It is possible to earn money with sports betting, but the way there is rocky. In this detailed guide, I describe how you can achieve this in a long-term and systematic way – and how you can also learn a lot of skills that you can use very well professionally, even if it does not work with betting.
Make money with sports betting in a realistic way
Have you ever imagined what it would be like to get rich with sports betting ? It is a very common dream, but like in many areas, it is often overlooked how much hard work is required to get there. Nevertheless, it is quite feasible to make long-term money with sports betting if you approach the matter systematically and with realistic expectations.
1. Get rid of all illusions
Before you try to systematically make money from betting, it is very important that you have no illusions and say goodbye to misconceptions.
Successful sports betting is not a lottery game
The very first illusion you need to break free of: it’s not about winning the lottery. Combo bets with huge odds are very rarely won, and above all, a corresponding win is not one: predictable. Forget this route and don’t play the lottery, period.
It’s not a good gut feeling, it’s hard work
The most important finding before you can make money with sports betting: Successful betting is hard work, you are given nothing. The idea that you can master every field in 10,000 hours is not entirely correct  , but nevertheless conveys a true core: only if you deal intensively with betting can you get really good at it. With intuition, gut instinct and vague notions, you won’t get far in betting. At the beginning of every good bet there is always an analysis (which should usually be based on a betting model) that also deserves this name.
Approx. 98% of all sports bettors make no profits  . What differentiates the money earners in sports betting from this 98% is the willingness to work hard for it.
You have to learn the necessary skills
To succeed in the betting business, you need a basic set of skills. This includes, for example, basic statistical knowledge, handling Excel / Libre Calc or collecting data on the Internet. This is by no means an exhaustive list – these are just a few basic requirements, which can certainly be supplemented by other skills. (On the subject of skills in the Skill Profile section and your plan B even more)
It is also important to recognize that you are never done with the acquisition of skills and the further development of your models. The Computer Group, for example, revolutionized betting through the use of computers , now computers are part of everyday betting. There will always be such major and minor innovations, which is why lifelong learning is particularly important if you want to make money from sports betting.
You need discipline and time
If you bet with profit, you have to invest time – without ifs and buts. If you have very little time left over because of your job or your family, it will be difficult – and then of course it is all the more important that you use your time in a disciplined manner. Building and maintaining a betting model is a long, steady process that requires a lot of patience and trial and error. And this process never ends because the market also learns in the long run.
You won’t get rich by letting your time. Therefore, you should use as much of the time as possible to avoid having to do that one day. And: If you rent too much of the time you have now , you will not be able to shape your future better – whether in betting or in other areas.
There is no perfect way
You also have to say goodbye to the fact that the path to regular earnings in sports betting can be planned directly on the drawing board. Many of the processes are a very lengthy process, especially developing a good betting model. The one, correct recipe doesn’t exist – there is no way around trying it out, and the best way to learn is to start with a specific project. You learn the most and the fastest with specific problems. Everything else, as the saying goes, is just gray theory.
2. Your schedule for the beginning
Step 1: take your time, at fixed times
As a first step, I recommend that you give yourself a certain amount of time. This can be a certain time of day or a certain period of time during the week. Routine is everything: fixed times give you structure, and that makes the power of habit work for you. You will quickly notice how amazingly fast and steady you can get on with your projects if you regularly invest time in them – even if it is not a lot of time in a row.
Step 2: start with a concrete betting model
How to create a betting model is of course a very extensive topic of my own, about which I also write extensively in the context of the betting model series. For starters, however, I simply recommend that you start with a specific idea, as absurd as it may be. Personally, I started with the following brilliant ideas:
- In MLB baseball I had the idea for a while that it could be enough if I simply looked at the pure results of the last 10 match days of both teams and calculated wins and losses proportionately in order to calculate my minimum odds on this basis. So if the Yankees had a 7-3 record and the Red Sox had a 4-6 record before a match, then my “model” gave the Yankees a 13/20 chance (7 + 6 of 20) and the Red Sox one of 7/20. I completely ignored starting pitchers and similar frills. Bizarre, the model even made huge profits for more than one season.
- With an even simpler model, around 2007/2008 I celebrated impressive successes at greyhound racing for my conditions at that time (on Betfair) until I eventually lost everything again: I simply bet on every dog with a betting rate of 10 or higher. In fact, these dogs were priced wrong for a while before the market adjusted one day – without me having a measure to show me that.
- Shortly after the sighthounds, I followed a betting model at British horse races based on the excellent ratings of a certain Adrian Massey . That worked great until said Massey decided to stop making his ratings public.
The main goal at the beginning is to familiarize yourself with the process of creating a betting model and to learn the mechanics. In this way, you learn to use Excel or Libre Calc, and you come across concrete small problems that you have to solve. In this way you learn quickly and efficiently – problem-oriented. Instead of doing boring, abstract exercises, you work on your own baby.
