Sports Betting Odds Explained. It is a common experience for someone to overhear others talking about sports betting odds but not really understand what it is that they are talking about. There are terms which may sound complex, and there are layers to understanding how odds are tabulated and determined. As such, anyone who is a beginner in sports betting should seriously consider looking at explanations of what these odds mean and how to calculate them yourself. Such information is highly valuable and can convert into winning bets.
There are a variety of ways in which odds may be displayed by an bookmaker and it is important to understand how to convert the various ways of displaying the odds in order to make it as easy for you to understand no matter which way makes the most sense to you. More about different oods styles.
Betting Odds Explained
You probably hear people say it all the time "what are the odds of x?". That is a quick way of saying what is the statistical probability that an event will occur. For example "what are the odds that the home team will win tonight's game?". That is a question which can have odds applied to it and can be bet upon. If it is believed that the chances of an event happening are 1 in 2, then the odds of that event happening would be 50%. You simply take the first number and divide by the second one (1 divided by 2 is 0.50). This equation produces the percent chance in decimal form. It works with any set of number. Something that only occurs 1 in 10 times would be 1 divided by 10 or 0.10 aka 10%.
The closer that one gets to the equation producing the number 1, the more likely the event is going to happen. The closer to zero the equation produces, the less likely the event will occur.
Another common term that is tossed around when talking about sports betting is something known as "the line". This is established in virtually every type of sports bet that one can make. It is used as a tool to make sure each game gets the right amount of money bet on it.
With many sporting contests there is a team that is clearly more likely to win a game than another team. It would be rather boring for most people to simply bet on winners and losers when some games have such lopsided odds. In order to deal with this problem, oddmakers have created something known as "the line". This is a way of handicapping a game so that it has odds closer to 50-50.
An example of how this works is as follows: The home team is far more likely to win than the away team in a basketball game. The home team has a much better record, better players and the advantage of getting to play in front of a favorable crowd. A bet on this team to win the game is very likely to win and is therefore not all that interesting to the betting public. In order to make the game more interesting a line is established. The line for this hypothetical contest is set at 8 points. This means that a gambler who bets on the home team to beat the line (aka cover the spread) will win if the home team wins by more than 8 points. Their bet would generally return close to even money. They would likely have to bet $110 to win $100, but this is a much better return than simply betting on the home team to win in general.
On the flip side of this example, if the away team wins the game or simply does not lose by more than 8 points, then the gambler who bets on the away team would win their bet. Once again, the bet would return next to even money. However, if the home team wins by exactly the 8 points that are set, then gamblers on both sides of this proposition would simply have their bet returned to them in what is known as a "push".
Finding Winning Bets
While some novice gamblers simply believe that they have greater sports insight than the average person, this is probably not the case. It does not matter how many sports contests you have watched over the course of your life or how much you follow a specific team, you probably cannot beat the odds over time if you do not understand how to find value bets.
What you want to look for in the odds are games that have odds which are set incorrectly to what is actually likely to happen. This often happens with games that not too many people are paying attention to.
The high profile games will generate the most attention and thus the most bets. With all of that money flowing in, it is easy for the oddsmakers to set the correct lines and odds for that game. However, a game that does not garner as much attention will not receive as much money bet on it and the odds can quickly get skewed incorrectly.
Imagine that a super fan of a mid-level team bets heavily on that team simply because they used to go to school there or because it is their favorite team. This could put a lot of money on one side in the game and require that the oddmakers shift the odds to heavily favor the team that has been bet on by the super fan. However, the odds on the game may be more realistically set at 50-50. The big early bet by the super fan has now given someone betting on the other side a huge opportunity to make a profit by finding that value bet.
Obviously, sometimes the super fan will be right or just get lucky and have his favorite team win the game and cover the line. However, given enough time and enough games with incorrectly set odds, you are pretty likely to have a good chance to profit by betting on teams that have value in them. It takes some time and practice to get good at spotting these opportunities, but they exist frequently, particularly in games that are not that well covered. Consider focusing your attention on such opportunities and see what you can find.
Always bet with what you can afford to lose and perhaps start with smaller amounts while you are still practicing your strategies until you are comfortable with them.