Sports betting is meant to be fun. By placing some bets, you can enhance your experience as a sports fan. What’s not fun, however, is losing money.
No one likes being a loser, but if you want to become a winner at sports betting, you will have to invest a little bit of your time in learning how to do it the right way. To do that, first you need to understand how sportsbooks work.
Understanding How Sportsbooks Make Money
The sportsbook profit margin is the term to remember. It can have a big influence on how much money you are going to make in the long run.
The profit margin refers to the percentage the house gets from all the money the players have wagered. If you are wondering how it is possible to decide the profit, the answer is through the betting odds.
The odds are always set in such a way that if you tried to cover all the possible outcomes with equal stakes, you would end up with a negative balance. This is best explained with an example.
|Los Angeles Lakers -4||-125|
|Milwaukee Bucks +4||-125|
*An example of NBA spreads.
Let’s say your choice is spread betting and you wish to cover both options with the same stakes ($50). If you put $50 on Lakers and they beat Bucks by at least 4 points, you’re going to win $90. The problem is that you’ve also bet $50 on Bucks +4, which is a losing bet in this scenario.
This means that after placing these two bets, you have a total of $90 in your account. Before placing them, you had $100, meaning that your profit loss is $10. What this means is that in this particular scenario, the sportsbook’s profit margin is 10%.
The good news is that some sportsbooks have a lower profit margin than others. The lower the margin, the more money the players can make. This is why finding an online sportsbook with a low profit margin is of huge importance.
Finding the Right Sportsbook
Some online sportsbooks have the luxury to set lower profit margins for themselves, thus offering more attractive odds than others. Most of those sportsbooks are based offshore, in island nations where tax rates are low. Sportsbooks registered in some states within the US have to pay tax as high as 12.9% (Delaware); offshore sportsbooks don’t have to do it.
Of course, not all offshore sportsbooks have the same profit margin. Some of them even have different rates for different sports. This is why it’s best to compare the odds of several top-rated offshore sportsbooks (e.g. BetOnline, MyBookie, SportsBetting.ag, etc.) before placing your bets.
Odds Equal Probability (Sometimes)
Betting odds are supposed to show the probability of an outcome. If the odds on Team A are extremely long, it’s very probable that Team B is going to win. Backing Team A despite what the odds are suggesting would not be a very smart move. On the other hand, backing Team B at super-short odds would not be a profitable solution. Lesson? Stay away from bets that have too short/long odds.
|Betting Odds||Implied Probability|
*Examples of commonly used odds and their implied probabilities.
Betting odds don’t always tell the truth as sportsbooks often manipulate them. They do that in order to secure their profits.
Sportsbooks adjust the odds based on recent news but also according to the betting volume. If a large number of players is betting large sums of money on one outcome, the sportsbooks will shorten the odds on that bet. This way, the sportsbook is ensuring that if the bettors’ prediction proves to be right, the sportsbook will not have to make too big payouts.
At the same time, while shortening odds on one outcome, the sportsbook will also make the odds on the opposite outcome longer, thus incentivizing the players to bet on it.
That said, if the odds are short, it means that the bettors think that outcome is very likely to happen. The trouble is that sometimes their betting decisions might not be based on reason. Sometimes, players are simply backing their favorite team, letting their hearts decide for them rather than their brains.
For this reason, it’s best not to focus your entire sports betting strategy on odds. Instead, you should make your betting decisions based on the information you possess.
Information is Your Most Valuable Commodity
Sports betting might be a form of gambling, but luck doesn’t play the main role here. Instead, the difference between winning and losing depends on the information you have.
“The most valuable commodity I know of is information”Gordon Gekko, ‘The Wall Street’ movie
If a key player is missing from the squad, his team’s chances of winning are not as good as they’d be with him playing. This is just one example of how the latest reports can help you with your betting decisions.
Apart from checking the info regarding players, you also need to check things like the teams’ recent form, their home/away stats, head-to-head record, and so on.
VegasOdds.com is a very good source of information for sports bettors. This is the place where you can find the latest news from the world of sports, as well as some useful blog articles that can help you boost your betting profits.
In addition, you may also want to check out other sports news sites, such as ESPN, Squawka, and so on. Listening to sports podcasts is also a very good way of becoming a betting expert.
Some podcasts I think you should check out include The Ringer (all major US sports), UFC Unfiltered with Jim Norton and Matt Serra (mixed martial arts), The Tennis Podcast (tennis), Football Ramble Daily (soccer), and others.
The final advice I have for you on how to acquire betting knowledge is to watch the games you’re betting on.
Watching the Game
Sports are fun and watching games can be extremely entertaining. You can enhance the viewing experience by placing some bets.
It goes the other way around as well – you can enhance your sports betting knowledge by watching games. You can see how a team is playing and learn about their strengths and weaknesses.
Furthermore, watching games is bound to make you a passionate sports fan, so you’re not going to find it difficult to do all the stuff I’ve talked about above. Reading news, checking the stats, listening to sports podcasts – you’re going to love all these things if you become a sports aficionado.
Another big advantage of watching live games is that you can bet on them. Some sportsbooks let you bet on ongoing events, which can be extremely profitable for you. You can see how a team/player is performing in real-time and place your bets based on that.
Short Step-by-Step Guide to Sports Betting
Now that you have read my beginner’s guide to sports betting, you are ready to start placing bets.
To summarize, here are the five steps you should follow:
- Find a good sportsbook with attractive odds.
- Stay away from bets with odds that are either too long or too short.
- Make your betting decision based on your mind, not your emotions.
- Decide how big your wager should be.
- Place your bet and enjoy watching the game.
The final step is to repeat everything all over again. Whether you’re winning or losing shouldn’t matter to you too much, what’s most important is that you’re having fun. Still, if you do follow my sports betting strategy, you’re probably going to win more often than not.