The Art of Using Discipline in Sports Betting

Updated: 5689 Learning

Learn effective discipline in sports betting to improve your win rates. Uncover strategic insights, self-control tips & tricks in our comprehensive guide.

The Art of Using Discipline in Sports Betting
Nigel Skinner Blog Content Manager

Football Manager Expert and Political Betting Specialist across Exchange and Spread Betting Sites

Dive into our insightful guide on using discipline when betting on sports. Here, we unravel the science behind strategic betting, the importance of self-control, and the best practices that seasoned bettors swear by. Unearth an array of strategies that utilise strong disciplined betting.

Discover the Winning Edge in Sports Betting: Discipline!

Uncover the real secret behind winning sports bets- discipline! Our comprehensive guide is packed with tips and strategies to help you master the art of disciplined betting.🎯💸

The definition of disciplined betting

Discipline is controlled behaviour; the opposite is having no self-control.  In betting, you can be ill-disciplined by 

  • A disregard or being unaware of the rules of the event. 
  • Being impulsive or indecisive.
  • Betting on events or sports that you have little or no knowledge about
  • Erratic Staking
  • Inconsistency in your betting strategy.
  • Not taking the best odds on offer. 
  • Poor record keeping. 
  • Poor time management. 
  • Resistance to new betting ideas and innovations. 
  • Staking more than your funds or betting bank can afford.
  • Stopping and starting betting systems without fully testing. 
  • Taking no responsibility for your betting actions.

Starting A Betting Bank

One of the best ways to encourage betting discipline is to be business like and set yourself a strict betting bank.

Separate your betting bank from your day to day money and your usual bank account and only bet out of your betting bank. 

Fluctuations in profit and loss will be detected more easily by taking this approach and it also means betting won’t impact your day to day finances.

The amount of your betting bank will be determined by how comfortable you are with risk and also how much disposable income you have.

Biggest Risk Takers Across The Globe

Biggest Risk Takers Across The Globe

You should never put any money into your betting bank that you rely on for anything else. 

All bets should only ever be made with money that you can afford to lose. If you get through your betting bank quickly it is probably time to take a break from gambling.

The importance of having a strategy when it comes to sports betting

  • A betting strategy defines your purpose clearly and outlines your objectives. 
  • Having a strategy in place helps you decide on individual bets based on achieving your overall goals. 
  • Many bettors are guilty of short-termism, celebrating the latest winner as opposed to remembering their previous five losers; having the strategy in place gives you a reality check. 
  • This strategy helps you focus on the long-term vision of your betting life. 
  • Your defined strategy allows you to adapt and tweak what is working/not working.
  • Your strategy can be measured as to its effectiveness as opposed to a scattergun approach, which all of us can be guilty of.

Choose Strategic Bets Only

A strategy of picking value singles at the best odds from the best betting sites is the way most successful punters operate, a strategy of betting on single events is the choice of betting professionals

The more clinical you are with your bets, the more disciplined you will be.

The more disciplined punters will usually stick to betting on singles as opposed to accumulators and there is a very good reason for this. 

The phrase ‘the more you choose, the more you lose’ is very applicable to betting and accumulators in particular. The more selections you add to a bet the more variables you are adding to the bet.

One of the main shortfalls of betting accumulators is you are often mixing up different value selections. 

Your bet of the weekend might be a 2/1 shot and you might put it in an accumulator with two or three shorter priced selections. 

The 2/1 Nap may well win but there is a good choice one of the other selections will let you down and cost you any returns.

Accumulators can be a fun bet, but as we know there is very little room for ‘fun bets’ when it comes to the discipline of making money.

Keeping Betting Records

Keeping Betting Records

The OLBG tipping competition automatically records your tips once you have placed them. It is the perfect facility for highlighting past tips.

7:30 Kempton 7:30 Kempton 7:00 Kempton 6:00 Kempton
Comedian Leader Recuerdame Chapman Big R
50 WIN BOG 25 EW 50 WIN 50 WIN
@7.00 @6.00 @7.00 @3.50
Win Lose Lose Win
300 -50 -50 125
Philly @Orlando Paddy Power Betfair Bet Victor
Over 216.5 1.53 1.58 158

 Via the tipping tables each tipster can then quickly see their TIPS, ROI, LSP and Strike Rate over a month, 6 months or 12 months. 

Understanding the Basics of Sports Betting

  Sports betting is predicting the outcome of featured events and placing your money on that outcome. The best betting sites  and betting exchanges create prices (odds), offering you the ability to risk your money on the results.

  There are common misconceptions about betting on sports

  • I nearly won; therefore, I am due a win. 
  • I should always bet on favourites. 
  • It is based on luck.
  • It is the road to riches.
  • The bookmakers always win. 
  • The lottery is not a lottery.
  • You cannot win without inside information.

Some of these misconceptions arise because there is a small percentage of truth in them, but not in the long term, for example luck can play a part, you could win the lottery etc. 

