How to win in betting

Before we define the steps to be taken to see success in sports betting, let us look at the other side of the spectrum. Why? It is a well known fact that over 90% of punters are losing in the long term. Even more dramatic is the casino gambling with a long term “losing rate” reaching as high as 100%, but that is a different story.

Getting back to sports betting, the main reason for the low success rate is out of the punters powers. It is called the market margin and this term simply means that the bookmaker is keeping a certain percentage as his revenue. The average revenue is between 3-7 %, while for matches with lower predictability is the bookie keeping up to 11%. Fair enough! We all do business or work to receive money. This is however not the end of a story. If we are talking about the English Premier League predictions, at the end of the match there will be only one result and if 100% of the punters guess it right, the market margin will not save the bookmakers ass.

Case study

Imagine you are a bookmaker and you are about to set odds for a football match. What do you do to be profitable? Let’s say we are talking about the clash between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur. Citizens are in this case clear top dogs and you definitely should push the odds for the home win as low as possible. What is the Forebet you are about to make? You can say Manchester City has 90% chance of hitting the home win, which goes for odds 1.11 (decimal) or 1/9 for UK Odds. When you give this low odds for the home win, you are supposed to give better odds for the draw and away win. And here comes the magic: If you list only 1.11 for the home win, by keeping 6% market margin you would need to give odds for the draw 8.00 (12.50% implied probability) and for the away win as high as 25.00 (4% implied probability).

You actually don’t need to be a mathematician to see that the given odds are way too high. If you however understand the odds in numbers, you see an opportunity. No matter what group you belong to, you will most likely go for the opportunity. Why do I call this fixture an opportunity? Because the odds I suggested do not reflect the real probability and give a value bet in 2 out of 3 outcomes. If you were a bookmaker and this was your behaviour you would end up losing fortune.

Punters misery

Coming back to real life. Bookmakers are quite good at knowing the correct probability and that puts the punters into a “not so great situation”. This means one thing that is described in the following table.

Home WinDrawAway Win
Real probability2.873.962.51
Bookies Odds2.383.473.16

If you have the real odds (converted to decimal odds) higher than what the bookie gives you means that you are basically screwed. Many times you have the 7% market margin “divided” between all home/draw/away and that means you are 100% likely to lose in the long term (Yeah! Just like with the casino). As you see in the example above, the bookie decided to “motivate” the punters to bet on away win, since on a home win and a draw he is keeping more in margin. 

How smart…  this however is you chance. If you use mathematical football predictions and see the spot for a value (called value bet), there is no escape for the bookmaker and they will lose in the long term. How much? You should not expect to earn more than 15%, and it actually takes time to spot the value. There are however different mathematical forebet services such as Rowdie.co.uk who offer scientific football predictions for free. Please remember:

Value bet is one of the very few tools to be profitable in sports betting

Why do the bookmakers give a value bet?

The short answer is: They have no choice. There are some good punters out there and this and bookies have to accept that. They are better off by focusing on the 99% of punters who do not bet with a brain but rather emotions. Those less than 1% are simply a price for doing business. If you are however too good, bookmakers will limit your account – but we write about it once you get there. 

There is also a long answer to that question. Imagine you have a clear favourite playing at home against an underdog. Imagine all the punters going crazy and betting on the home win. You as a bookie have no other choice than dramatically lower the odds. Let’s say from 1.5 to 1.2 to demotivate them to bet more. On the other hand you have to increase the odds on the away win (even if that sounds like nonsense). Nobody will really bet on the away win of an underdog, but this is the trap. You should – but not all of them. My personal rule is to select those fixtures and bet where the odds are between 3.00 and 5.00. Believe or not: It works.