6 Ways to Survive a Bad Losing Streak

No matter how much research you put into your plays, if you bet on sports frequently enough, you’re going to suffer through losing streaks.

You may feel like you’ve tried everything.

Taking favorites and underdogs, overs and unders, and you may have even thrown a few prop bets in the mix, only to find yourself with a big zero in the win column at the end of the weekend.

Sports betting can be one of the most frustrating endeavors because at the end of the day, you can’t go out there and win the bet yourself.

The good news?

  • Everyone, no matter how experienced, undergoes losing streaks.

The bad news?

  • Only those who know what they’re doing can manage and avoid completely depleting their bankroll.

Much like winning consistently, weathering the storm of several losses takes some knowledge and a plan. In this article I’ll lay out some tips for making it through the hard times and getting back on the winning track.

1 – Don’t Try to Win It Back in One Bet

Losing leads to frustration, and frustration leads to bad decisions. Every sports bettor has felt the urge to lay down more and more money to make up for losses, but this can be a significant mistake that can lead to an empty bankroll or worse.

One of the cornerstones of being a good sports gambler is to not fall into the trap of chasing losses.

The risk simply doesn’t justify the reward, and could result in losing a significant amount of money.

The trick to being profitable is sticking around long enough to see things turn in your favor.

2 – Be Strict with Your Bankroll

If you aren’t familiar with the concept of a bankroll, a losing streak will make you realize how important it is to have one, and stick to it.

Your bankroll is the pool of money you’ve set aside for the sole purpose of betting.

Once you have your amount determined, the next step is determining what percentage of that pool you’re willing to risk on one play. Keep in mind that when you create your bankroll, you should only add an amount of money that you feel comfortable with losing.

Person Performing Bankroll Management With Football Betting

Most gamblers have a percentage range, for example 2% to 5%, but you can adjust yours accordingly. It’s recommended to keep the range as low as possible, meaning don’t set it at 2% to 20%.

Your bankroll is what helps keep you in the game. As your overall amount goes down, the amount you bet on any one play should be adjusted accordingly.

It’s not sexy, but sticking to this system will help you avoid the big losses that will cause you to spiral out of control and end up owing the sportsbooks much more money than you ever intended on losing.

3 – Get Back to Basics

For the risk tolerant bettors who are in search of the big win, there are plenty of betting options from online sportsbooks that seem appealing when looking for a higher payday. However, these aren’t typically the best way to get out of a hole.

Although there are bettors who swear that a well-chosen parlay, teaser, or prop bet is the best way to make a profit, there’s a much higher risk of losing when you need to win multiple bets to win the play.

Sometimes, it’s best to go back to the old fashioned spread.

With the juice factored in, it might seem like betting on the spread at -110 is always the best value, but it does usually give you the best opportunity to win – and sometimes that’s good enough.

While betting with value in mind is a good strategy overall, there are times when you need to give yourself a better opportunity to just get a win and stop the bleeding.

If you’re struggling to win betting on those moneyline underdogs or have tried choosing favorites at alternate lines to no avail, it’s not a bad idea to focus on trying your hand at betting on the regular spread (and don’t forget to choose a few underdogs).

4 – Try a Different Sport

Some people might tell you that the definition of insanity is trying the same over and over again and expecting a different result. That’s not really the definition of insanity (a conversation for another day), but the message is somewhat relevant when it comes to losing streaks in sports betting.

If you’ve bet on five NFL games and have lost them all, it’s a good idea to try your hand at a different sport and see if you can find some success elsewhere.

Multiple Sports Examples NBA MLB NHL And NFL

Not to mention, you never know when you’ll find a hot streak when you put your efforts towards something else.

Whether it’s in sports betting or another endeavor, sometimes over-analysis is the enemy of success.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking you know exactly what’s going to happen, which lets the sportsbooks play on the public biases that they use to almost always come out ahead.

Normally I’d never recommend just rolling the dice on a game or sport you aren’t familiar with, occasionally it can be a good idea to take a chance and let the chips fall where they may.

5 – Maintain a Long-Term Mindset

Not to get too deep into human psychology, but it’s been proven that people tend to remember the bad times more than the prosperous ones.

When you’re going through a gambling rough patch, do your best to remind yourself that the tides will eventually turn in your favor if you stick around long enough to see it happen.

If you keep track of the plays you’re making, and you should, you’ll be surprised when you look back at how many weeks or months you’ve had that resulted in positive earnings. These are proof that you are capable of winning, even if isn’t feeling like that currently.

Unlike the sports we gamble on, no set season exists for sports betting.

It’s a long-term game with no end, meaning there’s no reason to look at short segments of time. Take a holistic view of the success you’ve had, recognize you’re going to have some bumps in the road along the way, but sticking to your strategy is the best way to get past it.

6 – Take a Few Days Off

You might be able to resist the urge to win all your money back in one big play, but sometimes you need to exercise even more patience and step away from betting for a few days.

As I mentioned earlier, the line between adequate analysis and over-analysis is thin.

When you’re losing, there’s a good chance you’re going to analyze yourself out of making good decisions. The only way to avoid this is by holding off on making plays until the sense of urgency subsides.

Person Relaxing With Headphones

Patience is important because it allows your mind, and most importantly your emotions, to relax and reset. Not to mention, if you’re not placing any bets, you’re not losing any money.

As difficult as it might be to sit things out when you feel like you need to be winning bets, there are times when it’s the best thing for your overall, long-term results.


Losing streaks are an unfortunate inevitability both in sports and in sports betting. No matter how skilled you are, sooner or later, you’re going to hit a rough patch.

The only difference is that in regular sports, you start again fresh the next season and in gambling it’s a constant battle.

Getting through the tough times is as much of a skill as knowing which side to bet on in a game. Utilize these tips next time you’re struggling and minimize the damage until your next hot streak.


Rex Hoffman / Author

Rex Hoffman is a passionate sports writer, with over five years of experience covering sports journalism in line with the Vegas betting landscape. His favorite subjects include football, basketball, and baseball. As a Las Vegas resident, he enjoys finding an edge against the local sportsbooks and aims to share his extensive knowledge with both beginners and experienced bettors. Rex also dabbles in horse racing wagering and enjoys typical casino fare like blackjack and poker in his spare time.