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The Essential Sports Betting Guide

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The Essential Sports Betting Guide

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Sports betting admirers have been trying to find different ways to beat the bookmakers for decades, but there is not a thing such as perfect strategy. What someone can do is increase his/her chances of staying profitable long-term against the bookies. It takes years of experience to find the formula that best suits your specific betting style. Here are three core lessons every single punter should be well aware of before even getting into a battle with bookmakers. Those lessons are provided by the sports betting experts at leading betting site bettingtips4you.

What is value betting?

There are two key factors in being a profitable sports bettor:

  • The ability to recognize the value for a specific event
  • The bankroll management

The first factor leads us to the matter of value betting. What is it and how can it be implied to sports betting? Value is when you recognize there is a higher probability of a certain outcome to happen than the odds offered by the bookmaker suggest. The easiest way to explain it is through the basic coin toss example.

The probability for a coin to land on heads or tails is identical. There is a 50% chance it would land on heads and 50% it would go on tails. Now, let’s say there are two bookmakers offering different odds.

  • Bookmaker No 1 – 2.10 (11/10) odds for heads
  • Bookmaker No 2 – 1.90 (9/10) odds for heads

The value is calculated via the following formula:

(Probability multiplied by the decimal odds) minus 100%

Let’s calculate our value for each bookmaker from the aforementioned example.

*Bookmaker No 1 – 50% (probability) * 2.10 (odds) – 100%

The result is 5%, meaning we have the value over the bookmaker and we should place this bet all day long. However, using the same formula we will discover that Bookmaker No 2 gives us -5% value, meaning we would lose our money betting with them long term.

Now, the reality is somewhat different as most bookmakers would give you odds of 1.90 (9/10) for both heads and tails and there is no value at all in betting either of these two options. This is how bookmakers make money they are profitable regardless of the outcome. Let’s say they’ve received a $100 bet for heads and $100 bet for tails at 1.90 (9/10) odds each. They would pay out $190 winnings and collect $200 in total for these two bets. The extra $10 is called “juice” or “vig” – simply known as the house edge.

Now, applying this value system to a regular sports bet rather than a coin toss is somewhat more complicated. It all gets to your own calculation of a probability for a certain outcome to happen.

Here is an example:

Liverpool play host to Chelsea and you’ve calculated they have a 60% chance of winning in front of the home crowd at the Anfield. The bookies offered the 2.00 (1/1 or evens) odds for the home win pick. Let’s calculate the value using the aforementioned formula:

60% (probability) * 2.00 (odds) – 100% = 20%

We can say there is a huge value in backing Liverpool to win in this instance as we have a 20% advantage over the odds offered by the bookmaker. Obviously, it is very hard to be completely certain in terms of your own calculations of a probability of Liverpool's win, but let's say you took every single aspect (injuries, form, head to head record, home-court advantage etc) into consideration while figuring there is a 60% chance of the Reds winning the tie.

How to convert odds to probability?

Every successful sports punter needs to know how to convert odds to probability. Otherwise, you’ll just get lost in the odds variety, something which will guide you towards an uphill battle with the bookmakers. The principle is simple – If the implied probability (coming from the bookmakers’ odds) is less than your own assessment of a probability of a certain outcome to happen, there is your chance for a value bet.

The process of converting the odds to probability is quite simple actually. We’ll show you the formula for both decimal and fractional odds.

*Decimal Odds – 1 divided by the decimal odds

We want to convert the 1.80 odds into the probability – 1 / 1.80 = 0.55

The probability according to bookmakers’ odds is 0.55. If you believe the probability for a certain outcome to happen, you should place the bet all day long.

*Fractional Odds – Denominator divided by (Denominator plus Numerator)

Let’s use the same example (4/5 odds) – 5 / (4+5) = 0.55

How Much To Bet

The answer to this question is equally important as finding the value. All successful punters will say the key to a long-term profit lies in proper bankroll management. First of all, you should never bet the money you can't afford to lose. Secondly, you never want to place your entire bankroll in a single bet.

There are numerous bankroll builder strategies and (again) none is perfect, but you should always follow the basic rules. These say that you should have at least 100 units in your bankroll. If you have a $1,000 bankroll, the unit should be $10 etc.

Now, how much should you bet on each pick? There are many different philosophies such as:

  • Constant percentage of bankroll
  • Taking the odds into consideration
  • The Kelly Criterion

Again, the perfect strategy does not exist. It all comes down to taking all of the aforementioned factors into consideration (the difference between your own calculation of probability and the bookmakers’ odds) and sizing your bet in accordance to the best value.

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