Sportsbetting for a Living – Volatility

Sportsbetting for a Living: Fine Line Between ‘Professional’ and Tourist

They say sports gambling is a very tough way to make an easy living.  It is so true.  In fact, due to volatility in betting, it could take years to determine if you are indeed a ‘professional’ or have a significant edge.  The example below illustrates the point.

Volatility: A Concrete Example

Assume:

-you make 1 strong bet per day, 365 days per yr, risking $5k per bet.

-you follow the ‘Sharp Approach’ betting underdogs, getting  an average of +150 or 3-2 odds, paying you $7500 of profit when you win your $5k bets.  +150 odds generally equates to about a 4 pt underdog in basketball or football and the average underdog in baseball or hockey.

Win Rate Assumptions

Win 40% This is the break even rate with juice, winning 40% at 3/2 odds and losing 60%.  This win rate allows you to breakeven including vig, difficult, but possible for a casual gambler focused on underdogs.

Win 41.4%.  This assumes earning a 3.4% profit margin – a strong figure by any standard for a ‘professional’ sports gambler.  You can accomplish this figure by staying focused on solid value and can usually find 5-10 bets per week this strong.

Win 38.5%.  This is the average win rate if you were betting under an efficient market system.  +150 payoff, with juice corresponds with -170 on the favorite.  Using an average of 160 ((150 + 170)/2), you should win 100/(100+160) = 38.5% of the time.

EV*

Wins**

wins***

PROFIT****

break even

0.4

146

1,095,000

$0

Pro

0.414

151

1,132,500

$62,500

Avg Loser

0.385

141

1,057,500

($62,500)

EV

Losses

losses**

Margin*****

break even

0.6

-219

-1,095,000

0.00%

Pro

0.586

-214

-1,070,000

3.42%

Avg Loser

0.615

-224

-1,120,000

-3.42%

*The ‘professional’ has an expected win rate of 41.4% and therefore a corresponding loss % of 1-.414 = .586

** Winning 41.4% of the time, on 365 bets gives the ‘professional’ a 151 win expected value (and hence 365-151 = 214 expected loses)

*** Winning 151 bets at $7500 per bet is $1.1325 million, and losing 214 bets at $5k per bet is $1.07 mil.

**** $1.1325 mil of wins minus 1.07 mil of losses equals $62.5k of sports betting expected profit for the year

***** betting $5k daily for 365 days is a total amount bet of $1.825 mil and $62.5k of profit is the 3.4% margin described above.  This profit margin would be consistent with a very accomplished ‘professional’ sports bettor.

CONCLUSION: Over a whole year of betting small to medium sized underdogs, daily, winning 146 games allows you to breaks even, 141 and you’re an average loser, and 151 makes you a STRONG PRO with a 3.4% profit margin.   Annually, there is ONLY A 10 GAME GAP BETWEEN TOURIST AND ‘PROFESSIONAL’ = VERY FINE LINE!!

 

NEED HELP?

need a refresher on the terms?  See our glossary of terms.

need a refresher on the odds and how they work?  See explaining the odds.

questions: support@sharpedgepicks.com

 

 

 

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