Monday 24th July 2017,
Dr Sport

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” – George Santayana.

Important discussion with a good mate last night.

I was having a chat with a friend of mine, who bets quite heavily on AFL. He’s a punter, and as such, gambles large portions of his bankroll every weekend during the football season. He loves it, and the bookmakers, I’m fairly confident, would love him.

I regularly discuss his gambling approach with him, and we have good AFL discussions. He listens, and whilst he knows he could come and get with our program and his days of losing would be over, without the sports investment mindset (which I am trying to coach into him) he’ll most likely remain a losing punter.

As I have known him for years, I raised the following issues with him in regards to his AFL approach. I thought we could all benefit if we went into a bit of detail here:

1) He doesn’t keep records. That’s fine in essence as 99.5% of gamblers don’t keep records, and need not if you are a social gambler playing your luck/hunch with a small bet.

Although as a season long bettor, who bets year after year, all with large stakes, he should. It might be the evidence he needs to force him to strategise more in his approach.

2) He bets large proportions of his bankroll each weekend… loving it when he wins, and shrugging it off when he loses. This is a the standard “donate to the bookie” approach. Gambling as an outlet for entertainment and emotion. Money is the conduit. An expensive pastime.

3) His strategy bases itself almost entirely on short term news and “last time they met” scenarios, with a little bit of injury factored in. He doesn’t look for unique approaches, read widely, or play ‘devils advocate’ to get a rounded view of things. He makes assumptions about performance for no other reason than it being his opinion. He looks for news that fits in with his confirmation bias of a matchup. He dismisses instances where similar assumptions have been proven incorrect in the past.

4) He bets on his team regularly, and would never bet against them. This needs no further discussion.

5) He likes to take dogs and juice their point spread in a “pick your own line” offering. ie Sydney Swans are underdogs at the MCG, say  +14.5 @ 1.91, and can be moved to +34.5 @ 1.37. My friend likes to take the short price about the +34.5, swapping it for a higher strike rate – but losing proposition.

Prices in these types of offerings are poor value basically all the time. They are generally popular with punters as they are psychologically easy bets to make – by giving you plenty of points on paper with good teams. It enables you to bet in a higher probability situation, whilst paying disproportionately for the privilege. *

6) He never shops around for his number. Australian online bookmakers are free to scalp the difference as they lay it off at better prices elsewhere (should they so desire).

7) He is very emotionally wrapped up in his bets. This is a huge indication of the short-term nature of his approach. He will wager about 50-100 times during a season, but without any form of bankroll management and his punter’s approach, his stress levels rise during games he has wagered on, and he is prone to make poor decisions and lay off at silly prices/or add to a losing position at half time.

I find it amusing – the fact that most punters would drive all over town to use a petrol coupon for a $5 saving, whilst having a blase attitude towards making “no-brainer” punting changes that would deliver immediate benefits – such as betting better lines at offshore sports books or betfair.

I can only assume that if my mate was brutally honest with himself, he most likely expects to be a long term loser, thus any changes he would make would involve admitting he is struggling to make a ROI. This would be a blow to the ego.

All the best for season 2012 of AFL betting.

[*which is not to say that there is no time and place for this bet type. But I can count on one hand the number of times we’ve invested with this offering. With AFL not having the impact of key numbers that other sports do (American football and basketball), taking a financial hit to move the line is almost always not in your best interests.]

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