Critical. If you don't understand betting value, walk away. Sure you might be certain that a favourite at odds of 1.45 is going to win, but are the odds being offered giving any value? Plenty of times I'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 $2000 wide-screen TV was good value just because you really really really wanted it.
Bookies look at the weight of their books all the time and adjust odds and other factors to make sure their books balance. Though it isn’t possible to completely balance a book, bookies that go too far out on one side run the risk of losing money, and losing money in gambling is the fastest way to find yourself in another industry. All of these factors are why bookies generally root for the underdog—too many favorites winning in a sport with a short season (such as the NFL) can cause a bookmaker to lose money, while a bunch of upsets (like you generally see in college football) is a guaranteed profit for the bookmaker.
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Bookies don’t offer even money like friends in a casual betting situation. In the above example, with two evenly matched boxers, a smart bookie will offer 5/6 odds for each. That way, a $10 winning bet would only return $8.30 plus your stake. What does this do for the bookmaker? He can float an equal amount of money on both fighters, winning no matter which fighter actually wins. If they take $1,000 worth of bets on one boxer and $1,000 on the other, the bookie would take in $1,000 but only have to pay out $830, for a guaranteed $170 profit regardless of the outcome.
One of our GEM members turned $1,500 into $20,000 in 2 years via ZCode System, which was not luck at all, but based on strict disciplined & strategy. He now earns average $3,000 / month from his betting bank, which pays all his daily expense including mortgage (I’m not sure if he quit his daily job). Strongly suggest take a look at ZCode Success Formula – Key Differences Between Winners & Losers, where you will find another model (very safe approach) of starting Value Betting at ZCode System.
ATS equals “against the spread”. The spread is the number oddsmakers use to give people other betting options besides only wins and losses. A spread for a Premier League fixture would be something like .5 or 1.5. One club would need to lose the match by no more than 1 or 2 goals or the other needs to win by 1, 2or more goals. If the final score doesn’t reflect the number set by the oddsmakers, your bet won’t cover the spread and you can’t win your bet.