Sports Betting Guide
Simple steps to learn betting fundamentals
If you are reading this, then you have probably heard enough about betting. Well, not all of it is true, one half of it is a complete myth, and the other half has to be double-checked. Everyone wants to be the best punter but does not want to learn the fundamentals. Today, we would like to explain you how to learn the basics and build a solid foundation in sports betting.
Odds, probability and value
Just to begin with, we, first of all, have to know what are those odds, what do they represent and what do they have to do with probability and chance.
Taking a football match as an example, we basically have 3 possible outcomes which are win, draw and loss (or 2nd team win). It is commonly called 1X2 among the betting community. In such a scenario, the chances of each outcome occurring are around 33%. That is your probability or likelihood.
Odds, on the other hand, represent something different. They are always set by the bookmaker and besides including the probability and the bookmaker’s margin are designed to attract as many bets as possible on either side.
Spotting a value in betting is of the hardest and the most crucial thing. In order to be a sharp punter, you have to be able to see where the real probability is not corresponding to the current market situation. In order to make the market attractive to each side of bettors at all times, bookmakers have to adjust their odds, moving them up and down. That is exactly where the concept of value comes out.
Converting odds and implied probability
Okay, so, now we know a bit about what the odds are. Well, how do they look and how to read them is a whole different thing. There are many types of the odds, however, the most common ones are decimal, fractional and moneyline (or American). Don’t worry, you do not need to know all of them, as they are used based on what part of the world you live in. Fractionals are considered more traditional & original. They are used primarily in Great Britain up to this day. Decimals are more common in Europe and are arguably easier to read. The last but not least, the moneyline. This is the odds format used in the Wester Wolrd (USA, Canada).
Here is a quick example:
- Decimal odds: represented as 2.0 or 1.60
- Fractional odds: represented as 1/1 or 3/5
- Moneyline odds: represented as +100 or -167
You can convert them from one to another using special mathematical formulas or an online converter.
Based on what we’ve learned already, we can calculate the implied probability that the given odds represent. We need it to know the likelihood of the bet succeeding (implied probability). It is represented in a percentage, and whenever it is lower than the actual probability (real), it means there is value. So, how do you calculate it?
For that, we would suggest you using decimal odds, as it makes it much easy to put it in the formula. Let’s assume we have the odds of 1.60 (3/5) of team A beating team B. Our calculations would look the following way:
Implied probability = (1 / decimal odds) x 100 = 1 / 1.60 x 100 = 62.5%
In this case, 62.5% represents the implied probability of team A beating team B. That said, let’s keep in mind the fact that each football match outcome has, in reality, a 33% chance of occurring.
That is exactly where this betting thing gets tricky. How do these online bookmakers know that team A has a 62.5% chance of winning if it only has a real probability of around 33% at the kickoff?
In order to gain the edge over the market, you have to conduct a thorough analysis. Remember, assuming your calculations are correct, if the implied probability is lower than the actual one, it means there is value. Finding value should be your ultimate goal when it comes to sports betting.
Understanding the value is key to successful betting. Being able to find the odds that are set too high will give you an opportunity to take advantage of it. Just like if the odds are too short, it will give you a sign to leave that game alone.
Many professional or just good punters can tell the value right away based on their experience on a particular market. While such a skill can only develop over time, you still need to find the method of finding the value that suits you best. Finding value is critical to being successful in sports betting. Basically, you need to spot the market misconception and exploit it.
You can do this in a variety of ways. A good approach is to look at teams like companies on the stock market. There are a lot of good teams that are undervalued by the community for a number of reasons (like playing in unpopular competitions or having no superstars). Therefore, such teams carry lost of value as they are viewed as rather weak contenders, still providing excellent results. This concept also works the other way around. There are lots of teams that are overvalued continuously, again for playing in a popular competition or getting a lucky win over the odds-on favourite or having a famous veteran star (ex. AC Milan and Ibrahimovic). Famous names attract great betting volumes, sometimes creating an abnormal market situation. In such cases, bookmakers have to adjust their odds in order to limit their liabilities.
Just to sum up. Identifying the value is not an easy task, however, it will always be worth it. Such skill requires time, patience and dedication. Only those who thoroughly approach this matter will have success in the long run.
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