1. Understand the concept of value Critical. If you don’t have this, walk away. Sure you might be certain that a 1.25 favourite is going to win, but are the odds being offered giving any value?
Plenty of times we’ve heard casual gamblers say “There’s no way this team is going to lose this game.” Well they might be legitimate favourites, but is the probability of them winning better than the odds being offered? Betting with this frame of mind is a little like saying an over-priced wide-screen TV was good value just because you really really really wanted it. It doesn’t work.
Value is a simple concept, but most of the betting public don’t understand this. And perhaps thankfully so, because its this naive or ‘square’ money that can skew the market, leaving great opportunities for the minority of gamblers who do know how to recognise value.
Being able to spot value means that you are able to spot odds that are too high, consistently and systematically – and capitalize on those opportunities.
In principle this is not unlike successful trading with stocks: It makes sense to buy a particular stock when it is undervalued, as this means it likely will appreciate in value later. If you are focused on sports betting, than your job each match day is to find the undervalued teams, and “buy their stock” in a manner of speaking.
Spotting value is in essence about judging probabilities more correctly than the market does. Of course it is difficult to do that for every game and every sport, but that isn’t necessary. Your big advantage over the bookmaker lies in the ability to skip matches with unfavourable odds – just like you don’t have to purchase all stocks available. The bookmaker pretty much has to offer odds for almost all games, at the very least in the most popular leagues.
Spotting value is the hardest thing to do in this business, and you will need a lot of practice to pull it off consistently. Only once you have developed your ability to consistently identify value, you will have a systematic edge.
2. Understand basic maths If you’ve ever said the phrase “I’m not a maths guy but….”, then you probably shouldn’t be a betting guy either. While plenty of gamblers can make a success of it by betting on instinct and ‘feel’, to be successful long term you need a viable staking plan and you need to understand what the odds reflect in terms of probability.
In short, it’s a numbers game, and you need an adequate relationship with division and multiplication as a minimum.