Bookmakers & Odds

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Bookmakers & Odds

Bookmakers and their odds

It is so, so important to understand odds. And by that we don’t mean on the most basic level, where 9/10 translates to 1.90, which means a team is odds on. And in most people’s misconception, likely to win.

Why do we assume they’re most likely to win? Well, in some cases you might have a fantastic team who the bookmakers simply undervalue. It can happen. They win a lot of their home games, but they just simply don’t get the respect of the odds. It occurs.

More probable an explanation is simply because the bookmakers, someone a lot of us see as an all knowing, unbeatable entity, tell us that they’re more likely to win. We have all been guilty of letting short odds dictate what we bet on, and letting large odds scare us off.


Two things you need to know about bookmakers.

Firstly, behind the big, money making companies that they are, are people just like you and me who have taken the time to develop a more in-depth understanding of statistical analysis and mathematical probability in life. They certainly do not have an unrivalled or unobtainable letter of footballing knowledge, because all anyone has is opinion.

Secondly, there is value and edge to be found in their odds. As well as whatever individual edge you manage to develop, don’t be scared when you come across prices now and then that seem too good to be true. They are too good to be true - and you better believe that they’re intentional.

Any idiot will win a percentage of bets and even the worst will have killer runs over the space of a few days, a week at best. But they’ll have much, much longer losing runs, and it’s the job of the bookmaker to make sure they keep coming back. Every now and then, that may mean throwing odds out there that they know offers a lot more value than they should be giving away.

Making that sacrifice is well worth it. Whilst the sharps amongst you may take them to the cleaners on the prices, so will the lesser bettors out there. And with a nice full betting account, and misplaced confidence, it’ll take them no time at all to lose those winnings plus whatever they deposited to begin with. And a lot will chase, and chase like hell, so the deposits keep on coming until the bookmakers throw them that next bone.

It might sound a strange theory, but believe me, it’s not a theory. I’ve been there, seen it, and I’m far from the only one.

So what do we take from that? Well, we should educate ourselves on implied probability to avoid the trap of taking the short odds the bookmakers throw at us.


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