Millions of dollars change hands in the sports betting industry every week. The lion’s share of this cash, however, goes to the bookies. The average ‘casual’ punter makes nearly nothing next to them. They barely scrape through, trying to break even. Why is there such a big discrepancy in how much the punter and the bookmaker? The answer is simpler than one would think. In reality, most bookies do not want their customers to know exactly how the betting market functions. More often than not, they even find ways to contain particularly resourceful bettors who win ‘too much’. In this article, we dive deep in the seedy underbelly of the sports industry in search of the top 5 secrets your bookmaker hides from you.
The bookmaker never reveals the true odds.
The task of bookmaking is to reliably turn a profit when the betting round closes, no matter what. The simplest method to fulfil this goal is to just manipulate the actual probability. Likewise, bookmakers adjust the odds slightly in almost every bet out there. If there is an even chance of the home side and the away side each winning, the true odds should be 50%, or 2 to 1. If the bookmaker changes it to 1.9 to 1, this increases the per-bet profit they get. This always leaves them with a built-in profit within every penny that a customer spends on betting. What is the easy way to tell this? Add up all the percentage-based representation of probabilities as they come up on the sportsbook, and you will get more than a 100%.
In the last example of 1.9 to 1 odds, the total odds of the two teams add up to 105.26%. That means the bookmaker has an expected profit of 5.26 dollars on every 100 dollars that goes into the betting market. This surplus is called the over-round. Bookmakers have an average 6% of over-round profit margin over most sports bets. But the more probable outcomes there are, the more this over-round grows. A bet like who can score the goal next in a football match will have much, much higher over-rounds.
Even competing bookmakers can share data amongst each other.
Sports betting, like the online casino sector, is a fairly competitive industry. Sportsbooks are always on the lookout to poach customers from their competitors. But despite all that, they are in cahoots when it comes to securing their betting market. They work in cahoots to pin down suspicious market behaviour. In other words, if a user does particularly well consistently, they will look for similar or possibly linked users on other sportsbooks. By and large, this is how bookmakers can track down betting syndicates and other market oddities.
Acca bets are not what sportsbooks cook them up to be.
Sportsbooks will often run lucrative promotions built around accumulator bets. It is actually a common sight to see bonuses upwards of 50% on winnings from acca bets. But you must remember that acca bets are a sham by their very design. For the unwary: acca bets are a conditional series of bets that have you check a large number of boxes. For instance, an acca bet might require that you back six selections in a set series of wagers. If you manage to land the correct answer on all six, you potentially walk away with huge winnings.
The big caveat is that you lose the whole deal if just one of six wagers lose. In conclusion: they are not worth your time. Ask any pro punter, and you will find that they rely mostly on singles, and rarely doubles and so on. The pros prefer consistency over such high-risk high-reward gimmicks.
Bookmakers track your data.
They do not want you to win.
With all their tracked data, they specifically market the sportsbook to a ‘casual punter’ demographic. Their ultimate goal, of course, is to find the regular sports fans who will make bets in a rush of excitement during the game. Such ill-researched decisions are how they predate on the ‘casual’ audience.o
No matter how fun and user-friendly sports betting may feel, do not let bookmakers fool you. They are not there to build a user-friendly experience. Their business model stands on predatory tactics that exploit fans who love sports enough to not mind losing a couple extra bucks backing small bets. The thrifty, focussed punter who scores money in sports betting does so by outguessing the bookmaker’s odds, not following them.