Believe it or not, some people really do bet on sports for a living. Maybe they work part time at a sportsbook or in some other marginal job in the casino industry, but there is a group of gamblers who bet on sports for their life’s work. With all the math swirling around in our heads after the last bit of the article, it’s hard to imagine anyone wanting to do this for a living.
The DOJ ruling happened “at a very inopportune time” from MLB’s perspective, because some of the potential buyers of the networks “that probably would have been good for our sport” aren’t able to bid on them, Manfred said. He named AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA) as two examples. AT&T is in the process of a mega-merger of its own with Time Warner, while Comcast had recently completed a massive acquisition of U.K. media giant Sky.
The novelty of the bill stems from the fact it does not address the establishment of a brick-and-mortar sports betting market within the state whatsoever (Virginia does not have any casinos, tribal or commercial). Instead, it aims to legalize and regulate sports betting “platforms” that are better defined as a “website, app, or other platform accessible via the Internet or mobile, wireless, or similar communications technology that sports bettors use to place sports bets.”
Most people think that sports betting is about finding ‘sure things,’ but in reality such ‘locks’ are nothing more than gamblers’ fancy. Just as in real estate, currency, stocks, or any other speculative market, ‘sure things’ simply do not exist. As a professional sports bettor, my goal is to find and exploit many small edges over a long period of time to earn a compounding return. Winning 55% of games is very significant, and with very conservative bet sizing, you can grow your return very quickly. Investing $10,000 into the stock market for a year and earning a 10% return is considered a great investment – but your return winning a modest 54% of your sports bets would trounce that return.
“When markets become more competitive, prices fall,” says Moskowitz, who was rooting for perennial disappointment England in last Wednesday’s match, because one side of his family is English. He’s typically more hard-headed when he thinks about sports, as shown in the 2011 bestseller “Scorecasting” that he co-authored with Sports Illustrated writer Jon Wertheim, applying economic analysis to sports. A popular working paper by Moskowitz studied sports betting markets for the asset pricing anomalies that we know and love in financial markets.
So how difficult is sports betting math? The math behind placing a winning bet is fairly complicated, but the way to stay ahead of the bookmaker is rather straightforward. If you collect on 52.4% of your bets, you’ll break even. We’ll have more details on that number later, including why it takes more than 50% wins to break even, but first some general knowledge about sports gambling and the numbers behind it.
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