Don’t Bet For Fun

It is often tempting to place ‘fun bets’ on events you are interested in but haven’t necessarily found an edge in. 

Stats to give us the edge on Score & Win and Both Teams to Score

Stats to give us the edge on Score & Win and Both Teams to Score

Fun bets are usually based more on gut instinct than research and are therefore more likely to be losing bets - and losing money isn’t fun, even if the stakes are smaller than your usual bets.

If you think you need a ‘fun bet’ in order to enjoy an event you are watching perhaps it’s time to switch that event off and not watch it.

Cheeky or Fun Bets

Rule No.1: Never lose money. Rule No.2: Never forget rule No.1.

The Role of Discipline in Sports Betting

  • By being disciplined, you will stick to your strategy.
  • Discipline stops you over betting and going on tilt (when you start to be aggressive and staking on every race or match).
  • Being on tilt is especially prevalent when you have had a run of what you deem unlucky results.
  • Emotional discipline allows you to be patient and manage greed, fear, and frustration without any of those affecting your overall strategy and demeanour.
  • Manage your available betting funds so you never go broke. 

Punter's Mentality

Quoted from the Daily Mail, though I read much the same elsewhere:

”Dr Luke Clark from the University of Cambridge, who led the research, explained that during gambling games, people often misperceive their chances of winning due to a number of errors of thinking called cognitive distortions.

For example, ‘near-misses’ seem to encourage further play, even though they are no different from any other loss.

In a random sequence like tossing a coin, a run of one event (heads) makes people think the other outcome (tails) is due next; this is known as the ‘gambler’s fallacy.

There is increasing evidence that problem gamblers are particularly prone to these erroneous beliefs.”

Some punters could be incapable of thinking consciously of cognitive distortions and of forcing themselves to justify their dearly held belief that horse A can beat horse B, when all the evidence points to the contrary.

Almost as if it is the act of belief that is significant, not the weighing of evidence and to question the belief is to betray an act of faith. 

It perhaps chimes with today's preoccupation with the cult of celebrity and the oft quoted rubbish from them that, 'If you want it enough it will happen' 

The above is not relevant to the disciplined gambler but on the road to discipline it is something to be aware of.  


Discipline is rarely enjoyable, but almost always profitable.

Strategies for Maintaining Discipline When Betting

  • Accept from the start that losers are inevitable.
  • Adjust how much you bet per race or match.
  • Be aware of your psychological and physical state (are you lonely, unhappy, angry, upset). Have you not exercised? Have you been eating or drinking too much?
  • Join a community of like-minded individuals (
  • Make sure all your bets are researched well.
  • Remember, nothing is easy; there will be bumps in the road.
  • Seek support from a friend or relation who can advise you.
  • Set limits with the different bookmakers you use.
  • Set yourself a bet/daily/weekly limit.
  • Set yourself time limits and diarise time away from betting.
  • Stick to your favoured sport or bet.
  • Stick to your strategy.
  • Take a break away from the computer betting screen.
  • Use automation betting tools to negate those last-minute bets.

Stick To Your Favoured Sport or Bet

It’s tempting to bet on anything and everything you are interested in, particularly if you can watch that event. 

The bookies know which events are televised and will target the casual bettor. 

However the sports and events you are most likely to win money on are those that you have the most knowledge on so it is almost impossible to make money on sports or events you don’t know very well. 

This is because the only way to beat the bookies are to either know more than them or to be extremely selective with your bets, either way you won’t be placing plenty of bets on a variety of sports or events that you don’t follow that closely.

Make Sure All Your Bets Are Researched 

Decide what events and outcomes you want to bet on a day or two in advance of the event (time before varies depending on the sport and odds availability) and then don’t place any more bets. 

This can be easier than it sounds as you can find yourself getting sucked into placing more bets for a variety of reasons, be it chasing, wanting a fun bet, stumbling upon new information, or anything else.

If you find this difficult place your bets and then find something else to occupy yourself with whilst your bets are taking place, go shopping or visit some friends or do some much needed DIY around the house. 

If you want to watch the event you have bet on try Sky Plussing it or watching it online after it’s happened, that way you can’t bet on it whilst you are watching it.

Betting Tips - Hints to Help Improve Your Punting (1-20)

Betting Tips - Hints to Help Improve Your Punting (1-20)

Tips and tricks for maintaining self-control when betting

  • Be realistic; you will unlikely ever back a seven-horse winning accumulator. 
  • Build a betting routine.
  • Cherish small winning bets as a sign of your skill.  
  • Develop healthy habits.  
  • Every experience, good or bad, helps train your brain to understand and master future
  • challenges. 
  • Know what mistakes you made and always learn from them.
  • Persevere and be consistent. 
  • Put the must-do tasks first and break down those tasks into smaller chunks. 
  • Remember when you started betting, you knew very little; think how much you (and your brain) have learned since those rookie days. 
  • Remember your clear sense of why you are betting.
  • Set your daily/weekly/monthly goals. 
  • Visualise or manifest your future success.

