The statement I’m about to make will most certainly shock any sports bettor who reads it. While most of us are under the impression that everyone betting sports wins long term, so long as they bet often enough, this isn’t actually true.
Wait you’re not surprised? Of course you’re not! Everyone knows the bookmaker has an advantage so more times than not sports bettors lose. However, what if there was a way that the rolls could be reversed; what if the sports bettor always had the advantage?
This is in fact possible.
Have you ever heard the term advantage player? This is a label gambling companies assign to players who only bet when the odds are in their favor.
Even though “on average” bookmakers have a 4.55% advantage on straight bets (2.38% @ -105), the key word is “average”; advantage players find bets where the bookmaker’s advantage is negative. Whether your goal is to be a sports betting pro, or just earn a little money on the side, the first step to winning is to stop making –EV bets.
If you understand what expected value, -EV, and +EV mean, go ahead and skip down to our advice on finding +EV bets. If you’re not familiar with this concept continue reading.
Expected Value (EV) Explained
Expected value is a term professional gamblers use on a regular basis. To explain what it means in simple terms I’ll use an example. Let’s say me and you decided to have a coin flipping contest. We flip coins and you give me $1 for each outcome of heads; I give you $1 for each outcome of tails. We could flip coins for all eternity and neither of us will ever have an advantage because on average half the time we lose $1 half the time we win $1. While there will be swings back and forth, as long as we flip the coin enough times eventually we’ll both break even. This particular bet has neutral expected value.
Now let’s say I’m tired of flipping coins, and want to quit, but while begging me to stay you offer me a better deal. This new deal pays me $1.10 for every heads, and I still pay you $1.00 for every tails. What happens now is half the time I win $1.10 and half the time I lose $1.00. If we flip 100 times I should average 50 wins of $1.10 ($55) and 50 losses of $1 ($50). Every flip of the coin I have a positive expectation (+EV) of 5 cents. As the one offering me this proposition you have the opposite, every flip of the coin is 5 cents –EV for you.
Every wager made in sports betting has either a positive expected value (+EV), negative expectation value (-EV) or in rare cases neutral expected value. Winning sports betting requires avoiding –EV and finding +EV bets.
Finding +EV Sports Bets
The reasons most sports bettors don’t spend time learning the tricks of advantage players is it’s slightly time consuming, most have no leads how to do it, are overwhelmed or when they do learn it’s not actually fun. If you’re looking for something fun we suggest paint balling, a trip to the amusement park, circus or what have you. If you’re looking to actually make money then you’ll need to know how to find +EV bets.
At TheSportsGeek.com we have several articles on this topic you’ll want to read:
Teaser Betting Strategy – This is perhaps the easiest method a sports bettor can use to find bets with a positive advantage. When you also read our article on the current betting market, you’ll realize just before game time the lines are efficient. Teasers are based off the current betting lines, so no longer do you need to go do any deep analysis to find out whether as straight bet is +EV. Here find spots where teasers increase the win rate by enough and you’ll have a +EV bet. This is all described in our article on teaser betting strategy.
Prop Betting Strategy – Prop bets are generally considered the easiest wagering opportunity for sports bettors to beat. In our article on prop betting strategy I give a full break down of the prop bet “which team will score first”. After reading that article you’ll have enough information to start finding +EV bets on this specific prop. In time, as you get experience you’ll be able to solve other prop bet on your own and then beat them using as similar method to the one I show in the example.
Must Read Sports Betting Books
If you’re new to advantage betting some books that will help you greatly with the basics are:
1) Sharp Sports Betting by Stanford Wong
2) Weighing the Odds in Sports Betting by King Yao
Once you’re much more experienced and ready to take things to the next level then I strongly Conquering Risk: Attacking Vegas and Wall Street by Elihu D. Feustel. This is a book for advanced sports bettors and not a good read for anyone not already winning. It is heavily math, statistic and handicapping intensive. If you eventually decided on a career as an advantage player at some point down the road you’ll want to work to understand what Elihu D. Feustel shares in this book.
No matter what methods you use to find +EV bets, the information contained in our article on finding maximum value is a must read. Next, if you’re thinking about purchasing picks, read our article on winning without a tout. In that article you’ll also find some information on getting free picks. Use that with the earlier mention getting max value article, and shopping the market and you’ll likely be turning an easy, yet slightly time consuming profit.
We wish you the best of luck and know soon enough you’ll be shacking your head confused the same at us, whenever you hear the statement “most sports bettors lose” and clearly you won’t be on of them.