Miami +3

PROGnosis: Green Bay -6.5

PROGnosis: Seattle -6.5

PROGnosis: Arizona -3.5

PROGnosis: Indianapolis -3

PROGnosis: Houston +3

PROGnosis: Cleveland/Jacksonville under 45

PROGnosis: New Orleans/Detroit under 47

PROGnosis: Carolina/Green Bay over 49.5

PROGnosis: Kansas City/San Diego over 45

PROGnosis: New York/Dallas over 48

There were a few strong games that my formulas liked, but I didn’t want to pull the trigger. Cleveland -5.5 just doesn’t seem right to me. Jacksonville has been more competitive of late and can Cleveland be trusted as a big road favorite? It had San Diego -3.5, but I like the Chiefs chances to win this game straight up. It also had Dallas -6.5, but that line seems way too high. I thought it best to just let that game go. I also see Tennessee/Washington as a strong over play, but I think 46 is a little too high to make it a best bet.

 I weeded those 4 games out for various reasons. I had 16 games and whittled it down to 12.  I’ve done my part. Now can the teams come through?  

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


When the game involves a home favorite games go under 37 and over 26.   58.73% of the time.

When the game involves a home dog the games go over 21 and under 7.  75% of the time.



Another winning week for me at 3-2. Two winning weeks in a row! Four out of six weeks a winner on best bets! However, I’m still down for the season. My losing weeks were devastating, my winning weeks just barely winning.

What to make of the Cowboys? Are they that good? I don’t think so, but there’s no doubt now that they have a punchers chance against anyone.

What to make of the Seahawks? In week 5 they didn’t play well but won and covered. They were excused because they were on the road. They were even gave extra credit because, like a true champion, they can be off their game, get into trouble and still win.  But how do we explain away the Dallas game? Again they looked sloppy. I thought that after the game against Washington, they would have a good week of practice and be laser focused at home. Against Dallas everything went their way early and they still lost. At home no less. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Week 6 Final Picks

I'm starting the week off 1-0 with my win on Thursday night with the Colts. I've got 5 more picks. I'm really loving this week.

PROGnosis: Denver-9.5

PROGnosis:  San Diego -7

PROGnosis:  Green Bay -3

PROGnosis:  Giants +3

PROGnosis: Detroit/Minnesota under 43.5

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Week 6

Indianapolis at Houston

Line: Indianapolis -3
Total: 47

I like the Colts tonight for several reasons, chief among them is that playing on Thursday night, with the shortened week of preparation, a quality quarterback becomes even more important than usual.  Andrew Luck is already one of the best QBs in the league. He’s the key here. Giving up 3 points on the road has some value with a great QB on a better team. Luck has a hot hand right now, passing for over 300 yards in each of his last 3 games. The Colts need this game and there is no reason for them to not be laser focused on the Texans. The winner of this game stands alone on top of the AFC South.

PROGnosis: Indianapolis -3

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Week 5 Recap

I had one best bet last week on the Packers-8 and it won going away.  I’m not happy with my results so far obviously, but I’m really pumped about how things are shaping up. The numbers I’m seeing for this week’s games have me very excited.

I wanted to give a quick review of the numbers so far this season. Home favorites are 26-29 ATS. (Against the spread.) Home dogs are 9-12 ATS. That makes the home teams only 35-41 ATS. Favorites overall are 38-38. With the totals, 39 games have gone under and 37 have gone over.

I’m sitting at 13-15, 46.4% -3.5 units. It’s time to get to work.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Week 5 Picks

I won with the Packers on Thursday night and I’m leaving this week at that. I don’t feel comfortable with too many games this week.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

I've got Green Bay -8 tonight. I'll be back later with thoughts from last week.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Week 4 Picks

PROGnosis: Green Bay -2

PROGnosis: Indianapolis-8

PROGnosis: Atlanta -3

PROGnosis: Atlanta/Minnesota under 46.5

PROGnosis: New Orleans -3

PROGnosis: New England/Kansas City under 46.5

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Week 4 First Pick

N.Y. Giants at Washington

Line: Washington -3.5
Total: 46

Giants have a new offense that isn’t clicking yet. The defense seems to be getting better. Kirk Cousins appears to be a very good QB for the offense in Washington. Goodbye RG3. The Giants took both games last season. Both the games were in second half of the season, when the Giants were playing their best ball and while Washington was collapsing. Washington is the better team right now.

PROGnosis: Washington -3.5

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Week 3 is a Winner!

I had a winning week, but nothing to get too excited about. My 4-3 record showed a profit of .7 units.

Home favorites have not had a winning week yet. Home dogs are losing for the season as well. Overall home teams are 20-28 ATS. Favorites finally had a winning week, going 9-7 ATS. For the season the record is 22-26 ATS.

