Which Game Is Better to Bet on in Bookmakers?

Which Game Is Better to Choose When Wagering in Bookmakers?

No matter what your background might be, there’s one thing all gamblers look for: the opportunity to bet responsively and with a lower risk. Sports betting is fun and all, but we cannot forget it is still a gamble. At the end of the day, the possibility of going on a losing streak or risking too much is why we need to look for ways to bet responsibly.

However, finding the games and matches that can help you risk less, that’s a different story. Finding sports and games where you can actually bet with lower risk is, therefore, quite a challenge.

Today, we’ll be discussing how to identify the best games to bet on in bookmakers.

Gamble ResponsiblyBetting on sports is a gamble. You can never expect to place riskless bets. No strategy can guarantee success! Bet responsibly! begambleaware.org

Sports Betting ROI

The truth is that the vast majority of sports gamblers use strategies. As such they keep a close eye on their ROI. In business terms, ROI, or Returns on Investment, is a key concept to assess your performance as a gambler. It’s a very common metric used when discussing any business in general.

ROI is the percentage of your invested funds that will return to you. For instance, if a bakery costs £/€/$1,000,000 to open and operate, and produces £/€/$150,000 per year, that’s a 15% ROI. You can do the same maths with sports betting.

However, negative ROI is a common thing. The only way to avoid going that way is to plan your wagers and choose the best games to bet on in the bookies.

Few gamblers actually achieve this, though. In order to be among the few that do, you need to know more than the average gambler, in several arenas. To improve your ROI, you’ll need an advanced understanding of gambling and superb event analysis. It’s definitely easier said than done.

Bookmaker Sports & Leagues

Which Game to Choose for Sports Betting

First of all, you need to narrow down your betting. In order to conduct superb match analysis, you need expertise. Expertise isn’t developed overnight. You need to command deep and broad historical knowledge of a sport to make informed selections. Therefore, betting on sports that you’re unfamiliar with is definitely unwise.

To gamble responsibly, you need access to superior information. This means knowing your favourite leagues like the back of your hand. It also means being willing to go the extra mile for that extra edge.

You should have the ability to name line-ups and alternatives off the top of your head. Follow team doctors on Twitter. Stalk player’s Instagram feeds for hints of hangovers before a game. Track the weather forecast for half a dozen regions every week. It’s definitely an extreme level of commitment.

That’s why the most successful gamblers will typically be experts in one or two sports, a handful of leagues at most. The more focused your attention is, the deeper your expertise can be. So, in order to lower your risk when wagering in bookmakers, you’ll need to become some kind of specialist. The exact type of expert you’ll become is, of course, up to you. At all events, keep in mind that the professional bookmakers base their values on the analysis and expertise of people that monitor the respective game very closely.

Bookmaker Betting Markets

Your next step should be to consider betting markets. Many gamblers have one or two betting markets that they swear by. In reality, no betting markets have a significantly better ROI than the rest. That wouldn’t be in the interest of bookmakers.

However, individual players can definitely obtain a better ROI by betting on certain betting markets, rather than others. It’s less about the betting markets themselves and more about individual gamblers, though.

A bookmaker that offers different betting markets uses the same data to produce them all. Thus, you’ll rarely find a selection under or overvalued by just one betting market. What does happen is an increase in complexity. Certain markets are more difficult to play than others.

Straightforward markets, like straight bets, can be more intuitive for many gamblers. More complicated markets, such as special and multiple bets, can be harder to parse. They may require too much information or involve too many variables to grasp.

Generally speaking, if you want to bet responsibly, don’t bite off more than you can chew. Making informed wagers requires not just ample information, but a deep understanding as well. Avoid betting markets that you’re not extremely familiar with. They’ll hardly be profitable in the long run.

Implied Odds & Expected Values

Are you serious about betting responsibly when wagering online in the bookmakers? If so, you’ll need to dive further into statistics. We strongly advise you to take a look at our detailed guide on how to use statistics in sports betting. After all, betting is all about probabilities. You’ll need to know your way around a set of odds if you want to lower your risk. Let’s go over some crucial concepts that you need to be familiar with.

