The Math Behind Winning Big on Sports Betting

The Math Behind Winning Big on Sports Betting


The Math Behind Winning Big on Sports Betting


In sports betting, things can seem entirely luck-based. However, this notion is deceptive, since a deep knowledge of the sport can help to move the odds of winning in your favor. 

The reality is that sportsbook betting revolves primarily around mathematics. While you don’t have to be a math genius to make money, those that are very successful at sports betting will indeed know a thing or two about math. Read on for our full sports betting guide. We’ll talk you through some of the essential sportsbook betting concepts and how math can help you to win big.

Feb 13, 2020; West Palm Beach, Florida, USA; The Washington Nationals enter the practice fields for a spring training workout at FITTEAM Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports

Calculating Payouts from Odds

One of the most important things to understand about sports betting is how odds work. If you want to make any money at all, you’ll need to know how to read and understand at least one type of odds. There are three main types, American odds (-200 and +200, for example), decimal odds (1.2 and 3.4, for example), and fractional odds (1/2 and 5/7, for example). Don’t worry, you don’t need to understand all of them. Most sportsbooks will allow you to display odds in your chosen format. 

Different odds have different ways of calculating payouts. For American odds, you calculate the following formula. If your odds are a favorite (indicated by the minus sign in front of the odds), use stake/(odds/100). If you’re betting on an underdog (indicated by the plus sign in front of the odds), the formula is stake*(odds/100). 

Feb 12, 2020; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks forward Brandon Sutter (20) and goalie Jacob Markstrom (25) celebrate after defeating the Chicago Blackhawks at Rogers Arena. Vancouver won 3 -0. Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

Payouts for decimal odds are much simpler to calculate. You simply multiply your stake by the odds. For example, a $10 bet on odds of 1.2 will give you back $12. Fractional odds work in the same way. You multiply your stake by the odds only this time the odds are a fraction. So, a $10 bet on odds of 7/5 will give you back $14.

Bankroll Management

Bankroll management is an often-overlooked area of betting. This skill is what separates the casual sportsbook users from the pros. If you want to make real money betting, you need to look after your bankroll. First off, you’ll want to set up a budget for yourself to bet each month and be sure never to exceed this amount. 

You should then choose each stake as a certain percentage of your budget, varying the percentage based on the confidence you have in the bet. Sticking to your bankroll management plan will help you much more than you might think. It’s a great way to use simple math for a significant effect. 

Feb 3, 2020; Houston, Texas, USA; Costa Rica forward Jazm’n Elizondo (19) slide tackles USA midfielder Samantha Mewis (3) in the first half during the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying soccer tournament at BBVA Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Finding Favourable Odds

One of the best ways to make money through sports betting is to shop around for improved odds. Always look for the best value with your bets, as this will give you the best possible chance of winning larger amounts. While for most casual players, it makes sense to stay at one sportsbook. If you’re betting large amounts of cash regularly, however, you should always shop around for the best deals. Remember, better odds mean more cash in your pocket. 

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