Set Yourself A Daily/Weekly/Monthly Limit

Your betting bank should dictate how much you bet  + you need to stick to your agreed limits. . 

Chasing is one of the worst habits a punter can have and it can be one of the hardest bad betting habits to kick. 

Chasing losses occurs when you’ve had a bad day betting and you try to win back that lost money by placing more bets. These bets won’t be the planned bets that you placed at the start of the day but instead are bets on any event later in that day or weekend.

Chasing is bad because it shows a distinct lack of discipline. 

The bets placed when chasing your losses are not as confident as your initial bets that lost otherwise they would have been placed with your initial bets and the pool of events to bet on by the time it comes to chasing will have narrowed so the chances of finding any decent bets are pretty slim.

You may find that chasing bets works on some occasions and you make your money back but in the long run it is highly likely that if your more confident bets aren’t winning then your less confident bets are very unlikely to yield a profit.

 Instead of chasing put more time into researching your bets or read more via the OLBG Betting Blogs or the OLBG Betting News pages.

25 Lessons to Help Improve Your Horse Racing Betting.

25 Lessons to Help Improve Your Horse Racing Betting.

Harry Findlay

Many of you newer to gambling may not know the name of the likeable Harry Findlay. This interview and his book highlight the highs and lows of his gambling career. 

There are lessons on betting discipline from his words for all of us.

Professional punter Harry Findlay

Gambling For Life


Unless you are disciplined with your betting, you stand little chance of making sustained profits. The top five takeaways from this article should be

  1. Set Achievable Goals.
  2. Establish A Framework For Your Betting.
  3. Be Consistent In All That You Do.
  4. Focus.
  5. Never Risk More Than Your Betting Bank Can Manage.


The thing is, we all know that we need be disciplined in our betting

Yet we continue making the same mistakes, as Einstein said in his often repeated quote:  

As bettors, we need to heed that advice and learn from our betting daily, and then never place a bet until we have all the information, and that our stake and bet execution are disciplined at all times.


  • How Do I Become A Disciplined Gambler

    Set and stick to specific goals, do not deviate from your long term target. 

  • I Lack Discipline As A Person, How Do I Get Better

    Start with small steps of building good habits, timekeeping, accountability, commitment, focus, and eliminate external distractions. 

  • Do I Need A Betting Discipline Checklist

    The process of writing a checklist will assist you in maintaining your betting discipline.  You can also use an app to help you focus and avoid distractions.

  • Why Is Self Discipline So Important

    If you want to win or at least head in the right betting direction, self-discipline plays a fundamental role. With self-discipline, you can work consistently toward your goals and overcome the inevitable obstacles. 

Responsible Gambling

This article about betting discipline goes hand in hand with responsible gambling. 

At the foot of every page are links to organisations GamCare and Be Gamble Aware, these sites can help if you feel you gambling is getting out of control. 

As well as these we have a range of articles designed to assist you in every aspect of responsible gambling. 

Responsible Gambling Features, Function and Help

Responsible Gambling Features, Function and Help

How to be Sensible and Gamble Responsibly (Examples)

How to be Sensible and Gamble Responsibly (Examples)

Editorial Information

We are fortunate to have an excellent team of specialists and experts at OLBG whose combined knowledge can always be called upon when new articles are created or betting questions need answering. 

Author Nigel Skinner has been learning the art of betting with discipline and now only strikes a bet after thoroughly researching the event.

Nigel Skinner

Nigel Skinner

Blog content manager

Nigel is one of OLBG's senior editors with 19 years of industry experience. Today he specialises in researching and writing about the betting angles to political and mainstream news stories and being the OLBG in-house expert on 'next football manager' betting markets.

Specialist Subjects🔬📚

⚽️👨‍💼 Nigel is an Arsenal fan first and foremost but has an unrivalled knowledge of English football managers at every level. Meticulously putting together our Next Manager articles, Nigel can quite possibly name you every manager of every club in the land, not to mention a pretty good eye for predicting replacements when changes happen. 

📈📊📉 A long-time exchange trader and spread betting fan, Nigel is our go-to for advice on the subjects and uses them daily in his own betting activity. 

🗳️💼 Finally, Nigel loves his politics and [some would say] has an unhealthy interest in the day-to-day events in the UK's political landscape, contributing to all our Political betting content and new pieces.

Keep Reading

Top 10 Political Betting Websites in the UK

Updated: 1309 Betting

Top 10 Political Betting Websites in the UK

Explore our comprehensive guide to Political Betting in the UK. We rigorously analyse 64 bookmakers, comparing their offerings in politics wagering, before presenting an insightful Top 10 list with the leaders in this field. Find your perfect match for your political betting needs

Continue Reading

By using this site you confirm you are 18+ and consent to our use of cookies and processing of personal data as set out in our Privacy Policy
Got it!