A month ago, I started sharing my sports betting picks with the world. Since it’s my first time doing anything like this, I had no idea what to expect. But I’m definitely enjoying it so far, so I’m going to stick with it!
The purpose of this article, as well as that of all the “recap” articles that will follow it, is to maintain transparency. My goal with everything I do with Sports Thoughts – the articles, the podcast, and whatever else that may come in the future – is to share my honest opinions, thoughts, and experiences regarding sports and betting. That includes being candid about my picks that win and my picks that lose.
So let’s take a big-picture look at how my picks have performed over the first month (July 31, 2018 – August 31, 2018). Again, all following calculations have been done under the initial rule I set for this process (every bet I make will be recorded as a separate 1-unit-risked wager, regardless of how much I personally risked on each bet).
Despite me placing a ton of ill-advised wagers, the spreadsheet still ended its first month of existence in a net positive (at a whopping +0.44 units and +0.28% ROI).
MLB picks went 52-52-9 for +5.90 units (+5.22% ROI) overall.
- pregame ML picks went 15-13 for +1.51 units (+5.39% ROI)
- pregame Spread picks went 26-25 for +5.16 units (+10.13% ROI)
- live ML picks went 6-4 for +4.17 units (+41.72% ROI)
I seem to be extremely gifted at losing money betting on Tennis (1-6 for -5.17 units & -73.91% ROI) and the WNBA (2-4 for -1.66 units & -27.73% ROI). Honestly, it’s probably not a small sample size that will “regress (or ‘progress’ in this case) to the mean”. My personal betting history, which goes far beyond 7/31/18, has me at a net negative betting on those sports (particularly women’s sports; I’m just barely over breakeven lifetime on my men’s tennis bets).
I placed five extremely reckless and degenerate MLB wagers on “Team X to score first” that went 1-4 for -3.02 units (-60.39% ROI). There is no science behind those whatsoever; sometimes, if I’m going to watch a game regardless (either for enjoyment or to study pitchers/hitters), I’ll throw an immaterial amount on something just for fun. I wouldn’t blindly tail them.
My soccer picks went 5-8-1 for -0.74 units (-5.28% ROI). I’m not worried here: only 14 bets (small sample size) and a few close large-underdog losses. I’m personally expecting this to flip into the positive as I bet on more men’s soccer matches.
NCAAF picks have started out 1-3 for -2.05 units (-51.19% ROI). I could not be less worried about this.
This is a good time to remind everyone that 1) small winning and losing streaks are perfectly normal and will occur and 2) they’re virtually meaningless in the grand scheme of things. With that said, they’re fun to look at purely for entertainment purposes.
I began my picks spreadsheet going 4-9 for -5.22 units (-40.14% ROI) over the course of three days. This prompted a ton of outrage (“you’re a fraud”, “you don’t know what you’re doing”, “you’re losing me all of my money!!!”).
My picks then went 18-4-3 over the next eight days, which brought my then profit-to-date to +10.37 units (+27.30% ROI). I noticed more positive feedback, new followers in bunches, engagement on my Tweets, upvotes on my Reddit posts, etc. The fickleness of gambling Twitter is hilarious.
Then came one of the most (probably the most) epic losing runs I’ve ever experienced in all my years of sports betting. In the eight days between 8/11/18 and 8/18/18, my picks went an incredible 8-2-33 (!!!) for -21.94 units (-51.02% ROI). Enter the “Fade Jerry” crowd! This run brought my then profit-to-date to -11.57 units (-14.28% ROI).
On August 23rd, with my spreadsheet sitting at an ugly -6.83 units, I tweeted that I’d make up the ~7 units I was down in the coming week to finish the month in profit. And I did.
Unit Sizes / Confidence Levels:
One problem I’ve noticed is that my spreadsheet doesn’t accurately reflect my actual betting performance because it tracks every single bet at the same size indiscriminately, whereas in reality I place an extremely large number of small wagers and a very small number of large wagers. I’ve shared a few of my betslips to make this point clear in this Twitter thread.
I’ve gotten quite a bit of feedback from people regarding sharing my actual unit sizes. One cool suggestion I got was to share my unit sizes from the prior month at the end of every month. The problem with that is I’ve shared a few of my betslips from the wagers I’ve already placed, so it’d be easy to reverse-engineer my exact financial gains and losses if I shared my actual unit sizes now. That’s very personal information that I’d like to keep private.
But because I said I’d do it and I’d like to keep my word, I’ve decided to reveal my approximate unit sizes from 7/31/18 – 8/31/18; you can find them in this spreadsheet. They should give you a good sense of my confidence level in each of my plays from the prior month.
Moving forward, rather than sharing my actual unit sizes after the fact, I’m perfectly willing to accompany each of my picks with a confidence level based on a three-tiered scale (gotta use thought bubble emojis for Sports Thoughts, of course):
💭 = tiny / fun / degenerate play
💭💭 = I-see-value / somewhat confident play
💭💭💭 = highly confident play
I’ll start doing this with my picks from 9/5/18 on. Hopefully it’ll be helpful!
Note: This new “system” with the confidence levels will also NOT change how I track my bets on my spreadsheet moving forward. Every bet will still be recorded as a 1-unit-risked wager.
I’d like to finish up this first recap article by echoing a few wise words written by my friend Kieran aka Berryhorse:
Everything above and all the content we put out on Sports Thoughts is presented for informational purposes – not for actionable advice.
Please remember to always maintain discipline and proper bankroll management.
If you are risking so much that your mood swings because of a losing day or week, your bankroll is likely too large of a percent of your net worth and it should decrease and/or your unit size is too large of a percent of your bankroll and it should decrease.
If you are relying on some internet stranger to make life-altering amounts of money for you, you should likely reconsider whether or not you should even be managing a sports betting fund at all.