A vast amount of gamblers never achieve betting returns high enough to crossover to the exclusive group of people who make a living from betting. Even worse, the majority of sports betting practitioners consistently lose more money than they win.

Punters learn the hard way that they lack knowledge and understanding of probabilities. They constantly overestimate their skills in judging the chances of predicting an outcome.

Collage of Shutterstock images: 3Dmask

Bookmakers remain in business and thrive at the expense of the majority of gamblers who possess two perfect flaws in their thinking:

- and

A **degree of ignorance** when it comes to **calculating betting odds**

This particular human behaviour guarantees bookmakers their profits but, it’s devastating for the bank balances of bettors. Does this sound familiar to you?

To make money with sports betting, determining the probability of a bet outcome and **calculating the corresponding odds** for it are unavoidable.

Comparing the betting odds offered in the market with the expected fair price is a constituent part of discovering whether the odds offered for a bet are too high *(containing value)* or, too low *(without value)*.

**Here is an example: **

The screenshot below shows an excerpt from **Soccerwidow’s Value Calculator** for the EPL game on 25/10/2014 between West Ham and Man City.

1×2 Odds Calculation via Soccerwidow's VC: West Ham vs Man City on 25.10.2014

The statistical probability of a Man City win was 49%, corresponding to ‘true odds’ of 2.04 *(100/49)*.

Translated into layman’s language the chance of Man City winning this match was approximately 50/50. Of course, this meant West Ham had a 50/50 chance of avoiding defeat *(i.e. West Ham winning or drawing the game)*.

However, at kick-off the highest odds on offer for Man City to win were only 1.65, equating to a 60.6% chance *(100/1.65)*.

Everyone who bought a bet on Man City to win placed their bets at the price corresponding to a 60.6% chance, whilst in truth City’s chances were only 49%.

Without a satisfactory knowledge and understanding of betting odds and probabilities, there were probably tens of thousands of punters backing Man City, clearly priced as the favourite in this match, at massively under-priced odds.

People who bet like this over and over again shouldn’t wonder why they lose more money than they win over the course of a season.

In contrast, the bookmakers make a good profit from bets of this nature. In this particular example, offering odds of 1.65 equates to a mathematical advantage over the punter in excess of 20%, meaning that their profit on a whole portfolio of bets like this is, in the long run, at least 20% or above.

Are you still with me?

You need to understand that the ability to calculate probabilities and odds is crucial and will enable you to better judge if odds are over- or under-priced *(i.e. worthwhile or not)*.

You can bet on Over/Under 2.5, or Over/Under 2,25 or Over/Under 2. But what are Over 2.5 bets, or even 2.25? There are no half goals! Or quarter goals! It doesn’t seem to make sense. Does it?

We will explain what the different Goal Lines signify and after you’ve finished the article you will never be confused again!

One of the most common bet types is **Over/ Under .5 goals**.

Obviously, there is no way for half a goal to be scored in a game. The expression .5 is just an aid to ensure that it is clear on what you are betting.

For example, if you place a bet on Over/Under 2.5 goals, then the .5 is the ‘turning point’. You win if there are at least 3 goals scored, and you lose if the match ends with less than 2 goals scored.

Here’s an example…

If you still have difficulties understanding the concept, here’s another article on the .5 bet: **A Brief Introduction to Over Under Goals Betting**.

Bets on whole numbers are often called **Goal Lines** or **Asian Goal Lines**. Although, technically, this isn’t correct as all bets described here are ‘goal lines’, but we will be using the term as it’s widely used by punters and bookmakers.

They are somewhat similar to Asian Handicap betting on the 1×2 result. As the name suggests, the possibility of a refund exists if a certain result comes in, in this case the ‘Goal Line’.

Similar to the AH, if the match finishes in a draw result (= ‘goal line’), it’s a “push”. The punter gets their money back. Otherwise, if there are less goals scored than the goal line, the stake is lost, and if more goals are scored, it is a win.

In the above example, if you were to bet on Over 2 Goals then you get your stake back (push) if the final score is exactly 2 goals (e.g. 2-0, 1-1, 0-2).

All the other Goal Lines naturally follow the same pattern.

If the **.5 bets** are **combined with Asian Goal Line bets**, then you get **.75 or .25 Goals bets**. Half of your stake is placed on the .5 bet whilst the other half is placed on the Asian Goal Line bet.

These bets are often shown as either Over 2.25 – or – Over 2, 2.5.

For example, if you place a bet of £20 on Over 2, 2.5 it means that you are placing a split bet. £10 on the 2 Goals Asian Goal Line, and £10 on Over 2.5 Goals.

If the match finishes…

- with 3 or more goals, then you will receive the winnings of both bets
- with exactly 2 goals, half of the stake will be returned as it was a push (2 Goals Asian Goal Line), and you will lose the other half (Over 2.5 bet)
- with less than 2 goals… your entire stake is lost

The same applies to the .75 bets, as shown below:

In this example you place a £20 bet on the Over 2.5, 3 goal line. Again, you would be placing a split bet. £10 on the 3 Goals Asian Goal Line and £10 on Over 2.5 Goals.

If this match finishes…

- with 4 or more goals, you will receive the winnings of both bets
- with exactly 3 goals, half of the stake will be returned as it was a push (3 Goals Asian Goal Line), but you will win the other half (Over 2.5 bet)
- with 2 or less goals… your entire stake is lost

To be honest, I would recommend keeping your hands away from these bets, although it may sound tempting to get half of the stake back. Although these are referred to as being a single bet they are actually two completely different bets rolled into one!

If you do not really understand odds calculation and probabilities, then it is definitely a bet which bookmakers love! They can adjust the pricing as they like, without the average punter fully understanding the maths behind it, ensuring that the mathematical advantage lies with the bookmaker.

Anyway, the silver lining is that it is quite unlikely to be exposed to the temptation as these bets are rarely offered by European bookmakers.

Here is another diagram to demonstrating split bets:

At the end of the day the goal of each punter should be betting for profit. Am I right?

Bookmakers make a living from betting by using maths. They analyse and calculate the chances of an outcome and then price their bets. Of course, they make sure that the mathematical advantage is on their side, just like anyone operating a game of chance (e.g. Casinos).

The punter who relies only on gut feeling does not have a chance against the bookmakers.

