How to Beat Bookmakers
Using value to profit from sports betting – how to beat bookies at their own game
Think about how bookmakers are staffed; how there’s a great multitude of people running various operations at a bookmaker’s service establishment. They are most likely to have a dedicated team for odds compilation, whose main job would be working out lines and odds for different sports events. Furthermore, the bookmaker would want to concentrate its energies on markets with the maximum money making potential (markets that attract maximum betting activity) and majority of its staff would be dedicatedly working in those markets.
Then think about the smaller betting markets. Depending on how big or small a bookmaker is, it may have at least one individual covering a specific sport, or sometimes one individual covering many sports. As there will be smaller markets involved, the bookmaking firm is anyway not going to make plenty of money on these markets, and conversely, isn’t going to make lots of losses either. Hence, they might dedicate less amount of time on correcting lines in these markets; providing a window of opportunity to the sports punters!
Therefore, you can gain an edge over bookmakers by focusing on certain sports events and/or leagues which aren’t very popular, but are good enough for them to accept bets on. Let’s try to understand it better with an example:
So you call yourself an expert at lower football leagues – especially when it comes to the English Conference South League. You’re a regular at all its games and know exactly which all teams are playing well or poorly; you’re also aware of the injuries affecting different players. What more, you’re considered an expert at this league in various online forums and also contribute regularly to all of them.
How do you think a bookmaker views all such markets? Will they have someone as dedicatedly attending all the games as you? We doubt it very much! They are most likely to draw inferences from the league table and the current team forms to set their betting odds.
So, who holds the edge now?
Of course, you!
In fact, you hold a big edge as it’s you (not the bookmaker) who is an expert in this scenario!
Let’s look at a slightly different betting situation. You have thorough knowledge about English Premier League, just as you do in case of the English Conference South League. But the situation here is very different, as you’re not the only expert on English Premier League. A bookmaker would have a team of experts setting betting odds for English Premier League markets, and they’d be accepting loads of money too, far more compared to any other sports league. Hence, plenty of manpower and time would be dedicated to setting of proper odds. Even if you do find an edge in this league, it’ll only be a tiny one.
How to beat the bookies by creating your own book
Well, there’s nothing wrong in gaining expertise in a certain sport; but how to turn that expertise into an advantage? By far the best way to do that is by creating your own book for the pertinent sports event/s, and then comparing your odds with that of various bookmakers. Let’s go over an example to understand it better:
Dartford are playing St. Albans at home in a Conference South League game today afternoon. Having studied the league well and how different teams perform in home and away games, you arrive at the following probabilities for this match:
Dartford win - 50%
St Albans win - 20%
Draw - 30%
After successfully working out these probabilities, you can change them into corresponding odds. This can be done by dividing 100 by each one of these probabilities respectively:
Dartford win = 100% / 50% = 2.00
St Albans win = 100% / 20% = 5.00
Draw = 100% / 30% = 3.33
Once you’ve figured out your odds, you’ll need to compare them with that of the bookmaker/s:
Dartford win – Your odds: 2.00 – Bookmaker’s odds: 1.83
St Albans win – Your odds: 5.00 – Bookmaker’s odds: 3.75
Draw – Your odds: 3.33 – Bookmaker’s odds: 3.60
As is evident, the odds offered by bookmaker on both Dartford and St Albans wins are shorter compared to yours. You’d like to back Dartford at anything over 2.00, and Saint Albans at anything over 5.00, but the bookmaker is offering far lesser odds on both these bets. So, you’d be better of leaving them alone.
Let’s look at the possibility of draw now. You worked out the odds for a draw to be 3.33, while the bookmaker is offering 3.6 odds for the same – this is where you can gain value! Hence, you should be betting on the possibility of a draw. Please remember, you’re the expert in this league, so be confident about backing your judgement, and beat the bookie at its own game!
The system works out well for any sports event; all you need to do is figure out the outcomes’ probabilities in terms of percentages, and then convert them into corresponding odds. Once done, simply compare your odds with that of different bookmakers’ and try to locate value.
We learnt how specialising in any sport or league can offer you great advantage in sports betting, and how you can create your own odds for a given market.