For beginners, the world of sports betting can seem daunting, with odds, events, and handicaps. The good news is that Lenny knows sports like Jeremy Clarkson knows cars, which is why he created this guide for punters. We BET you’re going to love it!
As a nation that has given birth to some of the most popular sports of all time – including football and rugby – it scarcely needs to be said that the UK is a sports-mad nation. No matter how obscure your sporting tastes, or whether you just follow football, rugby or cricket, it is more than likely your sport of choice is competitively played in the UK. When it comes to sports betting, the UK is similarly enthusiastic, and several sports have a lively sport betting community built around them. But what are the most popular sports to bet on in the UK sportsbooks?
Without a doubt, football is by far the most popular sport played and watched in the UK. At all skill levels, the UK produces some of the most talented players around and British teams compete at the highest levels in the two most popular professional competitions, the Premier League and the FA Cup.
Boxing has long been the most popular combat sport in the UK. While it has had a little competition from the UFC and other MMA organisations in recent years, it still manages to grab the attention of the public – especially when the heavyweight division is so full of top-class fighters and characters like it is at the moment.
Although not quite as popular as football, cricket is the national sport of the UK, having been developed and first becoming popular in the 17th century. With 18 professional cricket clubs in the UK, the teams compete at the highest level in what is now an internationally popular sport. The national team is particularly popular and competes with other national teams across the Commonwealth and the rest of the world.
Tennis has long been a highly popular sport in the UK. While it’s not quite as popular as cricket as a summer sport, it’s still very popular – especially as it offers the ability for players to play with just two people. Since its humble beginnings, tennis has become a worldwide sport that millions of people all around the world enjoy.
Originally starting out as a kind of offshoot of what is now the modern game of football, rugby takes its name from the town where it was first formalised. Rugby is one of the most popular sports in the UK – second only to football. At all levels of professional play – both local club and international – English rugby players are among the best in the world. For this reason, millions across the country go to rugby grounds or tune in each week to watch it.
With the UFC, and to a lesser extent Bellator, offering high-quality MMA events, it means that UK punters have access to some of the finest fight action in the world now. Betting on MMA in the UK has been legal since it first rose to prominence.
The NFL is the biggest showcase for American Football. With the season beginning in September, the NFL comprises 32 teams across eight divisions. Culminating in the Super Bowl in February, the sport is relatively short in terms of the season’s length compared to other major sports leagues.
Wash with wealth, Formula 1 is one of the most glamorous and exciting motorsports. Technological changes to the cars over the past few years have played a significant role in the development of the sport, and fan engagement remains unabated.
Established in 1946, the NBA is the world’s premier basketball competition comprising some of the sporting world’s best-paid athletes. The modern-day NBA league is split across the two divisions — the Western Conference and Eastern Conference.
Although it is not considered a mainstream sport, badminton has become a popular betting avenue for bettors to explore.
Greyhound racing, at one point, was the biggest sport in the UK.
The game of golf is steeped in history with Scotland being the home of the sport in its modern-day format. The UK has some of the best-loved and oldest courses in the world.
Although in reality, there are more sports leagues than can be captured in one list, the most popular professional sports leagues followed in the UK are:
With so many online UK sportsbooks out there, there is a huge variety in the type and level of service on offer. Despite this, there are a few key features you need to look out for.
Beyond these two important aspects, you should consider how well they handle deposits and withdrawals and the range of sports offered.
With the rise in popularity of online gambling generally, online sports betting has really taken off in the last few years. Although it has historically been associated with the local betting shop, usually located near a pub, sports betting has definitely embraced the digital revolution and these days most betting is done online. With this shift online, a number of key businesses have emerged that dominate the market.
William Hill, for example, was traditionally one of the most popular land-based bookmakers that have shifted to a predominantly online business. The move has substantially grown its business and it is now one of the few bookmakers listed on the London Stock Exchange – an incredible feat for a casual pastime!
Another example of a bookmaker that has greatly increased its online offerings and presence in recent years is Ladbrokes. As one of the oldest bookmakers around, Ladbrokes got its start offering land-based, in-person sports betting. Sensing a change in consumer trends, however, it significantly increased its online offerings and now serves millions of customers across the world – which just goes to show how far things have come.