However, with Over/Under Goal bets the punter at least has a chance to start understanding the statistics behind the bet. It isn’t too difficult to calculate the probabilities of the various results and number of goals in a game and to then find value bets.

If you are interested in starting to bet for profit, then you should seriously consider buying our **Fundamentals of Sports Betting** course. For the first volume, we have chosen to write about the Over/Under goal market as this is the easiest betting market to teach the fundamentals of statistics and maths on, without the need to dive deeper into more advanced formulas and concepts. Give it a try!

**How high should be a starting bank?
Is 5,000 units enough?**

Well, there is no standard answer to this question. It all depends on the individual strategy.

Image: Sergey Novikov (Shutterstock)

However, what is possible, is to calculate bank fluctuations *(i.e. winning and losing sequences)*.

With the help of knowing the best and worst case scenarios you can determine the ideal starting bank for any betting system of your choice.

At the end of the article you will find a few useful exercises to practise, with the solutions available as a free download to all of you who would like them.

It stands to reason that the smaller the probability of an event occurring *(i.e. higher odds)*, the longer the likely losing streak will be *(in between winning bets)*.

However, the big question is how often and for how long will the losing (and winning) streaks transpire?

It is possible to mathematically calculate many things with statistics, including streaks of luck and bad luck. However, it is important to note that no matter how accurate the results may appear, they are ‘models’ *(a formal representation of a theory)*.

In this article, we are talking about probabilities; what can we ‘predict’ about how things may develop in the future. Please bear in mind that any such hypothesis is always a “could happen” not a “will happen”.

Of course, the larger the sample size *(i.e. number of bets)*, the more likely the prediction is to be correct. But apart from the bookmakers themselves, who else has a betting portfolio comprising thousands of bets every weekend?

The longest expected losing streak *(or winning streak)* can be calculated using the following formula:

**n** = number of trials *(i.e. total number of bets)*

**ln** = natural logarithm^{1}

**P** = probability^{2}

**| .. |** = absolute value or ‘modulus’

^{1}*Suffice to say, explaining what natural logarithm is would be worthy of a series of articles. For the time being, use Excel to calculate this for you.*

^{2}*For winning streak calculations use the positive value (i.e. the probability of winning). For losing streak calculations use the negative probability value. For example, if the probability to win the bet is 33% then the probability that the bet loses (negative probability) is 67%.*

In practice, the formula is best applied to situations where you constantly bet repeatedly on the same probability, for example, on ‘red’ at the roulette wheel: its probability remains exactly the same with every new spin of the wheel.

For football betting the concept is much more difficult to apply as each bet is likely to have a different probability (e.g. one Over 2.5 Goals bet with a 55.3% chance, and the next with a 62.1% chance, etc.).

However, you can group bets in probability clusters – for example, bets with a 55%-60% expected hit rate, bets with a 60%-65% expected hit rate, and so on.

Longest Winning and Losing Streaks, depending on the number of bets (Examples for 50, 500 and 1,000 bets shown)

The tables above show the calculations of the expected maximum number of winning and losing streaks, depending on the expected hit rate *(probability of the bet to win)*.

To read the tables, let’s explain the 70% line *(odds in the region 1.4 and 1.45)*; in other words, bets with a 7 in 10 chance of winning.

The table on the left calculates the expectations of 50 tries *(50 bets in a row, one after the next)*. You can see that the player will experience at least one streak of three lost bets in a row somewhere in the sequence.

On the other hand, he can expect at least one series of 11 winning bets in a row during the same sequence of 50 bets.

In contrast look at the 30% line *(odds in the region of 3.2 to 3.4)*. In a series of 50 bets the bettor must expect at least one sequence of 11 consecutive losing bets, but will probably see only one set of three consecutive winning bets.

To develop a sense of probabilities and sequences, you can experiment with a dice. It has six faces; in other words, a probability of 16.67% (1 in 6 chance) of successfully landing on a chosen number.

Choose a number and count the number of throws until you succeed to roll it. Count also the number of consecutive successful rolls.

Choose two numbers that you do not want to roll (e.g. 5 and 6).

This means you have a 66.67% chance that one of the remaining four numbers is rolled.

In football betting terms, this equates to wagering on something like the full-time ‘Under 3.5 Goals’ market at odds of 1.50. (This experiment is just a little faster than waiting for 50 games to finish!)

Take a pen and paper and record 100 throws of the dice. If one of your four chosen numbers arrives mark a 1 on your paper; if the 5 or 6 are thrown, mark a 0. Count the number of winning and losing streaks you experience.

What is the maximum number of winning and losing streaks you experience in a sample size of 100 throws (bets)?

*Having learned how to calculate the expected length of winning and losing streaks, the next question to ask is: *

**How many bets is it likely to take before I encounter ‘X’ losses in a row?**

This formula is actually very simple:

= **1** divided by **P**, **to the power of** **a**

**P** = probability (expected hit rate or loss rate)

**a** = number of won or lost bets in a row

In the tables below you can see how many attempts (bets) it needs to experience a specific, expected length of luck or bad luck. Again, the assumption is that the bettor bets all the time on the same probability:

Expected time of occurrence of winning and losing streaks, depending on the hit rate

Looking firstly in the right-hand column at the Losing Sequences, if the expected hit rate is 45% *(what you should ‘expect’ at odds of around 2.2)*, then it is likely that you will experience a sequence of three losing bets in a row by the time your sixth bet is settled.

After 20 such bets it is likely that you will have seen a losing streak as long as five bets in a row.

Looking at the Winning Sequences column: you will win three times in a row at some stage during a series of 11 bets.

However, winning five in a row may only be seen once in every 54 bets.

As we mentioned before, in football betting it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to find bets, all with the same probability of success.

However, you should at least try to understand the theory behind winning and losing streaks, as it will be **easier on your nerves** when you do encounter the inevitable run of bad fortune.

In particular, a thorough understanding of losing streaks is of enormous importance when setting both the size of your starting bank and stakes per bet.

**Example:**

A bettor prefers bets within the odds range of 2.0 to 2.5 with a hit rate between 40% and 50%. He plans to place 50 bets *(e.g. two bets per round on 25 rounds of matches)*.

After looking at the tables, he knows that the maximum losing sequence expected is likely to be as long as six to eight lost bets in a row. Therefore, he knows that there may be at least one sequence of three or four consecutive rounds *(weekends)* when all bets lose.

