Paul Hogan is a professional gambler who uses mathematical models to win at sports betting. The Sports book manager at Mirage Vegas is renowned for his expertise in bankroll management and his recent ESPN behind the Bets podcast was fascinating listening.
One of the biggest problems you have in assessing sports is just having the data. But if I have enough data and it’s a small market then there’s really no way I can lose.
Anytime you try to make an adjustment to a number that is based on opinion, you’re playing with fire potentially. But if you can come up with a way to quantify any adjustment you’re going to make in my case that always works better than doing it subjectively.
I have a database of 250,000 MLB Baseball matches and it gets updated almost every hour. My group has between 6000 and 8000 bets per year and our hold (profit margin) is between 16.5% and 20%.
Know your strengths and also your weaknesses. We have completely stopped betting on Preseason matches because the returns have been (relatively) poor and part of the reason is suspicious matches.
If I have a team as favorite based on my model, but the market doesn’t agree then 90% of the time the odds will move towards my sports bet. When it goes the opposite direction in a big way (say 10% in terms of market percentage) and there is no injury or illness then that is a suspicious match.
Yes it’s a bet but the short-term doesn’t matter. All that matters is how am I doing at the end of the year. Most professional sports bettors don’t feel like it’s a gamble. You put in the work and it is a lot more work than a regular job, but if you do the work the results will speak for themselves.
Anything you do will become obsolete in a few years. There are a couple of metrics you can use to see whether or not the market is catching up with you. One of those metrics is how much am I beating the closer? So if on average I am beating the closing price by 3% and then a year later I am only beating it by 1.5% that tells me the market has gotten 1.5% smarter. The other thing is your actual betting edge decreases over time. So if you went back to 2006 using the model we have now then you’d be making 6% on turnover. But right now we make 1.5% to 2%.
Opportunities are always drying up, but then new markets are emerging too. It’s a trade-off so you always need to be working on something new. That’s why I am working so hard on in-game baseball right now. Because if I had to bet on whether I’ll be making money with this tennis model in 5 years’ time I’d say it is less than 50/50.
Sometimes you have to swallow your pride. There is a chance I will do a lot of work on a model but then say it’s not good enough to bet. I did it for college basketball last year. The old approach I was using wasn’t good enough so I tried a new approach. We then tested it but the group rejected it and said it is not good enough to bet. So I may put in 200 hours work and we have to throw it out.
Sports betting would be easy — or maybe just easier — if all that was required was to correctly pick the winning team. Gambling institutions, sports betting books and bookies fall back on point spreads to make the process a little more difficult and to create the ultimate wagering challenge. You’ll need a solid understanding of the point spread system if you hope to have a profitable season.
How the Point Spread Works
The point spread is a handicap placed on one team for online sports betting purposes only; it has no place in the game itself. It’s designed to give both teams an equal chance at winning in the context of wagers. Think of it this way: If last season’s Super Bowl champion was playing a basement-dweller team that hadn’t won a game all year, that’s a shoo-in bet. Of course, you’re going to take the Super Bowl champs, and in all likelihood, you’re going to win. What’s the fun in that? Even your bragging rights would be next to nil.
But what if the basement-dweller team was spotted 24 points? That’s the concept behind the point spread. When two teams meet on the football field or a basketball court, one team is typically better than the other. If all bettors had to do was to pick the winning team, everybody would simply wager on the best team and collect their money. Gambling institutions, sports books, and bookies would soon go broke.
A Real Life Example
The Carolina Panthers played the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50. Few people doubted that Carolina was the better of the two teams, so the majority of bettors would have taken the Panthers if they had only been required to pick the winning team.
So the sports books and bookies created a point spread to make both teams equally attractive in the eyes of bettors. Carolina was installed as a 6-point favorite, which is commonly written as Carolina -6. Denver, the underdog, is commonly written as Denver +6. In other words, Denver would be credited with whatever points they actually scored — plus six. If you bet the favorite, the Panthers would have to win by 7 points or more for you to win your wager. And remember, the Panthers are favored by 6 points, so we have to subtract 6 points from their final score for sports betting purposes.
