Sports Gambling Strategies — Generating revenue As a result of Betting

I’m the Sports Editor for a sports news and gambling website. I have a long time experience of gambling, sports journalism and study of mathematics. Am I a gambling expert? Well, I suppose you can say that.

You will find innumerable so-called gambling experts willing to dish out information of these systems to’beat the bookie’or to create a second income from gambling, for a cost of course. I won’t do that. I will just give you details about bookmakers, odds and gambling for you really to use (or forget) as you see fit.

First thing to say is that the vast majority of individuals who engage in gambling will undoubtedly be net losers over time This is the very reason you will find so many bookmakers making so much money through the entire world.

While bookmakers can sometimes take big hits, as an example in case a favourite wins the Grand National, they spread their risk so widely and they setup markets that incorporate a margin, so they will always make a gain on the medium to long haul, or even the short term. That’s, so long as they got their sums right.

When setting their odds for a certain event, bookmakers must first gauge the likelihood of that event occurring. To do this they us various statistical models based on data collated over years, sometime decades, about the activity and team/competitor in question. Obviously, if sport was 100% predictable, it would soon lose its appeal, and as the bookies tend to be spot up with their assessments of the likelihood of an event, they are sometimes way off the mark, mainly 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, as an example, or the USA beating the then mighty USSR at ice hockey in the 1980 Olympics are two types of when you would ‘ve got handsome odds on the underdog. And may have won a decent wedge.

The big bookmakers spend plenty of time and money ensuring they have the proper odds that ensure they consider the perceived likelihood of the function, and then add that extra small bit that gives them the profit margin. So if an event features a likelihood of, say, 1/3, the odds that reflect that probability would be 2/1. That’s, 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. In this way they have built in the margin that ensures, over time, they will benefit from people betting on this selection. It’s the exact same concept as a casino roulette.

So how can you spot the occasions when bookmakers ‘ve got it wrong? Well, it’s easier said than done, but far from impossible.

One of the ways is to have very good at mathematical modelling and setup a model that takes under consideration as many of the variables that affect the outcome of an event as possible. The issue with this specific tactic is that however complex the model, and however all-encompassing it seems, it can never account for 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 is just as much down with their concentration as to the weather or day of the week. Also, the maths will start getting pretty darn complicated.

Alternatively you’ll find yourself a sporting niche. Bookmakers will concentrate their resources on the events that make them probably the most money, generally found to be football (soccer), American football and horse racing. So trying to beat the bookies while betting on a Manchester United v Chelsea match will undoubtedly be tough. If you benefit one of many clubs, or are married to one of many players or managers, it is more than likely the bookmaker setting the odds can have more info than you.

However, if you are betting on non-league football, or badminton, or crown green bowls, it is possible, through work reading a lot of stats, and general information gathering, you can begin to gain an edge over bookies (if they even set odds for such things, which many do).

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

Value betting is where you back a selection at odds which are greater than the actual likelihood of an event occurring. So as an example, in the event that you gauge the likelihood of a certain non-league football team (Grimsby Town, say) winning their next football match as 1/3 or 33%, and you discover a bookmaker who has set the odds of 3/1, you’ve a benefit bet in your hands. The main reason 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’ve effectively built in an 8% margin for yourself.

Obviously Grimsby (as is usually the case) might fluff their lines and neglect to win the match, and hence you can lose the bet. But if you continue to seek out and bet on value bets, over time you can make a profit. If you don’t, over time, you will lose. Simple.

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