After every 5^{th} to 8^{th} bet, he is also aware that he is likely to experience a loss of three consecutive lost bets *(e.g. one weekend loses both bets, the following weekend only one loses)*.

He also knows that every 13 to 32 bets there will even be a streak of five losing bets in a row.

The bettor is fully aware that he has to take this into consideration and plan the starting bank accordingly to be able to ‘sit through’ these losing streaks.

Of course, he also knows that winning sequences will arrive too. In his case, with some ‘luck’, he may experience a winning sequence of five bets in a row after 32 bets. Every eight to 16 bets he will have a ‘lucky’ streak of three wins in a row.

This is certainly quite a fluctuation. When these ‘bad luck’ and ‘good luck’ streaks actually happen, nobody knows. However, what we do know is: They will happen!

A starting bank should be approximately five times the maximum expected losing streak. The reason for this is that a losing streak can happen right at the beginning, immediately followed by another bad run of luck. We are talking statistics here!

So if a bettor wants to stake 10 units per bet, the starting bank must be nine times (expected losing streak) the stake of 10 units multiplied by five = 450 units. Then he can risk 2.2% of his bank each time he bets (10 divided by 450). If losing, the stakes will remain constant at 2.2% and, if winning, raised gradually.

**Questions to ask before setting the starting bank:**

- What hit rate is expected
*(probability to win the bets)*? - How many bets are planned for the season?
- How long will the longest losing streak be?
- What is the desired stake per bet?

**Calculation of the starting bank:**

- A bettor pursues a strategy with a win probability of 60% per bet
*(e.g. Under 3.5 Goals)*. He places one bet after the other; in other words, he waits for the outcome of each bet before placing the next. In total he places 50 bets.What is the longest ‘losing streak’ (bad luck) that he can expect? How long is the longest ‘winning streak’ (luck) that can be expected?

- Same example as in (1): A strategy with a probability of 60% per bet; placing one bet after the other.
This time our punter is hoping for a ‘winning streak’ (luck) of 5 consecutive wins. How often does that happen?

- A gambler pursues a strategy with a probability of 20% per bet
*(e.g. ‘betting on the underdog’)*. Again, he places one bet after the other.With a total of 500 bets, how long is the longest ‘losing streak’ that he must expect? After how many bets can he expect the longest ‘winning streak’?

- Same example as in (3): Strategy with a probability of 20% per bet; placing one bet after another
The bettor was hoping for a ‘winning streak’ (good luck) of five consecutive wins. How often does that happen? After which bet number should he expect ‘bad luck’ of five consecutive losses?

- Following the above two strategies
*(one with a 60% chance to win, the other with 20%)*our bettor stakes 10 units per bet.How high should the starting bank be for the 60% strategy, and how much for the 20% strategy?

*Note: The initial bank should be approximately five times the maximum losing streak based on a total of 500 bets placed.*

*Just click on the button above and click on “Proceed to checkout” button in the new tab, then enter your name and e-mail address. Our automatic service will then deliver the file to you via e-mail, free of charge. The size of the PDF file is 320KB.*

The factor **5** used in this article to determine the betting bank is a risk variable for risk-averse bettors. It is also the factor advisable for strategies with a 45% to 55% win probability *(odds between 1.8 and 2.2)*.

Here is another article: **How to Calculate Losing Streaks & Optimal Bankroll** in which we provide a more detailed account of setting the ideal starting bank.

Risk management in sports betting is the foundation stone upon which all of your betting transactions should be built.

Risk management encompasses risk assessment, risk control and capital requirements, all of which cannot be addressed until you understand how winning and losing streaks are likely to impact upon your starting bank.

]]>These FAQ’s refer to the: **Fundamentals of Sports Betting: Betting on Over Under ‘X’ Goals** course.

*Click on the arrows to reveal the answers.*

What’s the point of calculating odds yourself?

This is a very, very popular question and is answered in a dedicated article:Are Betting Odds Worthwhile Calculating? Are Betting Odds Always Fair?

Am I correct in assuming that you don’t use the usual criteria that 98% of ‘hobby punters’ employ when forming their opinions? I mean the last 6 games, the H2H stats, team news, etc.

Are your parameters different from the usual bog-standard criteria?

Yes, absolutely. The gambling industry as a whole relies to a large extent on the ignorance of its customers.This course is designed to give the reader the essential, fundamental knowledge necessary to understand the bookmaker market.

We teach descriptive statistics and the reader learns how to look at data sets, calculate own probabilities and odds, analyse the market odds on offer, and make informed decisions when predicting football results.

Many false beliefs that the majority of gamblers and fans of football have about betting will be exposed and stripped away.

If team news, injuries, suspensions, recent form, etc. would have any relevance to setting odds how would bookmakers, who publish their prices weeks in advance, stay in business?

Will the course help identify value in-play?

With respect to in-play value the course is very helpful as you can apply the knowledge of calculating probabilities to both the half-time and full-time goals market.Then you can choose, for example, matches with a high probability to score during the first half. These matches you can back, say Over 2.5 goals before kick-off, and lay them as soon as the first goal has been scored.

We are going to address this in more detail in an article to follow.

Can odds be calculated for Over 1.5 and Over 2.5 using this course?

Yes, the odds for all Over and Under options can be calculated using this course including Total Goals.

The course is about the German Bundesliga. Why not the EPL?

Yes, we are fully aware that the majority of our readers are far more interested in the EPL than the Bundesliga, but the problem is that the average punter is very influenced by his/her opinion and ‘knowledge’ about their own supported league.It was therefore important to choose a more neutral league for the course, one where gut feelings and emotions are less strong. It had to be a league which is also well known, with plenty of bookmakers offering odds, and at the same time one where the majority of our English speaking audience is unlikely to connect emotionally.

Thus, the Bundesliga it is!

Are the principles and analytical techniques in this course transferable to other European football leagues?

Absolutely! The principles and techniques are transferable to any football league worldwide.

Is it correct to say that the course is exclusively for the Over/Under Goals market or are the skills learned from it transferable to other bet types, such as 1×2 betting or Asian Handicap?

Yes, that is correct.Fundamentals of Sports Betting – Over/Under ‘X’ Goalsis the first of a series of books educating the ‘Fundamentals of Sports Betting’.There are more topics planned such as ‘Betting on Home, Draw, Away’, ‘Asian Handicap’, or ‘Betting In-Play’, and so on. Of course, it will take a while until all of these books have been written and published, but we reassure you that more course books are on their way.