In the UK, both land-based and online sports betting is completely legal. New regulations were introduced in 2005 that regulate the sports betting industry and they put in place a number of protections for customers. While online sports betting is legal, it’s also important to remember that you need to make sure that you only use fully licensed sports betting platforms.
Although it’s important to remember that when you are dealing with live sporting events, there is no strategy around that can guarantee you a certain outcome, there are a number of little tweaks you can make to your overall approach that can increase your chances of success. For example, by only focusing on one team, league or sport, you can become a specialist in that type of sporting event. That allows you to build up in-depth, specialist knowledge that will allow you to make more informed betting decisions. The other tweak you can make relates to bankroll management. By being really careful with how much of your overall bankroll you stake in one bet or betting line, you can ensure that you stay in the game longer. This has the benefit of giving you more opportunities to win over time and will decrease your overall losses.
With more online UK sportsbooks than ever offering their services to would-be punters, it has become increasingly competitive in the online sports betting space. As such, to attract new customers to their platform, online UK sportsbooks often offer promotions and bonuses as a way of incentivising the use of their platforms. Most often, these are in the form of cashback or percentage bonuses offered on deposits made to the platform. Other types of bonuses will consist of free spins on certain games, free bets or special odds are offered on particular game types – particularly when there is a special sporting event going on. Regardless of what type of bonus is offered, however, the idea is the same: to give loyal customers a little bit extra as a small ‘thank you’ for using their platform.
As everyone knows, Lenny has been in the betting game for a long time and enjoys the game for the game’s sake. This is why he’s imparted some helpful betting strategies and guides for the most popular sports and competitions to bet on including, horse racing.
For anyone not living in the United States, seeing American odds can be quite confusing. These types of odds are primarily used on betting sites catering to US players only and have therefore not transitioned across the sea. Also known as moneyline odds, these are specifically used for moneyline bets, which are so popular with players from that country. However, American odds, despite how weird they might seem to the rest of us, are actually the easiest to understand as they simply show how much the punter will need to place a bet in order to win $100. It really is that easy!
American odds are just one of a number of ways to show the odds of an event. But within these odds, there are two different types – underdogs and favourites. Any time you see a favourite it will come with the “-” symbol attached to it. For example, -200 denotes the favourite and it will show that there is a better chance of that team or player winning than the one listed at -120. In this case, you can ignore the “-” symbol and just take the value of the odds. Underdogs will have “+” before the number with higher numbers indicating the team or player is less likely to win.
All American odds take $100 as the baseline. When you bet on a favourite it means you are risking the amount listed as odds when you try to win $100. With underdogs, you are risking your $100 in order to win the odds’ value. For instance, if you have a -135 favourite, this means that you must risk $135 in order to win $100 from the bookies if the outcome is in your favour. If the team loses though, you’ll have lost that $135. With a +350 underdog you would only risk $100 but you could stand to gain a massive $350 if the underdogs actually win.
If you’re really stuck, then American odds are easily converted into both decimal and fractional odds too. However, most sites will offer you the choice so you can switch between the three formats. What’s really useful about American odds is that they can actually be converted into percentages. This can be really helpful to all players as it can give a breakdown of what you need in order to reach a long term win when you are choosing to consistently bet using specific odds. All you need to do is take the odds, divide by the final payout if the ticket wins and there’s the percentage!
It will come as no surprise that the biggest sport in the US is American Football. When it comes to placing sports bets, there’s always a wide range of options for any game, be it a college game or the NFL itself. A close run second is baseball. Also with a huge fan base, you can be sure of getting some excellent odds on any baseball event, especially when the World Series comes around. Keep an eye out for some excellent underdog bets at this time as the World Series is known for its unpredictability. This gives you the chance to potentially capitalise. Check out other top sports:
Unlike decimal and fractional odds, American odds do not provide a quick and obvious way of figuring out the return from a specific bet. Instead, they only indicate the potential return from a set $100 stake. This can make it hard for players to compare odds across different markets or bookies. However, once you do understand them, they can be incredibly useful for following American sports and events as these are the way that odds are going to be quoted. It’s also helpful to have that little extra odds knowledge tucked under your belt for when it might matter.
