Archive for September, 2013

It is interesting to think that it was actually illegal to bet on sports in Australia for a big part of our history.  Betting in the 19th Century was common on sports such as boxing and athletics, then in the late 19th Century and early 20th Century there was a broad campaign against gambling, and widespread bans on sports betting were imposed around Australia, which remained in place until the 1970s.

During the 70s, sports betting restrictions were slowly relaxed.  TABs experimented with betting options on sports events, including the Sydney to Hobart yacht race and one-day cricket matches from the World Series of Cricket, but this did not prove popular.

On-course bookies were then given freedom to take bets on Aussie Rules Football games, and the TAB also introduced Footy TAB.  Again, the small winning pools and limited betting options failed to capture the interest of the serious punter, who continued to be keener on placing large bets with SP bookies (‘Starting Price’ bookies, who were often unlicensed).

Sports betting started to grow in the 1990s when the government approved sports betting agencies to start operating out of Darwin in the Northern Territory.  By 2000 TABs and bookmakers were taking bets on numerous sports in all states and territories.  While sports betting in 1999 accounted for only 0.2% of total Australian gambling expenditure, it has grown significantly in the years since with the introduction of on-line and mobile betting, aggressive advertising campaigns and an influx of overseas sports betting agencies into the Australian gambling market.

In March 2008, with James Packer’s Crown Limited bankrolling it, Betfair won a unanimous High Court decision which deemed it unconstitutional to prohibit bookmakers from advertising in one state and operating in another. Betstar’s Alan Eskander claimed it was the most important thing to happen in 150 years of bookmaking in Australia.  Advertising has grown enormously since then, where the main agencies now have a major presence on TV, radio, newspapers, magazines and the Internet.  Many of the biggest sports bet companies also directly sponsor sports codes and teams, and their advertising is visible on the team’s websites, sporting grounds and scoreboards all across the country.

The following is a list of some of the Australian sports betting agencies and their relationship with sporting codes and clubs around Australia:

TAB Sportsbet is official partners with the AFL and the FFA.

Sportsbet is the official partner of the Newcastle Knights, Sydney Roosters and Collingwood football club, and is the approved betting partner of the AFL, NRL, Cricket Australia, Tennis Australia and Rugby Australia.

IASbet.com is the approved betting partner of AFL, NRL, Cricket Australia, Tennis Australia and Rugby Australia.

Sportingbet is an approved betting partner of the AFL, NRL, Cricket Australia, Tennis Australia and the V8 Supercars, and is a proud sponsor of the Carlton Football club and the Brisbane Broncos.

Betfair is the approved betting operator of Cricket Australia, AFL, NRL, ARL, PGA tour Australasia, the FFA, Australian rugby and tennis Australia.

Centrebet are the proud sponsors of the St Kilda football club, the Manly Sea Eagles, the Penrith Panthers, the St George Illawarra Dragons, and they are the approved betting partners of the NRL, AFL, cricket Australia, tennis Australian and the PGA tour.

Tom Waterhouse is an approved betting partner of the AFL, NRL, Cricket Australia, Tennis Australia, and Australian rugby.

Unibet is an approved betting partner of the AFL, NRL, Cricket Australia, Tennis Australia, PGA Australia and Australian rugby.

Luxbet proudly supports the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Cronulla Sharks, and is an approved sports betting operator of the NRL, AFL, tennis Australia, PGA golf and cricket Australia.

Bet365 don’t appear to have a relationship with any sporting code or club as yet.

A 2011 gambling report in the Economist indicated that, on average, every adult Australian loses just under $1300 per year. As a nation, we drop $22 billion per year on the punt, nearly five times what we spend on foreign aid. Furthermore, it was estimated that the revenue generated by sports betting in Australia would top $600 million by the end of 2011, up from $264 million in 2006. It is estimated that the sports betting share of the Australian gambling industry is growing annually at 24 times the rate of horseracing.

In Victoria alone, total gambling losses were estimated at $5.49 billion in 2011-12, which equates to just over $15 million a day. $2.49 billion of this was spent on poker machines, which means $3 billion dollars was spent in Victoria on other types of betting like horse racing and sports betting, which is just over $8.2 million dollars a day.

On the 1st August 2013, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) announced that sports bet operators could no longer promote live odds during sporting events, although normal sports betting ads could still be shown during the breaks.  This was no doubt in response to the uproar caused by bookmaker Tom Waterhouse’s efforts in sponsoring the NRL and Channel 9 in 2013 (for a reported $50 million over 5 years) and actively spruiking live odds during the NRL games back in March 2013 as one of the expert commentary team.  The NRL walked away from the deal after the controversy it caused, although they deny that the deal fell through due to the public backlash caused by Tom Waterhouse’s presence in the commentary box.

It is easy to see how much the sports betting industry has grown in Australia in recent years when you look at how many sports betting options there are now available to the punter, along with what markets you can actually bet on.

