Keeping Betting Records

Updated: 10189 Learning

Whether you are a serious punter or only someone who has a few bets a week for fun it is certainly worth keeping a record of all the bets you place and the returns you make. Advantages Of Keeping Records Sensible Betting One

Keeping Betting Records
Steve Madgwick Editor-In-Chief

Editor-In-Chief with 20 years experience covering the betting angles to breaking news stories. Daily slots player, Portsmouth fan and League Snooker Player

The Benefits of Keeping Sports Betting Records

Sports betting has grown appreciably since the turn of the century, and with this growth has come a myriad of new ways bookmakers are trying to relieve the punter of his or her hard-earned cash.

On checking the OLBG best betting sites page, I counted 80 companies, most with attractive opening offers; if you only had accounts with a few of these bookies and betting exchanges, you would need to be very organised to remember who you were betting with, what available funds you had with each, what amounts you had won and lost with each, which sports had you performed well in, which sports were costing you money, and finally, what your username and password were! That is why you need to get organised and keep betting records.

The benefits of record-keeping

Record keeping helps all of us manage tasks and gives a better understanding of what is working well and what is not. It enables us to take remedial action when needed, and ultimately, having a record-keeping system in place enables us to produce better results.

Improving Your Decision Making

The importance of analysing past bets

On OLBG, we have always emphasised the importance of keeping betting records. This guidance was heavily quoted on the forum as a means to find future winners. When you analyse previous bets, you can deduce why you decided that a particular selection was worthy of your cash. Having a list of winners and losers will show you where you are going, right or wrong. Records provide valuable insight for making strategic future choices.

 In the OLBG Tipping Competition, your daily, monthly and yearly profit and loss is available, these records give you a snapshot of where the winners and losers are coming from.  

How records can help identify profitable patterns

When you start keeping records, you will be surprised by how quickly the information within the data starts indicating which areas are throwing up profits. It may have been something you had previously ignored and not regarded as very important. Each piece of data will guide you; conflicting data or selections may score highly across many sections. You will know when an event indicates a competitive race or match from your records of previous races or matches. You can increase or decrease your stakes when guided by your records; you will have a record of your current profit and loss, and the execution of bets will become easier and placed with more confidence. Through your record keeping, you will be able to have: 

  • Financial Management
  • Operational Efficiency
  • Evaluate Your Performance 
Average Odds

If you were to ask many punters what the average price of their winning bets were we suspect that most would not know. By keeping records you can see what odds band your winning bets fell into.

Financial Management

Tracking your spending and winnings

It is very easy to fool ourselves and others into thinking we are raking it in. Likewise, do we have our betting and spending under control?  By keeping a financial spreadsheet, we should always be able to see how much has been spent and how much we have won or lost.

Recording Your Monthly Betting Spend

Do many of us know how much we have spent on betting this year? If you do know then could you answer which sport gave you the biggest return?

Setting and adhering to budgets

Setting a budget for how much you spend is a wise move but it is one that many of us DO NOT adhere to. 

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We do know that some members are strictly using a staking plan, with the most common one that of level stakes. 

By setting a budget, you will automatically become a more disciplined bettor. Imagine the scenario where you are getting close to exceeding your budget, would you be more careful about which bets you place? That care will stand you in good stead. 

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Emotional Discipline & Rational Betting

Preventing the influence of emotions on bets

We all have different personalities; some are more emotional than others. If you are an emotional being, then recognising that will help you keep track of your mood when placing bets. You probably know that you can be swayed by emotion and will need to train yourself to avoid getting emotional or angry or thinking you have everything sorted out. 

Maintaining a rational approach

Maintaining a rational approach to betting and not going on tilt will preserve your betting funds.

You should be aware that not all bets will be winners. We know this, yet we seem to expect everything to work out in profit, as we envisaged!

On Tilt

In Poker when a player start becoming frustrated or angry or over emotional he is said to be on tilt, this results in repeated poor decision making.

