Punters Guide to Winning Wagers

Simply put, sports betting is pitting your opinion against that of the bookmaker (or, more accurately, their odds compilers). Increasingly, there are also sites offering person to person betting, where an individual has the chance to play bookie and offer his (or her) own odds to the market.

The bookmaker will issue betting odds on the outcome of an event that you the customer will decide if you want to have a wager at any of those odds.

But before making a wager, satisfy yourself that the odds you receive from the bookmaker represents value.

Basic Steps

An essential part of your betting strategy should be to formulate an opinion before placing a bet.

Three simple steps that can aid you in forming a betting strategy are to doing so are:

  1. Analysing your own data
  2. Forming independent opinions
  3. Placing calculated bets

Gather as much information as possible about a specific game or event on which you want to place a bet. This knowledge will help you to make an informed decision and will improve your chances of winning.

Oddsmakers are human. With over 500,000 propositions to put to market ever year, they will make mistakes with prices or odds. It’s up to you to catch them out whenever possible.

However, there’s no shortcut to achieving a successful betting strategy.

To regularly beat the bookies and game providers, you need to be better informed than they. Your opinion and knowledge is equally valid as that of the bookmaker. The bookmaker uses his own strategy in creating odds. You need to find an approach that will allow you to best form your betting strategy.

Game providers vary with winning odds from sport betting platforms, for example, Mega Moolah is best for online games vs. Betfair which is good for sports betting, meaning the player has a greater chance of winning.

Risk vs. Reward

Never bet with money (no matter the size of the wager) that you cannot afford to lose.

Every wager you make should involve a process of evaluating the potential rewards against the potential risk.

If you believe the risk involved in attaining the reward is too high, then don’t place the bet.

But if the potential reward outweighs the risk involved in losing your betting stake, then take a considered plunge.

“There’s no such thing as a sure winner” is an adage worth bearing in mind when weighing up the risk versus reward.

Also worth considering are factors beyond your control including weather, injury, natural disasters, turmoil, warfare, illness, just plain bad luck and more, can have adverse effects on your wager.

But if you act sensibly, sports betting can be a source of great pleasure and a fun way of getting involved in the action and occasionally gaining some profit.

Common Bet

The most common type of sports bet is a wager on the outcome of a single game or contest in which there is usually a favourite and an underdog.

One well-known example of a favourite and an underdog scenario was when Goliath met David in battle.

In that encounter, Goliath was the overwhelming favourite to win the battle and David was the decided underdog. The odds in that battle we think would have been reflected like this:

Lads Hills S. James
Goliath 1/10 1/12 1/10
David 7/1 6/1 6/1

Goliath in this instance was the odds-on favourite.

When you back an odds-on favourite, the amount you wager exceeds the amount you win. If you win, you’ll receive both your winnings and also get back your original stake.

David as the underdog was odds-against.

When you back the underdog, the amount of money you receive should your selection win is greater than your stake (all winning bets return the stake with the winnings).

Using the above odds as a guide, to win 1 unit on Goliath, you would need to wager 10 units.

If Goliath won the battle and your money was on the giant, you would have received a total of 11 units back (the 10 units you wagered plus the 1 unit you won).

To back the underdog David, you would have wagered 1 unit to win 6 units. The winning bet would have gotten you 7 units back in total (the 1 unit you bet plus the 6 units profit you won).

Handicap Betting

Oddsmakers often handicap an event in order to make a one-sided contest more appealing to bettors.

This handicap is most commonly applied using a point spread, but can be any element that is used to even up an apparently one-sided contest.

Bookmakers know that they are much more likely to attract two way volume business in competitive events.

When a handicap is given you must decide whether the handicapper has given the favourite too much to do in order to win, or has not been handicapped enough.

American football matches are amongst the most common forms of handicap betting.

Dallas might be 2.5 (2½) point favourites over Miami

If you think Dallas will win by more than three points, then back Dallas.

If you think Dallas will win by less than two points or lose the match (Miami win) then back Miami getting 2.5 (2½) on the handicap.

Final score was Dallas 20, Miami 17:

Backers of Dallas (Dallas beat Miami 20 -19½ on the handicap) are winners. Consequently, backers of Miami on the handicap lose the bet.

Note: In the UK and Europe bookmakers tend to show their odds as fixed odds – and are less likely to move handicaps in response to betting activity. The Vegas bookies prefer to keep the odds constant and alter the handicap.

Check the odds when looking at handicaps and point spreads. Bookmakers may offer an increased handicap, but often at shortened odds.

Oddsmakers would display their odds for a level two two-team contest by making the odds as 10/11 (expressed as 210 in European terminology and -110 in American parlance) for either side. This means that if you are successful you will get a return of £21 for each £11 staked.

There are also a number of other options in wagering besides betting on single games or events.

You can wager that two or more teams will win their games. The payoff on this type of wager (known as an Accumulator or Multiple in Europe and a Parlay in North America) is larger than on two single games bet separately, because in order for your bet to win all of your selections must win.

Football adds the “draw factor” (the third possible result after winning & losing) to Sports betting. Aside for winning and losing sides in football matches, there is also the possibility of a draw deciding the outcome of a match.

In addition, football matches rarely involve handicaps or point spreads.

Although there are instances when a team is heavily favoured, the fact that the draw increases the number of possible outcomes from two to three means that there are fewer odds-on favourites, compared to other sports where there must be a winning as well as a losing side.

 

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