If Carolina were to win 24-17, Panthers’ bettors would win their wager. If the Panthers were to win 21-17, Carolina bettors would lose because they did not win by more than those 6 points.
If you bet the underdog, you’d win your bet if the Broncos won the game outright or if they lost by 5 points or less. Because the Broncos are the underdogs, we would add 6 points to their final score for betting purposes.
If the Panthers were to win the game by exactly 6 points, 23-17, it would be a tie and all wagers would be refunded to bettors.
Money Lines VS Point Spreads
You’ll also usually be given the option to wager on the game with the money line in football and basketball. In this case, all you have to do is pick the winner of the contest, but there’s one drawback. If you bet on the team that’s expected to win, you can find yourself risking much more money than you stand to win. Each team is assigned odds, much like in a horse race where a 2-1 favorite will pay out much less than a 15-1 long shot. This method also evens the playing field for bookies, sports books and other gambling institutions.
Deciding when to bet using the point spread and when to use the money line is just one of the decisions bettors have to make on an ongoing basis if they want to play the game. There are no rules etched in stone.
Many major online sports betting markets for the National Football League open up for business a week before the games. However, does this mean you should get such an early start, or should you hold off on placing your wager until right before the game starts? Here are a few of the pros and cons of each method to help you make the right decision.
Getting in on the action early has some disadvantages. The most notable is that this leaves you more vulnerable to last-minute player withdrawals or injuries, which might have drastically changed your entry if you had waited to hear the news. In situations where the weather can play a part in your selection, the news is less reliable for those first entrants. These are some key reasons to hold off before making a final resolution, even if it means fighting crowds later. Individual situations must be taken into account before deciding when to place your NFL sports bet.
A possible major advantage of getting in ahead of time is larger limits. You can also sometimes feel like you’re making a safe decision as to player injuries or weather conditions, as well as anything else that could pop up and influence the outcome. When you look at statistics, no one can say there is one perfect time to know when to place your NFL bet. One thing that can help you decide is to go back over the last four seasons’ worth of data, studying the results and looking at profits from both methods.
Some feel it is safest to put money on a big favorite as soon as possible, while waiting for later on a big underdog. The thinking behind this theory is that the favorites’ price is likely to come down. A case from back in 2009 gives us a good example: the Oakland Raiders lost 11 games but won 5, yet they were a highly profitable team. Each week a $1640 profit was shown for closing odds, with $100 bets, while there was a less profitable $1482 for opening.
The football betting climate is always evolving, especially with unpredictable conditions like weather and all-too-human players affecting outcomes in potentially drastic ways. Studying past results, staying abreast of insider sports news and taking all possibilities into account can really help you come to more educated resolutions on when to place your NFL bet.
If you are one of the millions of people around the world who enjoys watching your favorite events in person or on television, whether this means American football, soccer, hockey, basketball, horse races or perhaps even rugby or lacrosse, learning how to place a sports bet can add even more excitement. Though it might sound simple enough, there is often more to it than meets the eye.
Do Your Research First
Although you might feel pretty strongly about your favorite NFL football team winning their next event, it is always a bad idea to rush into things without doing your research first. Even if you just watched Sports Center on ESPN a few days ago, one of the team’s strongest players could have been hurt during practice. The only way you will know is to keep up with the latest information, check out the statistics prior to placing a wager, and make sure that you know how your chosen group tends to perform in the venue at which the event is scheduled to take place.
Find a Reputable Bookmaker
The next lesson in learning how to place sports betting involves finding a bookmaker that is fair, safe and reputable. There are literally dozens of them on the internet these days, but they aren’t all created equally. Find one that gets overall good reviews from its members, that offers up the best in security technology, and that will provide you with an excellent new member bonus or perhaps even a free sports bet to help you get started. All of these things show that the site is dedicated to its valued customers.
Choose Your Wager Type
The very last step in learning how to place a best sports bet has to do with understanding the different types of wagers that are available to you. Beginners often place simple stakes on the team they believe will win or lose any event, but the truth is that the payouts are quite low – particularly if you choose the favorite. As such, finding an establishment that allows propositions, point spreads, over-under wagers and more gives you a better chance to earn a decent return on anything you choose to spend.
