Critical. If you don't have this, walk away. Sure you might be certain that a 1.25 favourite is going to win, but are the odds being offered giving any value?
Plenty of times we'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 wide-screen TV was good value just because you really really really wanted it. It doesn't work.
Value is a simple concept, but most of the betting public don't understand this. And perhaps thankfully so, because its this naive or 'square' money that can skew the market, leaving great opportunities for the minority of gamblers who do know how to recognise value.
If you've ever said the phrase "I'm not a maths guy but....", then you probably shouldn't be a betting guy either. While plenty of gamblers can make a success of it by betting on instinct and 'feel', to be successful long term you need a viable staking plan and you need to understand what the odds reflect in terms of probability.
In short, it's a numbers game, and you need an adequate relationship with division and multiplication as a minimum.
This depends upon the popularity of the event, but in general, bookmaker odds will be more a reflection of what they expect the general public to play, rather than on the actual probabilities of either outcome. Of course, it's not quite that simple, but in general, bookmakers will set their odds so as to attract betting on either side of the odds, so as to balance their liability and take their commission.
This leaves smart gamblers to find great value opportunities where the general public's opinion is just plain wrong. It also means that great value can be found on events where there is expected to be greater interest than normal by the occasional or casual gambler, who let's be honest, knows nothing or very little in terms of profitable betting strategy. Events like the Super Bowl, Cup finals and major horse racing events are prime candidates for this sort of opportunity.
The longer I have been betting, the more I have come to fall in love with the team that nobody likes. In fact, I feel better about a potential bet the uglier it looks on paper. Sounds counter intuitive I know, but the less the general public likes a team, the more I like the look of them in terms of value. Especially a team that might have performed well over a long period but may have had a bad run of maybe 4 or 5 games. Just watch the general public jump off them, and watch their value rise.
Don't let a recent losing run throw you off your game. Put it out of your mind and stay with your analysis and have faith that the wheel will turn. Similarly, don't let a recent winning streak give you false courage and lead you to over extend yourself. Again, stay with your analysis and stick with your plan.
Multi-bets. Parlays. Teasers. Whatever you like to call them, know when to bet them. And when not to. Sure they offer the promise of the big score, the big pay day, but unless you have done your analysis and have located true value, they are a terrible way to bet.
Look at it this way. If you place a multi-bet of 4 legs, and you were getting full price even money odds of 2.00 for each leg, the odds for that multi would be 16.00. Now lets look at a real world example where you're being offered lets say 1.90 for 'even money' with the bookmaker taking out 5%: the odds for that same 4 leg multi would be just 13.00. That's taking out close to 19% of the full price of that bet.
But if you have located true value, then multi's can be tremendous value as you multiply the value into each leg. The issue is of course, locating true value. Everyone who adds a leg to a multi does so because they believe they are finding value. Nobody bets odds that don't represent value to them. But key to creating value multi's is in finding true value or else you're only diminishing your chances of success with each under valued leg you add.
It would be great to get rich quick, but its not going to happen. Think long term. Build your betting bankroll, steadily increase the amount you bet on each game, and soon enough you'll find you're making some decent pocket money on the side, and maybe, just maybe, if you stick with it long enough, you can make a living wage out of it.
If you want to make money, you need to start with a betting bankroll capable of absorbing losses. If you're going to bet in units, with an average bet of 1 unit, I would recommend a bankroll of at least 50 units. Minimum.
OK so maybe you can only afford a bankroll of euro1000, which means your average unit will be 20. Sounds small time I know and you want to be a high roller. Well a euro1000 bankroll can quickly turn into a substantial amount with consistent value recognition and an intelligent staking plan.
Lets say you bet 200 bets a year. And for argument sake lets say they are all of 1.90 odds, and lets say you hit at a 54% strike rate. Well with a fractional Kelly staking plan, at the end of those 200 bets, depending on your winning consistency which should even out over a long term, your bankroll will be in the ballpark of euro1100.00. Yeah I hear what you're saying - that's only 100.00 profit over the year. Well, that's just betting 200 bets a year, with a 2.6% average return per bet.
Now imagine you bet 400 bets in a year and able to get still a modest 5% average return. That bankroll of euro1000 at the end of the 400 bets would be in the ballpark of euro1400 and at the end of 5 years that bankroll will be in the range of euro5000, and after 10 years, around euro30,000 with an average unit of 600.
Not bad is it. Of course the hard part is to get that consistent 5% return, and perhaps the harder part is grinding it out until you build that bank up over a number of years. But the point here is to show how starting out modest with a viable bankroll and staking plan, can turn into genuine profits in the long term.
I've heard it plenty of times. "Oh sometimes I bet just to make it interesting." OK, well that's fine. But don't expect to be a long term winner.
If you want to make it interesting, join a fantasy league or a tipping competition where you're not putting down real money.
Hey, it cant hurt.