On Sportsbet, there are 30 different sports/ events you can bet on, and for the 2013 AFL Grand Final this weekend between Hawthorn and Fremantle there are 238 Markets.  238 different betting options for one game!

Along with the numerous sports and games like poker, most sports bet bookies also now take bets on pretty much any other event with an unknown outcome.  These are the Novelty markets for Sportsbet on 26th September 2013 (these are no joke):

Current Affairs Pope betting (who will be the next Pope after Francis I), Airport betting (the location of Melbourne’s 3rd airport, which airport will get approved next between Sydney and Melbourne, when the 2nd Brisbane airport will open), who will be the next permanent CEO of the NBN Co, when the Melbourne Star Wheel will be officially opened, which city will host the 2020 World Expo, which will be the first country to leave the European union, what the Apple share price will be at the end of the year, who will win the 2013 Noble Peace prize, who will be cast to play Edward Snowden in the film about the NSA whistle blower, what the starting price (in US dollars) for Twitter will be on the NASDAQ, and by what means Julian Assange will leave the Ecuadorian embassy.

Entertainment there are markets on Australian TV for the winner of Big Brother, Dancing with the Stars, The Voice, Australia’s Got Talent, X Factor, and which character will be killed off next in the TV show Offspring.

Financial what the new official interest rate will be when announced by the RBA on 1st October 2013.

Hollywood who will play the next James Bond, the main Academy Awards winners, who will play Berlusconi in the movie about him, and how much Wolf Creek 2 will make at the Australian box office in the opening weekend.

Music who will win the 2013 Mercury music prize, who will be the next artist to remove their music from Spotify, who will be the next Australian to sell 1 million copies of a single in the US, and who will be the first to leave One Direction.

Novelty Bets how many PS4s will sell in the first 10 days, there are 5 royal specials (baby George’s first words, sex of their 2nd child, name of the 2nd child, when the baby will be born, and who the next monarch will be), which country will have first contact with alien life, when will Shane Warne and Liz Hurley get married, what Dave Hughes next TV role/ job will be, and what the name of Simon Cowell’s baby will be.

Pageants Miss World winner

Politics there are 13 different markets for Australian and world politics, ranging from who will lead the Labour party to when same sex marriage will be introduced in Australia.

Sports Novelties who will be the 2013 BBC sports personality of the year, will QLD win 10 State of Origins in a row, who will win the South Pole Challenge, and which A-League club will have the most Twitter followers.

Weather 2013 Global Average Temperature anomaly.

Now the first thing that springs to my mind with these betting types is that for some of the markets, the outcomes will probably be known by someone before it is officially announced, and the fact that you can bet on it leaves it wide open for manipulation or corruption. And corruption in sports due to sports betting has been, and is going to be, an ongoing issue in all sports world wide.

Australians have almost forgotten that Shane Warne and Mark Waugh were caught up in a bookmaking scandal in India, and Hansie Cronje who was captain of South Africa was fixing matches and then later died plane crash, where there are suspicions he was murdered.

The most recent revelation of corruption in Australian sport was during September 2013 in the Victorian Premier League soccer, where police arrested 10 people associated with the Southern Stars Football Club, nine players and the coach, for their involvement in match fixing worth around $2 million dollars.

Australia sees itself as an honest country, but the mix of money and sport and greed has always allowed for sport to be compromised, and with sports betting becoming so widespread and commonplace in Australia, it seems likely that the VPL incident will not be the last of its kind in this country.

Beaner

References

Costello T & Millar R, Wanna Bet?, Allen & Unwin, St. Leonards, 2000.

http://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2011/november/1320384446/jonathan-horn/caught-game

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-08-01/restrictions-on-broadcasting-of-live-betting-odds-now-in-place/4857242

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-05-20/nrl-fails-to-agree-with-waterhouse-over-sponsorship-deal/4699252

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This is the formula to calculate the vigorish percentage for three-way events:

v = 100 * [(1/p + 1/q + 1/t) – 1] / (1/p + 1/q + 1/t)

Where v = vigorish, and p, q and t are the decimal payouts for each outcome.

This formula is most usefully applied to calculating the vigorish imbedded in the odds of a soccer game, where there are three result possibilities; the home win, the draw and the away win.

To see how this formula works, I thought it would be worthwhile to look at the differences in the vigorish collected by 3 different sports bet agencies for the same soccer match.