It’s nearly 20 years since Jonathan LineHive, former boss of City Index, launched sports betting to the nation. LineHive was the founder of sports spread betting in this country – he instigated his new venture in 1986 and it was followed by Sporting Index six years later, in 1992, with IG Sport commencing in 1993.
Over the past six years, City Index has stopped providing sports spread markets, but other companies such as – Spreadex, Cantor Sport and Sports Spreads – have entered the sports spread betting merry-go-round.
Nevertheless, if you’re new to online sports betting, then you haven’t necessarily missed out. If you have waited almost 20 years to open a spread account, it could prove to be a wise move. In the past, the chief criticism directed at spread betting firms was that they never made their product available to the average punter in the bookies. The spread betting game was aimed at the wealthy consisting of ex-City traders and those who could take the occasional big loss.
At last, the spread firms have reduced the minimum stakes. To appeal to a broader betting audience many have launched best online sports betting websites to accommodate smaller punters. Nowadays spread betting is a choice of punting that many previously unwilling to try it are taking up.
If you’d like to have a go at a spread bet but have never quite understood it, remember this: spread betting is the closest thing in gambling to Bruce Forsyth’s Play Your Cards Right. You, the punter, face one question and the answer is: higher or lower? The more frequently you are right, the more you win; the more often you’re wrong, the more you lose. Spread betting is exhilarating, it sure beats the straight win/lose scenario of fixed-odds betting.
Sports spread betting is divided into three groups:
These are deliberated by the total number of times in a sporting event an eventuality happens, for instance corners in a football match, aces served in a tennis game, or runs is a test match.
Chelsea are set to play against Arsenal and the corners spread is fixed at 10-11 – this is the bookies’ prediction of the number of corners there will be in the match.
You would like more than the price so you buy (higher) at 11. You have been proved correct, because there are 14 corners. You bought at 11; there were 14, so the difference is 3. Profit at a £10 stake is 3×10=£30
Supremacy and Match Bets
The main point of this bet is not necessarily that your teams wins, but by how many points. England is playing Scotland in the Six Nations.
The bookmakers raise the price up at 46-50 – this is their prediction that England will beat Scotland by between 46 and 50 points.
You feel the game will be closer than the spread suggests so you sell (go lower) at 46. You still feel England will win, but the odds of 1/10 in the high street don’t appeal.
Nevertheless, England are in sublime form and win 60-3. You sold at 46, the result was 57 (the variance of 60 and 3), so you are 11 points ‘wrong’. Loss at a £10 stake is 11×10=-£110.
Performance and Index Bets
These markets will give point values to the winner, second place, third place and in some cases, down to eighth place in football, horseracing etc.
The majority of these types of examples are at horse race meetings every day. Spread firms offer a performance index on the favorites for the day and the jockeys competing.
They use the same method. Winner =25pts; runner-up =10pts; third =5pts. If there’s a joint favorite, you are on the lowest racecar number.
Frankie Dettori is at Ascot and is in six races. The spread on his performances for the day is 46-50.
You believe he will get more points on the basis of the index scoring system than the spread suggests – you buy the spread at 50.
Dettori wins two race, is runner-up twice and is not placed with the remainder of his races. The winner’s get 25 points each runners-up get 10. So the make-up (result) is 70. You bought at 50 and the make-up was 70, so the difference is 20.
Fundamentally, this is how it works. It doesn’t explain, though, what the advantages are for a punter. Why should you set up a spread betting account? The exhilaration – and risk – of big gains and losses is what appeals to many punters, nonetheless, this form of betting comes into its own when the favorite on the fixed odds markets are virtually unbackble.
If England has a game against Romania in rugby union, everybody knows England will win, but will they do so by between 98 and 102 points? In football, if England gets a game with the Faroe Islands, England are 1/10 to win the match, but will they win by five goals?
That is where spread betting offers punters better value for money. If you research your bets appropriately you can figure out when to buy and when to sell, It increases the interest to betting on an event where the winner is predictable.
