Sports Betting 101 – Understanding Expected Value, Odds Movement and the Gambler’s Fallacy

sports betting

In a time when more and more states are legalizing sports betting, it’s important to understand the basics of how this type of wagering works. In this article we’ll discuss three key elements of sports betting, including expected value, odds movement and the gambler’s fallacy. Keeping an eye on these concepts can help you make smarter betting decisions and ultimately win more money over the long haul.

Expected value is the probability that a bet will win and is one of the few edges sharp bettors can take against a sportsbook. It’s calculated by comparing the chance of a team winning against their implied probability, or the odds that you can get on them at a betting site. Using this method, you can identify bets that offer better than expected value and increase your overall profit.

Taking the time to properly research your bets is an essential part of any sports betting strategy. Start by looking at major stats like a team’s record, offensive and defensive strengths, special teams, coaching trends and more. Once you have a good handle on these items, you can then begin to look at more specific details. For example, if you’re betting on MLB games, try tracking initial lines and see how they change as the game approaches tip-off. This can help you find over/under bets that are inflated by the public’s love of certain teams and thus offer great value.

As you begin to develop your betting knowledge, it’s important to remove your emotions from the process and focus on making intelligent choices. This is a common pitfall for new bettors who are often too emotional about their favourite team and place bets based on their emotions rather than their research. Attempting to bet on your favourite team just because they’re playing well or because you enjoy backing underdogs is a surefire way to lose money.

While the chances of a team winning are clearly listed on the line, they can sometimes be hard to decipher. This is because the sportsbook sets its odds based on its clientele, and this can cause them to misprice games. However, with the right tools and resources you can identify these nuances and gain an edge over the sportsbook.

To identify these mispriced bets, you can use algorithms that track odds movement and analyze past game outcomes to determine what a team’s true chance of winning is. This is known as implied probability and is the best way to identify value bets. To calculate implied probability, you simply need to know a team’s odds and their average win percentage over the last few seasons. You can then compare these odds to the price you get from a sportsbook and decide if there is any value. This is a process that requires patience and consistency but over the long-term can help you make more money than if you simply placed bets based on your favourite team or underdog story.