Although looking at American odds gives you an idea as to which side is likely to win, it doesn’t give you a clear indication of the probability of the event occurring. In order to do this, you need to go through a few calculations to figure this out. For instance, if we have an American odds offer of -120 we remove the minus from in front of the number. We then have 120/(120 + 100). This comes to 120/220 which gives us an implied probability of 0.545. Multiplied by 100 gives us 54.5%. Positive American odds, for example, +180 work as 100/(180+100) = 0.357 or 35.7%.
When looking for the best odds on the market, the first step is to determine exactly which sport you wish to be betting on and the type of bet you want to make. This will instantly affect which odds you look at. Once you have decided these things, it is then time to check out a number of different sportsbooks and compare their odds. Generally, you’ll find that bookies will be highly competitive, offering similar odds, unless one is implementing an odds boost. Because of this, it’s prudent to check out other features of the UK sportsbooks such as bonuses, security and payment options when making your final decision.
So, there you have it! American odds are really not as confusing as they seem to be. As we said at the start, they’re actually most likely to be the simplest of all the different betting odds formats that are available. However, it is likely that you may still be a little confused at times, so just practice converting them back to the format you are most comfortable with. Generally, though, American betting odds are very convenient and fast once you get used to them. Although, of course, as with everything, it does come down to personal preference!
When it comes to online gambling, understanding the odds is one of the most important first steps. Odds are the method you use in order to find out how much you can win when you take the bet that is advertised. It’s therefore very important that you learn how to interpret the odds, especially if you are actually looking to make some real money when you go on these betting sites. But we do understand that things can be a little confusing. Different sites have varying odds formats and if you’re not familiar with that method, it can be hard to know what they mean.
The online betting world is becoming an increasingly global endeavour with betting sites offering a range of different odds in order to cater to the wider range of bettors visiting their sites. The UK works with fractional odds, the US with money lines, but European countries have something else, once again. In Europe, you will find decimal odds and it is on these odds that we will focus throughout this overview. So, if you are ready to take that plunge, join us now as we explore all you need to know to understand decimal odds and make the best betting decisions.
Decimal odds are the most commonly used method of displaying odds in Europe, but for UK players can be a little confusing when first faced with them. When you see decimal odds, it is the number that you see that will be the total return you get on a bet if you are lucky enough to win it. This will include the original bet value that you made. Decimal odds are based on just a single unit. In order to calculate your total return you will have to multiply the decimal odd with the amount that you plan on placing as a bet.
Here’s an example of decimal odds in action: odds of 6.00 with a £3 bet will give you £18 in total (£15 profit and your £3 bet). As you get to grips with decimal odds, it is very important to remind yourself that the odds are the full value of what you will get in return – it’s not just showing you the profit. Therefore, when making your bets, you need to factor this into the bet amount that you place. It’s actually not that hard to understand, once you have practised it a few times, converting back and forth to a method you know well.
It will come as no surprise to hear that the top sport in Europe is football. Almost every country has a team and there are numerous small tournaments and championships within each country to keep everyone excited, without even counting the international events. Needless to say, football has a huge betting market with an inordinate number of betting options and events where players can place wagers on. Other popular sports do vary by country but they all have a large number of betting options and markets to partake in, meaning the European bettors never miss a sporting event. Some of the top sports include:
Decimal odds have, for a long time, been the most popular method of showing odds in most of Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. But why is this? Well, it’s simple really. Fractional odds can actually be confusing as calculations can create rather large numbers. For instance, if the decimal odds are 1.46 the fractional match would be 23/50, which is really rather confusing! Figuring out what the return on a £1 bet would be, using the decimal odds, is going to be much easier than trying to figure it out with that rather massive set of fractions.
It may seem strange to use decimal odds when fractional odds are available. This point is particularly pertinent when it becomes apparent that you can’t actually calculate the probability of an event occurring when using decimal odds. However, there are a number of reasons why using them is helpful. For most people, they are actually clearer and easier to understand as they don’t have fractions. They’re also easier to use at a betting exchange, for example, as they can be compared more easily. It’s also simpler to calculate overall odds from multiple bets using decimals, as you can just multiply the odds for the individual bet.
