I believe the biggest mistake gamblers make is they put too much stock into win/loss percentages. They simply don't matter because every play - at least in my case and for any handicapper who is worth a grain of salt - is rated for money-management purposes.
I use a weighted scale - ranging from 10 dimes to 100 dimes - to rate my releases.
This rating system not only defines my success in terms of net profit at the end of the day, week, month or season, but it also gives you an idea of how strong each release is and how you should play it.
Two simple things to remember:
1) In terms of ratings, clearly a 50 dime play is twice as strong
as a 25 dime play; five times stronger than a 10 dime release.
2) Base the size of your wagers on the percentage of your total
bankroll for a given day.
To explain that second rule a bit further, let's say you've got $100 to play with on a Monday night and I've got a 50 dime play on the football game's side. You've got two ways to play it based on your personal bankroll allocation system. You could put all $100 down on the play because that's the maximum you're willing to risk on the game tonight. Personally, that's not how I would play it. It's a 50 Dime play. That's means it's half the size of my top-rated play, which is a 100 dimer as I noted above. So I would only be betting $50 on the play.
Again, you have to make the final decision, but either way, the biggest advantage of this easy concept: You never get in over your head by betting more than you have in your pocket.
My family moved to Vegas when I was seven. I grew up about 1/2 mile from where the Mandalay Bay now stands. You don't grow up in Sin City without knowing everything there is about gambling. Believe me, I was playing poker and betting sports long before any casino was going to let me through their doors.
My humble opinion: Being immersed in the gambling culture here in Las Vegas is crucial if you want to make a living betting on sports. The minute I turned 21, I started hanging out at the old Stardust sportsbook and that's where I got my greatest education from the seasoned gamblers and bookmakers, guys who were 25 to 50 years older than me. I listened and learned as they talked about spotting bad lines and how to handicap various factors into determining whether a number in football or basketball was distorted by public perception.
I took those lessons, learned them well, and then added another layer of knowledge thanks to something that totally escaped those old-school guys: the Internet. The world wide web allowed me to have eyes and ears at every football stadium and basketball courtside in the country. Beat-writers covering every scrimmage, every practice, every game, suddenly became my advance scouts.
I'm telling you straight-up: the Internet revolutionized the sports handicapping industry. I myself spend at least 4-6 hours a day scouring teams' web sites and local newspapers while handicapping. It's the difference between winning and losing.
When I have plays, you'll find them here and nowhere else online. No 800 numbers or tipsheets for me. This is my online home going forward.
I don't fear taking chances. Play big or go home.
I don't fear losing, but I can't live with myself if I would sit here the day after knowing I didn't take a shot. That's the only regret I can't live with.
I might lose big, but I'd rather play big and win big more often than not because that's how you make money over the long term....not playing like a scared mouse.
Those that worry about losing, simply lose more than they win because fear clouds their judgment.