Beat The Odds
If you are looking for a way to consistently win your bets or for a betting strategy that will allow you to do this, you won’t find it. Betting sites are businesses and do exist to make a profit so over time they will always win on average. For this reason, you should only gamble for fun, and never more then what you can afford. Even if you might not be able to beat the bookie regularly, you can certainly beat the odds in some circumstances, so that when you actually win, you will get a better payout.
Looking For Prices
By beating the odds, we mean that you should be looking for prices that are too pessimistic about a potential outcome to occur. If you are able to spot those selections that are over-priced, then you can really have a long-term value from your betting activity. Although this will not increase your chances of winning, it will mean that you will get a bigger payout when you get it right.
In this guide, we are taking a good look at how to spot when a selection is over-priced and how to make the best decisions when betting on casinos or sportsbooks.
How Are Odds Set?
There is nothing magical about odds, and in sports betting, they are decided by human traders and therefore open to mistakes. If you are able to find the human error before the betting site will realise you can take great additional value out of it.
How can you decide what are the correct probabilities of something happening? Nowadays traders do rely a lot on software and maths, but even those algorithms will have to be programmed by someone, so human intervention is always there.
Modern Betting Tools
Today modern betting sites have lots of tools they can use to set up odds, but eventually, it is down to the subjective assessments of the odds traders. Those members of staff are highly trained, but they are still human beings and can make errors. Usually betting sites tend to rely heavily on statistics and also public opinion: they look at how many people have backed the outcome and adjust their view based on that. This is an excellent way of setting odds however they don’t take account of the short-term changes, and it is here where the punter can gain an advantage.
Betting sites are also usually overly optimistic: they set odds assuming that an outcome is more likely to happen then the real probability. In doing so, they are building their margin into the price and will secure a profit regardless of the outcome of the event (as long as they have been able to have a balanced book).
Betting Company Margins
Statistically, because they are using those margins, a betting company will always win in the long run. Casino games have fixed payout rates, and over a period of time, a customer will lose more than in sport. The reason is that in sports betting the outcome is actually in the real world and it is, therefore, open to fluctuation while a computer game regulated by software will always be right.
It is not possible for betting sites to price outcomes always in the right way so the only chance for a customer to beat a bookie is to spot the market where they are way off and take advantage before the operator will notice. Having said that if the betting site sees this as a very obvious error, they have the right to refuse to pay.
How Can You Beat The Odds Regularly?
If you are able to spot when an odds trader has made an error you are in fact beating the odds. Since betting sites regularly watch each other and have solid trading teams, this doesn’t happen frequently, but it is still a possibility.
Odds are also based on public opinion, and if the majority of punters back a horse, then the odds for that one will shrink. The probability of that horse winning the race haven’t certainly changed, but the public opinion has influenced the odds: now it is down to your knowledge to assess if the public has got it right or wrong. This is the same in the stock market for example where price is based on public opinion.
95% Of Gamblers Lose In The Long Run
It is staggering to note that around 95% of ‘professional gamblers’ do lose in the long run. This clearly indicates that the bookmakers do win, but it also means that 1 in 20 of those punters regularly manages to beat the odds and make a profit. Below we have looked at what are the basic rules they use so you can try out.
Spot The Right Events And Markets
You will not be able to defeat bookies very regularly if you are going for the mainstream sports like football, tennis, horse racing and others. Betting sites do have dedicated teams of expert traders that will work to price different big sports and use all the info available to minimise mistakes.
If you want to have a chance, you should look at those events where your research can give you an edge over the bookmaker. Novelty bets and specials, for example, are good markets in that sense and betting sites are generally not employ dedicated traders as the turnover is low. In this case, you can find prices that are over generous and take full advantage.
You can still manage to beat the odds in bigger events as long as you select the right line to bet on. The match result market usually is pretty accurate, but other markets like under/over, handicaps, etc. can sometimes have some errors to exploit.
Check Early Prices
As you will probably imagine the more, you look into the future, the more things are likely to be unpredictable. This can actually be a positive thing for punters and a negative for bookies, as long as used sensibly. This is because by placing a bet earlier the market information will be scarce and this is why some betting sites are not releasing odds to early and prefer following the leading companies like William Hill, Coral, Ladbrokes etc. that have the financial backup and the experience to price up markets earlier.
Getting Good Early Prices
If you are able to get a good early price before the odds shorten this will deliver additional value. This tends to happen frequently on horse racing: if you bet on ante-post for a big race and after the that the horse starts to perform well, people will start to back him, and this could well cause the odds to fall as we getting closer to the event. If you have backed the horse at 20/1 and at the time of the event it has been shortened to 5/1, you have done a great job. If he does win the race, you will get a payout that is four times better than you would have got by betting on the day.
Surely by betting very early, you are also risking more as odds could also lengthen. That horse could even get injured and not running at all in which case you would have lost your bet even before the race. So, taking early prices can be an excellent way to beating the odds but you need to factor in the extra risk and also you need to know what you are doing first.