When it comes to finding the best odds, this will take a little bit of time. It will require that you have a look at a number of different betting sites and compare the odds offered for a specific event and particular bet type. Most of the time these are very similar, as bookies are highly competitive. In this instance, choosing where to play comes down to other details about the sports betting site specifically, such as licensing, bonus options, payment methods, customer service and the betting market available for your preferred sport. The final decision must be made by you!
Even if you have grown up accustomed to one set of betting odds, it’s hard to argue against how easy it is to use and understand decimal odds. Okay, so for some of us it might take a while getting used to, but once you’ve convert between fractions and decimal odds a few times, it will become a lot easier. Generally, most betting sites will offer the option to switch between the two types, so if you’re really stuck, simply switch over to the format that you prefer! At the end of the day, the profit will be exactly the same, you’ll just understand it better!
If you are planning on getting anywhere in the sports betting world, then understanding odds, how they are formatted and what they mean is the very first step you should be taking. In fact, if you think about it, there’s no betting without odds and vice versa. Let’s start with what exactly are odds. They are just a mathematical presentation of the return you can expect when betting on a specific event whether it is written down or presented in a different format entirely. Different countries and parts of the world show odds differently, which can also be confusing.
Happily though, most online betting sites have an option for switching between formats so that you can use a system that you are familiar with. Depending on the site though, you may find that they only offer a single odds format. So, for those that are new to this whole system, we are going to take a look at the different ways that odds are expressed with a focus on the way they are shown and formatted in the UK. Keep reading to discover all you need to know about betting, odds and top sports in the UK.
The most common UK odds format is fractional odds. These are considered the original method of formatting and one that pretty much all bookies, both on and offline, will unfailingly use in the UK. Fractional odds are shown in this manner: 1/1 (even bet), 10/1, 1/2 or 5/2. The left-hand number in the fraction is the numerator and the one on the right is the denominator. Numerators indicate the profit that you’ll make from the bet if you are placing a bet that is equal to the denominator. So, for instance, with odds of 1/2, a £2 bet will yield £3 meaning a profit of £1.
When the number on the right (the denominator) is greater than the numerator, this is considered to be an odds on bet. It can also be written as “2/1 on” but is the same thing as a 1/2 bet. Here are some further examples of how they work: taking the 5/1 odds, if you were to place £10 and win, you would get £60 back, with a decent £50 in profit. Essentially, the larger the number the numerator is when compared to the denominator, the larger your expected profit. But it does mean that whoever you are betting on has a lower chance of success.
In the UK there are a number of different popular sports that are bet on fairly regularly (these are listed below). Each of these different sports has a variety of betting options. Football is the most popular sport in this country, so it will come as no surprise that the largest number of options are attached to this game. On average 7.9 million viewers tune into a match and with so many championships, games, and tournaments, there’s always something to bet on. Tennis is a close second, particularly when Wimbledon rolls around and punters are all about placing a bet on specific players.
You may be wondering why fractional odds are a little strange. Well, they were actually created in the 16th Century – Shakespeare has the earliest written references to the use of this formatting system! Fractional odds have many weird little quirks. For example, they’re often expressed ‘to eight’. You’ll often see fractional bets such as 15/8 or 12/8 around, particularly on horse racing. It’s also quite common to see a bet not rounded down to the lowest denominator possible. Instead, you’ll get bets such as 100/30 or 6/4 which could just as easily have been written as 10/3 or 3/2. But this is all down to history.
If you’re really going to get to grips with it all, it’s a good idea to understand how you can calculate probability from betting odds. Odds are there to give you an indication of how likely an event is to happen. It’s something you can discern simply by dint of understanding what the odds mean (which you should do by now!). However, it’s possible to calculate further. Probability from fractional odds is done by dividing the right side number with the total of both numbers. So a 9/1 odds would be 1 divided by 10 which equals 0.10, so a 10% chance of the event occurring. Simple really!
Now that you’ve got all that sorted, it’s time you actually headed out there and started placing some bets. You should already know which of the sports and specific events you are planning to place a wager on. Similarly, you should know what type of bet you want to make. Finding the best odds is a simple matter of then checking out the bookies and comparing them. Most of the time they’ll be highly competitive, there won’t be much difference between them. So, pick a bookie that offers a good bonus, is safe and secure and offers a wider range of betting options.