For the first volume we have chosen the Over/Under goal market because this is the easiest betting market to teach statistics and maths without the need to dive any further into much more advanced formulas and concepts. You will need a basic grounding before moving on to more complex calculations for bet types with multiple options such as 1×2, HT/FT and the Correct Score market.

The course explains everything using European odds. Can I get the course with fractional odds?

Sorry, but we don’t offer the course in any other odds format than European odds.

The majority of calculations are carried out using probabilities (percentages) and these can easily be converted into fractional odds, or any other odds format. See our article here:Understanding Betting Odds – Moneyline, Fractional Odds, Decimal Odds, Hong Kong Odds, IN Odds, MA Odds

The automated Excel file sounds particularly interesting. What exactly is automated?

The tables in the Excel file are fully automated. Just select a team from the list in the ‘Betting Tables’ tab (cells B3 to E3) and every calculation in the workbook will update automatically to those of that team’s stats. How this works exactly and what the numbers mean is explained in greater detail in the course.

Is the course only available as a PDF or can I get a printed version like the one shown on the advert?

The PDF has been professionally optimised for double-sided printing. Just print your book in full-colour with a cover and add a binding of your choice.

There is a heading “Value Betting using the Value Calculator”. Does that mean that I will receive the Value Calculator (VC) for free when I buy the course?

You don’t need the Value Calculator to understand the course, therefore the VC is not supplied with the course.When we refer to the ‘Value Calculator’ we explain how it works and what the calculations mean in terms of Over/Under bets. Of course, the VC also contains a wide range of other bet types such as FT and HT 1×2, Correct Scores, HT/FT, and many more. The goal of the course is to enable the learner to create his/her own Excel application which works for him/her. Empowering learners to think for themselves is one of our ethics.

Having worked through the course you should be able to build a Value Calculator yourself, if your Excel skills are good enough.

If I purchase the course, what else do I get?

The course comes in an electronic format and the bundle includes thecourse book (PDF)and aBundesliga cluster table (Excel), which the examples are based upon.In addition, you will receive for free the

very latest Bundesliga table for the current season(valued at £27.50).

Within the course you will find adiscount codeenabling you to download for free the German Bundesliga sheet in future seasons, meaning that you will always have access to the most current Bundesliga cluster table,forever: it doesn’t matter when you bought the course.

Could you tell me where I can buy the Value Calculator if I can’t build one myself?

Here’s a link to the sales page:True Odds & Value Detector: League Games with H2H History

How can I pay for the course? I have neither a PayPal account nor a credit card.

Details of alternative payment options can be found here:Payment Options. They include Skrill (Moneybookers), Neteller and bank transfer (EFT).

What is the price equivalence in USD?

To find out the exchange rate please follow thislink to Google, which gives you the exchange rate of the day.

I live in Hungary; if I understand you correctly, the purchase price is therefore £59.00 * 1.27 = £74.93. Is that right?

Yes, this is correct. Soccerwidow Ltd is obliged in accordance with applicable law to charge Value Added Tax (VAT) on sales of digital products and services to customers within the European Union (EU).

The VAT rate applied to these products and services is based on the location of the customer. See the current.EU VAT Rates

When will my credit card be charged?

Your credit card will be charged at the time your order is placed.

Is it safe to use my credit card on your site?

Yes, it is safe.For processing orders we use the services of

GetDPDwhich is a fullyPCI Compliant Service Provider. During the checkout process you will be offered to choose payment by Paypal or credit card.

If you choosecredit card, then the platform integrated with GetDPD isStripe; here istheir security documentation.

Can I cancel my order?

As long as you have not paid there is no order. You can always return to your shopping cart and simply delete any items you don’t wish to see in your shopping cart.However, once you have paid you will get the product download link delivered immediately to your inbox. As long as you don’t download the course and cluster tables you have a cancellation period of 14 days and the right of a full return. Otherwise, once downloaded, there are no returns for digital content.

If you have made a genuine mistake, it’s worthcontacting usto see if you can get a refund. Normally, we will offer an exchange for another product or supply a discount code for future purchases.

How long will it take my order to arrive?

As soon as you have paid you will get the product download link delivered immediately to your inbox.You will receive an email from

GetDPD, our digital delivery partner.Should your download link not arrive within 10 minutes after purchasing, please check your spam folder. We do sometimes receive reports from our clients that GetDPD emails land there occasionally. You can play it safe and allow within your email program emails with the endings: digitalproductdelivery.com (GetDPD) and soccerwidow.com (us).

‘Allowing’ communications fromdigitalproductdelivery.comandsoccerwidow.comis actually quite important because we do upgrade products from time to time and you certainly don’t want to miss the free download link we will send out to buyers.

When filling out my address details in the shopping cart order form, the field ‘State/Province’ is mandatory. I cannot see states or provinces from my country.

Try pressing the F5 button to refresh your screen. Failing that, clear your cache and refresh again. If the problem persists, please contact us.

I purchased your book but I have not received the download link for the item.

Please check your Spam folder; sometimes our automated emails from GetDPD appear there. If you can’t find it please email to support[at]soccerwidow[dot]com, and we will get it sorted.

My download link has expired. Is a reactivation possible?

The download time limit is set to two weeks from the moment you purchase. The reason being that customers have a cancellation period of 14 days with the right of a full return as long as they haven’t downloaded the product within this period.Therefore, if you have not downloaded your product, after a period of two weeks has expired you can either apply for a refund or send an email to support[at]soccerwidow[dot]com for a link reactivation.

However, we sometimes get reports that the download link was received straight away but after opening it, a message appears stating that the download is ‘expired’. This is usually a problem associated with your browser. Please clean your cache and press the F5 button to refresh the screen.

Another request we occasionally receive is from buyers who have lost their original product or forgotten to download it, and then many months later wish to reactivate the download link. We are really sorry, but our grace period is 6 months only. After this time a fee of £10 will be charged for us to trace you in the system and manually reactivate the purchase.

I am having trouble at the beginning of the course. I don’t know how to calculate answers to some of the exercises.

