A NEW YEAR means new start and for many it's time to make some resolutions for the year ahead. So why not commit to becoming a better bettor in the next 12 months too?
I've listed my top 10 tips that will improve your betting, how you think about betting and ultimately make you a better bettor in the coming year.
1. Bet with other people's money
The new year is the perfect time to make a start on using other people's money for your betting. I know it sounds too good to be true but you could easily build up a bankroll of more than £500 just by opening new accounts and taking advantage of their welcome bonuses.
Yes, most will require you to make a deposit and place a bet but you're going to do that at some point in the year ahead anyway. There are loads of offers available, I've listed quite a few welcome bonuses here.
So take a look, open your new accounts, adhere to the terms and conditions and before you know it you'll be playing with money gifted to you by the bookies.
2. Gamble seriously, not for fun
In an age when it feels like football is beamed in to our houses 24/7 it's hard not to bet for betting sake. We've all had a bet on a live match just “because it's on”. This is a guaranteed way to the poor house.
Always watch a match because you're having a bet, never have a bet because you're watching a match. If you absolutely must have a punt make it a fun one with one of your mates for a pint, play some free-to-play games or bet for a very small stake at the bookies. This discipline will reap its rewards in the long-run.
3. Bet with your head, not your heart
Another thing that's best to side-step is betting on matches that involve your team. Some fans can be overly pessimistic or overly optimistic, making it difficult to form a dispassionate view about their team's chances so having a punt on your side is best avoided.
That advice extends to local rivals or teams that are competing with yours for league places. Unless you can tell the difference between wanting a team to win and deciding they can actually win then betting with your heart is best avoided. There are plenty of matches to choose from on any given day so look elsewhere.
4. Research, research, research
I know this sounds obvious but nothing beats putting in the hard hours to find a winning bet. Bookies love punters who bet blind, backing teams based on reputation rather than stats and form – make sure you're not one of them.
There are loads of sites out there that provide stats, trends and analysis tools on almost every match each day so there's no excuse not to be well informed when placing your bets.
Of course, you may not have the time to devote to hours of research each day and that's where MrFixitsTips can help. As well as myself there are loads of great tipsters here who are only too happy to share their tips and advice each and every day.
5. Find a niche
Bookies are so sophisticated these days it's hard to find a chink in their armour but if you can find a niche market you can enjoy some serious success.
That niche could be a particular market league (e.g. there are a lot of goals scored in the Dutch Eredivisie) or a particular sport (e.g. consider the huge success our golf tipster Ace Venturer has had on the PGA and European Tour in 2016). So find a sport or a league you enjoy, invest some time to find out as much as you can about it and start identifying where the betting opportunities are.
Place virtual bets for a few weeks to make sure you're on the right tracks then be disciplined about betting within that niche.
6. Use different types of bets
Lots of punters take an old-school view when it comes to betting and only stick to straight-up win accumulators. Some even restrict themselves to homes on one line, aways on another and draws on another. If you're of a certain age it's hard to break free from that kind of thinking.
But there's zero reason why it should be that way. With so many markets available it's important you find the right mix of bets and the right strategy for your winning line.
So often I hear punters say one team beat me for “x amount”. My advice is they should try perming their bets. Take a 3-team acca for example, rather than staking £10 on the straight win you should consider changing the bet to a £2.50 trixie (3 doubles & a treble). It's still a £10 bet but you've got the chance of getting a return if any two teams win.
And don't be scared to mix homes with aways with both teams to score with anytime goalscorers etc – each market usually only a click or two away.
7. Learn to recognise value
I'm not a huge believer in “betting systems” but can see how some punters will place their faith in them. For me there are just too many variables that even the best systems cannot account for. Ultimately every bet has to come down to your decision whether you think it will win or not.
And that leads on to whether a bet represents value or not. Experienced punters “become the bookie” before placing a bet – in other words they'll calculate what they think the odds SHOULD be before actually checking what the odds are. This allows them to identify whether there is value in having that bet. If not it's best left alone.
For example last week I fancied siding with St Johnstone at home to Rangers. I wanted to back them on the handicap but the odds on them +1 were just too short so instead I opted for St Johnstone to score at 4-9 – Rangers had conceded in 8 of their last 10 away matches and in my mind the odds on St Johnstone scoring should have been nearer 1-5. As it happened the game finished 1-1.
8. Always get the best odds
I'm as guilty as anyone of being lazy and sometimes betting with my favourite bookies. I say favourite but the main reason is usually I have funds in my account at that bookie. It's silly. You should always make sure you're getting the best odds for every single bet.
A friend asked me to check his line at the weekend. He'd put it on in his local shop. I jumped on to an odds comparison site and punched in his selections. Within seconds it showed me where the best odds were available online. It turns out my mate could've got £55 more for his £10 six-team acca had he shopped around. Ironically, those best odds were available online at the SAME firm he'd placed the bet in the shop!
This takes me back to No.1on this list – make sure you've got accounts at the leading bookies. Their job is to try take your money from you when you lose – your job is to make sure you get the MOST back when you win.
9. Keep a record
If you're serious about betting and serious about making profit you NEED to keep records. A simple spreadsheet will do or even just lodge it in a book somewhere but do it.
Keep a detailed record of what you're betting on, how much you're betting and how much you're winning and losing. At the end of each week or month review your activity. It'll help you identify where your strengths and weaknesses are (e.g. are you winning more on football than on horses? Are you winning more on both teams to score than first goalscorers?)
The important thing is to be honest with yourself. Recording losses can be painful but if you're on a losing streak it's better to be fully aware and to be able to deal with it than to blindly try to gamble your way out of it.
10. Never bet drunk
Why do you think casinos in Las Vegas ply their guests with free drink? Because alcohol and gambling aren't a good combination. We all do enough things we regret in the haze of alcohol. Don't make gambling one of them.
Over to you …
These are just a few golden rules for betting. Let me know yours in the comments section below or if you found this post useful.