In this article, we discuss how to profit from sports betting – we will look at various ways for you to improve your chances to be one of the estimated 2% who can actually make money on a continuous basis from betting on sports.
We will look at the following subjects:
- Sign up offers & matched betting
- Best Odds
- Value betting
- Sports trading
Sign up offers & matched betting
When you want to bet on sports, you obviously need an account at a bookmaker (sportsbook) and the good thing is that most bookmakers offer sign up bonuses, where you will get a bonus for just creating the account. This can typically be doubling the money you put into the account (until some given max level). Now, unfortunately, you can’t just take the money and run, there are conditions attached to this; most often you need to have a turn over at x times the bonus you received at the start (this ”x” can vary, but are typically 3-10), plus the average odds on the bets you place will have to be above a certain minimum level.
Unless you’re clever this will often mean that you actually don’t get the bonus, since one of the bets you have to make most likely end up losing (that was the bookmaker’s intention from the start anyway).
However, the good thing is that you CAN be clever and make the most of these bonuses if you apply ”matched betting” principles to this. Matched betting is a discipline designed to maximize your profits from the sign-up offers and certain system providers sell strategies specifically on this subject. The good thing about matched betting is that, really, it is not gambling at all, since done the right way, you can’t lose on this. The upside is very clear, therefore. The downside is, quite obviously, that you can only get one sign up offer from each bookmaker once, so in the end, you will run dry of opportunities. You can read more about matched betting here.
By ”Best odds” we mean that it’s vital to have several bookmaker accounts so that you can make sure to get the best possible odds for a bet. When one bookmaker offers odds 2.00 for a certain bet, another may offer 2.05, and while it may look like a small difference, over the long run it can mean a lot. If you have an overall ROI of 5%, a small difference in odds can mean the difference between a winning strategy and a losing strategy.
Depending on which country you live in, there are/can be online sites that show and compare odds from most of the bookmakers and exchanges – make sure to check them every time you want to place a bet.
[Note: In certain countries, some bookmakers offer the BOG – Best Odds Guaranteed – but since this is only limited to a few countries and appear to be declining in number, we will not discuss this further here]
The term ”Value betting” is frequently used as the be-all and end-all for profitable betting and it’s easy to understand why if you consider what it actually means. ”Value betting” is basically all about only placing bets when you for one reason or another believe that the market odds are wrong (mostly too high).
So, if you have a system or strategy in place where you can estimate the ”true odds” of a certain outcome, then you can compare these ”true odds” to the odds offered by the market and if the odds offered by the market are higher than what you believe they should be, then you have a value bet.
If your method of defining the odds is good this means that over the long term, you will be in profit since you will get more winners than the offered odds suggest you should get (taking into account the ”over-round” by the bookmakers).
You have over a longer period found 100 bets where you believe there is value.
On average, the market offers odds 2.0 for these bets, however, based on your research/system, you believe the odds should only be 1.82 – in other words, when the market (on average) expect the specific outcome to be 50% likely to happen (as shown by the odds of 2.0), you actually believe it will happen 55% of the time (since 1/1.82 = 0.55). If you are right and you place $1 on each bet, you will get 55 x 2.0 x $1 = $110 in return for your $100 outlay, i.e. a 10% ROI (equal to the increased chance of 10% that you had calculated before).
Now, obviously, the difficult part here is to actually create the method where you beat the bookmakers on calculating the ”true odds”.
Another issue with this is the fact that often you will find that low-odds favorites are too low vs what the ”true odds” would suggest, so you will find yourself backing the underdog more often than not, leading to more losing bets than winning bets, and for some people, this is hard to deal with psychologically.
For instance, if you are betting on horses, you may find that your system continuously finds horses that have market odds at 20+ as potential value bets. While it may be that over the long term, your system is correct, you still only win perhaps 7-8% of the bets you place, which in other words means that you can expect to lose 92-93% of your bets. Given such a strike rate, you can expect to lose 82 bets in a row at one point… would you really keep the faith in your system and keep backing it if that happened? I would most definitely not!
The method to find the value bets should probably be based on markets where you are likely to find them at lower odds in order to keep the losing runs down. Realistically, it will also be on some of the smaller markets instead of pure ”Back to win” markets on English Premier League matches, Champions League or the Super Bowl – it is highly unlikely that you have access to info that is not widely known to the public, let alone the bookmakers, and so it is unlikely that you have a better chance to calculate the ”true odds” than the bookmakers.
If you are serious about making profits on betting on sports, Sports Trading is a very good alternative. Unlike pure sports betting, Sports Trading does not require that you are better at estimating an outcome of a certain event than the bookmaker, who after all have plenty of specialists hired working on doing just that – it requires that you are good at reading games in-play (via watching it and/or checking stats) or that you understand how to read graphs and market developments (as in pre-race scalping on horse racing). Obviously, given this site’s name, we believe that Sports Trading is the way to go if you are serious about sports betting.
Sports Trading requires that you have an account at a betting exchange such as Betfair, Betdaq, Smarkets or Matchbook (you CAN perform some trading on regular bookmakers, but if you are too good at ”playing the odds” there, you are very likely to get your account restricted or even shut down).
In this article we have strived to discuss some of the best ways to become profitable at sports betting. We have only scratched the surface, obviously, and in order to actually start making money, much more research on the subjects is needed; however, the idea was to give you some insights into where to go from here.
Matched betting is a great way to generate some ”sure” money – you need to open accounts, so why not make the most of the sign-up offers from the start?
When you have several accounts, you can also get the best odds when you have found your value bets and finally you should start learning how to trade the sports in order to deliver consistent, steady growth without losing too often.