Sports betting online is extremely popular, but unless you know what you’re doing, you are at a slight disadvantage—even if you are a huge sports fan. This happens because on bets that the casino thinks are equal in value, you must pay 10 percent more than the bet is actually worth. You’ve probably seen this before but might not have paid it much attention. Let’s look at a quick example to illustrate what this disadvantage looks like in reality.
Buffalo Bills: +2.5 -110
Minnesota Vikings: -2.5 -110
What this basically means is that the Vikings are expected to win by an average of 2.5 points over a large sample size of trials of this particular game. If they win by 2 or fewer points, the bet would be in favor of the Bills—this concept is called the “spread.” The bigger number refers to what you have to bet in order to win $100. So if you want to make $100, you would have to put $110 at risk.
This might seem like a bad bet when you look at it this way. Much of the time, this would be true. But suppose you do the math and you find that the Bills really are at an advantage for this game. In fact, you’ve found that they have a 55 percent chance of beating the spread, or in other words they will lose by two or fewer points, or win. When their real odds of winning are at 55 percent, the real payout should be at -122 (betting $122 to win $100), so if you were to make this bet, you would have what is called an overlay—your payout is more favorable than the actual odds of this occurring. This is one of the most important concepts in sports betting, and if you can consistently spot these overlays, you will be a winning bettor. The 12 point overlay will add up over time, so even if you lose your first several bets, if you are accurate in pointing to the real odds, finding these overlays will add up to a tidy profit.
This is much easier said than done. If you are thinking that the Bills will lose by fewer than 2.5 points, how do you come up with a percentage of how often you think this will occur. There are a lot of factors to put together in order to form this picture, and it’s impossible to be accurate 100 percent of the time, but looking at projections and past results of teams in similar situations will help you to figure this out. Eventually, you will be able to improve your accuracy to a point you feel comfortable with. Remember, this is an inexact science, so you will lose from time to time. The object here, however, is to win more than you lose. Proper money management—putting more money on the bets you are more confident with—will also help you toward this end.
If you want to try this for yourself, check out Bovada Sportsbook. They are US friendly and offer some of the best odds in sports betting.