We’ve all read headlines of crazy punts and dreamed of winning big money from sports betting but the reality is that making money from betting is much harder than it seems.
In fact, around 95% of all bettors in Australia lose money after a few months, and on average Aussies lose around $1,260 from gambling every year. So, is making money from sports betting even possible?
The answer is yes, although you will have to be one of the 5% of successful bettors to do so.
In order to win at sports betting you must also understand how not to lose. Here are some tips are given to us by sports betting experts.
Why 95% of punters lose money
If you’re going to get into betting, then you have to be prepared to play for the long haul.
There are a variety of different betting techniques out there but don’t be fooled by enticing YouTube videos and claims of massive profits – in most cases, these techniques don’t work and the few people who post big wins on social media are likely hiding hundreds of losses.
Here are some things you should never do when betting online:
- Do not attempt long shots
- Do not play on very high odds
- Do not bet too much at one time
- Do not bet based on “feelings”
- Do not chase your losses
These are the 5 biggest mistakes most punters make and they are the things that allow bookmakers to generate their massive profits.
The reality is that there are no bettors who win every time. Therefore, the only way to generate profits is to have a strategy that will offset your losses with wins.
But first, let’s understand betting odds and do a bit of math
The mathematics of betting
In Australia, decimal odds are the most common format that betting odds are displayed in.
Let’s say that the odds for Australia to win a cricket match against New Zealand are 2.00.
Here, the bookmaker is telling you that they think that Australia has a 50% chance of winning the match – this chance of winning is also known as the implied probability.
You can calculate implied probability using an online tool or by first converting the decimal odds to fractional odds and then calculating the probability from there.
To convert decimal odds to fractional odds, subtract 1 from the decimal odds and then convert to a fraction. In our example, 2.00 – 1 = 1.00. As a fraction 1.00 is 1/1.
Now, to calculate the implied probability add both the top and bottom numbers of the fractional odds and then divide the bottom number by the sum of both numbers. In our example, 1 + 1 = 2 and 1/2 = 0.50 or 50%.
It is important to know what the implied probabilities of your bets are because it gives you a good indication of whether your bet is worthwhile. For example, if you think Australia has a better than 50% chance of beating New Zealand, this would be a good bet. If you think their chances of winning are lower than 50% then this is not a good bet.
At the end of the day, betting odds are calculated by humans (with the help of statistics and computers) but it is possible for them to get the odds wrong and for you to have more information at your disposal to make informed bets.
You can also use implied probabilities to calculate the betting margin (the difference between the implied odds and the true odds).
For example, if New Zealand’s odds of winning were 2.10 their implied probability of winning would be 47.6%.
The remaining 2.4% is the betting margin, in a fair world this 2.4% would not exist but all betting websites have this margin built in as a safety measure.
You can calculate implied probability and betting margins to find the betting sites with the best odds. You can also use comparison websites like My Betting Sites Australia that rank the best betting sites Australia has based on their odds (among other things).
Choose your tactic and follow it to the letter
Now that you know how to understand and evaluate betting odds it’s time to choose a strategy.
Among professional bettors in Australia, one of the most popular and easy ways to bet is by using a variation of the Martingale System.
“Imagine you have a budget of $120.
First, place your bets at an average odds of 2.00 (around 50% implied probability). Try to choose games where you think the true probability is as close to, or greater than, the implied probability.
Of course, your risk is higher for these bets than at low odds like 1.20 so it is therefore necessary to manage your budget in case you incur a few losses in a row.
First, you’ll want to split your $120 budget into 6 different levels.
For a budget of $120 your 6 levels would be $1 / $3 / $7 / $15 / $31 / $63
Note that if you lose 6 consecutive bets you will have lost all of your $120. Assuming you place smart bets, you will have to be pretty unlucky for this to happen (if the odds are 2.00 for every bet there is a 1.56% chance of losing all bets).
The idea when using this strategy is to cover your previous losses at each new level while also adding a little more than double your stake so that you get an additional profit no matter which level you finally win at.”
Bet 1 lost: Stake $1 at odds of 2.00. Win $0 Profits $-1
Bet 2 lost: Stake $3 at odds of 2.00. Win $0 Profits $-4
Bet 3 lost: Stake $7 at odds of 2.00. Win $0 Profits $-11
Bet 4 lost: Stake $15 at odds of 2.00. Win $0 Profits $-26
Bet 5 win: Stake $31 at odds of 2.00. Win $31 Profits $5
Total profit: $5
In this case, you see that even if you lose 4 times in a row, the 1st winning bet (at level 5) brings you a profit. With the next bet, you will want to start again with the bet at level 1 until you win again.”
No betting strategy is without its flaws and the Martingale System, or any variation of this is no exception. Imagine you lose 6 bets in a row and don’t have the capital to place the 7th bet to cover your losses, or even worse your 7th bet losses, and now you would need to stake $255 on your 8th bet to cover your losses.
In saying this, professional bettors do exist and understanding how the game is played, and what you can do to make your bets as successful as possible gives you a great chance of being in that 5%.