Expected value (EV) in sports is the term used to predict how probable winning a bet is and how well a bet will return if won. It’s one thing to win a bet on a sports game but it’s seemingly pointless to bet on a game that has minimal profit as a result. In order to maximize profit from betting on sports, you must figure out which games are going to have the best payoff as the result of winning the bet.

The first thing you have to look at are the odds on certain games and how much money you can win from them. To figure it out, the difference of the amount of the possible profit won and what could be lost is added to the bet. The formula looks like EV= Wager+ (money won-money lost). Let’s look at some examples.

The Arizona Cardinals are playing the Seattle Seahawks and the odds are with the Cardinals to win the game. If fractional odds given are 33/20, this is equivalent of 39% that the Cardinals would win the game, or 61% odds against. If you were to bet $20, you could win $33.

However if using your handicapping skills, which are naturally superior to the bookie’s, you had worked out the Cardinals had in fact a 20% change of winning the game., the expected value of the $20 bet would be, ev = 20 x (1-0.8)-20 x (1-0.61), which works out as -$3.80. That is you would expect to lose $3.80 on that bet if you made it several times.

If on the otherhand you thought that the Cardinals had a 50% change of winning, the expected value would be 20 x (1-0.5)-20 x (1-0.61), which is equal to +$2.00. Every time you made the bet you would expect to win $2, so this is a bet you would make.

In the English Premier League game between Norwich City and Sunderland, let’s place a $20 bet on Norwich City who is the favourite with odds on of 2/1. So, for a $2 bet you could win $1. This is equivalent to a 67% chance of Norwich City winning. If you felt the bookie had underestimated the odds and Norwich City in fact had an 80% chance of winning, the expected value on a $2 bet would be $0.26 and you should make the bet. If on the other hand you thought that Norwich City only had a 45% chance of winning, the expected value would be negative, in fact -44c and you should not make the bet.

Knowledge of the sport you are betting on is a huge factor. Even though the percentage odds may be against a team that’s not as high in the standings as another team, knowing that the underdog team is playing at home or, knowing that the favored team is having a lot of trouble with injuries should also be factored in. By understanding your expected value on games with the combination of knowledge of the particular teams, you can beat the odds that are set and earn more profit in the long run.

# Category Archives: strategy

## Using Expected Value For Profitable Bets

## You can win at Gambling – Here’s Why

Gambling is a wide subject. Sports betting is one activity that is regarded as gambling. There are also casino games. A widely popular means of gambling is spreadbetting. But other types of gambling include bingo, lotteries, and poker machines.

Some types of gambling are winnable – that is you really can **beat the bookie **– and some really will lose you money no matter what.

Types of gambling that will lose you money are those where you have a *negative expectation*. On the other hand those where you can use your skills to get yourself a *positive expectation*. An example where you can get yourself a positive expectation is BlackJack.

As you probably know, Blackjack can be beaten by so-called ‘card counters’. The reason it works is because as cards are played out of the deck, the remaining deck will have a concentration of particular cards that may give players a *positive expectation* or not as the case may be. When a Blackjack player is sure of the positive expectation, he or she bets big. In this way, the game is winnable.

Roulette is a casino game that is engineered by casinos to always be in favour of the House. For the punters therefore it is, as they say, a “mugs’ game”. It is a losing proposition. However, there are rumours that some people have managed to get themselves a system, where they tilt the game ever-so-slightly in their favour and have been able to take the casinos for millions. Not surprisingly, their methods have been kept a closely guarded secret.

Bingo is an out and out mugs’ game. There is no system that can beat ‘bingo’. Lotteries are also a sure fire way of losing money. The payouts are rarely above 50 cents in the dollar.

Games you can win though are the ones where you can get yourself an edge on the house or bookie. “An edge” is another expression for “positive expectation”.

For example, you can often take out spread bets on a very large number of events, for example, presidential elections, football games, pool games, quiz shows, basketball games and horse and dog racing. Winning doesn’t usually mean that you’ve picked a winner, just that you’ve beaten the point spread on the bet.

For example, if you are spread betting on sports, those with their ear to the ground and knowledge of the form of the teams and other factors such as weather and the state of the sports grounds, can find profitable bets.

Let’s take for example a football match. Barcelona and Newcastle are playing in Spain. We can do a research and view that in 5 last games Barcelona at home had 4 wins and one draw and Newcastle away from home had 2 draws and 3 loses. We can also see that the second team will have absences of important players. Using this research and common logic that says that Barcelona is one of the best teams. However, it would be a mistake to bet for Barcelona without having regard to the spreads being offered by the bookies, in fact it might, in this example, be better to bet on Newcastle. It all depends….

More in a later post.

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