Although this is a beginner’s course aimed at people with little odds calculation knowledge and basic Excel skills, it may be quite hard for those who have always found maths quite a challenge at school. Just take your time, read each chapter several times, repeat the practice areas, solve all the exercises, try to understand everything. You will be rewarded with knowledge.To keep it simple, the course contains no shortcuts. All calculations need to be done manually. Once you master the course and understand everything you will certainly develop a method to make it easier for yourself.

All formulas are given in the course either in the chapter of the exercise, or at the end of the book together with the solutions of the exercises.

If you need help, you are welcome to ask specific questions here on this FAQ page.

Regarding the historical odds you’ve used to calculate the Home/Away quotient – Are these the opening odds of the bookmakers or the odds after adjusting to market conditions?

The course uses football-data.co.uk data. These odds are taken on Friday evenings before the weekend games, and on Monday evenings for the midweek games.Our approach is to have plenty of time to do all the calculations and make decisions, and totally remove the need to sit in front of the computer just before a game starts. There are loved ones to share time with and lots of other nice things to do than spend time in front of a computer on a Saturday or Sunday morning.

Anyway, if you wish to use opening odds then you would have to adjust the tables accordingly. However, even if the clusters move slightly, there really shouldn’t be too much of a movement because odds don’t change so much that they significantly affect the HO/AO quotient. To play it safe, for fast moving odds you can always use two adjoining clusters when calculating odds.

You describe in the course two different methods to find value bets. Is it true that there are only two options to calculate value? The Value Calculator method and the Cluster Table method?

The course explains two different approaches to find value bets:

(1) Value Calculator

(2) Cluster grouping with HO/AO quotientIn reality, there are many more than just these two methods. However, these two are perfectly adequate, and they both work.

There is nothing wrong with admiring complexity, but solutions should be sought in simplicity. The course provides “simple” answers.

Can I e-mail you with any questions I might have about the course?

Please always ask any questions via the comment functions at the bottom of any article in this blog. You will receive our answer submitted directly to your inbox, with no need for continuous checking. Or see ourContact Uspage for more information.

How do I get support?

You can ask questions via the comment functions in any articles on this site. We normally reply within a few hours. The answer will be submitted to your inbox.

In addition, if you subscribe to a post which interests you, then you will also receive questions and replies other readers have posted on the same article, and of course, our replies too.

How much do you earn based on your theories? Do you have any statistics for your betting history?

We simply don’t have any ‘theories’. We educate the public about bookmaker maths – bookmakers certainly don’t grow their businesses based purely on ‘theories’.Regarding how much we earn: Sorry to disappoint, but we don’t like to brag about our personal successes – there are far too many websites already blinding their readers with such information. However, we have published results of our past value betting exploits located in our

match preview archive. Here you will find plenty of articles with previews, maths and statistics, and this particular article is also worth pointing out:

Soccerwidow’s Value Betting Results: 274 Bets, from 07/12/2011 to 30/06/20122011-12 was a time when we were writing match previews for Betfair Germany based on our ‘theories’. Unfortunately for our growing band of followers Betfair withdrew from the German market in October 2012, and our match previews stopped. Why?

Because we lost our client (Betfair) who paid us for match previews.

Why didn’t we just simply continue publishing match previews on Soccerwidow?

Time limitations, mainly. Writing a single match preview, including all the necessary calculations, takes up to 6 hours. People love reading match previews but they are somewhat reluctant to pay for them…

I keep asking myself if your ‘system’ works so well, why don’t you earn your own money with it instead of selling it?

This is a question that probably interests many readers and it appears in the blog every now and then.Firstly, the course is not a ‘system’. It is a ‘simple’ maths book (at least for us). A little statistics, a little probability theory, a little about standard deviations, etc. This is what odds compilers do in their sleep when they calculate their odds.

Secondly, there are enough people who teach financial analysis without ever trading professionally in shares. If every professionally trained person would trade, then there wouldn’t be any teachers. And if nobody wanted to teach, what then?

Thirdly, a day has only 24 hours and we too sometimes have to sleep. We run two websites (Soccerwidow and Fussballwitwe). Running these blogs takes an enormous amount of time. Everybody has to make a decision what they want to do in life… We run websites, write courses and develop betting tools. When we have time, we occasionally place a bet or two, but that’s our personal business – betting itself is purely a hobby for us.

In the betting business, in order to win, somebody must lose. Do you consider the moral side of betting, or is it just a numbers game?

The moral side is a very good question…The intention of this blog is to educate people about gambling. Indeed, to teach them everything they need to know about gambling because our strong belief is that the more educated people are, the more informed decisions they will make.

We truly believe that people who buy our products and read our articles will eventually follow one of two paths:

(1) they will become far more successful punters (winners) than they were, or

(2) they will reduce their betting habit or stop it altogether. There are many qualities required to be a successful bettor and unfortunately, not everyone has them or can/will ever attain them.

If we can point you down either road then this is the achievement we are looking for. It’s our own way of fighting gambling addiction; we help people to better themselves and succeed, or to face facts and shed their habit to save money and free time for family and friends.

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*This article is therefore a definitive guide to put the record straight…*

Image: hightowernrw (Shutterstock)

The sum of money gambled on the outcome of an event. The amount of money played with, or placed as a bet.

In the online world of gambling, stakes are electronically placed on a desired outcome with another party that has agreed to accept your stake, whether this be a bookmaker or an anonymous person/group in a betting exchange.

These ‘adversaries’ are effectively backing with their own money against your selection, hoping to make a profit of your stake if your selection in the event turns out to be wrong.

Once the outcome of the event is decided, stakes are returned to you in full if your bet has won (plus the winnings), or, if you lose the bet, the stake is lost and either retained by the bookmaker, or transferred to the winning side in the betting exchange.

Technically speaking, **stakes are guarantees**! This means that they are short-term deposit payments to guarantee that the losing party can and will honour his debt obligation to the winner of the bet.

The Profit/Loss*ratio^{†}applied to the total capital employed (total staked)

**This is Profit or Loss, NOT Profit divided by Loss*

^{†}ratio = the quantitative relation between two amounts showing the number of times one value contains or is contained within the other.

Literally translated, the term **YIELD** means profit, earnings, harvest, income, revenue…

**When applied to gambling, Yield measures betting efficiency compared to total turnover**.

If your aversion to risk is low, you will select bets with higher probabilities. Bets with higher probabilities of winning carry lower odds. Lower odds means a smaller yield.

