How to Win at Sports Betting

sportsbettingAlthough many people enjoy a flutter, few understand enough about what they’re doing  to win at sports betting in the long term.

Casual sports bettors will often bet on their favourite team, or bet on who they think is the better team, without considering several other important factors.

In this article, we’ll go through a few of the the things you need to know if you want to beat the bookies and become a winning sports bettor.

Sports Betting Odds

The number one mistake that losing sports bettors make is not properly considering the odds which they’re being offered. When deciding on their bets, they simply try to work out who is going to win, and then bet on that team regardless of the odds on offer. The vast majority of people don’t understand the concept of ‘value’ when it comes to sports betting and don’t pay enough attention to getting the best odds.

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Let’s take an example: Say Spain are playing Scotland in Soccer; many people will think ‘Oh Spain are going to win this game easily, I’ll bet on them. Scotland have no hope’. This shouldn’t be how you look at things. Betting on Scotland could be a great idea. Imagine you could get 50/1 on Scotland winning, would you consider it a good bet then? What about 1000/1. Of course you would probably have a little bet on Scotland then, because the odds represent better value. Every match-up has odds that represent the real chance of the event happening, and if you can get better odds than this, then you’re making a bet which will make you money in the long run. In our example, you might expect Scotland to beat Spain maybe 1 time out of 10, meaning if you get odds greater than 9/1, you should make the bet.

The concept of making the bet which represents good value, and not simply betting on who you think is going to win is one of the most difficult concepts for amateur sports bettors to accept.

Finding Good Value Bets

So now that you know you need to find bets that represent value, how do you go about finding good value bets? The first step is to convert the odds on offer into implied probability. If you’re being offered 2/1, simply put the bottom number over the sum of the top and bottom numbers and convert this to a percentage to get the implied probability. So, 1/3 = 33.3%. Taking another example, 7/4 would convert to 4/11 = 36.3%.

If you think the probability of the event you’re betting on exceeds that which is implied by the odds, then you have a good value bet and should put some money on it. Let’s say you think that there’s a 60% chance that the Giants will beat the Patriots, and the odds on offer are evens (1/1; implied probability 50%), then for every dollar you bet on the game, you can expect to make 20c profit on average.

Sports Betting Research

The last thing you need to master if you want to win at sports betting is coming up with the probabilities which you need to compare with the odds the bookmakers are offering. The only way to do this is through hard work and research. If basketball is your sport and you’re weighing up a game or deciding which team you think will cover the spread, you need to factor a number of things into your decisions. Things like whether each team on a winning/or losing streak; results of previous games between the teams; individual player match-ups; injuries and many more.

You can go into a huge amount of statistical detail if you want to, and many professional sports bettors keep very detailed logs and analyse teams and players in minute detail in order to come up with their bets. The great thing about the internet age is that all of the stats are at your fingertips and sites like Football 365 and ESPN, so all you have to do is analyse them.

If you want to be a winning sports bettor, you’re usually better off sticking to one or two sports and studying them in detail. This gives you the best chance to gain an edge over the bookmakers and make some money.

Special Offers

Another thing to keep an eye on is money back specials. These are far more common for UK and Europe serving bookmakers than for US books, but they represent another opportunity for you to pick out winning bets. For example Paddy Power who like to show their Irish patriotism might make an offer like ‘Money back on all Irish players if Rory McIlroy wins the Masters’. The effect of these offers can often be the difference between a good bet and a bad one, so study them and hard and do the maths on them to see if they’re worthwhile!

Don’t forget you can also follow our tips, which do pretty well. You can find some of our most recent sports betting articles in the list below, and if you want to get them as soon as they’re posted, make sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Also make sure to subscribe to the Season Ticket Podcast, where we talk sport and betting tips every week!

Latest Sports Betting Articles:

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February 14, 2017

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