Spotting Strengths and Weaknesses

Determining which sports and bet types yield the best results

Your record keeping will show which sports are yielding the most profit

If you are diligent in keeping records then this should be a no-brainer it is on the screen in front of you or on the piece of paper on the desk. 

You may love betting on football and follow it religiously, but when North American Ice Hockey is returning three times the amount of your EPL bets then you need  to cut out some of your footy bets and look towards the ice. 

Image: nhl.com

Which events are yielding the most/least return? 

Does the P and L indicate where you should be focused? 

Should you not be betting on a particular sport? because the figures show that sport was where you lost the most money.  

Which bet types (win, each way, place, over/under, 1x2, acca etc) are providing you with the most profit?horse racing accas 

Do football bet builders show a decent long term return? and has every horse racing accumulators been a losing one? 

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Below is an example from a member who bets on National Hunt racing, he kept three years data on the difference between his success on handicap hurdles v handicap chases. 

Year Handicap Hurdle Bets Wins Strike Rate Average Winner Odds Handicap Chase Bets Wins Strike Rate Average Winner Odds
2023 100 25 25% 6/1 74 28 38% 3/1
2022 95 22 23% 4/1 81 29 36% 7/2
2021 121 21 17% 7/1 97 33 34% 7/2
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You may do well when backing horses, but laying is costing you. Remove the lay bets and see how profits alter

We all know we can have bad runs on a sport, there was a Cheltenham Festival Tipster in 2024 who advised 17 horses they all lost!, 

It is unlikely he will give up betting on horses but we suspect he has not had 17 losers in a row on other sports! 

He needs an adjustment to his strategy and to take a long hard look at where his return are coming from, he can do this via his betting records and so can you. 

Tool Selection for Record Keeping

Digital vs. traditional record methods

Paper Method Pros

Paper records do not require electricity or internet access, making them accessible even in areas with limited technology, such as racecourses. 

Paper records can be updated on the move or when away from a computer. 

Some bettors especially those who are older or newer to betting  find paper records easier to understand 

Paper records are not susceptible to tech failures, cyber-attacks, or data breaches.

Paper-based record-keeping systems may be less expensive for individual bettors.

Paper Method Cons

Paper records need storage space. 

Paper records can be inefficient with the inability to amend and sort quickly. 

Paper records are more susceptible to damage or loss. 



Digital Methods Pros

Digital records can be stored, and accessed more quickly than paper records, and require less storage space.

Digital records can be amended, searched and sorted

Digital records can be more secure than paper records. 

Digital records can be accessed remotely from any location, and can also be shared remotely if needed.

Statistical graphics such as the simple one below can be created to aid understanding. 


Digital Method Cons

Reliant on technology

Cost of set up

Hardware or software failure.

In the 21st century all who want to take their betting to a higher level will need to embrace technology. If you are not up to speed then learn from others, take a course, or ask for help. 

Case Studies and Success Stories

The book fooled by randomness highlights how luck plays a role in our lives and how we as human beings have a cognitive bias to seeing patterns that in truth are not there. 

Fooled By Randomness

How many times have we watched a one sided football match where a team who had not troubled the opposition score in the final few minutes of the game. 

That goal could mean our pre match bet was successful, but in truth we were lucky, the profit column in our records show we won. 

Our betting records show a winning bet but any notes that we attach to the win should highlight how fortunate in this instance we were. 

The input of that match into your records will highlight this, if you do not keep that record you will forget and could repeat the bet but this time not be as lucky.  


I have asked this question before but look below and ask yourself who has the best betting record?  And who would be perceived as the better tipster/gambler? 

John A would be feted as having done very well with four wins, but the tipster with more money in his bank account from his betting despite the four losers is Jack B.

