The professional sharp is slowly going extinct. Granted, many jobs and hustles from the 90’s have not kept up well with the times. But sports betting for a living should still be the last thing to be on that list. The contradiction is that the sports betting industry itself is growing exponentially every year. Even in 2020, a plague year that turned most sports circuits defunct and cancelled events left and right, the sports betting industry kept itself afloat. Then why should getting into the punter biz be difficult? There are actually several different factors. The industry itself, for instance, is among the culprits. In this article, we explore the top 4 reasons why you would be hard pressed to make a living out of sports betting.
Sports betting is still too complex.
In the oldest days of sports betting rings, it could get rather chaotic. There were manual ballots, tickets, and registers where bookmakers penned down the odds and ends by hand. Even in the age of telephones, organization was not one of its strong suits. Also, the sector’s illegality for a large part of its development in the 1900’s did not help. But those days are long gone. Sports betting is more accessible than ever. And yet, it still remains an almost impenetrable babble of decimals, fractals, and sportsbook lingo that the average person has some difficulty wrapping their head around.
Sports betting platforms do market themselves vehemently. But the average punter only has a vague idea of how the market works. Moreover, terms like arbitrage, acca bets, and over-rounds need extensive studying to understand. All in all, it might be easy for anyone to poke their head inside the sportsbook today. Mastering it, on the other hand, is a different tale.
It does not pay enough.
Any punter with real experience will know how difficult it is out there. Sportsbooks will always lay their odds out in a way that severely limits your probable earnings. Higher odds generally means higher risk as well. If you are to back underdogs in hopes of turning 100 INR into 500, you will also have to weather the risk of losing it all. This is a problem not just with sports betting, but gambling in general. Let alone profits, breaking even can sometimes be difficult. Some pundits in gambling math advocate a tiny but steady flow of profits from backing only low-risk single bets. But such meagre profits are not remotely enough to pay your bills.
The stress can get unbearable in sports betting.
Essentially, being sharp comes down to being smarter than the bookmaker. By out-guessing the bookmaker’s odds, a pro sports bettor that earns big can beat the bookmaker at their own game. The bread and butter for this is simply superior research and understanding of game dynamics. A successful punter does not only know the game by heart, but also the sports betting market itself. They also have to constantly be one step ahead of sportsbooks regarding news updates.
All in all, the effort and attention they need to invest into sports betting is no less than a day job. Moreover, the risk factor is compounded on top of this. Even with your superior intel and pristine odd calculation, one chance encounter means everything falls apart. Sports bettors often play the long-term game with volatile wagers and high odds, such that a few wins can recuperate a number of weeks’ losses. So they stand to lose a lot without the favour of luck. For an extremely rare breed of people, this is the added ‘kick’ they get out of gambling. For most people, though, this is just unbearable stress.
Bookmakers punish success.
If profiteering from sports betting was not hard enough already, bookmakers are on the prowl to shut down success. Sportsbooks like to advertise themselves as a service; a blessing unto an otherwise chaotic sector. They also don the user-friendly guise in their marketing and promo offers. But ultimately, it is in their best interests that you, the bettor, lose money. Sharps can essentially do a bookmaker’s job better than a bookmaker, so they threaten the status quo. Sportsbooks go the extra mile to shut them down. This ranges from tracking your IP to straight-up limiting your account if you win too much.
Is it a bad idea to be a sports bettor then? The honest answer depends on you. Sports betting can indeed be an entertainment service. Some people use it to simply amplify their hype and enjoyment of high-profile derbies. But if you want to actually win money, you have to basically snatch it from the iron grip of bookmakers and their adjusted odds. It is an achievable goal, but a tremendously difficult one to repeat consistently. Very few in the world can do it, but if you are determined enough, you could be one of them.
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