A couple posts ago I wrote the best post this blog has ever seen; about my NBA bets. I mentioned that basketball is my favourite sport to watch, and to bet on. Unfortunately my recent basketball bets haven’t been very good. I’ll be honest with you, they’ve been ball-breakingly bad. I’m currently in the mist of my worst losing streak betting on hoops. I’ve gone 4-22, which includes a losing streak of 10.
There’s been a couple of gut-wrenchingly bad beats along the way, including:
- Charlotte managing to lose to Washington when leading by 4points with 14 seconds to play.
- Kyrie Irving using a cheat code to beat the Spurs
- Laboral Kutxa conceding 20 points in the last 6 mins to somehow lose at Nizhny Novgorod
- Plenty of other final shots going against me
So, how should you respond to a losing streak?:
- Quit betting
- Swear loudly and possibly punch something
- Blame someone else and claim that you’re a victim of a conspiracy to fix a sporting event
- Re-evaluate your bets and carry on
The correct answer is 4. Also constant re-evaluation of your bets is a good idea regardless of what streak you’re on. I’ve checked through my records and of those 22 loses, there’s only 2 bets that I’m not entirely satisfied with. The rest; under repeat identical situations, I’d bet them all again. It’s best to focus on the process rather than (solely) on the result. Looking at a larger sample size in my records prior to this horror patch, shows the level of profit guaranteed to cause increased blood flow to the downstairs department:
Note the losing streak since the high point. It’s not like a graph of your accumulated profits is going to be a nice constant upward line. There will be bumps in the road. So it’s time to employ a stiff upper lip in the ugly face of variance.
The main point I’d like to make is that:
Losing streaks are to be expected. Bets that have positive expected value still aren’t guaranteed winners.