Category Archives: Sports

How Math Adds Up In Sports Betting

How Math Adds Up In Sports BettingSome people 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 that count, you won’t get any arguments from Mike Orkin, a professor of statistics at California State University at Hayward and the author of two books on the role probability and chance play in gambling, “Can You Win?” and “What Are the Odds?”

“You really can’t win at gambling unless you understand math,” contends Orkin, who once taught an accredited course at Hayward on sports betting, horse racing and casino gambling. “You don’t have to have a Ph.D. but you do have to have a mathematical mind.”

Orkin explained that the marriage of mathematics and gambling goes back decades.

“Winning blackjack systems that became so popular in the early 1960s were developed by mathematicians using computer simulations to find winning strategies,” he pointed out. “There’s no way to develop a strategy for a complex game such as blackjack and learn whether the player has an edge without knowing some mathematics.

“On the flip side, you have to know math to prove that, unless there’s some flaw in the machinery, you can’t win at games like craps or roulette.

“Another example is poker,” said Orkin. “Whether it’s video or, more interestingly, regular poker, the really good players can rattle off odds. They have to know math in order to help them decide what to do in certain situations.

“In sports betting, the people who are doing well with a systematic method process statistical information in a sensible way, which means knowing some mathematics,” said Orkin. “You have to understand odds to be able to compute your chances of winning and compare them with the actual payoff odds. You really have to be able to do that if you hope to have any expectation of winning.”

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Just understanding the true odds of a parlay might affect how you bet. For example, the true odds of a two-team parlay are 3/1. That’s computed by multiplying the chances of winning the first game, one-in-two (1/2) times the chances of winning the second game, one-in-two (1/2). So 1/2 X 1/2 = 1/4, or one-in-four, which is 3/1:

Parlay Bets

# of Teams     Payoff Odds   Actual Odds   House Edge

2                      13/5               3/1                 10.0%

3                      6/1                 7/1                 12.5%

4                      10/1               15/1               31.3%

5                      20/1               31/1               34.4%

Payoff odds are less than actual odds because all books add “juice,” “vigorish,” or “vig.” That’s just the price of doing business. But as the above table illustrates, the more teams the bettor plays, the greater the house advantage. A basic knowledge of mathematics, then, would lead the sports bettor to play smaller parlays, if he plays them at all.

So, as Orkin points out, knowledge of mathematics is essential if you want to improve your chances of success at sports betting. Sign up at

Puck Betting Action is Back

Puck Betting Action is BackPuck action is back Wednesday when the second round starts up with the Western Conference series. Hockey bettors have proven they are far wimpier than the athletes they bet on by barely being able to withstand the three-day break in action.

The second round is set in the Stanley Cup playoffs and although there were some surprises along the way, the matchups at hand are all excellent for different reasons. Almost all of them are virtual toss-ups and it will take some sharp predicting to get the conference finals matchups right.

Underdogs are 23-19 straight up for a profit of $983.24.

Puckline underdogs are 34-8 against the spread in the playoffs so far.

66 percent of games were decided by one goal (28 games). Only the first round of the 2012 playoffs had more one-goal games with 32 (via CBC).

18 games went to overtime in Round 1, which is a record. There were only 20 in all of last year’s playoffs.

The OVER/UNDER is 13-20-9 after Round 1.

Average goals per game in Round 1 was 4.88.

Nashville was the only team to sweep Round 1 (Blackhawks). Since the 2005-2006 season (post lockout era), teams are 9-8-1 in the next series after sweeping. The push denotes that both teams were coming off a sweep.

Since 2005-06, a sweep has never been followed by another sweep. Most commonly, a sweep is followed by a 7-game series. Eight of 18 (44%) of series after a sweep went to Game 7.

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The Capitals are set to once again to face the Penguins in the second round, the two teams who most think have the best chance at hoisting the Cup have unsurprisingly been deemed faves in the East. We’ll once again be treated to an electric playoff series. The only problem? It’s not in the Eastern Conference finals. The two meet in the second round for the second straight year and the Caps will be looking to end a losing streak of six playoff series against the Pens that dates back to 1995. Online books opened the Caps as the +175 faves to represent the conference in the Cup finals with the Pens trailing close behind at +190.

In this matchup, Washington is the most vulnerable, the Penguins have ever been since the inception of the Ovechkin-Crosby rivalry. Pittsburgh is down two star players and if Matt Murray can’t suit up for Round 2, the Pens are in a heap of trouble.

Marc-Andre Fleury was capable in the opening round with a .933 save percentage but he gave up a lot of bad goals. All said, he had the second-worst goals-against average of any netminder of a club that moved on. If the Leafs hadn’t had Freddy Andersen in the first round, the Caps would have frigging rolled them. Puck action is back on Wednesday, sign up now at


Can You Win in Sports Betting?

