Sports betting and math

Mathematical relationships as a guarantee of success?

If you want to earn serious money from sports betting in the long term, you should first familiarize yourself with the basics of sports betting and mathematics and, above all, know exactly how a sports bet actually works. There is more to it than you would often assume as a beginner.

Football betting statement

We take a look at football betting first – why? Well, most sports bettors are mostly concerned with football betting and sports betting on football is also one of the most popular sports betting around the world.

A football bet can look like this, for example:

Team – Team B: 3.2 – 3.4 – 2.0.

So players have the possibility to place three bets.

A bet on the 1 at odds of 3.2 would mean the home win would be bet . A bet on the 2 at odds of 2.0 represents the away win and a bet on the X at odds of 3.4 represents a bet on a tie.

The importance of odds

We have now explained what it means to place a bet on 1, X or 2. Now we explain how to calculate the profit. How high the “possible” profit is depends on the stake and the associated odds.

Let’s go back to the previous example and assume that € 100 was wagered on Team B’s win.

Should Team B now win the game, the stake multiplied by the corresponding odds would result in a win. The odds for winning Team B was 2.0 and if you bet 100 euros, this would correspond to 200 euros. In order to determine the net profit, the approach, in our example 100 euros, must of course still be subtracted, so that a net profit of 100 euros remains.

The bookmaker’s margin

The bookmakers’ millions of profits have a reason, the so-called bookmaker margin. If a sporting event happened as expected, the bookmakers would have to accept severe losses and would soon be bankrupt.

That’s why there is a bookmaker’s margin at every betting site. No matter how the game ends, the bookmaker always wins. How does it work?

The easiest way to explain this is with the example of a tennis bet.

There are only 2 options for tennis.

Either player 1 or player 2 wins.

  • We assume that player 1 gets a odds of 1.90 and player 2 a odds of 1.80.
  • In this case, the margin is 8%.
  • The bookmaker makes 8% of the total stake on this event.

The only task of the bookmaker is to distribute the stakes of the players as evenly as possible over both possibilities. This is done by raising and lowering the betting odds.

The bookmaker margin is calculated as follows:

1 / odd + 1 / odd + 1 / odd = margin (−1)


1 / 2.00 + 1 / 3.20 + 1 / 3.40 = 1.10−1 = 0.10

In this example, the margin would be 10%.

Odd fluctuations

In order to distribute the bets as evenly as possible across all outcomes of the game and make a profit in any case, the betting sites lower the odds if too many people bet on the event.

In this way, people are encouraged to bet on the opposite event, whereby the betting site always makes a profit.

Odd fluctuations can also have other reasons. For example, information could become official that one or more regular players fail. Then the odds decrease or rise. If you can get this information before the bookmakers, you have a decisive advantage. This is more the case, especially in subclass leagues.

The odds fluctuations are very important to us and if we have found a good bet, we should usually place our tip early. Since most betting fans only hand in their tickets on the day the game takes place, the odds tend to decrease the closer the kick-off comes. Anyone who does not pay attention to the correct time when placing bets is giving away a lot of money in the long term.

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