Implied Probability

Implied probability are the chances an event “should” have, according to the odds. For example, odds of 2/1 (3.0) have an implied probability of 33%. Every time a bookmaker shows you odds for an event, they’re telling you an implied probability.

Calculating implied probability is simple enough; simply convert the odds to decimal and then invert the result. For example, fractional odds of 1/5 convert to decimal odds of 1.2. The inverse would be 1/1.2 = 0.83 (83.3% implied probability).

For another example, let’s take very favourable odds of 50/1. Convert it to decimal, and you get 51.0. The inverse would be 1/51 = 0.0196, or 1.96% implied probability.

Your takeaway here should be that odds don’t exist in a vacuum. They correspond to real-world odds on events, as estimated by bookies. Sometimes, bookies will underestimate or overestimate those odds. To win money consistently, you’ll need to identify those times.

Expected Values

Expected values are an extremely useful tool for assessing wagers. They refer to the average results that you’d get from placing identical wagers over the long run. To calculate EVs, you’ll need to use the following formula (with decimal odds):

(Stake x Odds x Implied Probability of Win) – (Stake x Implied Probability of Loss)

Let’s illustrate this using football odds. You’re looking at a match with odds at home, 7/1, draw, 10/3, away, 1/3. The implied probabilities are home, 12.5%, draw, 23.1%, away, 75%. Notice that this adds up to over 100, at 110.6%. That extra 10.6% is the house edge. It keeps bookies in business. With a $/£/€50 wager, EVs would work out as follows:

  • Home
    (50 x 8 x 0.125) – (50 x (0.231+0.75) ) = 0.95
  • Draw
    (50 x 4.33 x 0.231) – (50 x (0.125+0.75) ) = 6.26
  • Away
    (50 x 1.33 x 0.75) – (50 x (0.125+0.231) ) = 32.08

In this case, all three selections have positive EVs. That’s good. The higher the EV, the better the selection, statistically speaking. In the long run, you can expect a $/£/€50 Away bet to result in $/£/€32.08.

Value Bets

In reality, you won’t usually find wagers with such high EVs. The more competitive a market is, the sharper the lines. You’ll need to search long and hard to find wagers with positive EVs. Of course, it would be best if you first browse through the bookmakers known for their high odds, where the chances to find a balance between probability and EV of your bet are higher. When you do, though, take into account that implied probabilities aren’t real probabilities.

Bookmakers bake the house edge into the odds. To get a completely unbiased number, you’ll have to consult analysts. Many gamblers develop their own spreadsheets to comb through historical data.

The point is that a value bet won’t always have a positive EV if calculated with the bookmaker’s implied probability. By using your own statistical analysis and models, or by consulting experts, you can get more accurate EVs. This allows you to identify value bets where others won’t.

Ultimately, that’s how you bet responsively and with a better edge in bookmakers. You need to have an eye for the games. It’s a bit technical, sure, but it’s the most well-informed strategy you can use in the long run.

Betting in Bookmakers: Dos & Don’ts

By now, you should know how to work your way around the odds, probabilities and EVs. If you don’t quite grasp it all yet, give yourself some time to practice. In the meantime, let’s summarise what we’ve learned in a few key tips.

  • Dos
  • Research and familiarise yourself with the sport, leagues and markets you bet on
  • Brush up on statistics and probabilities
  • Learn how to calculate EVs, or get tools to do it for you
  • Compare implied probabilities with your estimated real probabilities
  • Don'ts
  • Make uninformed bets
  • Bet on complicated markets, or markets that you don’t understand
  • Follow your gut

Final Recommendations

Before you set off on your journey to find the best games to bet on, keep this in mind: No matter how much the numbers back your bet, nothing is written in stone. No strategy can guarantee success, particularly in the short run.

Using tools to identify the best games gives you a tremendous edge. However, variance remains a factor. Drawdowns will happen and will put your bankroll to the test. Never gamble more than you can afford to lose. That being said, betting on the best games will definitely increase your ROI over a long enough timeline.

Kristiyan Kyulyunkov
Kristiyan KyulyunkovKristiyan Kyulyunkov specializes in bookmakers’ analyses. He has years of experience betting online and always keeps an eye on the different operators. His tasks in Nostrabet include writing, editing and publishing expert reviews.