Whether you are an experienced punter or someone who is just starting out, one thing you will notice about sports betting is that picking a winner is not as easy as it sounds. It may surprise you to know that even the betting professionals win just over 55% of the bets they place.
This is also averaged out over a period of several months. The chances of winning a single bet on a random horse race or football game is low; unless you bet on the favourite. But is this a good idea?
Betting on the favourite is a long-held tradition and one that continues to dupe bettors who believe that betting on a sure thing will make them money.
Let’s look at the facts.
Favourites are called favourites for a reason. The bookies have determined that this horse, this team, or this player is the most likely to win the race, game, or match. If you don’t know much about the sport or the players, this would probably be a good bet. However, online sports betting is about more than just trying to find the team that wins.
Risk Versus Reward
If you are serious about making money with sports betting, you need to look beyond picking winners and look at finding value odds. Some punters make more profit winning 40% of the time than those who win 55% of the bets they place. The key is to find value odds where the reward outweighs the risk. For example, if there is an upcoming horse race and there is a clear favourite who has won the past three years in a row, she might be posted at odds of 1.50 or lower. Chances are, this horse is going to win, and you will make a bit of money, but is the risk, worth the reward?
Let’s say you put down $150. The most you can expect to get paid out is $225, which leaves you with a total profit of $75. The problem is that the horse can still lose. The reward is just too low to warrant losing your $150 for such a small profit. You may be better off backing a different horse with a better risk to reward ratio. Something like 5.50 or 7.00 would yield a total profit of $750 or $900. If you have done your research and there is a chance this horse or team could win, this is a better bet.
What About Underdogs?
Many novice punters go completely the opposite route and bet on the underdog. The idea here is that they think that grabbing the highest odds is the easiest way to make the most amount of money.
If you look at the statistics though, your chances of winning are so low that you are basically just throwing your money away. Counting all the horse races, all the football games, all the boxing matches, the underdog has come out on top only a fraction of the time. It does happen, and that’s why people back the underdogs, but the risk to reward ratio is just not worth it. Stick to value bets if you want to make money. Do your research pick potential winners with decent odds.