To make money betting on sports is possible, but requires discipline, practice and understanding of odds and sportsbooks. The best way to illustrate what is required is to show the numbers behind becoming a successful sports bettor. In this article we will take a look at a simulation that shows 10,000 simulated bets of $110 placed on -110 odds. We do this using the spreadsheets linked here: Excel, OpenOffice.
Listed along the top of the spreadsheet are percentages between 50 and 60%. You can focus in on the winning ratio you expect to attain. These numbers weren’t chosen at random. Because -110 is generally the odds that imply a probability winning 50% of your bets, this is your starting point as a sports bettor. 60% is about the highest winning percentage you can expect over time in sports betting. If anyone ever tells you they pick winners over time more than 60% of the time, they are either trying to get money out of you or they are deluding themselves. Run, don’t walk. A reasonable goal to make money betting on sports is 56-57%.
Below is a sample view of the simulation:
The first thing to notice is is the red “Expected Winnings” line. This line isn’t simulated. It is purely the math behind the expected outcome of these bets at the various outcomes. For example, a 54% bettor can expect to win 5,400 bets, winning $100 on each bet (remember, the -110 odds), meanwhile losing 4,600 bets costing $110 per time. That is going to win you $34,000 on average BUT that isn’t guaranteed to be the case. In betting there is volatility. That is where the simulated blue line comes in.
Because it is a simulation based on random numbers and the winning percentage, there is what we call volatility in the outcome. You see, over time the simulation should approach the red line, but in reality it is never going to be perfect. In a million bets…a billion…there is still going to be volatility. That is why increasing your winning percentage, even by a fraction is vital to make money betting on sports.
You’ll notice a very important point in the red line at 52.4%. This is the most important number for sports bettors. This is the break even point where you break free of the sportsbooks juice or vig, and start making profit. It doesn’t sound too hard, but as you can see, each fraction of a percent above that point means less chance that volatility is going to adversely affect the outcome and more profit.
Once again here are the links to the simulated spreadsheets: Excel, OpenOffice. I invite you to download them and run through some simulations by pressing CTRL-Shift-F9, which will make the blue line shift around.
Get used to fighting for every percent. Get used to fighting for every half point in the spread. Get ready to fight for every fraction in the odds. In my articles, I am going to get you as close to 52.4% as I can. To make money sports betting, the rest is going to be up to you.