Many will dismiss outright the ability to make good returns on your investment through sports betting. It is not really surprising because betting on sports is generally considered a leisure activity. Professional betting is hard work, solitary and you have to ‘grind out’ thousands of bets to get your returns.
So what kind of returns can you expect? Well for standard ‘even’ money type betting, basically -110, anywhere between 15% and 20% on betting turnover (that money actually put through the sportsbooks) annually, if you are good. Of course this could vary greatly – years of 30% or 10% for example would also be possible. The laws of probability defy accurate annual estimates. But suffice it to say that, if successful, you would beat almost all the pros in the money markets and financial investment world.
You will notice that I have not stated losing years, this is because they are rare. Some pros might experience one or two losing years, others none. I am always aware of the possibility but I am confident I will never experience one again partly because of the numerous hedging methods now available on the sports betting exchanges, which are available to most UK / European players.
I wonder how many young people on Wall Street today can confidently say they will only have one losing year? Their number would be few, perhaps those engaging primarily in arbitrage for most of their work
So do the sportsbooks close accounts if you are a winning player? Sometimes. If the book is doing its job properly, it is taking the action from both sides of the line (odds) and simply taking the commission in the middle. The sportsbook should make its money whatever the result. The sportsbook is a ‘commission-taker’. Winning bettors do not win money from the sportsbook, they win money from other losing players.
Some bookmakers simply do not like winners but many manage the action well and allow big bets. Bigger bets, means higher turnover, which should mean bigger profits.
Serious US sports bettors often turn to Basketball as a major source of sports betting income simply because of the sheer number of games. You need to bet high numbers of games to get the returns. Football (NFL) is big too, though game numbers are few. Hockey does not have many takers but the lines are often the best value. Baseball runs somewhere in between. In the UK and Europe the popular markets are Soccer and Horse Racing.
The key to success in any trading or betting environment is value. If you are not getting a value price, then you will find it hard to make a profit. You need to identify the value games / teams. If your expectation of that team doing well is higher than the price on display, you “buy” it. Just like a sale item or good value product in a store.
Generally I have found that sports betting produces better average returns year on year, than the stock market. It is tougher work psychologically, as you generally act in a lone capacity. No corporate, social, or support structure, no big lunches, no team environment. But then no bosses or office politics!
Sports betting is also virtually recession proof because sports markets are not influenced by the economy. Only a huge war or mega disaster might disrupt the national sports schedule.
So as a pro bettor, you have to worship ‘different gods’, your path will not be one that is well-trodden. You’ll either love it or hate it.
Advantages For Sports Bettors
1. Online sportsbooks are always accessible – day or night – and from most places in the world.
2. Odds are posted in a timely fashion. During the season of any major sport, you can get your bets on early in the week. Take advantage of those early posted numbers.
3. Perhaps the most important aspect of the online bookmaker is that you can shop around for the top lines and prices – getting a ‘tick’ advantage here or there can have big benefits long term. In US sports like NFL – getting on at -2.5 instead of -3 in e.g. the point spread market is a massive advantage.
4. There are a huge array of sports betting markets available. You can bet in – play and only in the markets that you want to and perhaps, more importantly, you don’t have to bet at all if you don’t like the odds.
5. With the online betting market as it is – sportsbooks are fighting for your business. You can get an extra edge by taking advantage of deposit bonuses, reload bonuses, free ‘half points’ on handicaps, and more.
6. The web allows you to hold accounts with as many sportsbooks as you like – giving you the power to take advantage of promotions, lines and markets available.
7. Odds and lines are meant to divide opinion, not necessarily be ‘right’. Do not think that they cannot be beaten.