Tipster Result Result Result Result Result Profit
John A W 2/1 W 5/2 W 3/1 L 2/1 W 4/1 Plus +10.5 Points
Jack B L 6/1 L 8/1 L 4/1 L 2/1 W 20/1 Plus + 16 Points
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Keeping records would highlight this in black and white 


Best Practices for Record Keeping

What data should i record (e.g., odds, stakes, outcomes). 

You should record any information you think is related to Improving your profit and loss + a record of all bets won and lost. Below is a sample from an OLBG tipster who bets on horse racing. 

Info Info Info Info
Balance RaceType Prize Money Stake
Date Handicap? Declared Result
Time Class Trip Rule 4?
Course Grade Runner Profit/Loss
Country Age Bracket Odds New Balance
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You should visit your record keeping at least once a day, even if not having a bet that day. 

Our brains need training in repetitive tasks and just by the practice of looking at the data in front of you will train you to be prudent when it actually comes to placing your next bet. The figures on the record keeping page will be a constant and this will make you alert to the possibility that this bet may not be the right one to place.  

Keeping records teaches where you are profiting and where you are going wrong.

Look at any professional tipster or even a business and you will see the best ones are diligent in having their records up to date.

Keeping records teaches where you are profiting and where you are going wrong.

Below is an alert for a horse that was created by a member who wanted not to miss the next run for this horse. 

Info Criteria
date 04/01/2024
time 12.15
track Lingfield
class 6
racedistance 6 Furlongs
prizemoney 5234
going Standard
horse Coast
stall 4
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Begin keeping betting records today

So why not keep a record of your betting from today? Start with a few columns of data and then add to them when needed, maybe using some of the examples above. 

Look at any professional tipster or even a business, and you will see that the best ones are diligent in keeping their records up to date. 

Eliminate any data that is unnecessary to your betting. 

Ensure you can comprehend and analyse the data and fully understand each column.

Make the data accessible for update and amendment.

 


Resources and tools to get started

Use Excel or Google Drive for record keeping spreadsheets. 

Alternatively buy a ledger that is fit for your betting purposes. 

If you know an accountant, why not ask them to assist in setting up a Profit and Loss sheet? 

Type in "betting P and L spreadsheet" on Google and see what is available online.

Look to sporting data providers such as the BBC or Sky and see how they collate and display data. 


Conclusion

Your record keeping will serve you well, it will help you make informed betting decisions.

Having a complete record of your bets will enable you to manage your betting life more effectively.



 



 

FAQ

  • Why should i keep betting records

    You should keep betting records because it will help you track your success over a period of time. 

    Keeping records on specific sports will alert you to future betting opportunities.

  • What Info should i include

    If you wish, focus initially on the key details of your betting. 

    Then, keep adding information that will assist you in fully understanding your betting activities.

     

  • How often should i update my betting records

    As mentioned your records should be checked and updated daily.  The info contained will keep you on the right track. Think how often you check your social media or emails your betting records should be just as important. 



  • What analyisis should i undertake

    If you have added plenty of data, then the information you can pull from it should be unlimited. Some of the figures may take you down a new profitable path or warn you that a strategy is unsuccessful.


  • Should i include return on investment or level stakes in my betting records

    You can include both, for those who are unsure about what they mean 

    ROI: If we placed a £1000 worth of bets over the year and on December 31st had made a profit of £250, our ROI would be 25%.If we placed 2 bets today amounting to £75 and returned £111 our ROI would be 48%

    Level Stakes: This is betting the same amount on each bet, irrelevant of the size of your betting bank. 

Responsible Gambling

Going hand in hand with your record keeping is making sure you gamble responsibly. On OLBG, we have consistently trumpeted the need to take this approach and have created numerous articles and posts on this subject. 

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At the foot of each page of OLBG are links to GamCare and BeGambleAware; these organisations can offer further assistance with your gambling

Author

Many of the OLBG Betting Experts have years of experience keeping records of their bets, including the author of this article, Nigel Skinner. He sourced, collated, and formatted the information above. 

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.

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