While online sports betting may continue to live in the shadow of casino gameplay in the digital age, it remains a key driver of the gambling industry as a whole.
After all, there were still 8,406 betting shops active in September of this year, and while this number may have declined marginally during the previous 12 months they remain extremely popular among punters throughout the UK.
While there may be a growing number of channels through which punters can place sports bets in the UK, however, this does not necessarily increase your chances of wagering successfully. With this in mind, here are some tips to help you wager effectively and achieve your unique sports betting objectives.
Sports betting is often a tribal affair, as punters have a tendency to wager on their favourite teams or players. This is understandable, of course, but it’s also counterproductive if you intend to place bets as a way of making money.
After all, this means that bettors often lay down wagers without considering the applied odds, meaning that it’s hard for them to make informed decisions and access the best value prices.
Now, while these types of bet may be fun and enhance your enjoyment of a specific match or sport, they rarely deliver a return and are likely to leave you in the red over the course of the season.
So if your primary motivation is to make money through sports betting, you’d be far better served by betting on neutral matches or at least tailoring your wagers based on the odds and the most likely outcome (we’ll have a little more on this later).
There are other forms of emotive wagering too, particularly if you’re a punter who tends to be swayed by previous results. While it may be tempting to increase your wagers as a way of recouping previous losses (or to make the most of a perceived winning streak), this is a gambler’s fallacy that’s more likely to cost you money than boost your earnings.
Quite simply, there’s never any rhyme or reason to such streaks in sports betting, as each wager is completely unique and should be considered on its own individual merit.
This means that you should structure the type of wager that you place and its value according to the odds and the contest in question, without even giving a second thought to previous losses.
If you’re not going to be led your emotions or team affiliations, where should you turn for inspiration when placing your wagers?
You should start by understanding the precise relationship between odds and probability, as while these are often considered as being the same there are subtle differences that must be kept in mind.
While the odds presented by bookmakers typically reflect the most likely outcomes, for example, they’re also manipulated by operators to introduce safeguards and minimise losses over time.
Let’s take the upcoming EPL game between Manchester City and Crystal Palace, for example, which currently sees Pep Guardiola’s men priced at a prohibitive 2/13 to win. In contrast, Palace are 20/1 for the win, with the draw priced at around 8/1.
Now, while these odds roughly reflect the probability of a City win, they’re clearly exaggerated to deter punters from backing this outcome and minimise any lost revenue. After all, a fan would have to stake £13 just to win £2 in these instances, meaning that a basic £5 bet would return less than a pound.
Understanding this relationship is important, as odds are defined by far more than the probability of specific outcomes. As a result, they reveal the true value proposition associated with each individual wager and the potential return on your total stake.
This does not mean that you cannot back Manchester City in this instance, of course, but you’ll probably need to seek out alternative markets if you’re to generate a viable return.
One example is to consider handicap betting, which is general terms awards or deducts points to participants in order to manipulate fixed odds and present options to punters. This is a common way of profiting from uneven contests in sports betting, as you can turn the odds in your favour without seriously compromising your chances of winning.
For example, you could back Manchester City to beat Palace at a handicap of either -1 or -2 goals at the Etihad Stadium, as this means that the Citizens will start at a distinct disadvantage and instantly extend the odds and gift you a more competitive price.
A value of -1 would mean that City would need to prevail by two clear goals for the bet to come in, however, so selecting the right handicap is crucial to achieving the best possible balance.
On a similar note, you may also want to consider backing City to win by a specific margin. This is a really popular market type in the current sports betting market, as you can back a team to win by two, three or four-goal margins while extending the odds with each potential selection.
Once again, the key here is to try and strike the necessary balance, as you look to achieve rewarding odds while also maintaining a realistic chance of winning money.
Use Information as your Inspiration
Aside from understanding the true nature of odds and tapping into creative betting markets, are there any other ways to inform and enhance your wagers?
We’d definitely recommend using information as your inspiration, as this is far more reliable than emotion and helps to leverage the full range of information available on the World Wide Web.
Form guides can be particularly useful, as they help you to identify which teams and participants are entering games with genuine confidence and momentum. Form can also be compared and contrasted across opposing teams, while this type of information can prove crucial when wagering on neutral matches in which you have no vested interest.
When it comes to football betting, you should definitely review both team and player data sets. After all, individual players may have a record of scoring regularly against specific teams, while they may be in a rich vein of form that they’re intent on continuing into the next game.
With these data sets are not foolproof and should not detract from the opportunistic nature of sports betting, they can at least provide a solid foundation for each wager and increase your chances of success (and potential profits) incrementally.
Listen to the Experts
The same can be said for experts and pundits, of course, as while these individuals can offer a unique insight and perspective into a sport they should necessarily be taken as gospel.
They certainly shouldn’t be discarded either, as the opinions of well-informed experts can help you to consider a new perspective on a particular wager and potentially inform your final decision.
The term ‘expert’ is a nebulous one, however, especially in a field like football that isn’t governed solely by logic or probability. This means that you should cast your net wide for potential sources, whilst being selection when choosing the individual experts whose opinions your choose to give weight to.
We quite like journalists as an informed source of opinion, particularly those who work for reputable publications and cover specific, local teams.
After all, these writers have been able to develop trusted sources and a great deal of insight over time, meaning that they’re often privy to team news or developments that may not be available to bookies or pundits.
They’re certainly likely to be aware of any injuries or unexpected absences, for example, or instances where managers intend to rest key players.
This can have a pivotal bearing on potential outcomes, enabling you to place successful wagers and potentially optimise your returns!
The Last Word
Ultimately, sports betting is not an exact science, and this means that there’s no definitive way of wagering successfully and earning a steady income.
However, the tips we’ve listed above can help you to increase the viability of each individual wager, while also enabling you to identify alternative betting markets that may increase your returns!