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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 $100,000 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. My picks have yielded a much higher risk adjusted return
Even though most sports bettors are losers in their own right (as a whole, bettors actually win an average of only 48% of their bets – less than they would expect to win if they just flipped a coin for every game), their losses are compounded by the fact that the house takes a cut of winnings, also known as the ‘juice’ or ‘vig.’ Most sports books charge a 10% commission on wins, which means that a bettor must actually win 52.4% of his games just to break even. (Wagering $1000 per game, a bettor loses $1000 with a loss and wins $900.91 with a win, so he must go 11-10 (11/21 = 52.38%) to break even)
Touts often claim to be able to hit 60% or higher, but as I explain in my essay on Bayesian Probability, anyone who tells you that their long term expected winning percentage is higher than 60% is deluding themselves. Ten or more years ago a sharp handicapper could win about 60% long term but those days are over, as odds makers have become more savvy in the past decade or so. For a bettor to claim a greater than 60% long term expected win percentage, that would be mean that Vegas would have to consistently release lines with egregious errors, and that simply just does not happen often enough nowadays for claims of a greater than 60% long term expected win percentage. Any short term win rates of around 60% or higher are simply due to blind, short-term luck
Of course, as in any game of chance, there is variability in the actual results and just because you have won 55% in the past and expect to win 55% in the future doesn’t mean that you’re going to win 55% this upcoming season. There is variance in sports betting, as there is in most investments, and I calculate the standard deviation to figure out how much of my bankroll I can safely wager on each game during the season to accommodate potential negative swings while having very little chance of exhausting my bankroll. I have extensively quantified the variance that exists in sports betting, and use mathematical formulas to dictate the exact optimal amount to invest so as to maximize the ratio of profits to variance