I am a sports editor for a sports news and game site. I have many years of experience in games, sports journalism and math studies. Am I a game expert? I guess you can say that.
There are countless so-called game experts who are willing to calculate their systems information to beat the book or to make a second income from games, at a price of course. I will not do it. Im simply going to give you information about bookmakers, odds and games to use (or forget) as you think fit.
The first thing to mention is that the vast majority of people playing games will be net losers over time. This is the reason why there are so many bookmakers who make so much money all over the world.
While bookmakers sometimes take big hits, for example, if a favorite wins Grand National, they spread their risk so much and they create markets that contain a margin so they will always make profits in the medium and long term, unless in the short term . Its as long as they got their amount right.
When you set odds for a particular event, bookmaker must first assess the probability of the event occurring. For this we make different statistical models based on data collected over the years, once decades, about the sport and the team / competitor in question. Obviously, if the sport was 100% predictable, it would soon lose its appeal, and while the bookies often blink with their estimates of the probability of an event, they are sometimes far from the brand, simply because a match or a contest goes against conventional wisdom and statistical probability.
Just watch some sports and you will find an opportunity when the underdog triumphs against all odds, literally. Wimbledon then beat the mighty Liverpool in the FA Cup finals in 1988, for example, or the United States hit the then powerful Soviet Union on ice hockey in the 1980s, are two examples of when you should have had nice odds on the underdog. And could have won a decent wedge.
The big bookmakers spend a lot of time and money so that they have the right odds to ensure that they take into account the events probability and add the extra little bit that gives them the profit margin. So if an event has a probability of saying 1/3, the odds that reflect this probability will be 2/1. There are two to one against the event that occurs.
However, a bookie who put these odds would break evenly over time (provided their statistics are correct). So instead they would put the odds on, say 6/4. In this way, they have built in the margin that ensures that over time they will benefit from people investing in this choice. It is the same concept as a casino roulette.
So how can you discover the occasions when bookmakers are wrong? Well, its easier said than done, but far from impossible.
One way is to get very good at mathematical modeling and create a model that takes into account so many of the variables that affect the outcome of an event as possible. The problem with this tactic, however, is that it is complicated with the model, but it can never overlook the minutes of variables that relate to individual human sentiments. Whether a golfer succeeds pouring a big five-foot punch on the 18th on St Andrews, its as much in its concentration as the weather or weekday. Mathematics can also begin to be complicated.
Alternatively you can find yourself a sporty niche. Bookmakers will focus their resources on the events that make them the most money, usually like football (soccer), American football and horse racing. So try to beat the bookies when you bet on a Manchester United against the Chelsea match being tough. If you do not work for one of the clubs or are married to any of the players or managers, it is very likely that the bookmaker who sets the odds gets more information than you.
However, if you bet on soccer, badminton or crowned bowls, you can, through hard work, read lots of statistics and collect general information, start by getting an edge over bookies (if they even set odds for such things, as many do ).
And what do you do when you have a edge in information terms? You follow the value.
Value game is where you reset a choice of odds that are greater than the probability of an event occurring. For example, if you assess the probability of a non-league football team who wins their next football match as 1/3 or 33%, and you will find a bookmaker who has set the odds of 3/1, you have a value on your hands. The reason for this is that odds of 3/1 (with the exception of the margin built by the book) suggest a probability of 1/4 or 25%. The book has in your now learned view undermined Grimsbys chances, so you have effectively built a margin of 8% for yourself.