We have explained here that it is indeed possible to become a profitable sports bettor.
So, what can you do to maximise your sports betting income? Here are a few obvious things-
Always look for positive Expected value (+EV) bets
- Always look for positive expected value ‘EV’ bets. This is a basic concept that basically says you should look at betting as a long-run exercise. As long as you find positive EV bets all the time, you will win out. In other words, do not fret about losing 5 in a row. If they were truly positive EV bets, you will become profitable. To understand what is a positive EB bet, you need enough knowledge to assess the probabilities of a match outcome. Here is an example-
- Take a Moneyline bet with a genuine 50/50 betting line, i.e. both teams are at American odds of -110 (rare to find)
- At what probability of a win does this bet actually result in a profitable outcome?
- Basically, you have to overcome the 10% Vig in your probability estimate, which sounds like 55%.
- So a $110 bet placed at -110 will have the following likely outcomes.
- We win the bet at a 55% chance, which means we win $100 (odds were -110)
- We lose the bet at a 45% chance, which means we lose $110
- So, our expected value is to win $55 under E and lose $110*.45 = $ 50 under F. This gives a net expected value of $5. This is a positive EV bet
- Because the Vig only applies on one side of the bet (when we win), the actual probability is more like half of the intuitive 10%, so 2.5% on a 50/50 bet. Without going into a math formula, you can run the numbers yourself to see that the breakeven in the above bet applies at 52.35%
- So, we only need to spot a 2.35% error in the implied probabilities in the odds to be able to make a profit in sports betting. We achieve this via placing positive EV bets.
- Remember that ‘variance’ can be huge-you could place hundreds of bets before your positive EV strategy actually starts to show profits if you got off to a bad start. This is why bankroll management is so important (see below)
Become an expert in your chosen sports
- Become an expert in your area of Sports Betting. If you follow the logic above, you need to find an ‘edge’ where you can spot 2.4% differences in the probabilities of match outcomes versus standard bookie odds. To make up for market imperfections (especially poor lines), let’s call that a 5% difference. So, if the bookies say an outcome is 50/50, you need to believe it is 55/45 on average to justify a bet. This means 11 out of 20 chances are on your side). To assess this, you will need to spot the gaps in the markets (i.e. the lines set by the bookies) by knowing more than them. It is unrealistic to become an expert in all sports. So pick the few that interest you most and focus on those. Later, once you have a successful betting strategy, you can expand your knowledge of other sports.
- Careful bankroll management is vital as we discuss in our article here
- Look for thinner markets. The more advanced and larger the market is, the more time the bookies are putting into pricing correctly. The corollary is that you can find more value in thinner markets. For example, the sportsbook pricing of an LPGA Tour event is not going to be as accurate as for a PGA event. This gives the smart sports bettor more chance to find edges
- Look for arbitrage opportunities – basically gaps left in the marketplace by the sportsbook having different odds and lines. An over in one sportsbook might have a good enough price to allow you to take both an over and an under with you guaranteed to win. This especially can happen in live betting (In-Play) were not all the lines are moving at the same pace
- Get good at In-Play betting. This is covered more elsewhere, but expert viewing insight on how a game is going (especially at the very start) and inefficient line movements, can create good betting opportunities for the savvy bettor
Own multiple sportsbooks
- Own multiple sportsbooks – Oftentimes customers will say they already have a sportsbook and do not need another one. This is clearly a convenience-based preference-i.e. I am used to it and like the interface etc. Naturally, any given sportsbook will love this attitude as they want you to maximize your betting with them. However, there are 4 reasons to have more options than just 1 sportsbook
- Line Shopping. With a reasonable betting return (ROI) being something like 20-50% of your betting, why would you ignore the fact that there can be up to a 50% difference between the value presented by the lines of most sportsbooks? Even for major sports, these differences will amount to at least 10-20%. This increases greatly for sports such as golf and many minor sports.
- Avoid being limited. If you do indeed become consistently profitable, you may well find yourself becoming limited. This unfair practice is common throughout the industry. The best protection against this is to ‘spread your action around’
- Variety of sports and especially prop bets. It is almost impossible to find one sportsbook that can cover everything. Having multiple apps increases your chances of getting the exact bet you want
- In-app promotions. Many of the Sportsbooks run positive EV (Expected Value) daily or weekly specials. e.g. Bet $50 on tonight’s NBA play=off game and get $20 back in free bets. As explained below, a successful bettor is always looking for positive EV bets
- Opening new client promotions. As explained here, these are loss-making to Sportsbooks, so they are profitable to you. You should maximize all of these offers
Good luck in your endeavors. We hope that the betting picks we give you on this site can help you in your journey to becoming a profitable sports bettor