Sports Betting Guide

Importance of reading the market in sports betting

What does it take to be successful in sports betting? Let’s talk about the importance of reading & analysing the way sports betting markets behave & how it can help you beat a bookie.

reading markets betting guide


Sports bettors often get caught up in the process of thoroughly analysing their betting activity and everything involved with it. While it is important to place your bets based on a proper raw analysis of the market & value, there are situations when a bit different approach could do you a much bigger favour than you think. So, let us talk about the importance of being able to read the markets & understand them to stay profitable in sports betting.

Blind tasting approach

Blind tasting? Yes, just like professional sommeliers have to be able to tell the origin of the wine by blindly tasting it, the same way bettors should be able to trace back the origin of the desired wager, in order to find its value. When it comes to betting on sports, experts usually rely on and suggest younger punters build their betting routine around mathematic formulas and betting strategies involving some sort of data analysis, etc. However, it is good to switch it up a bit and try something else. Note, we are not trying to say that analysing historical betting data and turning to a specific betting strategy is not important. In fact, it is the only way you can succeed. Nevertheless, the golden rule of thumb suggests that acquiring as much information as possible will only give you an extra opportunity to gain that desired edge over the online bookie.

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Thus, reading and understanding market movement is quite important to your betting success as well. Start with choosing the market you are interested in betting. You can always start with one or just a few you know the most. This will help you learn the fundamentals of this approach and find out how to read certain indicators & market signals. So, just like during wine tasking sommeliers look for features like taste, smell & viscosity of the wine they taste, punters should look for price movements, starting price, time of bets & market changes, betting margins and when & who attracts the most action, in order to identify value. All of this information is crucial to building your market profile, which then you can use to determine the best moment to place your wagers, etc.

Market profile & how to read them

Just like we have already mentioned, reading the market is very important in building its profile. The more information you are able to gather and properly sort out, the bigger picture you will have, and the more likely you will be able to foresee future market behaviour. Besides the above-mentioned data that sits more on the «surface» (if you can say that) like price, timestamps & whatsoever, try to go further and look for more detailed data like market opening/market closure, what did the market look like during similar situations in the past, or what other indicators were present. Once again, the more data you have, the better it is for you.

Once you are able to gather all the needed data, you should start building your market profile. We would like to show you a couple of categories that you should be looking for when designing your profile, however, they are not limited to them! The developed your profile would be, the more accurate information it can provide you in the future.

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Bookmaker’s margin

One of the most important aspects when it comes to placing your bets. While small, these margins have an extremely huge influence on your long-term betting. Looking for the bookmaker with the lowest margin on the market should be one of your main priorities when it comes to beating online bookies. Professional bettors are usually betting with low margin bookmakers, while higher-margin operators are usually suited more for recreational punters. Your task is to know who has the lowest & the highest margin on the market. It is very important to look for as many bookmakers on the market as possible. Simply use one of the odds comparison websites, preferably with a graph and timestamps.

Market opening & odds movement

Market opening is one of the first points you have to look for when shaping your market profile. Bookmakers are also humans & thus, the human factor plays a big role in assessing risks & offering the opening odds. Bookmakers also make mistakes, and opening lines are some of the best places to look for those. Make sure you know the starting price and, more importantly, the early action. The early action will force the so-called early movement, which is usually referred to a time period of 5-10 minutes after market opening. The bets punters usually enter the market at that point, because it is the best moment to fish out the best value for your bets if such exists.

You do not really have to jump in right at the opening but rather analyse the early action and identify its indicators and find out whether or not oddsmakers made accurate predictions. The second part of this step is market stability. After the early action settles the market, the market usually enters a state of stability, which is represented by no lime movement for a long time. Use this moment to verify the accurateness of the opening odds.

Pro tip: when analysing the early action, watch out for market manipulations. Some influential bettors or betting groups sometimes intentionally create action on one side of the market in order to boost the odds of the opposing side. Being able to identify such situations is also very rewarding.

Asymmetric outcomes. What are they and how can they affect your betting?

Betting volumes

While this category is largely related to the previous one, it is still worth a bit of separate attention. Volume is the amount of money wagered on the market and/or each side separately. The change of these volumes is always followed by the change in odds. Such changes can be either forced by a large number of smaller bets or a small number of big wagers. The normal volume change is usually represented by smaller odds changes across a period of time (consistently). However, speaking about influential bettors or groups mentioned above, the odds change caused by their activity is usually followed by big & rapid price movements. Luckily there is a way to tell those apart by looking at the timestamps.

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One more thing before we move on, there are also leading source price changes. Unlike the previous two types of odds changes, this one is not affected by the change in betting volumes but rather by the competition. It got its name from its nature, the market always has its leaders and those who follow them. The biggest bookmakers are usually the richest ones, thus have the ability to spend more and market evaluation and staff. Having said that, one of the big players is usually leading the market by introducing the odds change first. While there are competitors that would solely use their own sources, the majority of the market would simply follow the leader, adjusting their odds based accordingly. This part is tricky because if you miss the moment of the price change being introduced, you can easily mistake it for a volume or influential one. Thus, keeping an eye on and identify the market leader is EXTREMELY important for EVERY market.

Closing action

Speaking about line movement, we cannot forget about the importance of the late market action or late movement. As a matter of fact, late movement is as equally important to your profile as early one is, and is usually referred to the changes happening within the last 30 minutes before the start of the event. While they can tell you a lot about the accuracy of the odds, the change itself could be influenced by irrational recreational wagering when punters blindly stake money on the event just to have something staked. Monitoring this market phase could be very beneficial for you and your betting.

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These are only some examples of the things you can look for when building your betting market profile. The more of those you can extract from the available data, the more potential it will have to make sharp market predictions and help you get the best value for your bets.

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