Sports Gambling Recommendations : Making profits Out of Betting

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

You will find innumerable so-called gambling experts willing to dish out information of their systems to’beat the bookie’or to create a second income from gambling, for an amount of course. I won’t do that. I will simply offer you information regarding bookmakers, odds and gambling for you yourself to use (or forget) as you see fit.

The very first thing to say is that a large proportion of people who participate in gambling will be net losers over time This is the very reason you can find so many bookmakers making so much money throughout the world.

While bookmakers can sometimes take big hits, as an example if your favourite wins the Grand National, they spread their risk so widely and they set up markets that incorporate a margin, so they will always make a profit over the medium to long haul, if not the short term. That is, as long as they got their sums right.

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

Just look at any sport and you may find an occasion when the underdog triumphs against all 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 whenever you would have got handsome odds on the underdog. And would have won a good wedge.

The big bookmakers spend lots of time and money ensuring they have the best odds that ensure they take into consideration the perceived probability of the function, and then add that extra tiny bit that gives them the profit margin. So if an event has a probability of, say, 1/3, the odds that reflect that probability will be 2/1. That is, two to 1 against that event occurring.

However, a bookie who set these odds would, with time, break even (assuming their stats are correct). So instead they would set the odds at, say, 6/4. This way they have built in the margin that ensures, with time, they will make money from people betting on this selection. It’s exactly 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 excellent at mathematical modelling and set up a product that takes into account as many of the variables that affect the results of an event as possible. The situation with this tactic is that however complex the model, and however all-encompassing it appears, it cannot account fully for the minutiae of variables associated with 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 to their concentration regarding the weather or day of the week. Also, the maths will start getting pretty darn complicated.

Alternatively you can find yourself a sporting niche. Bookmakers will concentrate their resources on the events that produce them 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 will be tough. Unless 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 more info than you.

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

And what would 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 can be greater than the actual probability of an event occurring. So as an example, if you gauge the probability of a particular 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 have a price bet on your own hands. The reason 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 have effectively built in an 8% margin for yourself.

Obviously Grimsby (as is usually the case) might fluff their lines and fail to win the match, and hence you could lose the bet. But when you continue steadily to seek out and bet on value bets, with time you could make a profit. If you may not, with time, you will lose. Simple.

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