 

UEFA Champions League 18th September 2013: Manchester United v Bayer Leverkusen

TAB Sportsbet:  1.62/ 3.75/ 5.00

Sportsbet:  1.83/ 3.40/ 4.75

Bet365:  1.83/ 3.60/ 5.00

 

Using the above formula, the vig results are as follows:

TAB Sportsbet Vigorish

P = 1.62, q = 3.75, t = 5.00

v = 100 * [(1/p + 1/q + 1/t) – 1] / (1/p + 1/q + 1/t)

v = 100 * [(0.6173 + 0.2667 + 0.2) – 1] / (0.6173 + 0.2667 + 0.2)

v = 100 * [1.084 – 1] / 1.084

v = 100 * 0.07749

v = 7.75%

 

Sportsbet Vigorish

P = 1.83, q = 3.4, t = 4.75

v = 100 * [(1/p + 1/q + 1/t) – 1] / (1/p + 1/q + 1/t)

v = 100 * [(0.5464 + 0.2941 + 0.2105) – 1] / (0.5464 + 0.2941 + 0.2105)

v = 100 * [1.051 – 1] / 1.051

v = 100 * 0.04853

v = 4.85%

 

Bet365 Vigorish

P = 1.83, q = 3.60, t = 5.00

v = 100 * [(1/p + 1/q + 1/t) – 1] / (1/p + 1/q + 1/t)

v = 100 * [(0.5464 + 0.2778 + 0.2) – 1] / (0.6173 + 0.2778 + 0.2)

v = 100 * [1.0242 – 1] / 1.0242

v = 100 * 0.02363

v = 2.36%

So it is easy to see from these calculations that TAB Sportsbet is taking the most tax per bet on this game, while Bet365 is taking the least.

The other appealing figure from these odds surveyed is the 3.75 being offered for the draw by TAB Sportsbet.  If you are interested in betting on the soccer draw like I am, it would be in your interests to shop around to ensure you get the best odds for the draw on the matches you want to bet on.

The difference in odds is significant enough to warrant chasing the best price, and if you have learnt anything from the Champ Bros blog so far, you will understand that it is difficult to make a consistent profit from sports betting, so any edge you can find over the bookies will pay dividends in the long run.

The next post is going to examine the difference between Vigorish and Overround, as these terms are often interchanged incorrectly as they actually have different values.

Beaner

It has been very notable to me that the sports betting agencies have upped their advertising campaigns on late night television in the last few weeks.  Now I don’t watch many TV shows, but within the few movies I have watched on FTA TV recently, there have been as many as 2 or 3 sports bet and horse racing ads within any 15 minute block of content.

This is no doubt due to the AFL and NRL finals being underway, and with the annual horse racing Spring Carnival just around the corner, the major Sportsbet companies are zeroing in on the punter to convince them to part ways with their hard earned.

The ads are slick and enticing and reinforcing the myth that Australians love to gamble, and that backing a winner makes you a ‘winner’.  The best scenario for the punter is this growing competition for the gambling dollar will give punters better odds on events, with less vigorish being taken out of the winnings.  This may never happen, but if you are going to gamble, do your research and always try and find the best odds for the bets you want to make.

The Australian version of Bet365 is currently running ads with Samuel L. Jackson walking around in a space-age setting proclaiming that Bet365 is the World’s biggest online sports betting company that is offering great odds on Australian sports.  The UK version of the ads use British actor Ray Winstone as their narrator, so you can see the approach they have taken.

TAB has their ‘walk of fame’ style TV ads where some 20-something hipster-doofus walks in slow motion to collect his winnings in some fictitious TAB/pub that has classy girls in it, or variations on this theme.  The times I have been in a TAB it was always a male only affair, except for maybe the employees, and I could count on one hand how many women I’ve seen in a pub TAB.

Sportingbet is currently offering the best tote + 5%.  “Best Tote Plus gives you an extra 5% on your winnings. Best tote plus guarantees a return that is better than the three national TABs. Available on every Australian thoroughbred race, every day.”  This is a big push to gain a share of the TAB revenue, which may work, and if the punter can bet smart and make more money, then  good luck in taking advantage of this deal.

Sportsbet also run a TV commercial promising the best return on horse racing from the three national TABs.

How long before one of the sports bet agencies offers Bets Odds + 5% on any sporting event?  Dream on.

Tom Waterhouse has been advertising heavily for over a year, but it will be interesting to see if this changes since he sold his business in August 2013 to the British gambling giant William Hill, which paid $34 million in cash for tomwaterhouse.com plus $6 million for the bookmaker’s debt.  William Hill already own Sportingbet and Centrebet in Australia.

Centrebet are currently pushing their AFL bet for the finals, offering your money back if your team is in front at half time and then loses.  Late 2012 Centrebet ran a ‘Fire Up’ campaign using Black Betty by Spiderbait as the music and Australian professional boxer and water skiing champion Lauryn Eagle as their spokesperson.  Shame on you Spiderbait, one for covering a song that doesn’t need covering, and two for selling out even more and promoting gambling in Australia. Hope you are enjoying your retirement from music, as what credibility you had left has retired too.

All the sports bet agencies now have apps for the smart phones, making mobile betting a reality; punters can bet around the clock and from any location.  Think of all that juice imbedded in every single bet…

Beaner

The reasons for why people gamble are many and varied and there is no magic blanket that can be thrown over the gambling population that has a universal explanation for their motivation.  One of the reasons should be to make more money than you gamble, which should be the goal of every punter.  But often it isn’t.  People gamble for many reasons, and making money isn’t always the number one agenda.  Is it fun to lose money to the sports bet outlets regularly?  I wouldn’t think so, but it should still be fun trying to win money consistently and land your occasional white whale.  When it’s no longer fun and dissatisfaction dominates your gambling emotions, you should be examining your motivation for betting.