Week 3 saw 7 unders and 9 games going over the total. So far this season there have been 28 unders and 20 overs.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Week 3 Final Picks

I’ve already released Seattle -5 as a Best Bet this week. I’m adding 6 other picks. My goal this season is to win as many units as I can by making picks on every game I see an advantage on. In the past I’ve tried limiting the amount of games I played on, but I’m throwing away the limitations this season and going where the facts lead me, no matter the number of plays.

PROGnosis: San Diego +2.5

PROGnosis: Houston pick ‘em

PROGnosis: New Orleans -10.5

PROGnosis: Green Bay +2.5

PROGnosis: Indianapolis -7

PROGnosis: San Francisco -3

Friday, September 19, 2014

Week 3 Pick

Denver at Seattle

Line: Seattle -5
Total: 48.5

Seattle is the team that matches up the best against Denver in all the NFL. Last season's Super Bowl was no fluke as Denver had no answers for anything that Seattle did. While Peyton Manning is still the smartest quarterback and the hardest working, he's lost a little zip on the ball. Against the fastest secondary in football that spells trouble for him.

I'm hearing how this is a revenge game for the Broncos, that Manning has had 8 months to figure out Seattle's defense and that this time it'll be different. Wanting revenge and being able to take it are two totally different things. I love the fact that Seattle lost last week on the road. Coming home, where they've been unstoppable for almost 2 years is just going to add fuel to the fire.

PROGnosis: Seattle -5

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Reality sets in

I landed with a thud going 0-3 this week. You’ll find no excuses here. I'm not going into panic mode. Unfortunately having losing weeks is part of the game. I just hate putting up a goose egg.  I’ll make note of what happened and throw it into the mix next week. I’m sitting at 4-5 this season, -1.5 units.

Home favorites lost for the second week in a row, going 5-6 ATS.  Ten games went under this week while 6 went over. Early numbers tell me that the majority of games will go over in week 3.

I’ll put this information to good work next week.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Week 2 Picks

I have a total of 3 Best Bets this week. Go with 1 unit on each. I released the Denver -13.5 pick early as I expected this line to rise over the course of the week. Instead it’s gone down. Normally lines tend to rise as the week goes on, so this is unusual. Even though you can find it at the better line of Denver-12 right now, I have to count the game at the line it was when I released it.  

Prognosis: Denver -13.5

Prognosis: Green Bay -8

Prognosis: Atlanta/Cincinnati over 49


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Week 2 Best Bet Alert!

Kansas City at Denver

Line: Denver -13.5
Total: 51

My first pick of week 2 is Denver -13.5. This line is going to rise and later in the week, when it hits 14 or 14.5, much of the value will be gone. Get it now!

The Broncos built a big lead last week and then let it get close by the end of the game with some sloppy play. When you’re 3 touchdowns ahead in the fourth quarter that can happen. However, the coaching staff won’t let that happen again, especially against a hated divisional rival. Manning appears to have not missed a beat and he should put up big numbers against the Chiefs.

The Chiefs made the Titans offense look good last week, much better than they are. Is it possible they can make the Broncos offense look otherworldly? More probable than possible I’d say.

While I don’t love giving 13.5, there’s a lot of value here.

PROGnosis: Denver -13.5

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Times Are a Changing

Football handicapping is an ever changing field. It takes experience to put all the puzzle pieces in place. One of the hardest things to learn is what works one season probably won’t the next.  Some of this is because of the way different coaches approach the game. Some decades the running game was king, in others the passing game. In the 70s just the Dallas Cowboys used the shotgun formation regularly. Today all teams use it, some more than others. Rules change and make it easier to pass, or harder to generate a pass rush. To illustrate this I’m going to look at the 2012 season and compare a few things to the 2013 season. Before the 2013 season the NFL made several rule changes. I predicted then that the rule changes would increase scoring and cautioned people to look for more games going over the total than under. Did the rule changes have any tangible effects? Decidedly yes.
Football games can be bet against the spread, ATS, and also against the total. The total is the total points scored for both teams. When the total is bet it doesn’t matter who wins the game or by how much. Only the total points scored matter.

2012 saw 129 games going under the total and 123 going over. After the rule changes, 2013 saw 119 games go under the total and 132 go over. That’s a fairly small swing. One thing that really stands out is the number of games with a total of 38 or less. In 2012, 17 games had the total set at 38 points or less. In 2013, 0. As in zero. ZERO. Just for reference, 2011 saw 33 games with a total of 38 or lower. The zero number in 2013 is frankly a bit shocking to me, that’s unheard of. I doubt we’ll see that again this season. It does show however that the odds makers set the overall totals higher because of more scoring. How much did the new rules increase scoring? It increased 1.2 points a game in 2013, or 2.6%. Scoring has been on the rise since 2005, increasing 7 of the 8 years. In 2005 the average total in a game was 41.2 points. In 2013 it was 46.8, increasing 5.6 points a game in 8 years. The scoring trend is up and we’re really seeing it in the totals.

