Let’s start with the simplest possible coin toss. Bets with a 50 percent chance of winning: The coin should land on its head 50% of the time and its tail 50% of the time. A reasonable moneyline for such a wager in a sportsbook would be +100: Make a $100 wager and receive a $100 payout. If the moneyline were greater than +100, the coin flip bet would be profitable in the long run, since the break-even rate would be lower than 50%. If the odds are less than +100, you should anticipate your bankroll to decrease because the break-even rate is higher than 50%.

For instance, your edge would be lower than nil if you were offered odds of -110 on a coin flip (bet $110 to win $100), something you would see during the Super Bowl. For every $1 you risk, you may anticipate losing five cents. The estimated return on a bet of $1.00 at odds of +110 (bet $100 to win $110) is $0.05. While it’s true that sports betting isn’t as cut-and-dry as a coin toss, knowing the odds of a bet’s success can help you determine whether or not you’re getting your money’s worth.

In a baseball game, let’s say you’ve determined that Team A has a 70% probability of winning. For this to be a profitable long-term wager, the moneyline must be -233 or below. Equally attractive would be odds of +233 or higher on Team B, indicating a 30% chance of victory.

If the moneyline is positive, the break-even rate formula is: If the moneyline is negative, the break-even rate formula is:

For a negative moneyline, divide the absolute value of the moneyline by 100. With a moneyline of -110, the break-even percentage is 110/(110+100) = 52.4%.

Take 100 and divide it by the sum of the moneyline and 100 if the moneyline is positive. 100/(110+100) = 47.6 percent is the break-even percentage for a moneyline of +110.

We’ve done the legwork and calculated the break-even points for a variety of typical money lines. Keep in mind that you want your wager’s predicted winning percentage to be higher than the break-even point.

Just as you wouldn’t purchase a car without shopping around, you shouldn’t make a sports wager without first doing your research. This is more difficult to accomplish at traditional sportsbooks or in states that restrict mobile betting, but as long as you have various alternatives, you are throwing away money by not shopping about.

Often referred to as “line shopping,” this technique is highly undervalued yet, in the eyes of many savvy gamblers, essential to their success.

Professional gambler and co-founder of the website Unabated Jack Andrews said, “Line shopping is the single sharpest thing you can do to develop your sports betting game.” Unabated provides users with line comparison calculators and other resources with the goal of educating the betting community. “When you purchase online, you want to find the best deal, which means finding the lowest vig possible, like -105 as opposed to -110. And if you pay less vig, you’ll lose less money when you’re incorrect.

The cost of a bet is known as the vig, and it is normally between 4% and 5% for a straight bet, however this can vary widely depending on the odds and the market. Futures wagers have a substantially greater vigorish, or hold.

Several bookies and gambling sites may give different odds and lines on the same game, regardless of the specifics of the event. These are some examples of the rates that were being asked for a baseball game in June between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the San Diego Padres. The +100 pricing on DraftKings would have been the greatest bet if you thought the game would end with six or fewer runs. Over 6.5 runs could be bet on at +105 at Caesars and +107 at Pinnacle if you thought the game would go over.

You may have made a tiny profit regardless of the market’s movement by placing wagers on both possible outcomes. If precisely seven runs were scored, you would have “pushed” on one bet and “won” the other. Of course, this strategy requires access to a variety of sportsbooks, since each can have a slightly different price or number.

According to the scoring system in football (3 points for field goals, 6 points for touchdowns, 7 points for touchdowns with the extra point), the most common final margins are 3, 7, 6, 14, and 10.

Use this to your advantage. If the point spread changes from, say, -3 to -212, converting a possible push into a victory for a 3-point favourite, then you need to know how much that half-point is worth. The same holds true when the spread moves from +3 to +312, transforming a possible push into a win for a three-point underdog. Confusingly, the half-point difference between -7 and -612, or +7 and +712, which may transform pushes into victories in a seven-point game, is not the same as the value of that half-point.

I’m not going to make you do the arithmetic, but if the popular line is -3 at -110 (you have to wager $110 to win $100), and you can find -212 at -125 or better, you’ve just given yourself a little advantage over the bookmaker. If you discover +312 at -125 or better on the underdog, the calculation is the same as if the line were +3 at -110 on the underdog. Value also exists if you can find -612 on the favourite at -120 or greater odds despite the line being -7 at -110. The underdog’s +7 at -110 means you need +712 at -120 or higher to have any chance of winning.

The point spreads of -4 and -5 should also be avoided. There is no advantage in changing your spread by half a point since scoring margins that cover them don’t happen often enough. Instead, if you’re wanting to support the favourite and the odds are +120 or higher, try going all the way from -4 to -612, or from -5 to -612 if the odds are +110 or better.

It’s not as complicated of a tactic as you may imagine. In states with several books, it’s normal to find out-of-date lines; you may also keep an eye on sharp, quick-reacting bookies like Pinnacle or Circa for line movement and pounce on a bookmaker who isn’t as quick to update their lines. To do so is to “chase steam,” a term for this behaviour.

The house profits greatly from parlays. More over half of Louisiana’s earnings in May came from parlays, or $12.4 million. The oddsmakers in Nevada make an average of 32.1 cents for every $1 gambled on parlays, but they only make 5 cents for every dollar wagered on straight bets, according to the UNLV Center for Gambling Research. Parlays are like high-interest credit cards in that your bottom line will immediately benefit from avoiding them.

There are two sides to why they benefit books but hinder players: It’s not easy to win a single-game parlay, and the odds on those bets can change significantly from those on straight wagers. The latter is true in particular if there is a correlation between the wagers, such that the outcomes of one might affect the outcomes of the other. Because home runs inherently boost the score, a parlay that includes a player hitting a home run and the overall number of runs going over is connected. Even if you bet over/under at the same price, the payout on that parlay will be lower than if you bet on the same player hitting a home run and the total falling under.

Wait until oddsmakers provide risk-free incentives for the full wager if you wish to play a parlay, rather than relying on “insurance,” in which you receive a refund if one of the legs fails. With these advertisements, it’s best to go for the home run. They pose no danger, after all. If you can’t wait, then you should make sure that the odds given in each leg are higher than the break-even rate of the wager. This will guarantee that your return is commensurate with the level of risk you are taking.

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