The Champ Bros have always found it is more fun to be winning money than to be losing it.  It is very frustrating for us to lose money, as Kenny will attest to this year and I have experienced in many previous years.  We don’t see the point in betting money and not caring about losing.  This is not the attitude we carry into the challenge of trying to make a profit from sports betting.  We want to win, and we want to find the strategy which gives us a chance of winning.  And this isn’t easy.  We don’t kid ourselves about this and openly say from the outset that turning a consistent profit is difficult, where most years breaking even is a good result.  But buyer beware, as ‘breaking even’ is actually winning more than you are spending.

Picking winners and finding ‘good bets’ is just the beginning to staying in front and maintaining a profit for the long haul. To do this you also have to beat the bookmaker’s edge (aka vigorish/ vig or take or juice, or in poker terms, the rake), which means that you have to win more than merely breaking even to compensate for what you are giving to the sports bet agency EVERY SINGLE BET.  Just as poker players have to beat other players PLUS the casino rake and time charge to make money over time, the sports bet punter has to pick the winners and surpass the bookies vig as well.

I always look at a head-to-head match as having two possible outcomes.  This is important as the odds often distract the punter from this reality. Ideally you would want to get 2-1 on every bet you make on a head-to-head match; you bet $10 and win $20 if you get it right (which includes the $10 you wagered).  No one else takes a cut of this money and your win is based solely on picking the winning team.  But the book makers would have you believe that no two teams are ever evenly matched (or rarely so).  If you go through all the head-to-head sports it is very rare that two teams will have the same odds.  Have a look through the matches in the AFL, NRL, NFL, MLB, NBA, WNBA, NBL etc.  It is uncommon to find two teams with the same odds to win.

And when you do, you will see the bookmaker’s vigorish straight away.  Below is a typical list of odds for head-to-head games from a selection of Australian sports betting agencies (this list is for the MLB):

Bet365:  1.95/1.95

Centrebet:  1.93/1.93

Sportingbet:  1.93/1.93

Sportsbet:  1.92/1.92

IASbet:  1.92/1.92

Unibet:  1.91/1.91

Tom Waterhouse:  1.91/1.91

Luxbet:  1.91/1.91

TAB Sportsbet:  1.87/1.87

As you can see, TAB Sportsbet generally has the lowest returns of all the agencies, but ironically is probably the most popular in Australia.

Note: I couldn’t always find the basic head-head odds at bet365, but I think they call it the ‘Money Line’ and it is at 1.95 v 1.95 (it also shows up as ‘to win’ and ‘result’ with some sports too).

 

With the Tennis qualifiers, there is a drop in the odds offered compared to what is offered above, which was for Major League Baseball, so there is some variance between sports for what odds the agencies will offer when they deem it to be an even contest.

E.g. for the ATP Petange Challenger Qualifiers (9th Sept 2013), the head-to-head odds below were available. As you can see, they are significantly lower than what is offered above for the MLB.

Sportsbet:  1.87/1.87

Centrebet:  1.87/1.87

Sportingbet:  1.87/1.87

Tom Waterhouse:  1.86/1.86

Bet365:  1.83/1.83

My guess as to why this is the case?  The tennis players involved would be relative unknowns and hard to find any form lines on, so the betting agencies offer these matches with lower returns to protect themselves from match fixing, which would be easier to achieve with individuals than team events at this level.  Tanking or not, Bet365 is making 8.5% on any bets for this match, regardless of who wins (see below).

The other easy way to see what the different sports bet agencies are offering for an even bet is to look at the line betting.  When they offer the line, you will see the return for either team will usually be the same, as they have squared them up by offering the points difference.

Vigorish

What all this basically means is that the bookies are making money on EACH and EVERY bet you make, even if you win.

If Kenny and I both pick a team in a match deemed to be even, say with TAB Sportsbet at 1.87, and we each bet $10, one of us stands to win $18.70.  TAB Sportsbet gets $20 out of us, and then gives the winner $18.70, keeping $1.30 on the transaction, which is 6.5% profit for them.  So you can imagine if $100 000 was bet on the match with an even spread of bets between both teams, TAB Sportsbet would make $6500 REGARDLESS OF THE OUTCOME.  Think about that, wouldn’t that be nice.

Where it gets interesting is when the matches aren’t evenly matched.  Say TAB Sportsbet is offering 1.20 on the fav and 4.60 on the upset in a head to head match.  They have deemed one team to be much stronger than the other and are prepared to gamble on this result.  Now if Kenny and I again both pick a team and bet $10 each, one of us stands to win $12 and the other $46.  TAB Sportsbet get $20 out of us.  On the 1.20 win they will make $8, but on the 4.60 upset they will lose $26.

