Managing a Losing Streak: When Good Handicappers Run Bad

Other Jul 14, 2022

Fact: As the TIME FRAME, and FREQUENCY of your wagers increase exponentially, a losing streak becomes more inevitable.

If you follow our free daily picks here at POINTSPREADS.CA, a.k.a. "Bet of the Day" you may have noticed that we began the month of July on a horrible losing streak.

We went 1-7 on our first 8 picks in July.  Ouch!


Hopefully, you didn't get hurt too badly.  That really sucks to lose, especially when our friends and those who trust us also take some beats.

But, in all fairness, our free daily picks have enjoyed 8 out of 9 winning months. That's a strong record, especially on something that's free and only requires a mouse click. So, a losing streak like this (going 1-7, or worse) was inevitable at some point.  (More Good News: We have won 6 straight since then, so we are now 7-7 for -.90 units for July heading into tonight's pick)

Which now brings me to the point of today's article.

The chance you (and I) will experience a losing streak increases --
-- the longer you play
-- the more games you bet

In other words, as the TIME FRAME, and/or FREQUENCY of your wagers increases exponentially, a losing streak becomes more inevitable.

For example, if you bet only one game per day for the next two weeks, then it's unlikely you will encounter a devastating losing streak -- commonly defined as a inordinate number of losses within a given time frame.

Let's break this down further with some math.  Don't worry, this won't be too hard to understand:

Based on 14 total plays in a two-week period, most bettors will win or lose between 5 and 9 games. In fact, about 85 percent of all bettors will go 5-9, 6-8, 7-7, 8-6, or 9-5. A smaller percentage will go either 10-4 or 4-10. A much smaller percentage will go 11-3 or 3-11. And the fractions are tiny for going 2-12, 12-2, 1-13, and 13-1. For any bettor -- no matter how good or how bad -- to go either 0-14 or 14-0 is less than one-tenth of a percentage point.

Picture a bell curve. That's explains the distribution of wins and losses based on probability.

So, it's Not IF, but WHEN?

All handicappers, no matter how skilled or experienced they are, encounter losing cycles. Note the "S."  Yes, cycleS.  As in, more than one.

The question isn't so much "if" losing streaks will happen, but "when" they will happen.

Although professional and semi-professional sports handicappers understand these cycles and are forced to accept the inevitability of losses, it doesn't make things any easier when we are in the midst of a bad run. Our deeper understanding of the laws of mathematics and probability only seems to compound our frustrations.

So, what are the chances that you (and I) will encounter a losing streak?

If you bet for months, or years, the chances of suffering a losing streak are --— 100 percent.

It's the only sure thing in sports gambling.

One Final Thought:  Just as losing streaks are more likely to happen the longer you bet, the chances of a winning streak also increase.  So, there's a silver lining to this dark cloud.


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