For some, sports betting is an extremely casual hobby. These punters will place bets whenever they feel like it, on whatever they fancy, with the vague general aim of making money. Many other bettors, however, take a more scientific approach. They’re serious about turning a profit over the long-term, and create defined plans on how they’re going to do so.

If you’re the first kind of bettor, that’s absolutely fine. It’s your money, and you can do what you like with it. Just remember to bet responsibly, and enjoy yourself. If you’re the second type though, we’ve got some important advice for you. Read on to discover our four top tips for both creating and executing your betting plan, and – ultimately – reaching your betting target.

Identify Your Target

This is the first step towards taking a clearer, more analytical approach to sports betting. When the goal is to make money – whatever walk of life you’re in – setting targets is key. It gives you something to aim for, keeps you focused and motivated, and – quite simply – makes you feel good when you achieve those goals. This absolutely applies to betting too. If you’ve never tried setting a target here, you might well be surprised at just how much it helps.

When identifying a betting target, there are a few key points to bear in mind.

Firstly, what’s the time frame? Are you looking to hit one long-term total, or do you want to make a certain amount of money each week, month, or year?

Secondly, remember that your calculations must go towards a net profit, not a gross sum. Even the worst bettor can make a certain amount of winnings when given an unlimited bankroll. Your goal is to make money overall, taking both profits and losses into account.

Thirdly, be realistic. It’s fine if you can only spare £20 for your sports betting, but – in this case – don’t set your target at £100,000. Make it something more reasonable to start with, like £100. You can always raise the bar after that once you’ve got more money to play with.

Create a Staking Plan

As mentioned, when looking to reach your betting target, you need to stay realistic. This should be the case from the very beginning, and creating a staking plan is a great way to make yourself remain disciplined.

To kick things off, identify the total sum you’re happy to start betting with. Even though the goal is obviously to make money, this starting balance must be an amount you can potentially afford to lose.

Next, work out how you’re going to allocate that money. Our next tip will help with this, but – in general – make sure you’re spreading your risk. No single bet should ever make or break you. Reaching your target is a long-term goal, and – if you blow up your account with one big, ill-informed wager – you’ll never achieve it.

In addition to allocating certain amounts to specific kinds of bets (discussed below), it’s also useful to keep your time frame in mind here. If you’re starting off with £100, for example, you might put a hard cap of £10 or £20 on your total stakes for an entire week, to ensure you stay in the game for the long haul.

Mix Your Bet Types

Every bettor dreams of hitting a massive accumulator, or some other other long-shot wager, and making a monster profit. In reality, the chances of doing so are extremely low. Consistently putting big stakes on bets with long odds might feel exciting, but it’s an incredibly risky strategy, and is very unlikely indeed to help you hit your target.

The much better long-term play is to mix your bet types. There is still a place for exciting, high-odds punts in your betting plan. You simply need to reduce your stakes dramatically in these cases, and ensure that they’re paired with a higher volume of safer, more realistic wagers. Balance is really the key here – you should be looking to balance risk and reward not only on every bet you place, but across your overall betting strategy too.

There’s also a strong link between this and your aforementioned staking plan. When creating the latter, work out how many high-risk/high-reward – and vice versa – wagers you want to place in a given time frame, and calculate your stakes in advance. If you’ve got £20 to play with each week, for example, you might devote £5 to an accumulator with four or five legs, but spread the remaining £15 across a variety of safer picks – Match Result, Both Teams to Score, Over/Under Goals, and so on.

Stay Patient

We really can’t stress this enough – turning a profit in sports betting is a long-term goal. Go for the aforementioned thrilling, high-risk high-reward wagers over and over, and – while there’s a chance you’ll win big – it’s much more likely you’ll blow up your account.

Play the long game instead. Even if your profits are smaller than they could be with longer odds, remember that you’re heading in the right direction. If you make two or three losses in a row, don’t panic and try to win it all back in one go. Overall, try to take the emotion out of it as much as possible, and remain analytical. Identifying a bet target in the first place should help you out enormously, and this mindset is definitely the most effective one for hitting that target.

Final Thoughts

By its very nature, sports betting is difficult. In many cases, however, punters make it harder than it needs to be. By exclusively looking short-term, they regularly get sucked in to making poor and costly decisions.

Identifying a bet target is a great way to fix this problem, helping to keep your eyes focused on the long-term goal instead. Follow our tips for both creating and working towards this target, and you’ll definitely increase your chances of making that overall profit which all bettors are ultimately aiming for.