Sports Gambling Points — Being profitable By Betting

I am the Sports Editor for a sports news and gambling website. I’ve several years connection with gambling, sports journalism and study of mathematics. Am I a gambling expert? Well, I guess you may say that.

There are innumerable so-called gambling experts willing to hand out information of the systems to’beat the bookie’or to create a second income from gambling, for a price of course. I won’t do that. I will simply give you information about bookmakers, odds and gambling for you to use (or forget) as you see fit.

The very first thing to mention is that a large proportion of men and women who engage in gamblingĀ is going to be net losers over timeĀ This is the very reason you can find so many bookmakers making so much money through the world.

While bookmakers will often take big hits, for example if your favourite wins the Grand National, they spread their risk so widely and they setup markets that incorporate a margin, so they’ll always make a gain over the medium to long haul, or even the short term. That is, so long as they got their sums right.

When setting their odds for a specific event, bookmakers must first assess the likelihood of that event occurring. To do this they us various statistical models predicated on data collated over years, sometime decades, about the activity and team/competitor in question. Of course, if sport was 100% predictable, it’d soon lose its appeal, and as the bookies are often spot on with their assessments of the likelihood of an event, they’re sometimes way off the mark, simply because a fit or contest goes against conventional wisdom and statistical likelihood.

Just look at any sport and you will see an occasion once the underdog triumphs against most of the odds, literally. Wimbledon beating the then mighty Liverpool in the FA Cup Final of 1988, for example, or the USA beating the then mighty USSR at ice hockey in the 1980 Olympics are two examples of once you would have got handsome odds on the underdog. And would have won a decent wedge.

The big bookmakers spend plenty of time and money ensuring they’ve the best odds that ensure they consider the perceived likelihood of the function, and you can add that extra tiny bit that offers them the profit margin. So if an event features a likelihood of, say, 1/3, the odds that reflect that probability could be 2/1. That is, two to 1 against that event occurring.

However, a bookie who set these odds would, over time, break even (assuming their stats are correct). So instead they’d set the odds at, say, 6/4. This way they’ve built-in the margin that ensures, over time, they’ll profit from people betting with this selection. It is the same concept as a casino roulette.

So how will you spot the occasions when bookmakers have got it wrong? Well, it’s easier said than done, but definately not impossible.

One of the ways is to obtain very good at mathematical modelling and setup a model that takes into consideration as many of the variables that affect the outcome of an event as possible. The situation with this tactic is that however complex the model, and however all-encompassing it appears, it cannot take into account the minutiae of variables relating to individual human states of mind. Whether a player manages to hole a major-winning five foot putt on the 18th at St Andrews it’s the maximum amount of down to their concentration regarding the weather or day of the week. Also, the maths can begin getting pretty darn complicated.

Alternatively you will find yourself a sporting niche. Bookmakers will concentrate their resources on the events that produce them probably the most money, generally found to be football (soccer), American football and horse racing. So attempting to beat the bookies while betting on a Manchester United v Chelsea match is going to be tough. Until you work for one of the clubs, or are married to one of the players or managers, it’s more than likely the bookmaker setting the odds will have extra information than you.

However, if you are betting on non-league football, or badminton, or crown green bowls, it’s possible, through effort reading plenty of stats, and general information gathering, you can start to achieve an advantage over bookies (if they even set odds for such things, which many do).

And what do you do when you have an advantage in information terms? You follow the value.

Value betting is where you back a selection at odds which can be greater than the specific likelihood of an event occurring. So for example, if you assess the likelihood of a specific non-league football team (Grimsby Town, say) winning their next football match as 1/3 or 33%, and you find a bookmaker who has set the odds of 3/1, you have a price bet on your hands. The reason why being, odds of 3/1 (excluding the margin built-in by the bookie) suggest a likelihood of 1/4 or 25%. The bookie, in your now learned opinion, has underrated Grimsby’s chances, so you have effectively built-in an 8% margin for yourself.

Of course Grimsby (as is the case) might fluff their lines and don’t win the match, and hence you may lose the bet. But when you continue to search for and bet on value bets, over time you is likely to make a profit. If you do not, over time, you’ll lose. Simple.

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