How to build a betting model

How to build a betting model

Why a betting model?

The core problem with betting is finding value. At the beginning of their betting career, most beginners try their intuition here, but this is almost hopeless for psychological reasons, since we can think intuitively poorly or not at all in terms of probabilities.

In addition, our gut feeling is also a bad advisor because we are all victims of a number of perception errors. As with optical illusions, we see the world far less consistently and rationally than we would like to believe – perhaps the best-known betting example is poor mental accounting of profits and losses, which we can quickly get the wrong picture [1] if we are not conscientious Keep a book.

The statement on the whole I am with my bets in the plus is perhaps the biggest warning signal for psychological self-deception when betting and indicates a deficit of fortune.

This is where betting models come into play: They help you make consistent decisions based on data and avoid psychological deception traps.

The goal of your betting model

A betting model is used to calculate “fair” betting odds for a specific event – odds for which you do not expect long-term gains or losses based on your model. If the market with its odds for one of the possible outcomes is significantly [2] above your estimates, you place a bet [3] .

A betting model ideally provides you with one or more of the following things:

  • Probabilities (in%) for the different game outputs, e.g. home win, draw and away win
  • a handicap (e.g. -0.35 goals from the perspective of the home team) that shows you the 50% line and average goal or point superiority of the team in question
  • an over / under line that is at the 50% threshold for whether there are more or fewer goals in the game

Based on these calculations, you will then be able to make betting decisions. Probabilities can easily be converted into betting odds with the 1 / x formula, while with handicap and over / under lines you can see at a glance which side of the market you are on with your estimate.

The structure of your betting model

How to build a betting model

Ultimately, the structure of a betting model is always the same. From your data, you create variables that represent the input of your model. Using various more or less complex formulas, you can use it to calculate an output consisting of the probabilities or handicap lines.

The individual steps in creating a betting model

  1. You collect as much data as possible
  2. You filter out the variables that are particularly suitable for modeling
  3. You weight your variables and form a suitable calculation formula
  4. You check the quality of your model calculations with various tests
  5. You make adjustments for systematic distortions, especially the game strength [4]
  6. Depending on your needs, start again at step 1 or 2 to further refine your model

In general, models are never finished, but can always be improved. However, from a certain point on, the additional benefit is usually no longer in proportion to the effort.

Models are never perfect, just a section

Models of all kinds are never a perfect representation of reality because it is far too complex. Similar to a map, a model is an attempt to reduce the overly complex reality to its essential aspects in order to serve as a guide. Accordingly, there will always be model errors.

Model error: external and internal

There are two types of different model errors: external model errors and internal model errors.

In external model errors , there are variables that you have not considered. Since you already do not consider all the variables of time constraints can , you can external model errors generally not avoid – the only question is, how serious they are. If you omit too many influential variables, your model may become worthless.

In the case of internal model errors , you take the wrong variables into account or weight their relative influence to the wrong extent. Internal model errors are particularly fatal, but at the same time more avoidable than external ones.

Where do you stand in the market?

When building a betting model, you should also assess your relative position in the market – this is closely related to choosing the right time to bet. The earlier you are and the less volume the market has (which can be seen directly from the available limits at Pinnacle or SBO), the more inefficient the betting odds are.

In these market phases, you don’t necessarily need a particularly complex model to be successful, because professional players usually wait for higher limits before betting is worth it.


[1] Typically, for example, we tend to talk a lot about won bets and rather remain silent about lost bets. This is also reflected in your mental accounting.

[2] What significantly means exactly is ultimately a little arbitrary and fuzzy. It is not a bad rule of thumb to incorporate a margin like the bookmaker does, i.e. two or more percentage points. I will go into the subject again in the later parts of this series.

[3] In practice, a few other considerations come into play. It is important not to trust models completely blindly, but also to take soft factors into account. An example of a soft factor is the team’s motivation when there is nothing left at the end of the season.

[4] The game plan strength expresses the average game strength of the opponents of the team in question in the previous season. Especially in the first half of the season there can be significant distortions and differences between the individual teams. Correcting them will significantly improve your model estimates.

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