Making sense of the numbers

Making Sense of the Numbers

Thousands and thousands of people bet on a regular basis, whether it be an accumulator every weekend, backing their favourite team, or bets to try and make a regular profit. Casual bettors (those who do a weekly accumulator, or back their beloved team to win) aren’t overly bothered about the numbers involved. They are either dreaming of the ‘jackpot’ or hoping their team wins, blindly putting faith in them. This article is aimed at those looking to try and make a profit through sports betting, by helping understand some of the things that need to be considered to try and give you some form of advantage over the bookmakers.

We will look at value, percentages, commissions and the importance to scan the markets. All of these factors can help you on your path to turning a profit on sports betting. Less than 2% of people who bet actually make money betting on sports, so here, we can look at helping you get in to that elusive bracket.

1.       Value
Finding value is key in becoming a profitable sports bettor. Our BetAdvisor tipsters are experts at finding value, and by looking at their profits, you can see that this has helped them succeed in this industry. Value is principally the idea that you find odds that are greater than you think they should be. Some use numbers and algorithms to find their ‘true’ odds, others use intuition. For example, a good value bet could be for a game where you have crunched some numbers and believe the home side should be priced at 1.50 for the win. You look at the market and find that the best odds are 1.65. You can see that the potential profit is greater than you’d expect, so it offers some value. Every single bet carries some risk, even those priced at 1.01, but the trick to become a successful sports bettor is to be able to understand the risk/reward ratio and jumping on opportunities when the reward is greater than the risk. As a blatant example, if Man City were playing Kidderminster Harriers, you know Man City are very likely to win. After some calculations you might think they should be priced at 1.05 for the win. If a bookmaker was offering 1.12, you might consider backing them because you can see the reward is worth the risk.


2.       Percentages
Following on from value, and closely linked, is percentages. It is important to know what the odds mean with regards to the percentage chance of success. Starting simply, odds of 2.00 suggest a 50% chance of success. It is useful to know these figures when deciding on whether a bet is worth placing. Odds of 1.25 suggest an 80% chance of success, 1.50 is a 66% chance, 2.50 is a 40% chance. There is then everything in between – and can be calculated like this: Chance of Success = 1 / Odds e.g. 1 / 2.50 = 0.40. Understanding this concept is relatively straight forward, but we have found it to be extremely helpful when working out whether or not to bet on a specific event.

3.       Commissions
Quite often, the best place to get high liquidity and good odds are on the betting exchanges such as Betfair, Matchbook and similar. Exchanges are where sports bettors bet against each other, meaning the margins are lower/non-existent. Sounds great, but you need to consider that the exchanges charge for their service – anything from 1-5%, and this has to be calculated in to everything you do. If you have a target price for a specific bet, be sure to deduct the commission from your potential profits to see if it still has the value you require. For example, betting £100 on a team to win at a price of 2.00 on the Betfair Exchange means that should you win, you would make a profit of £95 – this implies a ‘true’ price of 1.95, so before you bet, make sure that you are happy with the price AFTER commissions before you place the bet. In some instances, your new price of 1.95 will still be better than other bookmakers, but it is important to check.

4.       Search the market
This is arguably the most important way to gain an edge over the bookmakers – search the market to find the best price. Remaining loyal to a bookmaker does you no favours. Sure, it’s more convenient to use just one bookmaker and have one balance, but since when has anything worthwhile been convenient and straightforward? If you want to make the most of your betting balance, be prepared to move it around from bookmaker to bookmaker to get the best prices and therefore maximise your profits. Think, over 100 £50 bets priced at evens at Bookmaker 1, if you win 50%, your balance would be the same as it was. However, if the best price was 2.05 at other bookmakers for every one of these bets, you’d have made 2.5% ROI and have a profit of £125. £125 profit on the SAME bets!

The above factors are only a glimpse in to some of the things that need to be considered to get you the edge over the bookmakers. We will look at more factors in the future to help you improve your skills as a sports bettor. In the mean time, take a look at some of our tipsters, who have already mastered these aspects and many more, and are all in the 2% of people who consistently make money by betting on sports. You could also look at our archive of blog posts that could help too: Investing in Sports of Stocks for example, or maybe Principles of being a Successful Sports Bettor.