In sports betting you need to make sure that your bets (and trades) are good value in order to make a profit. If you do not do this you will still win bets but profits may be harder to achieve.
Let me explain this last statement. I actually lose more bets than I win – but the prices or odds at which I bet compensate for the losing plays.
If you bet all season long on the NY Yankees (US Baseball) or Arsenal FC (English Premiership) – to win each game – you will probably end up with a fairly good winning strike rate – but it is unlikely that you will make any money. The odds will be ‘short’ and you may do better to try and predict when these teams might falter – and bet against them at the over inflated prices being offered on the opposing teams. These opposing teams will most likely offer the value – as they are not the popular betting choice.
When we flip a coin, we know that the true chance of it turning up heads or tails is 50% or ‘evens’ (1/1).
As an example we set up a ‘coin flipping’ betting event. A neutral party begins to flip the coin. With each subsequent flip there is a definite preference for heads in the betting. The bookmaker or sportsbook takes this in his stride, he has already set the odds at 10/11 (-110 US) for either outcome which takes into account his commission. He knows that this trend is fairly usual as heads is often favored in this type of event. He decides, however, to balance his books a little by reducing his odds on heads to 5/6 and increasing tails to 1/1.
Heads is now an even shorter price and represents no value. Tails now stands at a slightly better price but still only represents the ‘true odds’ or likelihood of winning at 1/1 or 50% and so is not value.
The event continues and still the betting favors heads. Why? Well the ‘average bettor’ does not really understand ‘value’, he does not understand that heads might well be a bad bet or hold no value. He just enjoys betting and since ‘heads’ is winning – he wants to bet on heads.
The bookmaker balances his books again with a dramatic shortening of the odds for heads to 4/9 and a lengthening to 6/4 (+150 US), on tails.
At this point the professional bettor would step in and begin to place bets on tails. He knows that he has got value at 6/4 for an event where the ‘true odds’ of success are 1/1.