Investing behavior is a popular topic among financial experts and economists trying to learn how and why investors and markets behave the way they do. Many of their discoveries and conclusions are just as applicable to punters wagering on betting exchanges as they are to brokers and traders dealing on the financial markets. The difference is that many brokers and traders are working with other people’s money, meaning that they have to exercise strict discipline as they are liable to their clients. Conversely, the independent punter is usually only using his own money and has few restrictions on what he can do with it.
System discipline refers to fighting the temptation chase every seemingly good bet in favor of sticking to a system that has been tested and shown to be successful. Most successful systems advise the bettor to have a fixed amount of cash with which to bet (commonly known as a “betting bank”); require that some manner of analysis or review accompany each bet; and dictate specific amounts, percentages, or odds. Most of these systems only work if the punter follows them perfectly, as adding variation changes the equations upon which the system is based. Nevertheless, since most effective systems only provide small but steady profits, many punters become overconfident, impatient, or greedy and begin discarding elements of their system. The result tends to be betting without a proven system and usually means the same hit and miss ratio as any random gambler.
The entire concept of system discipline is fundamentally counter intuitive to the average punter. After all, he wagering on the outcome of an event that has not been determined yet. Nevertheless, sport betting is not like casino gambling where the outcome is totally random; instead, research and experimentation can – and does – result in the development of systems that can radically improve the chance of winning. That being said, these systems are only as good as the punter is at employing them. Failing to be consistent, chasing after non-system bets that seem reasonable, and betting beyond one’s means all result in removing any advantage that a well thought out system may offer.
Once a betting system has been developed and proven, maintaining system discipline is the primary factor required to maintain steady winnings. Any and all variation from that system changes the total amount of money won or lost, rendering the results derived exclusively from the system moot. Random betting on sports is a fool’s game because with a little time and effort the punter can do much better.
The professional punter knows and understands that system discipline is the key to success. Using his system consistently, patiently analyzing each bet before making, refusing to get too greedy and accepting many small payouts over a few large ones are all signs of a serious bettor that intends to make money. While anyone can get caught up in the excitement of wagering and clever bookmakers constantly make offers that seem very good, the professional with a proven system knows better.