The same match is listed as 1.23 and 4.40 on Sportsbet and in the same scenario, we can win either $12.30 or $44, and they will either make $7.70 or lose $24.

So how do they make their money in these matches?

The majority of punters will be betting on the favourite hoping to win $12 from their $10 bet (a $2 profit).  Those picking the upset are trying to win and make a profit of $36. For the bookie, they just need to position the odds so that the result gives them a profit no matter what the outcome is, as seen with the odds above.

Say 10 people bet $10 each on the upset.  They have bet $100 and the bookie would have to pay out $360 extra to cover them.  That would require 36 bets on the favourite of $10 each.  So overall there was $460 bet.  If the fav does get up, it has to payout those 36 punters $12 each, which is $432, and a profit of $28.  In this balanced scenario, even if the upset did occur, they still wouldn’t lose any money.  But if say 40 people bet on the fav and 10 on the upset, they will make a profit with either result.  $500 bet.  Fav wins = payout $480 ($20 profit).  Upset = payout $460 ($40 profit).

So as I hope you can see, it wouldn’t be difficult to keep adjusting the odds of either outcome depending on how much money was being spent on which result, so that the sports bet agencies always made a profit on EACH and EVERY bet they offer to the punters.

Vigorish Formula

There is a formula where you can easily calculate this bookmaker’s edge/ vigorish, and it doesn’t take many calculations to see how much profit they make from every bet they offer the punter.

v = 100 * (1 – (p*q/ p+q) )

Where v = vigorish, and p and q are the decimal payouts for each outcome.

In the TAB Sportsbet scenario for an even match, p = 1.87 and q = 1.87

v = 100 * (1 – (1.87*1.87/ 1.87+1.87)) = 100 * (1 – (3.4969/ 3.74)) = 100 * (1 – 0.935) = 100 * 0.065 = 6.5%.

Hey, same as my calculation above!

In the second TAB Sportsbet example, p = 1.20 and q = 4.60

v = 100 * (1 – (1.20*4.60/ 1.20+4.60)) = 100 * (1 – (5.52/ 5.8)) = 100 * (1 – 0.9517) = 100 * 0.04828 = 4.828%

So believe it or not, TAB Sportsbet are still making 4.828% out of the 1.20 v 4.60 match no matter who wins.  Again, an easy way to make money; I’ll take people’s bets on any sport they like, give them odds so they can gamble on winning some money, and then take 5% of every single transaction regardless of the result.

Who Pays the Vigorish

There is some debate as to who actually pays the bookies juice; the winner or the loser.  It is a bit of a perspective dilemma, whether you view it from the winner’s perspective or the loser’s perspective, but I like to keep things simple and this is my explanation.  The winner pays the vigorish.

Let’s use the head-to-head match where both teams are paying 1.87, and Kenny and I bet $10 each on a team to win; he picks Collingwood and I choose Richmond.  At the end of the game, one of us is going to lose $10 and one of us will win $18.70.  When you bet $10, you assume that if you lose, the $10 is lost.  If the odds were a true reflection of an even match, the winner would expect to double their money and collect $20.  However, they are only going to receive $18.70, and are paying a tax of $1.30 to the bookie for handling their money for this bet.

It can be argued that because the bookie was holding both our bets as a $20 pool, the winner gets back their $10 bet and the $8.70 from the odds, which is what they were expecting, and the loser has in fact paid the $1.30 tax out of their losing $10, with $8.70 of their losing bet going to the winner.  The problem I have with this view is say only 1 bet was placed on the event and it wins.  There is no loser to pay the vigorish, so the bookmaker must be paying it for you.  This could be argued theoretically, but the bottom line is, the sports bet agencies don’t EVER pay even money for evenly matched head-to-head events, and the reduction in the odds below 2-1 is what the punter is paying as a tax to the bookies if they win their bet.

With betting exchanges like Betfair, they take a flat rate (5% less incentives) of the NET PROFIT the punter may make on any event they have bet on, where the loser just forgoes their investment with no further loss incurred. This to me is what the sports betting agencies do as well, except they often take more juice and it is factored into the odds before you make the bet.

The next post is going to look at the formula for calculating vigorish for events with 3 outcomes, which will be applied to the soccer.

Beaner

This post is going to have a look at the varying odds the major Australian sports betting agencies are paying for a soccer game, and how even the best of these odds are still stacked against you.

English League 1: Preston v Oldham 10th September 2013

Home Draw Away
Bet365 1.95 3.50 4.33
Unibet 1.83 3.40 4.20
Centrebet 1.89 3.40 3.95
Sportingbet 1.89 3.40 3.95
Tom Waterhouse 1.88 3.38 3.96
Sportsbet 1.91 3.40 3.80
IASbet 1.91 3.40 3.80
Luxbet 1.87 3.35 3.85
TAB Sportsbet 1.85 3.50 3.65

From this table it is easy to see that Bet365 is giving the best value for this match, with the highest fav odds, equal highest draw odds and the highest upset odds.

