Sports betting is extremely popular and is estimated to generate anywhere between £435bn & £625bn per year world wide, both in legal and illegal markets. Yet there is a reason why the share price of gambling companies continue to sky-rocket. Not enough people understand how to bet smartly. And it is usually the people that gamble smartly that get limited by bookmakers. So don’t be one of the punters that fuel the sky-high profits of these super rich companies and use the following steps to bet smart.
1. Poor Odds
The only way to win in the long run is to find value in your bets. If you do not shop around for the best price and you are taking odds that imply a smaller probability than determine it to be, you will lose over time. That’s just maths. So in order to seek the best value, you will need accounts with all of the best operators and use online tools such as Oddschecker to see which bookmaker is offering the industry leading price.
It is well known in the industry, that most recreational customers have one main betting wallet and 1 or 2 back up accounts. Some bookmakers offer large first deposit bonuses and ongoing promotions to attract your money to their bookmaker and rely on you making that your primary betting account. This enables them to offer poor odds in the knowledge that they will win in the long run, because the probability is heavily in their favour.
These are a bookmakers favourite type of bet. Unbeknown to you, each bookmaker gives their customers a rating, normally out of 5 for how poor a gambler you are. The implication is that if you’re a poor gambler you are a great customer! If you place accumulator bets, their algorithms give a very high rating towards you being a poor gambler.
We have all seen the bet slips passed around on the internet. People winning vast sums by picking 20 winning selections. Since the increase in Twitter usage, bookmakers even retweet these bet slips.
Now ask yourself why they would advertise them? Simple. Accumulators are a HUGE money earner for them and are to be avoided as the main method in your betting arsenal if you want to be a long term winner. Singles betting may not be as glamorous, but you must avoid the ‘get rich quick’ mentality that the bookmakers rely on.
3. Emotional Betting
Usually, any financial decision based on emotional rationalisation is a poor one. And gambling is no different. The first part of this is that people will sometimes bet on their favoured sports team. And they fail to objectively estimate their sides chances and normally end up losing. And if you are doing so regularly, you are eliminating any chance you have of finding long term value. Bookies may overvalue your team once, but they won’t do it every single week.
Of course, you are may have an intense knowledge of your favourite team and know every single detail – this does present opportunities to find value at times. But you need to make sure it is an objective bet.
Secondly, winning and losing can produce such intense feelings of euphoria and disappointment. So strong, that unless you are able to put measures in place to keep them under control you can quickly find yourself chasing losses. Make sure you have rules or systems in place to guard against impulsive betting.
4. Poor stake management
For long term success, you need to have a bankroll capable of absorbing long term losses. Ideally, your maximum bet will be just 5% of your betting bankroll. Now say for argument your bank is £1000, an average bet may just be just £20 or £30. I know what some people are thinking – ‘That won’t make me rich’. Conversely it won’t make you poor either and betting is all about finding long term value. It’s exactly how professional gamblers operate.
Say for arguments sake you place 500 per year with an average stake of £30 and are able to achieve a 5% return. Over a year that amounts to £15,000 worth of bets placed and your bank will be standing at £1750. Now 5 years down the line, that will increase exponentially and you will be sitting with a very healthy bank balance.
5. Bookmakers Cash-out
These offer notoriously poor value for customers and should be avoided at all costs. If you place a football single of £10 at 4.0 and the team goes a goal ahead, their new in-play price might be about 2.0. So the true price of the cash out value is £20. However, bookies will never offer you the true value and may give you a cash out price of around £15.
If you do feel like you want to cash out of a bet, the best thing to do would be to visit a betting exchange and lay at the true price and get maximum value. Sportsbook Cash-out was actually introduced to stop customers going to a betting exchange and doing just this.
6. Don’t ignore value
You’ll notice that seeking value really is a key theme throughout this article and it deserves it’s own section, because it really is the number one thing you need to focus on. As you gain experience it is worth looking into building your own metrics to determine odds in a sports market and only betting on occasions where your price is higher than the bookmakers. The long term success of Sports betting really is a fight between the bookmaker and the punter for determining the true probabilities of a betting market.
We have all been there at some point – you have built a balance up in one account and it’s just convenient to use that account to place your bets. That’s fine if you accept that the bookmaker will be likely to win in the long run.
7. Failure to research
This is one of the main reasons the general betting population are so poor at choosing their bets. In order to find value, you must do a lot of research and look for mistakes in bookmakers prices. The internet is an amazing resource with tons of websites dedicated to providing free stats and team news. It is also a great resource for connecting with other fans and viewing the trends and stats that they have spotted.
So don’t just place a bet because your gut instinct tells you a bet should win. Challenge your initial thoughts, test them and ask objective questions. Only then once your are satisfied that the information you’ve gathered agrees with your assumption should you place your bet.
8. Don’t Gamble for the sake of it
With the introduction of the online gambling industry, it has meant there is now access to betting 24/7, 365 days a year. Some of those days are notoriously slow with only a few betting events available – Christmas day for example. Yet all of these events offered on Christmas day will have betting activity. Why? Because people will bet on anything, just for the sake of betting. Bookmakers do all they can to provide even the most obscure events for people to waste their money on.
So stay disciplined. Only gamble when you are in the correct mind frame and when you are sure that you have found a value bet.
9. Bet only the most popular games
If it’s value you’re seeking, it is highly unlikely that you will find an edge over the bookies here. Take the English Premier League for example. A player can barely sneeze without it being reported in the national news. Along with the huge amount of statistics available and the weight of money that is placed on these markets, it means that the bookmakers odds are extremely sharp.
So instead, consider becoming an expert in a smaller niche. Immerse yourself in Scandinavian football or South American football for example. The truth is that there are so many markets available to bet on that traders at top betting firms have to rely on complexed algorithms to determine there prices and are only alerted to a ‘value’ bet when smart punters get their money on early.
So be one of the smart punters. Do your research and bet as soon as you spot value.
10. Failure to keep records
So by now, you have accounts open with numerous different bookies, you are looking for value, have a niche you’re becoming an expert in and your stake management is superb. But perhaps you’re not seeing the returns after a year that you had hoped for.
There is one simple way to see where you are going wrong and spot trends in your betting that you want to concentrate on. Keep records. It’s fairly simple. Just keep an excel sheet with every bet that you place, along with any distinguishing information related to that bet. Details such as odds, selection, stake, market and competition. After you have built up a big enough sample size of bets, you will be able to analyse what has been successful for you and what has not. This is when you catapult yourself from being a smart punter, to a long term winner.