Does this mean we can blindly call for games to go over the total this season? No, or course not. Case in point, in 2012 if we would have bet all games with a total of 40.5 to 42.5 under, we would have been 24-12, an excellent record. However, betting the same parameters in 2013 we would have gone 25-38, a terrible record. This is what I meant by what works one season probably won’t the next.  This is where my experience and knowledge come into play. Armed with the knowledge of the rule change that would increase scoring, coupled with the 7 year trend of increasing scores, which allowed me to correctly predict the totals moving towards more overs last season, I avoided betting the unders in situations like that. If the situation showed games more likely to go over, I would have given it much more weight.

I’ll end this with a trend I’ll be looking at this season. Over the last two seasons when the total of the game has been 54 or higher, the over bet has been the play. In 2012 it went 6-2 and in 2013 it went 10-4, for a two year record of 16-6. That might mean something when coupled with other factors. Or it might not. Fully half of the 10-4 record betting the overs from last season was because of the great year that Manning had in Denver. The Broncos were 5-2 going over the total when the total was 54 or higher. The truth is, I’d expect to see the trend reverse itself this season.  Why? Because the Broncos won’t score as much but the betting public will force the totals higher on the Broncos games, making them a bargain for under bets. Am I calling for blindly betting every game of theirs under? No. But I’ll look for good spots to exploit this situation.

Solid Week 1

The first week got a little crazy, but I managed to negotiate my way through it to start the season winning right out of the box. I went 4-2 on Best Bets for the week, showing a 1.8 unit profit.  I’d take 1.8 units ahead every week and be very happy with it.

In the NFL home favorites had a terrible week going 4-9 ATS. Home dogs went 2-1 ATS, which made the home teams overall 6-10 ATS. The favorites went 5-11 ATS for the week as the dogs howled. Finally, there were 11 unders and 5 overs this week.
I’ll be posting my thoughts all week and releasing Best Bets as I get them so be sure and check back all week long!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Week 1 picks

My first pick of the season was a winner! A good start, but I also have a few more picks to finish strong with.

Before I get into my picks I want to be clear what I’m aiming at for this season. I’m looking to press every advantage I can find and bet on every game I see as a winner. Some weeks I’ll have lots of picks. I realize that most gamblers only want to see a few Best Bets. I understand that. However the fewer amount of picks the less potential for profit. I’m looking to maximize the amount of units won this season, which translates into more money in my pocket. (Refer to my article on Win Percentage in my blog from Monday September 1, 2014.)

If you have a bankroll, I recommend that you calculate what 2% of it is and bet that on every pick I give out for the whole season. This is how I manage my bankroll. If you don’t have a bankroll, I strongly urge you to start one. If you don’t want to have one, you’re just looking to win some money, then find a bet amount that you’re comfortable with and bet that amount on every pick I give out this season. Do not vary your bet size! (Refer to my article on Bet Sizing in my blog from Monday, August 18, 2014.) I’ll let you know if and when to make a change.

Below are the Best Bets for the rest of week 1.

PROGnosis: Minnesota/St Louis UNDER 43
PROGnosis: Philadelphia -10.5
PROGnosis: Chicago -7
PROGnosis: Denver -7.5
PROGnosis: Detroit -6

Your Bankroll is Our Business!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Let's Kick This Off!

Green Bay at Seattle

Line: Seattle- 5.5
Total: 47

I’m not one to always have a bet on national games. How can one of the best bet of the week always be a national game? That being said, sometimes it is.

Seattle is a better team than last season. They’ve made some improvements, have a healthy Percy Harvin to start the season and a quarterback who is just starting to come into his own.  Throw in a great home field advantage and the electric atmosphere of the first game of the season on national TV and they should cover in this spot.

Green Bay has to go with a backup center which can only hurt the offense. Aaron Rodgers is going to struggle a bit in this game. He’ll get his licks in for sure, but long drives are going to be hard to come by.

PROGnosis: Seattle -5.5

I'll be releasing more picks later this week so check back!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Win Percentage

What percentage of bets should a handicapper expect to win during an NFL season? When I first started out 18 years ago on, I asked friends and family that question. The answers I got most typically were around 70-75%. Even to this day when I ask people, that’s about the response I get. That’s way too high, of course. In fact, 60% is too high, which surprises most people. 60% is very hard to achieve on a regular basis. In all my years of handicapping, I’ve hit over 60% twice. The truth is, if a handicapper is winning at a rate of 60%, he’s probably not winning enough. That may sound confusing, but I should be able to clear it up by the end of this article.