If you enjoy higher risk strategies, the opposite will apply.

Generally speaking and depending upon the strategy employed, a good bettor will yield between 5 and 10 percent profit in the long run.

In football betting any yield over 7% is considered to be a very good result.

Yield Formula:

PL divided by ∑MS(written as a percentage):PL =

profit/loss(MW minus ML = net profit or loss); equivalent to your bank growth

∑ =the sum of

MS =money staked

MW =money won(purely winnings; returned stakes are ‘neutral’, not winnings)

ML =money lost(stakes lost)

*A bettor places 38 bets with stakes of 20 units each. The total amount staked [Capital Employed] is 760 units (38 x 20). 33 of the bets win and 5 of the bets lose; the net result [Profit] is a bank growth of 65 units.*

Yield in this example is **8.55%**

We come across many forum threads with people talking about their betting strategies; It is also easy to find plenty of websites offering betting systems for sale.

What many of them have in common is claims of high yield results, probably intended to impress the reader.

If they are to be believed then this is an indication of high risk strategies employed.

It must be remembered that in the Yield formula, the sum of money staked (∑MS) includes all stakes, even those that have not been lost. (In other words, the refunded ‘guarantees’).

People tend not to understand this fully and as a result mistakenly overstate their yield results.

The ratio of money gained or lost on an investment relative to the amount of money invested. In other words, the profit/loss ratio as a function*for investment^{†}(capital employed).

**function = a relation or expression involving one or more variables; in this case, investment, profit, loss.*

^{†}investment = long-term employment of tangible, financial, or other assets that are not meant for immediate gains but are intended to generate benefits (normally earnings or profits) in the future.

**ROI** is also known as ‘rate of profit’ or sometimes just ‘return’.

ROI Formula:

If you bet systematically, your starting capital will be turned over again and again: It is effectively the same money you are investing. (So long as you don’t lose every bet!).

The ROI formula resembles the yield formula, but here, profit/loss is related to the actual investment (starting bank) instead of the total of all stakes (turnover).

For a more accurate ROI calculation, in an ideal world, you should also factor in to the investment all other costs of ‘**setting up** the business’. For example, hardware/software costs (computers). However, we will leave this out of our calculations for the time being for the sake of simplicity; you can always include these costs once you have mastered the concept.

*Returning to our previous illustration, 38 bets were placed, each with a stake of 20 units (760 units staked in total). 5 bets lost but the overall bank growth was 65 units. Let’s assume the starting bank [investment] was 200 units.*

ROI in this example is **32.5%**

ROI is always calculated for a certain predetermined amount of time; in finances usually for one whole year, but it is also common and acceptable to calculate the ROI monthly or, in a betting sense, for only the number of bets within a specific time scale.

The return on investment index is especially suitable when the amount of capital has a strong influence on the result (e.g. with arbitrage).

However, this is probably rarely the case for the majority of punters. Therefore, it is the next formula, **profitability**, which is the * most important* one for the normal bettor.

Image: Gts (Shutterstock)

Over/Under is a great way for people new to betting to get their feet wet…

With **over/under betting**, the first thing to understand is that you are **betting in relation to the number of goals scored in the game**. It doesn’t matter which team scores the goals or even who wins.

You just take the number of goals scored by each of the teams and add them together to get the total goals scored during the game.

The simplicity of this bet is what makes it such a common wager.

When you place an over/under bet, you have to choose two things:

**What**“goal line” you want to bet, and**Whether**you bet that the total goals scored in the game will end**over**that goal line.*or*under

It doesn’t matter how close the result is to the goal line either, the bet pays the same whether the end result is close to the bet’s goal line or far away.

**Over/Under bets that end in “.5” have only two outcomes.**

You either win the bet and get paid an amount equal to your stake multiplied by the betting odds or you lose the bet and your stake.

Because you can’t score half a goal, every bet is either a win or a loss.

Let’s take the most popular goal line in football: **2.5**.

If you think the total goals in the game will be three or more, you would want to bet “Over 2.5”. If you think the total goals in the game will be two or less, you would choose to bet “Under 2.5”.

Over/Under bets without the “.5” or with different fractions *(such as 2.25)* may return part or all of your stake to you even if you don’t win.

For example, with a Total Goals bet, if you bet “Over 2” and exactly 2 goals are scored, you will not win the wager but you will get your stake refunded.

The graphic below shows which bet (over or under) will win given a certain score in the game for various goal lines.

When you are betting in football, the only goals that count towards over/under bets are the ones scored during the regulation 90 minutes of each match.

If the game ends tied after 90 minutes any goals scored in extra-time or a penalty shoot-out do not count towards the over/under goals tally.

The result of the match itself does not matter; drawn matches with scorelines like 0-0, 1-1, 2-2, etc., also contribute to over-under bet results.

We are using 2.5 as an example here because although there are many possible over/under bets, 2.5 happens to be the most popular goal line for football bets.

It turns out that when you look at a long history of football games, **even across different leagues**, the average number of total goals scored per game is very close to 2.5.

As a result, you often have a similar number of punters backing each side of the 2.5 goal line where the odds are similar no matter which choice of over or under is made.

Bookmakers set the odds of over and under for each available goal line using statistical information on the teams who are playing each other as well as football games in general.

Demand on each side of the bet can change the bookmaker odds and knowing what the statistics say can help you determine whether a particular bet is a good or bad one to take.

**The best bet is not always the bet that is closest to the actual score you expect.**

In fact, it is often the bets further away from expectations that offer the greatest difference between the betting odds offered in the markets and the true statistical predictions.

Some punters are surprised at how important the underlying mathematics are, but long-term success at over/under betting is much more science than art!

Continue to follow our blog to learn more, or check out our book: **Fundamentals of Sports Betting**.

**Do you know how bookmakers set their odds? We do! And we will happily teach you too!**

Image: Cartoonresource (Shutterstock)

The 2nd edition is not just a ‘revised’ version, it is a **total overhaul** answering many questions raised by our original audience such as deviations and correction factors, which are explained in great detail.

The updated version is now a hefty document at **169 pages** and **almost 40,000 words**, three times the length of the first course.

One enormous enhancement is that in this new version, we actually give away **two proven methods of bet selection**, making it as easy as possible to spot candidates for successful value betting portfolios.