So it doesn’t matter how good your initial idea is. Working on your first ideas will very quickly bring you new ideas yourself, and along the way you will find new and better ways to organize your formulas, tables and spreadsheets. Giving space and time to this development pays off in the long term, even if it does not lead to concrete results.
A good first approach is to think about which variables best predict a team’s success – in football, for example, that could be shots on goal and their position. Then you should consider how best to measure these variables and what other variables affect them.
Step 3: Check the success of your betting model
Ultimately, you want to make long-term and systematic money with your sports betting, which is why you should also check from the start how you would do with the bets of your model. This requires the following:
- You need to record which betting odds were realistically available to you before the game  and calculate profit & loss on this basis
- When designing your spreadsheet or program, make sure that you only use data that was available before the game
- You have to compare your betting model with the betting odds and use this as a basis to find out whether a bet would have been made or not – and then record this as well
For example, the fact that I had to develop Excel / Libre Calc formulas for the profit calculation of Asian handicaps helped me enormously in creating better spreadsheets.
Step 4: Develop your skills as needed
After the first three steps, you now have a clearer idea of what skills you should be working on. For example, these can be new spreadsheet formulas , or maybe you want to organize your spreadsheets fundamentally differently now. Sooner or later you will also discover at this point that it is time to learn completely new skills. (See also the Skill Profile section below. ) For example, one day it was so big that my spreadsheet got too big and crashed permanently, which forced me to deal with databases .
Step 5: start over with new skills and resources
Now it is advisable to go through these steps again and again with new skills and knowledge. You will learn, develop new ideas and sooner or later earn more money. Money, in turn, creates freedom for you: you will notice that not all areas of learning suit you equally and you like, and you can outsource such work well with a larger budget. Alternatively, you may have friends and acquaintances who can help you and want to participate in your project.
3. Beyond betting: your skill profile and your plan B
Although I maintain that everyone do it can earn with sports betting long term money if he or she really wants , and is ready to have the time and labor to invest. But of course it is always advisable in life to have a plan B. This is where the skills that you learn through betting come into play.
The skill stack : your skill profile
In his book How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big, Scott Adams  speaks repeatedly of the * skill stack *, which you can visualize as a stack of your skills, your skill profile. A single particular skill, however good you may be at it, will not usually get you very far – because millions of other people can do the same.
However, when you start combining different skills into a skill stack, your skill profile becomes more unique with each additional skill, making it more attractive to potential employers – and more useful for your own projects. For example, quite a few people can program properly, so only with this skill will you not make much money. However, as soon as you are able to combine programming with statistical analysis and automated data collection, you will be ahead of a lot of people – not only when it comes to developing a betting model.
Personally, the ability to write in German about online poker, online casinos and sports betting gave me a rare part-time job at the beginning of my betting career, which gave me enough time to develop my betting models and was still well paid. The fact that I was also somewhat familiar with HTML and a little bit with image editing rounded off my skills profile and, with each of them quite trivial skills, gave me a unique selling point that made me a sought-after worker.
This is my main argument here: If you seriously delve into developing a betting model, you will learn a lot of skills in this way, which will give you immense added value personally in normal professional life. This is all the more true these days because classic career paths have lost enormous importance and formal education is in a crisis. The future lies clearly in the areas of programming, data processing, data mining, statistical analysis and related areas  . These are all topics that are also interesting if you want to systematically earn money with sports betting.
The Columbus effect
Everyone knows Christopher Columbus because he discovered America. He hadn’t intended that at all; he actually wanted to find a new trade route to India and had underestimated the length of the route. With his real goal, he had failed with a crash, and yet (or, strictly speaking, because of it) made himself immortal with the discovery of America.
It will be similar for you if you persistently pursue the goal of making money with sports betting. You are pursuing a certain idea with a betting model. Precisely because you are pursuing this idea, you will come across completely different ideas and approaches that may turn out to be very successful (your America), while your original idea (reaching India) turns out to be fanciful.
This applies both to the betting model level itself and to your other areas of life. The fact that one day I decided to make money from betting led to a number of highly interesting contacts on my personal trip, which were not limited to the world of betting alone. In the past few years, this has given me the opportunity to take completely different career paths. Ultimately, I decided against it, but the possibilities were (and are) there.
Magnus Walker is also a nice example of the Columbus effect:
So it can be worthwhile on very different levels to just start. You never know where the journey will take you and which gates may open unexpectedly.
For example, I think the interface between blockchain technologies and betting is a particularly interesting field. In the end, you may not find your success with betting yourself, but because you are programming a successful app that links both worlds. But you can only do that if you have dealt intensively with betting beforehand.
4. Make money professionally with sports betting
Once you’ve managed to get a successful betting model going, it’s time to think about the professional level. I wrote in another blog post about professionals like Billy Walters, Tony Bloom and Matthew Benham who got rich with sports betting. This includes something more than “only” being able to bet profitably. If you want to take betting to a professional level, you need to be able to scale your achievements. This includes psychology, capital management and choosing the right betting provider.
