Sports Gambling Tips — Making money From Betting

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

You can find innumerable so-called gambling experts prepared to hand 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 simply give you information regarding bookmakers, odds and gambling for you to use (or forget) as you see fit.

The first thing to say is that the great majority of men and women who participate in gamblingĀ is going to be net losers over timeĀ This is the very reason there are so many bookmakers making so much money throughout the world.

While bookmakers will often take big hits, for instance if your favourite wins the Grand National, they spread their risk so widely and they create markets that incorporate a margin, so they will always make a gain within the medium to longterm, 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 probability of that event occurring. To achieve this they us various statistical models based on data collated over years, sometime decades, about the activity and team/competitor in question. Of course, if sport was 100% predictable, it would soon lose its appeal, and whilst the bookies tend to be spot on with their assessments of the probability of an event, they’re 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 discover an occasion when the underdog triumphs against most of the odds, literally. Wimbledon beating the then mighty Liverpool in the FA Cup Final of 1988, for instance, or the USA beating the then mighty USSR at ice hockey in the 1980 Olympics are two samples of whenever you would have handsome odds on the underdog. And could have won a good wedge.

The big bookmakers spend plenty of time and money ensuring they’ve the right odds that ensure they take into consideration the perceived probability of the function, and adding that extra tiny bit that offers them the profit margin. So if an event includes a probability of, say, 1/3, the odds that reflect that probability would be 2/1. That’s, two to one against that event occurring.

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

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

One way is to have very good at mathematical modelling and create a style that takes into account as most of the variables that affect the outcome of an event as possible. The situation with this particular tactic is that however complex the model, and however all-encompassing it appears, it cannot account fully for the minutiae of variables concerning 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 the maximum amount of down for their concentration as to the weather or day of the week. Also, the maths can start getting pretty darn complicated.

Alternatively you can 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 wanting to beat the bookies while betting on a Manchester United v Chelsea match is going to be tough. If you benefit one of many clubs, or are married to one of many players or managers, it is very possible the bookmaker setting the odds could have additional information than you.

However, if you’re 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 start to get a benefit over bookies (if they even set odds for such things, which many do).

And what do you do when you yourself have a benefit in information terms? You follow the value.

Value betting is where you back a selection at odds which are greater than the particular probability of an event occurring. So for instance, in the event that you gauge the probability of a certain non-league football team (Grimsby Town, say) winning their next football match as 1/3 or 33%, and you will find a bookmaker who has set the odds of 3/1, you’ve a value bet in your hands. The reason why being, odds of 3/1 (excluding the margin built-in by the bookie) suggest a probability 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.

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