Another substantial upgrade is that buyers of the 2nd edition will now automatically get the current, up-to-date German Bundesliga cluster table supplied with the course. In addition, you will find a discount code within the course enabling you to download **for free** the German Bundesliga sheet in future seasons, meaning that you will always have access to the most current Bundesliga cluster table, **forever**: it doesn’t matter when you bought the course.

**Attila**

The course is really very well done! Concentrated expertise that cannot be found anywhere else.

**Socrates**

Finally an unbiased contribution to football betting, which goes beyond a simple description of betting options and also explains bookmaker calculations as well as betting odds formation in detail.

What really surprised me is how easy it actually is to calculate odds and even predict Betfair market prices to find value bets. However, I will still need a long time to work through the entire course, but now I have some guidance about how to change my betting behaviour.

**Onheimlech**

Hello Soccerwidow,

Your course is written very well. My bet portfolio now considers mathematical formulas and somehow I like this.

It is amazing to see how close my own calculated odds come to the actual odds for different bookmakers. Without your course I wouldn’t be able to find value.

**André**

I just working through the Over/Under X Goals course.

The examples described are simply fabulous. When I look back and see what I have previously evaluated and what is recommended by you – they are worlds if not galaxies apart.

**Marcel Brand**

Dear Soccerwidow,

Firstly many thanks for the great Over/Under Goals course. I would already personally call myself an advanced bettor, but your course has brought me further forwards, especially in the topic of cluster grouping.

**Pete**

Just bought your guide, and learned a lot. Many, many thanks! I can recommend it.

Worth every penny!

**Ian**

I’ve just purchased the Over/Under course and Value Bet detector. They are both excellent products and bring together all the knowledge that I have accumulated over a few decades.

Unfortunately, it has taken me this long to figure out the simple fact that value bets + staking plan = steady profits

**Janice**

When I bought your course I was completely overawed by it and didn’t read it properly for a couple of months – in fact I stopped betting altogether…

But when I had nothing to do one day I re-opened it, gradually overcame my fear, and began making some satisfying progress.

The exercises and questions really are a great idea and help to commit the concepts to memory, and having the answers provided at the back of the book is hugely reassuring, especially when you get them right.

The course **Fundamentals of Sports Betting – Over/Under ‘X’ Goals** explains statistical applications required to calculate odds and find value in the market.

All the concepts explained apply basic maths, financial management, quantitative analysis, and statistics to football betting.

The course reinterprets maths covered in A-levels at school *(such as analysing graphs, calculating the mean, etc.)*, and also introduces some statistics from the first year of university studies *(e.g. standard deviation)*.

Image: Kristo-Gothard Hunor (Shutterstock)

When people talk about ‘value’ in connection with betting there are many different schools of thought.

This article therefore attempts to shed some light on this complex concept and its terminology…

Firstly, let us begin with a few synonyms for the word **‘value’**: *worth; usefulness; advantage; benefit; gain; profit; amount; rate; price…*

You can see straight away that there is a plethora of different connotations.

The last two meanings in particular, ‘rate’ and ‘price’, are probably the reason why the expression ‘value’, when used in the context of ‘value betting’ is often unclear.

In order to really understand the concept of ‘value betting’, you need to grasp several connected aspects and I will tackle each of these individually for better comprehension.

*Tip: Grab yourself a caffeine shot and read every section (re-read if necessary) until you are comfortable enough to proceed to the next. What I am about to say may initially be hard for some to digest, but don’t worry, you will certainly not be alone. Headache pills may be advisable for some…*

Anyone interested in sports betting knows that bookmakers offer bets on a multitude of match outcomes and sometimes the list of available bets on a single event can appear endless.

For example, the 1×2 market allows you to bet on a home win, a draw, or an away win, either at half- or full-time. Will there be more than two goals in the match or not (over or under 2.5 goals), will both teams score, or will the match end goal-less? Et cetera, et cetera…

Only very few bettors fully comprehend and understand the fact that **betting odds are nothing more than the market prices of bets**.

Betting odds are not only all-inclusive prices for bets but to add to the confusion they are displayed, not in simple and easy understandable monetary units, but in different formats such as decimals, fractions, or moneyline.

When buying a bottle of beer, for example, you pay one Euro, Pound or Dollar and walk home with your purchase. When buying a bet, say, at decimal odds of **1.27** *( 27/100 Fractional Odds; -370 U.S. Money Line)*, the only thing you may understand is that if the bet wins you will receive your stake money back plus 27% winnings. Of course, if the bet loses all of the stake money is forfeited.

Judging ‘value for money’ from a bottle of beer is far easier than evaluating the same in a bet. Many bettors struggle to calculate the expected return of a bet or a series of bets let alone analyse why the big win they hoped for failed to materialise.

Even if sports betting odds appear to be genuine offers, the fact is that odds are frequently distorted.

Very few people are born with a sense of probabilities and ratios. Statistics and financial education are rarely taught in high school and touched upon in very few university courses.

To develop a ‘feeling for price’ is impossible, even for those of us who are born with a sense of probabilities.

To make matters worse, **every bet is actually a different product**, even if betting on just one particular type, for example, the “over 1.5 goals” market. Think about this bet in the context of a match between two evenly matched teams as opposed to, say, the team at the top of the table playing the weakest team in the league. The name of the bet is still the same but the two match situations are totally different.

There is no way but applying maths and statistics to decide whether the price of any bet offered is “too expensive” or “too cheap”. Gut feeling is misleading and may prove fatal. Probabilities are a subject too complex to succeed with guesswork, feeling and intuition alone.

For those of you who are really serious about understanding sports betting in depth and developing a value betting strategy, there really is no alternative to **learning the calculations necessary**.

In order to grasp the concept of value it is of uttermost importance to comprehend that **betting odds are merely prices**, and not ‘true odds’.

*Before I address the term ‘value’ I must first plunge into probabilities… please stay afloat!*

Today’s article discusses the question what would have happened when **backing the underdog playing away from home** in the German Bundesliga?

Such a match was played in this league on 23/05/2015 between Moenchengladbach and Augsburg. The best bookmaker odds for the full-time 1×2 market at kick-off were: 1.57 Home; 5.00 Draw; 7.30 Away.

Moenchengladbach were the clear favourites at 1.57; Augsburg the rank outsiders. However, the men of Augsburg won the game, 1-3, defying their long odds.

