In betting, players make wagers on the outcome of sporting events and compete to win a prize based on their knowledge, skill, and luck. Using statistical analysis, bettors can improve their chances of winning by making bets with positive expected value (EV) over time. Betting is a solitary activity, but some bettors play in pools with friends or coworkers, or participate in fantasy leagues where bettors select real athletes for teams before each competition.
EV is the average profit or loss on a bet, taking into account all possible outcomes and their probabilities. Bets with positive EV produce more profit than they cost to place, while those with negative EV lose money on average. EV calculations are often complex, but by learning the basic concepts of EV, bettors can increase their chances of success.
Avoid Betting on Everyone’s Favorite Team
Many sports bettors root for their favorite team, but this is a poor long-term strategy. The outsized handle on popular teams forces books to shade lines in their direction, creating a +EV opportunity for bettors who are willing to fade the public.
This concept also applies to entire leagues, as bettors tend to fawn over the top teams while underdogs get ignored. This makes it important for bettors to find niche markets and study a league’s history in order to identify potential underdogs. Using this information, bettors can create parlays that pay out more than single bets on individual games.