Take note, more people buy than sell. The spread market makers are aware that there’ll be a lot of buyers – in that, 65 per cent of the entire sports spread betters buy rather than sell – so on markets the spread is consistently inflated too high.
This knowledge should be acted upon. It means that the markets veer towards people who sell. In horse racing if, for instance, you sell winning lengths at each meeting throughout the season you will make money (length is the difference between first and runner-up each race of a meeting). Additionally, if you sell corners in each live game in the Premiership this season you will make money. Sure, you will encounter the odd disaster but gambling is all about patience and the profits will roll in at the end of the season.
Better spread than dead
One more crucial rule in best online sports betting is to go against the norm. In the earlier rugby international example, practically everyone would want to bet on England beating Romania therefore, the spread on points supremacy goes from 98-102 to 106-110. The dealer feels the price is worth 102, but as the weight of money has seen it rise, this is the moment for you to step in and go against the trend by selling at 106.
In spread betting the in-running service is equally crucial. The majority of firms provide betting when the event is in play, allowing you to take a profit or limit a loss at any time. For instance, you might want to buy corners before the game at 11-12, but if there are eight corners in the first-half, the spread will move to 15-16 at half-time. You can finish your bet by selling at 15 at half-time, thereby guaranteeing yourself a profit of three points.
The most important skill in-running knows when to get in and get out. This is a skill in itself, inasmuch as ever since betting exchanges were introduced a new form of gambler has emerged. People are not known as gamblers now. They have become traders. They get in and get out as soon as they can make their £100 profit.
High risk, high returns
This can’t happen all the time so you must remember to cut your £100 loss when it goes against you as well. Spread betting is a high-risk style of gambling because for every big winner there is a big loser. When you put on a bet with a fixed-odds bookie you know exactly what you are going to win or lose but with spread betting it’s not that straightforward. A £10 buy of the corners is not identical as a £10 buy of the runs in the test match – clearly, there will be many more runs in cricket than corners in football, so the volatility of the market is much greater.
Always check the volatility of the market or ask the trader what the stop-loss is, which limits what you win or lose: corners maintain a stop loss of 10, so a £10 buy is a £100 maximum bet. Cricket team runs maintain a stop-loss of 200, so a £10 buy is a £2,000 max bet. Spread betting is the most exciting style of gambling out there but be careful. Spread bets carry a high level of risk to your capital. Only gamble with monies that you can afford to lose. Never has a truer word been said.
How to get started
At this time, if you start up an account with Sporting Index, after five settled bets you will receive a £100 supremacy bet on a football match. After another five settled bets they will provide you with another £100 free supremacy bet on a football match. At IG Sport you will be given a £100 supremacy bet after five settled bets.
Can you feel it in the air? Football season is finally here and it’s time to start betting. You wait all year to watch the games you have analyzed for months. Now you can put your money where your mouth is and place bets on your favorite team or against their toughest rivals. Let the football betting begin!
Online Sports Betting with Our Sports Book Services
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Football Betting – Your Online Guide
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Online Football Betting Sportsbooks
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Now that you’ve created an account, there are a few key actions you can take:
1. Join a Hive
If you received an invite link, click that link to join the Hive.
2. Create a Hive
Starting the Hive for your group? Click on ‘Hives’ and then ‘Create Hive’ to generate a link to send to your friends. It’s easy for them to join and contribute their picks.
3. Create a Hive Bet
Hive Admins can set up each bet that the group will make picks for. After creating your Hive, click the ‘Create Hive Bet ‘ button and select for a specific sport and set of games. Choose the best bets to be eligible for each group of friends!
4. Make Picks
Now for the money. Once a Hive Bet has been created for your group, click on ‘Hive Bets’ at the top of the page to start making picks. We’ll show you the spread so it’s easy to get your picks in before the deadline.
5. View Results
The Hive as spoken! After the Hive Bet deadline has passed, click on ‘Hive Bets’ at the top of the page to view results of the picks. Then it’s up to you to capitalize on the knowledge of the Hive.