Sports betting from mathematical point of view

Sports betting for some professionals is the main source of income. They do bet on sports for their life’s work. But when you consider that it takes to become successful better, you hardly would want to do this for a living. This is why for most people, it is more for fun. And this is how it should be.

horse race

Generally speaking, professional betters are mostly math freaks that keep accurate records of their bets, analyze the statistics of teams they are willing to bet and of course are psychologically disciplined. Instead of guessing which team to the side, they analyze the details of games, literally, try to put the foot in the player’s shoes. They know the specifics of the games, the teams, their strengths and weaknesses. They analyze details of upcoming match games, locations and even follow weather forecasts – everything that can influence the result.

Analyzing your odds

In other end – betting operators from various sports betting sites are always trying to gain profit no matter what. With the help of modern technologies, bookmakers are the masters of betting psychology as they analyze strategies from the very start. Artificial intelligence (AI) assisted systems to allow them to know ahead of how betters are thinking when placing the bets. Bookmakers are armed with knowledge as their goal is to guard and control the betting process and make a profit, of course.

From the start, it would seem that players tend to bet on teams that are good on winning, but the real score is not only about the outcome of the game. The more important is to know the math behind the games. If you think about the game as a coin flip, the advantage is on the bookmaker site. If you want to be successful on betting or at least not to lose a significant amount of money, you need to do some serious math. There are many ways of analyzing and evaluating odds before making bets. Depending on sports type you may want to start following various ratings of teams, calculate some statistics. But the math may become really complicated if you start taking a wider variety of circumstances into account. In many cases, machine learning algorithms predict the outcome from the historical data and present information. Professional betters probably run and improve machine learning algorithms before placing bets. Otherwise, you may get lost in the data stream. Classical statistical methods work only at some level and may lose significance due to data variances.

The breaking point

The other type of math in betting is keeping your bet records and analyzing money flow. If you are playing just for fun, you may say that you win some and you lose some. But serious players are placing bets on hundreds of games simultaneously and winning/losing some of them doesn’t mean anything unless numbers talk. So how to deal with multiple bets and how to calculate the point when you start winning money? In fact, 50% of winnings still doesn’t give you so-called breaking point. You are still losing money. You are placing a bet of $100 on boxing match where both fighters are equally strong. Normally bookmaker, in this case, sets the odds less than 1 for instance 5/6. If your any selected boxer wins – you are getting $83 + your stake. If you lose your $100 stays as bookkeeper profit. Even if you split $100 in half and place $50 on each boxer, you would lose $17 with a winning rate of 50%. Of course, there are lots of teams and lots of betters that give some flexibility to bookies. They constantly adjust the odds and other factors to keep their books in balance. They have to keep the profit but also keep betters happy. Otherwise, a bookkeeper may bankrupt if too many winnings are shared, or no one would bet as they might take more for profit.

So let’s get back to the number of winning odds where you start winning. If we take a large number of gamblers and teams, the number of so-called breaking point is about 55%. So more than half of your bets need to win to at least keep your money. So when you start betting on multiple teams, you start thinking more globally – as an investor. For instance, if you spread your bets of $10000 to like 100 playing teams with 55% wining rate and 5/6 odds you may profit roughly $10000 *(1- 0.45) + 0.55*$8.3 = $65. But with same success rate and better odds you can make higher amounts, especially on seasonal games.

Control yourself

So if you want to become pro bettor, you need to become pro in analyzing sports teams for their weaknesses and strength from multiple perspectives. Use math tools such as statistics and machine learning, to make the best prognosis, including historical and present data. Always be serious with your money management. Don’t bet all your money on any circumstances, even if you are lucky at this moment. Set your limits on how much money you can lose without impacting your life and your family well-being. Use as low as %1 of your savings for betting to be on the safe side and never let excitement to take over because you should never consider being better than the betting system. Control yourself, and you will have fun and hopefully win some cache.

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