Do Proper Research And Spot The Weak Links
Even if something is difficult, it doesn’t mean that it is impossible. It does, however, require a lot of work and preparation. If you want to beat bookmakers, unfortunately studying statistics and form won’t be enough as those are info widely available to traders and will be factored in the odds.
To have a chance, you will need to research things that odds traders might not consider. For example, if you are betting on a tennis match you should look at the personal situation of the player: has he had a recent break-up? Has he had a baby? All those things might go unnoticed to odds compilers but can give you a significant advantage as the player might be less focus than normal: as a result, he will have fewer chances of winning but this will not be reflected in the odds and is something that can be exploited.
So regardless of the market there will always opportunities to find an edge. Don’t think the loophole will last long as betting sites are quick to act and always challenge yourself to find new avenues.
Only Place A Wager If Odds Are Better Than Your Prediction
If you believe the odds are better then your prediction it makes sense to place a bet. It is crucial that you will do your own research and also look what the other betting sites are offering. You should give yourself a benchmark: if there are 20% better then your guess then it is worth it if not you should leave it. By doing this consistently, you will make sure to get better value, and this will increase the chances of making a profit. So let’s say you think an event has a 5/1 chance of happening. In this case, you should look for a price of 6/1 or more, and this will give you an extra 20% to your prediction.
There are some obscure markets where betting sites are struggling to settle the odds. This might be something that hasn’t happened before, and therefore they don’t have the same level of information like other markets.
This had famously happened in 2016 when Leicester City managed to stun everyone and win the English Premier League. Betting sites had priced Leicester at 5000/1 to win the league at the beginning of the season. By doing so, they basically said that in 5000 years a team like Leicester will only win the league once. Obviously, this selection was hugely over-priced and end it up backfiring on them with Leicester that ended up winning the title. Some punters decided to back Leicester as they saw the huge value and they did beat the odds in style.
So rare events usually do have high odds and if you have a strategy in place to take advantage of those you can get a massive payout if you are correct.
Difficult To Predict Outcomes
Another strategy is to look at those events that are difficult to predict. Another example also happened in 2016 with the US Presidential election: despite all polls were saying that Clinton would have won the campaign, Donald Trump ended up securing the majority of the seats. This was down to human error as they missed a significant chunk of demographic that did vote for Trump.
Betting sites are relying on polls and stats in general when deciding odds, and if you do parallel research and discover some stats are not representative of the reality, you can get a huge advantage in those markets.
Betting sites are good at setting prices especially on things that they know. If they have no knowledge of something and don’t have a benchmark, they will go with their best guess, and as it is a guess, it can be horribly wrong.
This tends to happen with horses that usually do start their activity unclassified and can only be judged once they have done their first season. If you are able to spot early a horse that is going to become a future star you can really beat the odds. This rule obviously applies to every sport where you can spot the star of the feature and back him.
Watch Out For Less Popular Markets
As we have seen odds are not only based on stats but also on opinion. When lots of people are backing a selection, the odds shortening and if nobody is backing a selection, the odds are lengthening. If you are able to spot those lines, then you can get a significant added value to your bets.
The majority of bets tend to have an emotional angle: it is a fact that people do not usually bet on things they don’t like to see. This is why not many people are betting on things like draws or ‘no goalscorer’. So if you bet those selections you might have better value, then other markets as betting sites are pushing up the odds.
Have A Portfolio Of Betting Sites To Get Best Prices
Although this is something pretty obvious, it is impressive to see how many punters are just sticking with one or two betting sites only. By opening several accounts, you will get several advantages: not only you will be able to get great welcome deals, but also you will have the chance of securing the best possible odds for the selection you are interested in. You should first decide which bet to go for, then take a look at who has the best price, and only then place your bet. By doing this consistently, you will add significant value to your bets.
Avoid Operators To Close Your Account
Another reason why it is advisable to have several betting accounts is to avoid operators closing your account. Don’t forget that betting sites are private companies and as such, they are looking to make a profit. If you are regularly winning in certain types of markets, they will limit or close the account without even have to give you explanations. By spreading your bets over some operators, you will reduce the risk of being flagged by a single betting site.
Loss Leaders & Enhanced Odds
Bookmakers, similarly to supermarkets, do run some loss-leading campaigns. The reasons why they are doing so is that they hope you might also buy other things and therefore they can still make a profit overall and also because they believe you might come back if you are being offered a good deal.
Competition Is Fierce
Since the competition is fierce, betting websites, do frequently run loos leading headline betting markets so that they can stand out from the competition. Price boosts and enhanced odds offers can really add value if used correctly. Similarly to what we said above it makes complete sense to have some betting accounts so that you can take advantage of those deals.
It is, however, crucial that you do not just place a bet on a market because there is a boost in the price. If you do that the betting site is leading you in placing your bets and this is not the way it should go. It is also vital that you do your own research to see why a price has been enhanced and if there is something you might not know.
Take Full Advantage Of Valuable Odds
The reason why betting sites are running loss leaders offers is to push you to bet. If you use them sensibly, the offers will increase the chances of winning over time. It is therefore essential that you scout the betting market for offers before betting. Price boosts that give you back cash winnings rather than free bets or bonus cash are by far the best. If you go for a free bet or promo cash offer make sure you have checked what are the wagering requirements.