If you bet $10 on each result with Bet365, you could win $19.50, $35 or $43.30, compared to $18.50, $35 and $36.50 with TAB Sportsbet.  The biggest difference between the two agencies is obviously in the upset payout.

As discussed in the previous post on the EPL soccer, 2 out of the 3 outcomes for Bet365 are returning a profit on this match.  3 x $10 bets is a $30 outlay in total, and a draw or the upset are going to return you $35 or $43.30 respectively.  The win pays $19.50, which would be a loss of $10.50 (35% loss), the draw would be a $5 profit (16.67% return) and the upset a $13.30 profit (44.33% return).

Is gambling against the fav worth it in the soccer?  Even though it looks tempting, for every time the fav does win, you have to recoup that loss of $10.50.  This would take a bit more than 2 draws or a bit less than one upset to get back in front.  Now if you know your soccer and are an astute tipster (or just plain lucky) you could bet on the draw and upset only in select matches.  This would save you $10 from betting on the fav to win, but you risk losing the entire $20 if the fav does get up.  So now you have to recoup the $20 every time the fav gets home.  This will take 4 draws or 1 ½ upsets to break even again.  So if the 1.95 fav (on Bet365) happens to win 4 times in a row, you have got a lot of chasing to do to get back in front.

So what if we just bet on all three outcomes?  All things being equal, over time you would still probably make a slow loss, as you are requiring the draw or upset to happen just about as frequently as the fav winning, with the more upsets the better due to their higher return.

Let’s have a look at some simulated results over 10 matches to get a feel for what you need to happen to make a profit.  In 10 games you would have outlaid $300 ($30 x 10 games).

Fav wins 5 times in 10 games

Over 10 games, the fav wins 5 times, there are 5 draws and 0 upsets.

The fav winning 5 times returns $97.50

The draw 5 times returns $175

Your total return would be $272.50 (a loss of $27.50)

 

Over 10 games, the fav wins 5 times, there are 4 draws and 1 upset.

The fav winning 5 times returns $97.50

The draw 4 times returns $140

The upset once returns $43.30

Your total return would be $280.80 (a loss of $19.20)

 

Over 10 games, the fav wins 5 times, there are 3 draws and 2 upsets.

Your total return would be $289.10 (a loss of $10.90)

 

Over 10 games, the fav wins 5 times, there are 2 draws and 3 upsets.

Your total return would be $297.40 (a loss of $2.60)

 

Over 10 games, the fav wins 5 times, there is 1 draw and 4 upsets.

Your total return would be $305.70 (a profit of $5.70)

 

Over 10 games, the fav wins 5 times, there are 0 draws and 5 upsets.

Your total return would be $314 (a profit of $14)

 

Fav wins 4 times in 10 games

Over 10 games, the fav wins 4 times, there are 6 draws and 0 upsets.

The fav winning 4 times returns $78

The draw 6 times returns $210

Your total return would be $288 (a loss of $12)

 

Over 10 games, the fav wins 4 times, there are 4 draws and 2 upsets.

Your total return would be $304.60 (a profit of $4.60)

 

Fav wins 3 times in 10 games

Over 10 games, the fav wins 3 times, there are 7 draws and 0 upsets.

The fav winning 3 times returns $58.50

The draw 7 times returns $245

Your total return would be $303.50 (a profit of $3.50)

 

If the fav wins 6 times, you can’t even break even with all 4 upsets and no draws.

The fav winning 6 times returns $117

The upset 4 times returns $173.20

Your total return would be $290.20 (a loss of $9.80)

To be able to make a profit betting on all 3 outcomes at this odds level with Bet365, which is the best odds on offer by an Australian sports betting agency (that I have found), you need things to go your way.  If the fav wins 6 or more times out of 10 matches, you can’t make a profit.  If the fav wins 5 out of 10 games, you also need a minimum of 4 upsets to make a profit.  If the fav wins 4 out of 10 times, you also need a minimum of 2 upsets to make a profit.  If the fav wins 3 or fewer times out of 10 matches, you will make a profit regardless of the result.

Looking at the odds again on Bet365 (1.95/ 3.50/ 4.33) which are the best odds on offer from the 8 bookies studied in this example, it would nearly be impossible to make money betting on all three outcomes.

Just betting the favourite

With a return of 1.95, the fav would have to win 6 out of 10 times to guarantee a profit (6 x $19.50 = $117, a profit of $17 every 10 x $10 bets).  If the fav only wins 5 times or less out of 10 games, you will make a loss.

Why is it so?

Vigorish!  This will be covered in detail in the next post, and it is one of the most important factors when trying to make a profit from sports betting.