So there you have it! It’s quite simple really when you know. Fractional odds are rooted in UK history. Aside from the fact that there are a few weird quirks, they are actually quite easy to master. It’s also a simple matter of creating the probability of the event occurring that will help you understand in greater detail which odds to choose and what player or team to put a wager on. If things are still a little unclear, give it a whirl, it will become a lot clearer once you give online sports betting a go for yourself.
In the simplest form, a sports betting bonus is an offer by the sportsbook to provide you something extra for placing your wagers with them. Typically, it’s a monetary amount to increase your bankroll, but sometimes, it can be in the form of loyalty points and even gifts, although this is not so common.
What’s important to note is that not all sports betting bonuses are created equal, and there are various types of bonuses that each have their own unique features and terms.
In order to claim a bonus, you will need to deposit funds into your account. In almost all cases, there is a minimum amount required. There are some sites that do offer a no-deposit bonus, but it is not that common. While UK sportsbooks sites certainly don’t want to limit you on how much you want to deposit, there is often an upper limit on how much bonus you will get. For example, A site says: “Join now and get a 50% Welcome Bonus”. In this case, if you deposit £100, you will receive an additional £50 in bonus funds, giving you £100+£50=£150 worth of funds to bet with.
If you think you’re going to put all £150 on a single bet and when you win, you will withdraw all your winnings, you will be in for a nasty surprise. The reason is that the UK sportsbooks applies a rollover/wagering requirement on the amount deposited and the bonus, before allowing you to withdraw.
For example a Rollover of 10X would mean that you must place a total of bets worth £1,500 i.e. (£100+£50) x 10. Note that some sites may place odds restrictions on the rollover. What this means is that they may not count your entire wager towards the rollover requirement, depending on the odds offered for the bet you are placing. Another factor to consider is there is often a time limit to complete the rollover and if you don’t meet the wagering requirements within the timeframe, you could forfeit your bonus and possibly even any winnings from that bonus.
If you have begun gambling at sportsbooks online, no doubt you have come across the term betting exchange. Many of you will already know what this is, how it works and how to use it. But some of you won’t, and it’s you that we’re going to aim this article towards. In simple terms, a betting exchange enables any of its members to place a wager against each other instead of with the bookmaker. Instead of getting the odds from the bookie, you can get them from other bettors.
Traditional bookies take a risk going up against punters, but this is not so with a betting exchange. Here, there’s no risk at all for the bookie. Instead, the betting exchange is simply a platform, hosted by the bookmaker, providing a place for bettors to match their wagers with each other. The betting exchange will simply take a small commission on any wins. As online gambling increases, the number of betting exchanges is rising, becoming an important part of online gambling. Read on to find out how they offer better odds, greater transparency and a fun experience.
The main difference between an exchange and a bookmakers is that the former allows lay betting. This is when you choose to back a loss over a win. Each bet at a betting exchange is actually two bets. One bet is the one backing the win. The other is the same bet, but backing the loser. For example, if you were to place a £10 bet on a horse to win with 10/1 odds, this returns a profit of £100. Another player backing the loss would have to risk £100 on the same bet to win £10.
Being able to make a lay bet enables customers to get a guaranteed return on their bet, particularly if the bet shortens after they have placed their initial wager. Continuing on with the horse example, if you are backing a horse at bookies, you will need all the other horses to “green up” in order to secure a profit (all horse odds rise showing green profit). At an exchange, you can back your horse to lose when the price shortens and thus lock-in that profit right away!
There are a number of advantages to using a betting exchange over a traditional bookie. These exchanges offer you a much wider choice of bets. Usually, if a bookie isn’t willing to risk the odds or the bet value you want, you couldn’t make the bet. Now, using an exchange, you just need to find another punter who is happy to take on the risk i.e. they will be the ones to lay your bet. By using an exchange you can find the exact odds that you want to play.
Another plus is that odds are usually better on an exchange. Bookies need to make profits and never offer true odds but usually take a small percentage off the odds so that they can make money. As an exchange market isn’t created by a single person, but rather thousands of bets, there is a greater pressure for fairer prices. If they don’t offer fair prices, no one will risk matching their bets. Exchanges provide greater flexibility for bettors, and, similar to the stock market, bet values can rise or fall depending on how the event is progressing.
