LOSING a bet isn’t fun, especially when enduring a rough week/month.

We’ve all heard that a losing bet isn’t necessarily a bad bet, but what does that actually mean?

Well, firstly, it can simply be that you were on the receiving end of some horrible luck. At the end of the day, sport is unpredictable and part of what makes it special is that anything can happen.

The influence of referees officiating games can also have drastic impact on outcomes away from just the result, lines or total.

Let’s look at this past Monday in the NCF Championship. We were riding New Orleans -3 and Mark Ingram o/39.5 rushing yards. We’re all tired of hearing about the controversial no-call that forced New Orleans to take a field goal, but the impact it had on both our plays was undeniable.

An automatic first down there means the Saints get the chance to run the clock to almost 0:00 and Ingram gets a couple touches to grab himself a yard or two as they chew up the clock. Instead, they leave time for LA to go the length of the field to force OT and Ingram goes for -8 yards on two carries thereafter.

That’s a tough loss, but by no means a bad bet. Luck always plays a part and while it will even out this was a tough one to swallow.

A truer reflection of what makes a a “good” losing bet is measuring your CLV.

Understanding CLV

Closing Line Value (CLV) is probably the most important aspect of sports investing that can essentially become your blueprint for long-term profit.

The reason that measuring your CLV is so important is because it provides a benchmark that can be used to assess whether your winning plays are a product of luck or smart investing.

When a market opens it doesn’t take long to see certain lines or totals moved from their number as bettors begin making their plays. Sharp money (often referred to as big money, professional bettors) will look to grab a price for a line/total that they feel they’re getting an edge based on their metrics used.

Bookies are then forced to adjust in order to keep balance on both sides and avoid exposure on any one side of the card. By the time tip-off/kick-off gets underway we’re looking at a closing line that is considered the most accurate market based on the probability of either side covering.

Now, here’s what you need to take with you if you’re going to be a successful long-term investor – beating the closing line is more important than keeping a >53% strike rate on lines/totals.

Yes, you read that correctly. Beating the closing line is MORE IMPORTANT than hitting >53% on $1.90 (-110) odds.

Why is CLV so important?

Because by identifying your edge and beating the closing line you’re increasing your likelihood by securing a better number and removing the “house edge” that comes with betting their lines/totals.

The fact remains that a closing line is far more accurate of a games likely outcome than the opening line as it often takes into account a wider range of variables than the methodologies used by the books.

The ultimate goal in sports betting is to invest in markets that, based on your models/methods/general reasonings, have a positive expected value, i.e. have a better chance of landing than the odds would suggest.

Placing bets just before tip-off can often reduce your opportunity to ensure value, which is why finding a balance between getting on early and late is key.

Too early and you’ll risk missing injury news or otherwise. Too late and markets have already adjusted accordingly and left you with what is ultimately a coin flip.

This week has been tough given how a lot of our results have panned out in the NBA, but there’s a lot to be happy about when factoring in our CLV and how we’ve beaten the market.

Our record sits at 4-8 (-3.15 units) but we’ve beaten the closing line with near perfection. Here’s a look at couple of our losses this week and the lines we got versus how they closed:

Phoenix Suns @ Minnesota Timberwolves

Our bet: T’wolves -10.5 @ $1.92
Open: T’wolves -10.5 @ $1.92
Close: T’wolves -12.5 @ $1.90

Portland Trailblazers @ Utah Jazz

Our bet: Over 217.0 @ $1.91
Open: Over 217.0 @ $1.91
Close: Over 218.0 @ $1.92

Portland Trailblazers @ Oklahoma City Thunder

Our bet: Portland Trailblazers +5.0 @ $1.92
Open: Portland Trailblazers +4.5 @ $1.92
Close: Portland Trailblazers +3.5 @ $1.90

Despite going 0-3 in those games we smashed the closing line and the T’wolves and Trailblazers plays are considered an elite edge (both 1.5+ points better than closing line).

We’ll take time to slowly break things down for everyone over the coming weeks but hopefully this was a good introduction into understanding the importance of assessing your losses.

Remember, beating the market is just as important in the long run for multiple reasons. It’s also reflective of your end of year bankroll if you’re losing out on value each time you place your bet.

Don’t make a play on tilt because you think a team will win because you’ve seen money come in on them; you’ve missed the boat. They may have been value at $1.90 but all of a sudden you’re losing your edge when grabbing them at $1.75.

Consider this, there’s a jersey for sale at the store down the road and your friend is lining up to buy it on opening day for $99 but you can’t justify spending that much money on it. A week later, you go down and see it for $59 – would you not purchase it now that you’re getting significantly better value?

As always, feel free to inbox us with any questions you might have on the matter and we’ll do our best to get back to you. We’ll continue to try and help you all become better investors, but please don’t sign up and expect to hit at 70% or higher – if that’s what you’re expecting than save your money and take another route.