Duplicate Sports Betting Agencies

Let’s have a look at the odds table again:

English League 1: Preston v Oldham 10th September 2013

Home Draw Away
Bet365 1.95 3.50 4.33
Unibet 1.83 3.40 4.20
Centrebet 1.89 3.40 3.95
Sportingbet 1.89 3.40 3.95
Tom Waterhouse 1.88 3.38 3.96
Sportsbet 1.91 3.40 3.80
IASbet 1.91 3.40 3.80
Luxbet 1.87 3.35 3.85
TAB Sportsbet 1.85 3.50 3.65

After seeing the duplicate odds for some of the sports bet agencies above, on a hunch I went through a selection of random sports to compare Centrebet and Sportingbet and they both were offering the exact same odds.  This was the case for Sportsbet and IASbet as well.  I also found that this was the same situation for the new company in the Australian sports betting market, Ladbrokes from the UK, and another agency that popped up at the same time, Bookmaker.com.au.

If you compare these ‘sister’ sites, you will see that the terminology for how they describe the events is exactly the same, as well as the events available to bet on and the odds they are offering, and after some research I discovered that they are both owned by the same company and are operating under two different names.  Centrebet and Sportingbet are both owned by British gambling powerhouse William Hill, whereas Sportsbet and IASbet are owned by Irish bookmaker Paddy Power.

This may well be a strategy to entice more punters to sign up with both agencies due to the free bet deals they offer new members, where the punters wouldn’t even realise they are essentially the same bookie.  Whatever their motivation, I think it is unnecessary and quite insidious, as it is flooding the Australian market and preying on the punter with a potential (or existing) gambling addiction.

Beaner

One of the bet types I like relates to the EPL soccer, and most soccer games for that matter, but The Champ Bros follow the EPL (and the Championship when Kenny’s Newcastle gets relegated).  Great to see Liverpool on top of the table after 3 rounds too!

With the soccer there are three outcomes for a match; win/ draw/ loss.

The odds on the fav winning can be anywhere from 1.10 to 2.50, but what I find interesting is the odds on the draw in the EPL is usually a minimum of 3.30 (on Sportsbet).

The odds on the upset with a short priced fav is always massive too.

E.g. EPL Rd 3 2013 – Man City v Hull 1.15/ 7/ 13, where Hull is paying 13.0 to win.

Even 7.0 for the draw is huge, as there is many a soccer match I have watched in frustration where the short priced fav has bombarded the goal all game yet failed to score leading to an unlikely draw.

The Soccer Draw – A ‘Good Bet’?

Why the draw bet is interesting to me is that for a match with 3 possible outcomes, the odds on one of those outcomes is always above the 3-1 mark.  This is a ‘good bet’, especially if the teams are evenly matched, as you are getting more than a 3-1 payout where there are genuinely three possible outcomes for the game (all things considered).

On Sportsbet, two evenly matched teams will often have the odds of 2.50/ 3.30/ 2.60, where the draw is paying 3.30, or 2.45/ 3.40/ 2.60, where the draw is paying 3.40.

Now the result of a draw in the EPL does occur regularly. In the EPL 2012/13 season, there were 107 draws out of 380 games, which is 1 draw every 3.55 games.  With this raw stat, you would need to get odds of 3.60 to make a profit betting on every game for the result of a draw.  With the minimum draw odds being around 3.30 (Sportsbet), the bookies are keeping it below the 3.60 mark to give them an edge. BUT, it swings in your favour when you get the upset draws like the Man City v Hull match mentioned above, where if Hull do draw, you get a 7-1 payout.  This won’t occur enough though for you to bridge the bookmaker’s gap.  Last EPL season (2012/13), eventual title winner Manchester United drew 5 times out of 38 games, which means the draw would have to pay on ave 7.6 to break even, which you just wouldn’t get over the season.

So what if we just don’t bet on Man U for the season, along with the other teams that had the least amount of draws; WBA with 7 and Newcastle with 8. This would then leave us with the stats of 87 draws out of 266 games, which is 1 draw every 3.06 games.  Now we are getting into some profitable territory!  This is all good in hindsight mind you, but it is relatively easy to keep a track of which teams are having the most draws in a season and just betting on the top 5 of these all the time.

Everton are the draw kings of recent years, where they topped the table last season with 15 draws out of their 38 matches, were ranked 3rd in 2011/12 with 11 draws, and have started the 2013/14 season with 3 draws from their first 3 games!

As I have now pointed this out they probably won’t have a draw for the next 2 years, but previous data and form is all we have to go by when making our punting decisions, and on a good day it holds true and give us the result we desire.

Two out of the Three Results Return a Profit

Interestingly, the same draw odds of 3.40 mentioned above (2.45/ 3.40/ 2.60) can also be seen where the fav is at 2.00; 2.00/ 3.40/ 3.40.

