Some mistakenly believe that mathematics and statistics are insignificant in sports betting. The truth is that just like in casino games, the effectiveness of a sports betting system to generate profits depends strictly on mathematics.

Even when there is no obvious system, as if a player bets blindly, the bettor may inadvertently wager using math correctly! Even in the case when betting decisions are influenced by the news, predictions and rumors, a player’s profitability is directly depended on math.

On the other hand, statistics may be applied when we create a system, but are mainly used in the study of the system’s results, as in testing the credibility of the followed methods.

Mathematics in sports betting: Just a simple equation

The truth is that for most people betting on sports is more like a hobby – as it should be.

However, if sports bettors spent some time on making the following very simple calculations, it would be possible to minimize the losses from betting and, why not, stop being an expensive hobby.

There is no doubt most players lose a lot of money betting, either online or offline.  The majority of players do not record the results of their bets. In other words, they do not systematically track what comes in and what goes out on their betting account each month. This is one of the 10 reasons we lose in sports betting.

Going back to the topic of mathematics in betting, coming out a winner in sports betting depends on a very simple equation.

Consider the average of odds you bet on, let us say 2.00. Now think how often your betting tips win. Suppose the answer is 45 percent. This means that for every 100 bets, you win 45 bets corresponding to 45 units profit (since you are betting on 2.00 average odds).  At the same time, you lose 55 bets, which translate to a loss of 55 units.

If you wager €10 per bet on average (in this case one unit equals €10), after 100 bets you would make €450 on your successful predictions and lose €550 on the rest. So you will find yourself to be losing a total of €100. If you bet 100 times each month (about 3 matches on average per day), sports betting costs you about €1,200 every year; more than a regular monthly salary for most people.

The above example can easily be represented by the general equation Y= X*Z, where X is the average odds of betting and Z is the success rate of predictions. If the product (Y) is greater than 1, you will be a winner in sports betting in the long run. Otherwise, the smaller than 1 the quicker you lose your capital.

These are actually the only math to have in mind – for the bettors who want to bet merely for the enjoyment. The result (Y) in that mathematical equation distinguishes players between winners and losers and betting systems between profitable and money-losing.

Write down all the matches you bet at odds of 2.00. Then verify how many of those bets have worked well. If it is 50 percent or less, the news is not good.  However, if it is over 50 percent then, in general, you pick your bets correctly.

How do I win in sports betting?  The answer lies on the equation!

We all wonder how come some people manage to win in sports betting. That is the same as asking how the Y in the equation above is larger than 1. The answer of course lies on X and Z.

In the example above, we saw that X equals to 2.00 and Z to 0.45 (45 percent).  Thus, in order Y to become larger than 1, either X or Z should increase. This means we should choose higher odds than 2.00 or increase the success rate of our forecasts.

So there are two solutions:

  • to stick to the same method of picking our bets looking, however, for better odds; or
  • to improve our betting system’s winning probability.

In the first case, odds comparison is crucial, while in the latter we should work on the parameters and variables of our system.

You can read more about the relationship between the odds and probability in the article about how we select the right bets online.

Statistics in Sports Betting

We have now demonstrated how a single mathematical equation distinguishes winners from losers. Since we are on the awkward subject of math, let us say a couple of things about statistics and odds.

There are quite a few posts that I read online from time to time that advise players not to follow the statistics, if they want to win in sports betting.  They claim that statistics are there to be challenged, as historic data and the frequency of a team scoring, for example, do not have any effect on our sports betting performance. As they say:

[quote type=”center”]The ball spins without knowing any laws or statistics![/quote]

Indeed, it is a totally respectable view, no objection on that. Nevertheless, we must not forget that there are a large number of applications and innumerable excel sheets dealing with statistics in sports betting; a fact that, if no other, demonstrates that a great percentage of players are trying to beat the odds through the analysis of teams’ and players’ statistics. By completely rejecting the notion of statistics in sports betting is like deploring those who follow it.

Moreover, we should consider the fact that in every sport event, statistics are reported during the event. At the same time, major sports news sites keep statistical data for many years to come.

Yet you might say: well Jim, you already answered that question yourself. Statistics just sell to a whole lot of people who think they may become winners following statistical models. They are giving them the necessary hope to keep them into the game, to keep them interested.

This is indeed an explanation that perhaps I should write about in the future. Having said that, I must also mention that at times betting systems emerge, which rely exclusively on the statistical analysis of the games. Moreover, in several movies statistics are shown as the Holy Grail of betting. What the heck, a part of these allegations must be true.

Nevertheless, statistics in sports betting are applied extensively when building or improving a particular betting system. Now, I am not talking about the input variables of a system, such as statistics used in tennis matches. I’m referring to the statistical analysis of the system’s actual performance, such as the drawdown.

By studying the reliability of the system, based on statistical aggregates, we are confident for the betting system’s future performance, while confirming the proper functioning of our system. A system that makes 5 points out of a sample of 100 bets may be satisfactory. Yet, I would rather have a system that makes 250 points tested on a sample of 10,000 games! And that is where mathematics and statistics make a huge difference in sports betting.