Sports betting is growing in popularity around the world, and across many African states as the legal situation changes and online technology makes it easier than ever to bet on your favorite sports.

Whether you are checking out the best online betting sites South Africa has to offer or catching up with the latest soccer betting news, there is widespread interest in betting on sport. Unfortunately, the vast majority of sports bettors lose money in the long term.

Betting professionals will tell you that recording and analysing your results is the starting point to improving as a sports bettor, but what should you be looking for, exactly?

Focus on the Long Term

One of the things that makes it difficult to analyse your betting is that success as a sports bettor can only be determined in the long term. This is because luck and unpredictability affect the outcome of sports events to a significant degree and it is impossible for any bettor to consider all of the hundreds of factors that might influence a sports event.

So, when you are looking at individual bets, remember not to become too narrowly focused on one or two, but look instead for patterns that might explain why you are being unsuccessful in the long term.

Ask Yourself Why

Conducting a post-event betting debrief is something that very few bettors do. When the match or the race is over, most bettors want to move on to the next, particularly if they have just backed a loser.

Yet taking the time to look at the event you have just bet on after it has finished can be illuminating. Ask yourself ‘why’ the event happened the way that it did. Was it luck or did you miss something obvious during your pre-event analysis?

This has important psychological implications. When we lose a bet, no matter how experienced we are, our brains tend to mark this as a failure. On closer analysis, however, we may find that many of these losing bets were lost simply because of unpredictable events. In other cases, we may see more clearly something that we missed and that we can thereby improve. Asking yourself ‘why’ after each bet may be a chore, but it can be invaluable in the long term.

Categorise and Specialise

You should always keep a record of your bets, and ideally, this should be as detailed as possible, including which events, competitions, and markets you bet on.

After you have made enough bets to build a worthwhile sample, you will be able to spot which markets, which tournaments or even which sports you are most and least successful in. Even among the tiny number of successful sports bettors, there are very few who are able to succeed at more than one sport, and the majority are even more specialised. While it may be tempting to try to improve across all of these areas, it is often far simpler to boost your success rate by focusing on those sports and markets that show the biggest profit or the smallest loss.

The Bottom Line

It is important to remember, however, that even if you follow all of this advice, there is no guarantee that your betting will become profitable. Making a success of sports betting is incredibly tough, which is why only a tiny number of people are able to do so, and often, only for a short period.

This is precisely why you should never bet with money you cannot afford to lose. That said, as long as you are betting sensibly and remain in control, you will get more enjoyment from your sports betting if you become more successful, and hopefully this article will have given you a starting point from which to improve your sports betting.