 There are two ways to judge how someone is doing with their picks. The first is win percentage, and the second is how many units they’re ahead. Units are used as a measure and not money because people have different bet sizes and it’s difficult to compare directly with different amounts of money in play. When calculating units won, add 1 unit for every pick won and subtract 1.1 for every losing pick.

Let’s look at two gamblers and see how they did. The first person goes 4-2 has a fantastic win percentage of 66.7%. Another person goes 7-4, which is a 63.6% winning rate. A very good winning percentage, but not as good as the first one.  Of course, the fact that the second person won almost 50% more units gets lost in the shuffle.  4-2 wins 1.8 units versus 7-4 which wins 2.6 units.

With that in mind, which of the two gamblers above did better? It depends on how you look at it. The first had a higher win rate. The second won more units. It may not be that the first person was better at picking winners. It might be that the second person bet on every game he thought he could win.

The breakeven point on betting in the NFL is 52.38% (You have to win 11 games for every 10 you lose. 11 divided by 21 equals 52.38 %.) If you’re presented with two games to bet on, one that wins at a rate of 60% and another that wins at a rate of 55%, how should you bet? If you’re trying to play it safe, minimize your risks, and have the best chance of winning, you’d go with the 60% bet. However, the best play to win money is to bet on both games. While we’d all like to have a 60% chance of winning all our bets, those situations don’t come around all the time. To really make money in NFL betting, you need to bet every game you have an advantage on. Any game above say 54% makes you money in the long run, and if winning money is the goal, you should be taking advantage of every winning situation you can find.

So what’s the answer to what should a handicapper’s win rate be? It depends on the amount of bets. If he’s making just one bet, he has to hit 100% to make money. If he’s making 200 bets, 56% makes him a nice profit. As a general rule, the more bets you make, the lower your win rate. But if you make enough bets, you will win money. The more bets that are made means the handicapper is using every advantage he has, even those plays that might only win at a rate of 55%. It still wins units, but it hurts the win rate. My goal is to win as many units a possible, not get a high percentage of wins. Those are 2 very different things.

My goal this season is to see how many units I can win. Towards this end I’ll be taking every play that I see an advantage on. In the past I’ve tried to limit my bets to around 3 a week, about 50 per season, in order to keep a high win percentage.  This season isn’t about achieving the best winning percentage, it’s about winning the most units. Units won translates into money in our pockets.

 Your Bankroll is Our Business.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Bet Sizing

When it comes to betting on football games, there are many systems out there. The most popular systems seem to follow the same basic idea. It goes along with the idea of raising your bets when you’re winning and lowering them when you’re losing. That way you take full advantage of winning steaks and won’t get hurt on losing steaks. The reasoning behind this seems logical enough. That certainly sounds like good advice, but is it? As it turns out, that piece of advice has hurt far more gamblers than it’s helped. Raising and lowering your bet sizes actually makes it harder for you to win. Here’s a simple example: Take any series of 10 bets with 5 wins and 5 losses. If you bet the same amount on every game, you’re going to break even, no surprise there. Now let’s look at a sequence of bets, raising and lowering after a win or loss. It doesn’t matter what the order is for these 5 wins and 5 losses. I’ll do 2 sequences below. The one on the left is 5 wins followed by 5 losses. On the right, 5 losses followed by 5 winning bets. The bet size will be 10% of the total bankroll after the last bet. The bankroll starts out at $1000.


Bet size
Bet size

The first thing we notice is both sequences end up losing money. Remember, when you bet the same amount on each game, you start with $1000 and after 5 wins and 5 losses you still have $1000. When you change bet sizes, you end up with $951. You’ve picked at the same win rate, 50%, and yet lost money. The order of the wins and losses can be in any order. As long as there are 5 wins and 5 losses, the results will always be the same… you’ll lose $49. The second thing to notice is when you juggle the bet sizes, you have to win at a higher percentage rate to make money. Where 50% was break even, now it’s a higher number.

There’s no doubt about it, raising and lowering your bet sizes makes it harder for you to win money.

This doesn’t mean to never raise your bet or lower it. If you use a bankroll, there will come a time when you should change bet sizes. As your bankroll grows, it only makes sense to raise your bets, and vice versa. However, you should change your bet size very rarely, as changing it does come with a hidden cost. If you don’t use a bankroll, you should never change your bet size during a season.

Most gamblers don’t understand this concept and consequently make it harder on themselves to win. Don’t fall into this trap!