Imagine a football match between Team A and Team B. A sports betting agency offers the odds 1.8 for the victory of the home team (A). If we suppose a 10% margin of the betting agency then (according to its bookmaker) it represents 50% (or 0.5) winning chance of the Team A. How do we arrive at this value? The procedure to determine the odds and winning chances is described at the page Sportsbook odds calculation (clear examples are included). It will be partly obvious from the further text too.
But you give the Team A far greater winning chances – based on your information, analyses, statistics, observation, skill and other factors that form your opinion – say 60% (or 0.6). The fair odds for the victory of the Team A based on your assumption would be 100% / 60% (or equally 1 / 0.60) = 1.67. The sports betting company thus offers the odds, which are higher (1.8) than the minimum odds (1.67), which would be yet acceptable for you (i.e. the fair odds). Therefore it is advantageous for you to make the bet, since your expected return is positive and your edge is exactly 1.8 / 1.67 – 1 = 0.08 = 8%.
You are much better off from a bookmaker's business point of view just hiring a load of mathematically competent and cheap worker drones to copy Betfair/Pinnacle/Wider industry prices, build a few algorithms for in play betting and very closely manage the liabilities as the bets come in. Then just restrict all winners/arbers as quickly as you can and you have a profitable business with virtually no grasp of what a sport price even is.
Before I delve into rigorous explanations of how a bettor can gain an advantage against the point spread, it is important to understand what the spread actually represents. Point spreads were invented to keep bettors interested in games between teams of different talent levels – if a perennial powerhouse like Alabama plays a mid level team such as South Alabama, you’ll find very few people willing to bet on which team will win the game since Bama would be such a prohibitive favorite. However, most are willing to bet on whether Alabama will ‘cover the point spread’ and win by a certain number of points. If the point spread is 21.5, then the Crimson Tide must win by 22 or more points for their side of the bet to cover, while South Alabama must either win outright or lose by 21 points or less to cover their side. Point spreads are designed so that the probability of each outcome is roughly equal, and are generally set so as to approximate the median score differential between the two teams at the given site of the game.
On our Picks page, you’ll notice dollar signs, ATS, To Win and Total O/U. These are all betting terms that you should familiarize yourself with in order to make strategic picks. Under the Last 100 heading, you’ll see the records for the last 100 games played in the Premier League. The table also features the amount of money won (or lost) based on the opening and closing lines, ATS and Total O/U. It may seem like gibberish but don’t worry, we’ll explain each term below.