You can learn a lot about betting psychology, but there are essentially two important topics here: Firstly, we are all victims of many misperceptions, as the Nobel Prize winner Kahnemann, in particular, points out in his highly recommended book Fast Thinking, Slow Thinking . These innumerable distortions of perception are the reason why you keep an exact record of your bets and create a betting model – in order to be able to make consistent betting decisions regardless of your gut feelings.
Second (and this is the more important part) betting psychology is about how you can best manage loss phases and winning streaks. I covered the topic in detail in my blog post Disciplined Betting . At its core, however, it is always about not letting you rest and not putting too much of your total capital, which brings us to the next topic: capital management.
Correct capital management can be dealt with in books if you want to go into the finest detail. And I will also write a little more about it here on my blog. But if you only follow these two very simple rules of thumb, you will achieve at least 90% of the benefits of all the more complicated approaches:
- If you have a queasy feeling in your stomach when you bet, you have bet too much.
- Do not wager more than 1% of your available betting capital.
There may be exceptions to the 1% rule, but then you should have very good reasons and a lot of value. This approach ensures that you don’t cripple yourself financially before you actually start making money systematically with your bets.
More complicated approaches could help you to achieve success faster, a lot of professionals swear by variations of the Kelly formula. This can have its advantages, but is ultimately not necessary, and not without its pitfalls. If you regularly find value, and otherwise you won’t make money with sports betting in the long term, then time won’t run away. Accordingly, your attention should be given to maximum caution.
Choosing the right betting site
If you want to generate an income from sports betting, you need the right betting site. There are only a few bookmakers who accept systematic winners and do not block or limit them. You only have a long-term future with such sites, you should avoid everyone else  . Providers suitable for professionals are divided into three different groups.
- Professional bookmaker
- Betting exchanges
- Betting agents
1. Professional bookmaker
Professional bookmakers are bookmakers who neither limit winners nor block them – no matter how much they win. A prime example of this is Pinnacle, all other bookmakers in this category are based in Asia. These are SBO and IBC (both are based in Manila, the Philippines) and ISN. ISN is owned by the most successful football professional ever, Tony Bloom. There is also Nitrogensports.eu , a bookmaker that only bets with bitcoins . Professionals are also accepted there, as I can confirm at first hand.
All bookmakers mentioned also have in common that they have transparent betting limits. If you cannot bet directly with these providers, this is possible indirectly via betting agents, see point 3.
2. Betting exchanges
Betting exchanges make their money by asking for a commission on sales or winnings won, similar to how it works at poker providers. For this reason, they do not need to limit or block winners. Betfair came up with the notorious Premium Charge , which is not much better, but that has so far been the exception in the betting market.
In addition to the most famous betting exchange Betfair there are also Betdaq and Matchbook. As a professional, you can bet on all these betting exchanges without any problems, provided you live in the right country – unfortunately not in Germany. But you can also bet here via betting agents. In addition, there is the Bitcoin betting exchange Fairlay , as well as the special case of the decentralized betting exchange Augur , where you can bet with the second largest cryptocurrency Ethereum. On both of these crypto exchanges, your only obstacle as a professional is the amount of money you can accommodate.
3. Betting agents
Betting professionals have long been the method of choice for betting professionals because it can also be used to place very large sums. A betting agent acts as a broker and opens accounts with other betting sites for you. This is also the only way to get access to the Asian betting market as a European – only in this way you are really guaranteed the best betting odds and limits.
In the meantime, there are also numerous betting sites who are geared towards semi-professionals and ambitious leisure weather, so the selection in this industry is quite large and growing. If you want to make money from sports betting, you won’t be able to avoid betting agents in the long run. To start with, in my opinion, recommended betting brokers are premium trading, Asianconnect and Sportsmarket.
 Malcolm Gladwell has made this idea popular in his book Outliers, and for some even have to plug to criticism. It is certainly a helpful, but not sufficient or necessary, condition.
 Strictly speaking, the data situation in this regard is thin, because this figure could be definitively confirmed only by the bookmaker itself eventually, but they naturally have no interest. Still, I think this is a solid estimate. The topic is discussed in detail in this post by Football-Data.co.uk .
 This means that you should only record the betting odds of professional bookmakers – all other bookmakers will sooner or later limit or even block you if successful, which is why these are not sustainable betting odds, but fantasy offers. Pinnacle should be the quota recording provider of your choice, in football SBO is also highly recommended.
 Scott Adams is known for his Dilbert comic, a few different and largely recommendable books, and for having recognized early on that there was a lot of method behind Trump’s madness . Accordingly, he was one of very few who predicted his election as US president.
 Other fields include blockchains and cryptocurrencies, cryptography, machine learning, artificial intelligence and programming languages of all kinds, and of course web development. It becomes particularly interesting at the interfaces of all of these fields.
 An exception is the so-called matched betting , in which you make elegant use of bookmaker bonuses . This is also a good way to increase your capital at the beginning of your betting career.