Every single person involved in sports betting is looking to find a way to beat the house. Whether it’s the casual bettor or the hardcore player, the bottom line when it comes to is making money. However, in order to become a profitable bettor you must first understand how the bookmakers work. Here is a look at the three keys to how bookmakers make their money.
The Math Is Key
The online sports betting companies usually employ a team of people that are responsible for setting the odds. Those people will use a mix of statistical probability and public opinion. That's because they want to determine the best chance for every outcome along with the margin of people that are playing each side. They have to account for things such as injuries, key players, home advantage and even the referee. Then they determine how much each of those factors will impact the outcome of the game.
One the basic odds for every game are determined the people responsible for making the odds will then have to assess where their line is. Then they'll assess where it should move based on how the public reacts to it. For example, let's say the bookies make the Steelers a five-point favorite against the Bengals. Then they receive 20 bets for Cincinnati and zero for Pittsburgh, then it’s clear their line has to move. Their job is to make sure that they find a middle ground. They want to be where there is the closest possible number of bets on both sides. In this case, the bookie might change the line from Pittsburgh -5 to Pittsburgh -7. That's in order to sway the public to bet on Cincinnati. If they can convince enough of the public to bet on the Bengals, they could ensure that they don’t lose too big. That's because the losing tickets will cover a good portion of the money they will pay out to winners.
The Odds Fluctuate
The most important factor to remember is that the bookies want to balance the books. That means doing what it takes to make sure that the end result of all possible outcomes is as close as possible to them paying out the same amount of money for both sides.
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Once the odds are published, they will be closely monitor in order to make sure that the number is swayed as needed for both sides. It isn’t rare to see a football line move a couple of points either way. It also isn’t rare to see different books have different betting lines for the same game. The example we gave was for football but it can also be true for any other sport. That's whether it’s an adjusted point spread or money line number. The NFL odds can fluctuate from one book to another, so make sure to do your research when it comes to finding the line that suits you.
Consistency Is Crucial
The bookmakers will do their necessary research to make sure that the lines are as close as possible across the board. They want to keep themselves from losing bigger amounts of money. Some companies will purposely push a line in a direction they think won’t even win just based on the public’s opinion. That's in an effort to make sure they cover both sides.
For this reason, it doesn’t make sense to trust the betting line for a game when it comes to trying to predict how it will play out. The Bengals could be listed as five-point underdogs and end up beating the Steelers by double digits. Consistency is the key for the best sportsbooks when it comes to making sure their lines are so similar across the board. Be aware of that when it comes to betting on sports. Don’t be afraid to go against the grain if you feel strongly about a specific wager.