Most people think that sports betting is about finding ‘sure things,’ but in reality such ‘locks’ are nothing more than gamblers’ fancy. Just as in real estate, currency, stocks, or any other speculative market, ‘sure things’ simply do not exist. As a professional sports bettor, my goal is to find and exploit many small edges over a long period of time to earn a compounding return. Winning 55% of games is very significant, and with very conservative bet sizing, you can grow your return very quickly. Investing $10,000 into the stock market for a year and earning a 10% return is considered a great investment – but your return winning a modest 54% of your sports bets would trounce that return.
Ray’s background in engineering, along with his meticulous nature and fascination with numbers, parlay into his ability to analyze data; keep records; notice emerging trends; and find new handicapping angles and figures. While specializing in thoroughbred racing, Ray also handicaps harness racing, Quarter Horse racing, baseball, football, hockey, and has been rumored to have calculated the speed and pace ratings on two squirrels running through his backyard.
The global gross gaming/gambling yield amounts to more than 400 billion U.S. dollars each year. Gross win from gambling represents the amount of money the gambling operation keeps from the customer’s stakes, wagers, bets etc. less the winning paid out to the customer and before deducting operating expenses. With about one third of the global gambling gross win, Asia is the biggest market for gambling and sports betting in particular. Probably the fastest growing segment of the industry is the online / interactive category, as the global online gambling market has grown at a consistent rate over the last few years from around 20 billion U.S. dollars in 2009 to more than 40 billion U.S. dollars by 2016.
When it comes to sports betting, each person may be trying to accomplish something different. If your objective is merely entertainment, then your goal is entirely different than my goal of making a living. If you bet $100 a game on Monday night football to enjoy the game, it will cost you $5 a week if you can go 50-50. There is nothing wrong with that. It's cheaper than a movie. But that is entertainment expense, not an excellent investment vehicle.
Touts often claim to be able to hit 60% or higher, but as I explain in my essay on Bayesian Probability, anyone who tells you that their long term expected winning percentage is higher than 60% is deluding themselves. Ten or more years ago a sharp handicapper could win about 60% long term but those days are over, as odds makers have become more savvy in the past decade or so. For a bettor to claim a greater than 60% long term expected win percentage, that would be mean that Vegas would have to consistently release lines with egregious errors, and that simply just does not happen often enough nowadays for claims of a greater than 60% long term expected win percentage. Any short term win rates of around 60% or higher are simply due to blind, short-term luck. For instance, last year (2016) in the first season using a new NFL play-by-play model, Dr. Bob Sports’ NFL Best Bet sides were an incredible 66-26 (71.7%), but that record was enhanced by winning a very large percentage of close games (31-12 on Best Bets decided by 7 points or less) rather than splitting the close ones. It still would have been a great season on NFL Best Bet sides (62%) if the close games had been 50% but I still can’t expect the new model to win 60%-plus on sides based on that one season – although the play-by-play model back-tested at a very profitable 56% winners.
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The longer I have been betting, the more I have come to fall in love with the team that nobody likes. In fact, I feel better about a potential bet the uglier it looks on paper. Sounds counter intuitive I know, but the less the general public likes a team, the more I like the look of them in terms of betting value. Especially a team that might have performed well over a long period but may have had a bad run of maybe 4 or 5 games. Just watch the general public jump off them, and watch their value rise.
Other popular sports for betting that are NOT on this list include baseball, darts, rugby and horse racing. We didn’t include baseball because that doesn’t get a lot of betting attention outside of the United States. Darts doesn’t get much attention outside of the United Kingdom, and rugby is only popular in a few countries. Horse racing DOES get worldwide attention, but horse racing betting is typically categorized as its own unique form of gambling.
Basketball has strong roots on the east coast and the NBA is one of the most popular professional sports leagues in America. All basketball (including college hoops) is second to the NFL in handle in Nevada sports betting. While the two states may not be apples to apples, the potential for basketball betting revenue in New Jersey can’t be overlooked.
The NHL’s Stanley Cup Playoffs start a few days after April 7, which is when the regular season ends. Of the 31 teams, 16 make it into the postseason. Each series is best of seven. The playoffs will often go into May. The NBA season ends April 11 and the playoffs begin April 14 and end at some point in early June. A total of 16 teams make it into the NBA postseason.
Serena Williams is the sport’s most dominant player. Going into the 2018 Wimbledon championships, Williams had won seven Wimbledon ladies’ singles titles and 23 Grand Slam singles championships. Even though she took off time in 2017 to have a baby and then suffered an injury in the French Open, she still was the pre-tournament betting favorite at Wimbledon this year. The overall odds looked like this:
“The world of sports gambling has fascinated Hollywood for decades, but never before has a documentary captured the essence of the industry at such a pivotal period,” Showtime Sports and Event Programming President Stephen Espinoza said. “Through the lens of industry professionals and real-life gamblers within every virtual layer of the business – both legal and illegal – ‘Action’ delivers a one-of-a-kind look as sports gambling enters a brave new world.”
Placing $460 bets on each of these games, a number pulled from some quick and dirty math about how much you could afford to bet in a single week’s NFL play without blowing your bankroll, would result in a $4,048 profit if you maintain that 55% winning record. Turning $10,000 into $14,048 in just four months is an investment return of 40.48%. I dare you to ask your bank for that kind of return on your savings account.
All these competitions mean more to some teams than others, so before you start placing bets on Man City against a fifth division team in the FA Cup, be sure to check their lineup to see who is playing. For some teams, a FA Cup match may mean the world, but for a team like Man City who usually competes at the highest levels, it may hold much less significance.
If you had $20,000 that you could comfortably afford to risk as your sports wagering bankroll and $3,295 went to pay for the all Football and all Basketball service, then you would have $16,705 left for wagering. As explained above the expected return on the combined Dr Bob Football and Basketball and NBA Guru Basketball services is +68.0% per year (using a less optimal flat betting approach), which would result in a return wagering profit of +$11,359 on the $16,705 initial bankroll. The overall profit, after factoring in the cost of the services, would be $8,064 (($16,705 x 0.68) – $3,295 = +$8,064), which is a very good 40.3% expected return on your $20,000. That percentage return is higher for higher bankrolls and lower for lower bankrolls since the cost of service becomes a smaller percentage of higher bankrolls and a higher percentage of smaller bankrolls. If you want to subscribe to the all Football and all Basketball package you would need a total of at least $4,846 to invest to expect a positive return after factoring in the cost of the service. The calculations above are based on expected results based on long term records and some years are better and some years are worse.
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