Sports betting is one of the most popular pastimes in the world. In order to be a successful bettor, one must gain an understanding of how bookmaking works.
For as long as people have watched sports, they have been betting on it too. Ever since the first bookmakers began taking bets on gladiator fights and chariot racing in Ancient Rome, sports betting has been an intricate part of the lives of sports fans throughout the globe.
From boxing to basketball, cricket to tennis, football to volleyball, and a plethora of other sports in between, there is a vast array of options to gamble on. Cracking the code of bookmaking is something that billions of betting aficionados have been trying to accomplish for centuries. Now, we can’t promise you a magic formula you can use to win every single bet. But what we can, and will do instead, is help you learn the basics of bookmaking. After that, you will also be able to understand this matched betting guide and how to profit from free bets.
What Is Oddsmaking and How Are Odds Created?
Betting odds represent the statistical probability of an outcome to happen and they allow you to work out how much money you will win if your prediction is accurate.
When you flip a coin, there are only two possible outcomes – heads or tails. And if we take aside other factors that can impact a coin toss, the chance of it landing on each of the sides, in the long run, is 50%.
Going back to the sports betting realm, we can draw an analogy between a coin flip and a betting term called Even Money. Even money is often referred to as ‘50/50 bets’ because the bettor stands to lose or win the same amount of money. For example, if you bet £10 and you’re correct, then you will win £10 on top of your initial stake. In other words, you either win £10 or lose the same amount of money.
In football, there are three possible outcomes – home team wins, draw, or away team wins. However, in sports, one team or player is always considered a favourite, which is why the bookmakers almost never offer the same odds for all three outcomes.
In markets where there are two possible outcomes, like over/under, bookies will never offer even money because that would put them out of business — they would lose their edge.
What Is the Bookie Edge?
Bookie’s edge, also known as margin, is basically how the bookmakers make their profit. This statistical parameter is calculated by determining the implied percentage chance based on the odds of an outcome to happen.
So, instead of the probability of winning and losing being 50/50%, it’s actually more like 55/45% in favour of the bookmaker. This way, the bookie will always have an edge over the bettor and will get a steady profit long term.
As for three-way markets such as match results, the edge varies between 5% and 20%. The lower this percentage is, the better price you’ll get for your bets, and consequently win more money from it.
One bookmaker might offer odds 2.50 for team A to win, while the other will offer odds of 2.60 for the same outcome. Naturally, you should gravitate towards higher odds because they will give you a higher return on your investment.
Is there a Way to Beat the House?
If we’re talking about casino gambling, then no, there is no way to beat the house. All casino games (except poker) have a built-in house edge. In roulette, for example, you have to predict which numbered socket the ball will land on, and if you predict accurately, you’ll get paid at odds 36.00. In reality, however, there are 37 numbers to choose from.
Sports betting is more versatile because there are a large number of factors involved. And with so many variables, bookies cannot set a ‘fixed house edge’ for betting markets.
These factors vary from bookmaker to bookmaker, which is why you’ll often see the same bet being offered at different prices by different bookies. Therefore, although the phrase ‘house always wins’ is probably true in the long run, when it comes to sports betting, there is a way to ‘neutralize’ the house – at least for a little while.
What Should You Bet on?
Deciding on which sports and betting markets you should bet on can be tricky because there is a vast number of options offered by the bookies. It comes down to a variety of factors – team form, previous matches, H2H matches, and many others. If you estimate that team A has a 50% chance (2.00) to win the match, and the bookies have priced them at 2.10, then you have found yourself value in betting odds.