Betting exchanges have been integral in changing online betting. In fact, a number of very common features available for online betting would not have occurred if it weren’t for betting exchanges. For instance, the option of in-play betting at a UK sportsbooks. This is a direct result of exchanges enabling players to offer prices whilst the events are on-going instead of stopping all bets the moment the event begins. Cash out is another feature come directly from betting exchanges. This is where players can cash out bets in order to manage a loss or to secure a profit.
These cash out options are also made very simple at online bookmakers. Players can simply hit a button, triggering a lay bet for the event so that the same profit is accrued no matter the final outcome of the event. There have also been improvements in the mobile betting arena thanks to betting exchanges. With betting exchanges leading the way in this area, it’s now even easier for punters to place bets, check scores, view odds and pricing and navigate markets, all while out and about. It really couldn’t be easier.
Most betting exchanges have a number of systems in place to help customers. For instance, many exchanges offer a gamble aware style programme. This tells players that if the fun has ceased, they need to stop gambling. This programme offers support and promotes responsible gambling for all players. There are also further programmes that help identify areas where players might have difficulties. It’s also worth noting that betting exchanges are also subject to gambling jurisdictions and must also be licenced in the same way that a sportsbook or casino online is.
There have always been issues raised about the integrity of betting exchanges. This is mainly because it is hard to know who is making the lay bet – it could be someone who is actually part of the event for example. However, betting exchanges are completely transparent in their actions and communicate openly with customers. Fairness is a key part of what makes these exchanges work. Betting exchanges tend to work with various sporting organisations and make all their information fully available so that investigations can easily occur if there are questionable results.
|Match Bonuses||Also known as deposit bonuses or deposit match is the most common online betting bonuses. The sportsbook will match your deposit amount by a certain percentage or fixed amount. Example: 100% up to £|
|Reload Bonus||Almost identical to a match bonus or welcome bonus except they are aimed at existing customers to encourage them to keep depositing and placing bets.|
|Free Bets||Don’t get excited, they’re not actually free bets, but instead, a type of insurance or cashback up to a certain value. In essence, it’s a “risk-free” bet where you still need to make a deposit and place a bet. However, if you lose the bet, you get your money back but if you win, you receive your winnings with rollover requirements.|
|Loyalty Bonus||The more you play, the more they pay. Loyalty bonuses are there to not only keep you betting but to encourage you to bet more. Often, loyalty bonuses will be awarded based on how much you bet within a certain period and may not necessarily require you to make a deposit. For example, you may already have bankroll to play with, so the UK sportsbooks may offer you X% amount of bonus if you wager more than £500 in a month.|
|No Deposit Bonus||As the name implies, these are bonuses you may receive without having to make a deposit first. Typically, these are given to existing customers and may be small amounts to keep you active. Very rarely are no-deposit bonuses given to new customers, but anything is possible. Once again, make sure to read the fine print.|
|Referral Bonuses||It’s simple, bring your friends and you get rewarded. They will have to sign up and make their initial deposit before you get rewarded. Your referrals may also have to meet their rollover commitments too. Make sure to read the terms relating to referral bonuses as sometimes, there are limitations on it being immediate family members or the number of referrals etc.|
There is no clear-cut answer, but generally, YES. However, let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons which will help guide your decision. Some of the disadvantages of claiming a bonus are the multitude of terms and conditions associated with the bonus. You may have to make a minimum deposit before being able to claim; there may be rollover/wagering requirements; there may be time limits to use up the bonus and various other commitments. On the other side of the coin, you can increase your bankroll without risking all your own funds. If you are new to an online betting site, it’s a good way to test out the new site with limited money.
Whatever you decide, we cannot emphasize enough to understand the T&Cs, because the last thing you want is to lose out on thousands of euros in winnings because you didn’t know what was expected.
Once again, there is no simple answer and it depends on the sportsbook and the type of offer. Probably, the best rule of thumb is to first read the terms and to understand them. When you know what the requirements are, you can then make an educated decision as to whether to claim the sports betting bonus or to walk away. An important thing to bear in mind: The bigger the bonus, usually, the bigger the wagering requirements.