This sort of odds structure is appealing to me for another reason, as two of the three possible outcomes are now paying greater than the 3-1 benchmark to break even.  Now the bookmakers have determined that the fav will win and you are only going to get the return of 2-1, which is always a risk when there are three possible outcomes.  But if you bet on the other two outcomes, either result will give you a profit.  So if you bet $10 on the fav and it wins, you double your money and win $20.  And the odds set by the bookmakers would have you believe that this is the likely outcome and an easy way to double your investment.  However to achieve this you have to avoid the two other outcomes, and if you follow the EPL soccer, you will know that these types of favs get rolled regularly.  Consequently, the other way of betting on the match would be to place $5 on each of the two other outcomes at 3.4 each, where either bet would pay $17 if there is a draw or an upset.  You are now covering two of the three possible results and still getting a 70% return on your investment if you win.

A casino would go broke in a hurry if they were offering these odds for a game where there were three possible outcomes for an event and each result was just as likely, as you would just bet on both 3.4 results all day and night and before long you would be making a killing on that game.  Of course the soccer does not have three equal outcomes prior to the match when one team is deemed to be stronger than another team, and the odds offered by the bookmakers will always reflect this.

NOTE: the odds given on any sporting event by a book making agency will merely highlight where the punters are betting their money, and imbedded in this is the bookmaker’s profit.  The only times the bookies really get burned is when there is a massive plunge on a team where the bet is accepted at fixed odds.  Otherwise, the odds keep being adjusted to reflect where the majority of punters are betting their money.

This happened in the AFL this week in Round 23, in the St Kilda v Fremantle match.  St Kilda opened at 6-1 and Freo short priced favourites early in the week, based purely on form (16th v 3rd), but as soon as word got out that Freo were resting nearly half their team from making the flight to Melbourne, the punter’s money was piled on St Kilda.  So if you got on the Saints at 6-1 fixed odds, the sports bet agency has to pay you out.  And you would have been counting your winnings early when the Saints got out to a 28-0 quarter time lead.

The odds for a Draw at half time v Full Time

The half time odds for a draw are much shorter than the full time odds, usually around 2.10 at HT for the majority of matches, and the reason for this is obvious when you look at the HT and FT results of the games.

The practical reason for this though would be that most teams can maintain their structure and discipline early on, but as the game progresses, players get tired and mistakes occur, and a large proportion of goals scored in games usually occur in the final 10 minutes of play.

In the first round of the EPL season, half the games were draws at half time, but there was only one full time draw.

EPL Round 1 – starting 17th August 2013

10 games played – 5 draws at HT, 1 draw at FT

Liverpool v Stoke HT 1-0, FT 1-0

Arsenal v Villa HT 1-1, FT 1-3

Norwich v Everton HT 0-0, FT 2-2

Sunderland v Fulham HT 0-0, FT 0-1

West Brom v S’hampton HT 0-0, FT 0-1

West Ham v Cardiff HT 1-0, FT 2-0

Swansea v Man U HT 0-2, FT 1-4

Palace v Tottenham HT 0-0, FT 0-1

Chelsea v Hull HT 2-0, FT 2-0

Man City v Newcastle HT 2-0, FT 4-0

In Rd 2 of the 2013/14 season, 5 of the 10 games were draws at HT, with 3 games ending in draws at FT.

In Rd 3 of the 2013/14 season, 5 of the 9 games were draws at HT, with only 1 game remaining a draw at FT.

This is another interesting bet to consider, especially if you have 3 leg multis for the HT draw, as you will be getting greater than an 8-1 return on your bet. Of course you are up against 27 possible outcomes at that point, but so far this EPL season, there has been 5 draws at HT for each of the 3 rounds.

Beaner

The terms ‘probability’ and ‘odds’ are two common ways used to describe how likely it is that a certain event will happen.  In gambling, both terms tell you how likely you are to win, but they do this in different ways.

This difference is important to understand when gambling or punting, as different forms of gambling and casino games can often use either system to express the expected payouts.

Probability is the number of winning outcomes divided by the total number of possible outcomes.

Odds compare the number of losing outcomes to the number of winning outcomes (in ratio form).  Odds can also be expressed both ‘for’ and ‘against’, where the odds ‘against’ the event in question is simply a reversal of the odds ‘for’.

 

Example 1

Think of rolling a dice and hoping for a 4 to come up. In this case there are six possible outcomes on the dice, one winning outcome and five losing outcomes.

• The probability of rolling a 4 would be shown as 1/6, or one in six (16.67%).

• The odds for rolling a 4 would be shown as 1:5, or one to five.  The odds against rolling a 4 would be shown as 5:1, or five to one against.

 

Example 2

Another example is drawing an Ace out of a deck of cards. In this case there are 52 possible outcomes in a deck of cards, four winning outcomes and forty-eight losing outcomes.

• The probability of drawing an Ace would be shown as 4/52 = 1/13 or one in thirteen (7.7%).

• The odds for drawing an Ace would be shown as 4:48 = 1:12, or one to twelve. The odds against drawing an Ace would be shown as 12:1, or twelve to one against.

Beaner