Betting sites usually attach wagering requirements to offers so that you are required to bet your winnings sometimes. They do so you have to be more involved, and they also hope you will lose all or some of the winnings. As you can imagine the lower are the wagering requirements and the more chances you have to win money with offers.
Good Offers Delivering Value
In the online betting industry, some decent offers have been around for years, delivering value for punters. If you take horse racing, for example, there are lots of free bet and money back deals linked to ITV live races. Best Odds Guaranteed are also an example. If you are a regular punter and take advantage of those deals weeks in and out, over time, you will get significant extra value out of those offers.
Boost Your Own Odds & Request A Bet
The most profitable way of betting is to come up with a prediction first and then look at the best price to place your wager. The issue is that sometimes you might not find a line that will match your prediction precisely so you might end up committing to something similar.
Making compromises when betting can be costly and one of the positive things about our modern times is that online betting sites allow you to request your own odds. You can do that by simply filling a contact form or even via mobile apps or social media: in few minutes leading bookmakers will provide the odds you need.
Enhanced Odds Offers
The same issue can arise with enhanced odds betting offers. Lots of price boosts are fascinating but might be reserved for some betting lines that you are not interested in. Some top betting sites like Ladbrokes give you the possibility to select the bet that you want to boost. You can use this once a day, and it is a fantastic way of beating the odds.
Exchange Betting & Arbing
You need to imagine an exchange like a room where there are lots of micro bookies. Since you are betting against peers with the operator that merely get a commission out of it, it is a lot more realistic to be able to turn the odds in your favour. After all, you are challenging yourself against another person and not a team of experienced odds traders. This is the main reason why betting professionals are using exchanges.
There are many people in an exchange that are laying odds more driven by an emotional reason than as a part of a strategy like a betting site odds trader would. If you have a good knowledge and can spot those type of situations, you can beat the odds.
You can also do arbitrage (arbing) where you are picking a favourable price on the exchange and then lay the same bet at a favourable odds on a fixed odds betting site. In this situation, you might secure a profit regardless of the outcome. Even though arbing is not illegal, it is not something that industry likes and betting sites tend to share information about players that are suspiciously behaving. If you are suspected to be arbing your account will be limited or even closed.
Coincidences are part of the human misunderstanding of how probabilities work. We believe coincidences are happening more often than they do: but if we do look at probability theory we can see that they don’t. Bookmakers can also fall into the coincidences trap, so this is something that can be potentially exploited.
Let’s make an example: in a regular football match, there are more than 90% chance that two players will have their birthday within a day of each other. If you look at the stats, it seems unlikely as there are just 22 players in the pitch but 365 days a year. But if you pair off the 22 players in 231 combinations, you will see that based on the probability theory there are 90% chances.
Odds traders do sometimes underestimate the chances of a coincidence, and for this reason, they do push odds hard to get punters involved as headline grabbing. If you are able to spot those things, you will be beating the odds.
Let’s do a real football example. Liverpool chances of winning their game at the weekend are 75% while Arsenal are at 60%. To figure out the chances of both teams winning you only have to do a multiplication between the two probabilities (0.6×0.75 =0.45): 45%. To find out the chances of one team winning is (0.6 + 0.75 – 0.45 = 0.90) 90% and therefore the chances of neither to win are 10%. So in this situation, you will be looking to find odds that are better than 6/5 for both teams to win, 9/1 for none of those two teams to win and 1/10 for one team to win. If you find for example a bookmaker that is offering 2/1 for both teams to win, you are beating the odds as this is higher than the chances of the event occurring.
Loss Limits In Casino & Big Bets
Casino games typically have lower margins compared with sports betting. So strictly speaking you have more chances of winning a casino bet compared with a sports bet. But, there is a but. In a casino, we are used to placing lots of small bets, and this reduces our chances of winning over time. Casinos make their profit by using the theory of large numbers and even if the margin is less than 2% (like in roulette), with thousands of spins the house margin will guarantee the casino will always come on top. So more bets you place at the casino and more likely are you to lose in the long run.
If you want to have the best chances of winning, then you should pick a game that has the smaller house edge like blackjack and decides what the maximum you are prepared to lose is. Now you should avoid making many small bets as this will give the casino the best chance of winning.
Make Better Decisions And Have Fun
We make decisions every minute of every day even if most are not linked with money but just to our daily life. Most of the choices we make are normally based on our instinct, knowledge and experience. Emotions, however, can influence our decisions and end up in driving us in the wrong way. Figuring this out, especially in gambling, is a huge advantage. Never forget that betting is mostly having fun while trying to make a profit of course.
Betting On Your Favourite Team
Let’s say you are betting on your favourite team: if they do win, you will not just be happy as you have earned money, you will also be satisfied because they have won. This is the main reason why lots of people don’t like to bet against their own teams: they know they might win the money, but they also know they won’t be happy. Same way happens when you are betting on teams that you don’t like to win.
We should all try to gamble for fun so making those decisions based on this might not necessarily earn you more cash but it will make you happier about the bets the times you win.