Betting on sports can be a great form of entertainment and you could even make some money while doing it. Sport betting bonuses can be a great way to boost your bankroll and to “play with the house’s money”. By knowing the rules and sticking to them, you will save yourself the frustration and enjoy your betting a lot more. Always choose a reliable and reputable UK sportsbooks, and if you’re ever in doubt about something, contact their support. No matter what you decide or which bonus you choose, always remember: “Bet with your head, not with your heart”.
The calculation of odds is perhaps one of the most interesting, if somewhat complicated, subjects in the world of online sports booking. Odds are calculated by bookies whose job is to essentially balance the books; hence the name. To be able to do this, bookies use a number of different tools and strategies to determine the actual odds which you will find at your favourite sportsbook to bet on. Odds will also need to be updated and maintained and this is why bookmaking can be such an exciting field.
Although odds calculation can be a pretty complicated subject, we have worked hard to lay down the law of the land for you. What it ultimately boils down to, at the end of the day, is one question; how do I make a profit when the outcome is unknown? Regardless of how good a bookmaker is, they still have to start with an event (like a football or a boxing match) for which the outcome is unknown and this is why betting on sports can be an attractive proposition for both bookies and gamblers alike.
When bookies start out to calculate their odds, they first need to determine the actual probabilities of each outcome on which bettors can wager on. This is referred to as the real probability. There are a number of different ways to achieve this including algorithms that can essentially predict the future. Algorithms are software programs that take key data to work out possibilities. We see algorithms everywhere from weather predictions to stock prices. Bookies, however, can also use other formulas to work out the real probabilities of each event.
Regardless of whether the bookies use algorithms or not, they need to take into account several factors (key data) including historical data, expert opinions, and any other variables that might affect the outcome of the event. If the event does not have a rich set of historical data available, say perhaps who will win a song contest, then a different set of factors needs to be taken into account. Such events will also lead to higher margins to always ensure the books are as balanced as they can ever be.
Once the real probabilities have been determined by the bookie, then initial adjustments need to be made. These adjustments have to account for a.) profit margin and b.) the expected bets on each outcome. Both profit and expected bets need to be taken into account to make sure that the books remain balanced. This limits exposure and essentially spreads the variance to ensure there’s always profit to be made. How the profit is worked out on each bet can vary widely and it might not always be a simple 5% across the board for example.
The profit variance is called the vigorish, or vig for short, and will reflect the exposure a certain bookmaker has in any given market. This exposure can also be offset through betting exchanges which gives the bookmaker yet another tool to balance the odds whilst still keeping them attractive enough to ensure people place bets on them. Once everything is taken into account, the odds are offered to the general public; however like markets, odds are subject to change as events get closer to the date and news comes to light.
As we already established, the probability of the published odds is only the starting point in the odds making. Once they are published, there can be further adjustments. The easiest way to understand it is to think of sports betting as we think of financial markets. Stock prices of a particular company depend on the interest buyers show; the more people want to buy, the higher the price. The same goes for the odds, when more people are betting on a particular outcome, the higher the margin will be adjusted for that odd.
Bookmakers don’t usually wait around to see which bets will prove to be more popular than others. In most cases, they will try to predict that well in advance with some help from statistics and other data, such as which team has the most supporters. Having said that, in certain cases, odds can be updated well after they have been released to ensure they are not too skewed to one side by encouraging people to bet on a particular outcome over another and thus balancing the books once again.
Live in-play odds are much more complicated and obviously changing much faster than pre-game odds. Bookmakers don’t have the luxury of time to calculate the probabilities of all outcomes in real-time to be able to adjust the odds as fast as they are changing. Therefore, these odds are mostly calculated by algorithms. There are so many options of in-play bets, that to be safe and not to lose money, bookmakers tend to put the margins a bit higher on these kinds of odds when compared to the pre-game odds.
When it comes to choosing the best odds to bet on, knowledge of the sport which you are betting on will always help as this can help you spot a wrong premise and thus an opportunity to win big. Boosted odds can also be another great way to increase your chances as they can offer a lower return for the UK sportsbooks and a higher return for you. Live odds can also present a great opportunity however more consideration is due here. Always take the time to check around and try to spot opportunities for some exciting wins.