Betting 101: How to keep track of your wagers

·Betting analyst
·4 min read

It’s that time of the year, when things are really about to get busy. We are now 19 days from college football's kickoff and 31 days from the NFL season. Rather than scrambling to get things done for Week 1, now is the perfect time to set up, get prepared and get organized. That way when it's kickoff time, you’re ready to fire away.

I’m talking about setting yourself up for success by creating your ledger of wagers, aka "tracking your bets."

Why it’s important to keep a record

There are so many options to wager week after week during the football season that if you are simply using the dollar amount in your account as a gauge to figure out how you’re doing, then you are doing it wrong. Talking in relation to just football, you can bet against the spread (ATS), moneyline, game totals (over/under), player props, teasers and, of course, parlays.

Even if you are wagering just a handful of things each week or have a laundry list of bets for both college football Saturday and NFL Sunday, then it’s extremely important you are keeping a record of everything. Why? Knowing how much you are winning and losing is one thing, but keeping track of every single wager will help you find your strength and weakness during a season.

OXON HILL, MD - JANUARY 23: People watch sporting events at BetMGM Sportsbook & Lounge at MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland, on Sunday, January 23, 2022. (Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/For The Washington Post via Getty Images)
People watch sporting events at BetMGM Sportsbook & Lounge at MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland, on Jan. 23, 2022. (Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/For The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Let’s look at last year as an example. Early in the season, I had a 16-8-1 record. Of the eight losses I logged, six were from betting on double-digit underdogs, both ATS and on the moneyline. That 16-8-1 could have been 16-2-1 if I wasn't cocky and taking that large of a dog. On the other hand, that 16-8-1 mark could have gotten way worse if I didn’t figure out early that double-digit dogs were a weakness.

Halfway through the season, I was also realizing that my strength was in college football totals. Through Week 7, I was 9-1 and went on to finish 32-13 (71 percent) in CFB over/unders.

Neither my strength nor weakness would have been realized had I not been diligent in tracking every single wager — everything.

I promise you, making this little change is one step toward becoming a better sports bettor.

How to keep a record of your bets

There are plenty of apps you can download for either iPhone or Android that make data input as simple as possible. For me, however, I like to create my own spreadsheet because I break down my wagers into tabs, then league, then bet type.

Here’s how I manage my spreadsheet:

1. Start a spreadsheet via some of the notable brands offered.

2. Create a tab for each league (NFL, NCAAF, ATP, PGA, etc.) Here, I’ll focus on football.

3. Create a column for each type of wager (ATS, OVER/UNDER, parlays, etc.).

4. Update this spreadsheet daily! If you let one day slip, then it becomes easier to stop tracking. The second a wager is made, it should be inputed into your log.

5. Review your data. See where you should put your focus or where you should let off the gas.

I even like to add notes as a reminder. Last year, I input, “stop betting double-digit dogs” before the new week. It was the Sharpie on the forehead I needed. I also use the highlight feature and color code. Green for when my wagers are on a positive trend and red for when they are on a downswing.

Whether using an app or your own computer spreadsheet, use whichever you think will be easier to manage. We spend half the year betting on just football and things can get pretty chaotic. But doing this will only help and once you have a full season of data, you’ll know exactly what to focus on for the year after.

Bookmark my personal spreadsheet of football wagers

If you want an example, you can always use my personal sheet. I have 2021 and 2022 combined for reference. This sheet is always accessible, so make sure to bookmark it. As both a bettor and content creator, you’ll see that mine is a little more specific and catered to my role. I have two tabs, one for predictions and another for bets. I make predictions almost daily, but I only wager a fraction of that. If you follow me on Twitter, that’s where what I am playing comes in. It’s my way of highlighting a wager from content.

So why should you keep a record of your bets? Because in the end, it’s always about having the same goal: cashing tickets. This could help with that.