**How regular do such things occur? Is it profitable to bet on outsiders?**

Here’s a screenshot from the ‘Backing by Odds’ tab in the simulation table for this league:

In the table above you can see that from a total of 306 matches during 2014-15, the away team won 79 times. *(Click on the table to enlarge it in a new browser tab)*.

79 of 306 is 25.8%, and this percentage shows that the away team won, on average, slightly better than once every four matches.

Looking at the profit/loss (P/L) summaries in the ‘Totals’ column, adding together the first six rows of odds clusters produces a loss of -2,564 units, based on a flat stake of 100 units per bet.

Essentially this means if the away team was priced as a clear favourite or close to the home team’s prices, they won less frequently than the probabilities indicated by their odds. The last of these first six cluster groups closes at away odds of 2.90.

Look at the second row of the table. The odds cluster between 1.66 (implied probability 60.2%) and 2.00 (implied probability 50%) contains 83 matches and, if the odds had been ‘fair’, 55.1% (60.2% + 50% / 2) of the away teams priced in this group should have won.

As you can see, this was not the case! Of 83 games in five seasons only 43 were away wins (51.8%).

Therefore, punters who regularly backed away favourites in the Bundesliga during 2010-15 surrendered ‘value’ in their bets to the bookmakers. When this happens, only one side of the deal wins in the long-run; invariably it isn’t the bettors!

Okay, **let’s take a look at the away underdogs…**

German Bundesliga – ‘Inflection Points’ tab – Five Seasons 2010-15

This screenshot shows a steep rising curve starting at odds of 4.40 and continuing until odds of 17.0.

Over five seasons, 462 matches fell into this group *(Moenchengladbach vs. Augsburg being one of them)*. The away underdog won 88 times = 19% hit rate!

In these odds clusters the away team won, on average, once in every five matches. The average betting odds were 6.40, representing a probability of 15.6%.

The curve shows, as well as the calculations (19%/15.6% = 121.7%), that the mathematical advantage was on the side of the gambler!

The P/L curve registered 653 units profit at the start of our selected segment and finished at 13,727 units. This is a difference of 13,074 units of profit located solely within the away odds cluster group from 4.40 to 17.0.

**Why does this advantage exist? How does it happen?**

Most bettors prefer betting on the more popular and ‘emotionally safer’ shorter-priced favourites, but please ask yourself the following two questions:

- How does a profit-oriented company
*(i.e. bookmaker)*set its prices? - Should the prices
*(odds)*for favourites rise or drop?

Both common sense and business acumen prevail in this situation:

* The market dynamics are the following:* The more bets expected to be placed on a particular outcome, the more bookmakers reduce their odds. Reducing odds mean that the bettor must risk more money (stake more) to achieve the same financial outcome. The punter therefore pays a ‘higher price’

Odds 2.0 → stake 50 = win 50

Odds 1.5 → stake 100 = win 50

Odds 1.25 → stake 200 = win 50

Falling odds means:

⇒ Rising stakes

⇒ Potential to lose more money

⇒ Lower percentage returns should the bet win!

**Although this relationship may seem paradoxical, falling odds means rising prices!**

* To reiterate:* Falling odds for an outcome is a clear indicator that this is a favourite.

Falling odds mean bookmakers are effectively raising the price for the product! The product itself does not change in the slightest (i.e. betting on the favourite), but it becomes more expensive to buy. The bettor has to risk more money in order to win the same amount. In this case, you do not get ‘more for your money’, but considerably less!

Let’s use a different example. A confectionery company launches a new chocolate bar, which becomes an instant success. Demand increases; the company naturally takes advantage of the situation by raising the price. You can certainly make the statement that if the price of the chocolate increases it is a ‘favourite’, but the product itself never changes – it’s still a 100g chocolate bar!

The last word here is that since the books have to be ‘balanced’ *(i.e. the payout of all three 1×2 bets combined needs to add up to around 100%)*, whilst the ‘prices’ for favourites are lowered to take advantage of the demand, on the opposite side, the odds for the underdogs rise.

There are all kinds of explanations on the Internet about various odds types, and the majority of them distinguish between fractional, decimal, and moneyline odds.

Image: paffy (Shutterstock)

Unfortunately, this is misleading and mathematically speaking, incorrect. There are only two types of odds, which are unrelated to their displays as fractions, decimals or, as in America, whole numbers.

Just remember those long ago school days (for some of us!)… A fraction, such as 6/5, converts into a decimal 1.2, or vice versa. Both numbers are the same, only written using different formats.

Here are the **two main types of odds**, including their formulas…

Fractional and Hong Kong odds are actually exchangeable. The only difference is that the UK odds are presented as a fractional notation (e.g. 6/5) whilst the Hong Kong odds are decimal (e.g. 1.2). Both exhibit the **net return**.

The European odds also represent the potential winnings (net returns), but in addition they factor in the stake (e.g. 6/5 or 1.2 plus 1 = 2.2).

Odds commonly referred to as ‘moneyline’ are mainly US bookmakers odds and also known as American odds. Moneyline means the money wagered either to win 100 units (e.g. -400), or money which will be won from a 100 units wager (e.g. +120).

However, both Indonesian and Malaysian odds, although **displayed as decimals** are, strictly speaking, ‘moneyline’ odds but their basis is 1 unit and not 100. Whilst the Indonesian odds closely resemble the American moneyline odds, Malaysian odds are a kind of “inverted” Indonesian style, combined with Hong Kong odds.

Although this may all sound pretty confusing, and the odds certainly look very different at first glance *(see table below)*, just have a closer look at the above formulas – all odds are calculated using their net returns *(formula for net return: 1/probability – 1)* and change their formula at 50% probability

BETTING ODDS CONVERSION TABLE

Fractional odds are favoured by bookmakers in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Fractional odds quote the net return that will be paid out to the bettor, should he win, relative to his stake. Odds of 6/5 (“six-to-five”) imply that the bettor will cash £120 from a £100 stake. Should the punter win, he always receives his original stake back, plus the winnings.

So, if the odds are 6/5 and the stake is £100, then the total return is £220 (£120 winnings plus the original £100 stake).

Odds of 1/1 are known as ‘evens’ or ‘even money’. Not all fractional odds traditionally show the lowest common denominator. Perhaps most unusually, odds of 10/3 are read as “one-hundred-to-thirty”.

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