Can You Win in Sports Betting?Most bettors face a recurrent question when placing their bets, whether to lay or take the points. But the real questions that everyone should be asking is: Can you win in sports betting? The fact is, most people who engage in sports betting rarely question whether they have the ability to beat the house. It’s not a question of intelligence but whether you truly understand the role of probability, whether you can determine a good wager from one that is bad and whether you have the required discipline to maximize your chances of success.

Let’s start with the basics. Most bettors understand that they lay $11 to win $10 in the world’s two most popular point spread games, football and basketball. So what’s the sportsbook’s edge and what percentage of games must you win to break even?

Since the bettor lays $11 to win $10, he must accumulate 11 wins for every 10 losses to break even. That’s just 52.4 percent (11/21 = .524), an encouraging enough figure given how many unsophisticated bettors think the sportsbook edge is 10 percent. Since anyone should be able to pick 50 percent of the games correctly at random, overcoming that additional 2.4 percent shouldn’t be too high an obstacle to clear, right?

It wouldn’t be if, in the above example, bettors bet the same amount on each game. But many gamblers often “chase,” doubling, tripling and even quadrupling their sports bets in an effort to recoup their original lost bet. They throw good money after bad, an undisciplined approach that often can be seen on the blackjack tables. Professional players know better, wagering a consistent amount on each game, understanding that there’s no such thing as a “best bet.”

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Football and basketball bettors also lose because they stray from straight side betting to exotics, playing multiple wagers where the sportsbook edge can be extraordinarily high.

For example, while the true odds on a two-team parlay are 3/1, many books offer 13/5. I won’t bore you with the math but trust me when I tell you that the sportsbook advantage on a two-team parlay at 13/5 is 10 percent, four times greater than it is on a straight bet.

The real odds on a three-team parlay are 7/1 but many sportsbooks offer 6/1 on you stringing a trio of winners together. That seemingly slim edge boosts the house advantage to 12.5 percent.

And if you’re foolhardy enough to play a four-team parlay at 10/1 (when the true odds are 15/1), the house edge climbs to an astounding 31.3 percent.

Parlay cards, which usually are printed at the beginning of a week, are an equally, and sometimes worse, bet for the gambler, especially if you don’t read the fine print.

On many parlay cards, the odds are listed as “for 1” instead of “to 1.” The difference is that “3 for 1” means you get back $3 for every $1 wagered and “3 to 1” means you win $3 for every $1 bet. The first question all sports betting enthusiasts should ask themselves before placing their first wager is: Can you win in sports betting? Follow our tips and place your bets at

Betting on a Decisive Game

Betting on a Decisive GameFrom the Lone Star State, Game five of the western conference quarter finals series will see if Russell Westbrook and his Oklahoma City Thunder return home for game six as they face elimination vs. the Houston Rockets.

Mirroring a rugged season series, Houston wields a numerically compact, yet decisive 3-1 playoff advantage against Oklahoma City. As a matter of fact The Rockets are the only team with a 3-1 lead in the first round.

And while each mid-April meeting could have tilted in either teams’ favor, Houston’s +3 winning margin in its last three outings might as well total +20.

Three times in the last two years a team has blown a 3-1 lead. The Rockets famously came back against the Los Angeles Clippers. The Warriors erased that deficit against the Oklahoma City Thunder before having the same lead erased against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Finals. Meanwhile, the Cleveland Indians blew a 3-1 lead in the World Series.

So if you’re counting at home, two of the three teams that erased a 3-1 lead went on to blow it. That leaves just the Houston Rockets.

Poised to overwhelm the Rockets during games two and four, the Thunder instead wilted before Houston’s ineluctable fourth-quarter comebacks.

In those affairs, availed by methodical precision, the 55-win Rockets charged past callow OKC during the final stanza, +7.5.

Sunday, as Oklahoma City wagered a tenuous four-point advantage into the fourth, Houston’s veteran guile rendered the Thunder barren before a pensive home crowd.

Now, on the brink, Oklahoma City must claim three straight victories to eke into the second-round.

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It’s only natural that sportsbooks opened the Rockets as 7.5-point home favorites.

The Houston Rockets have looked like a legitimate threat in the Western Conference all year long and that hasn’t changed in the first round of the playoffs.

The total has gone UNDER in six of the Thunder’s last eight games.

The Rockets are 9-2 SU in their last 11 games at home.

The Thunder are 1-6 SU in their last seven games against the Rockets.

James Harden hogs most of the headlines, but the long forgotten Nene was the real star in Game 4’s 113-109 victory. The 34-year-old scored 28 points on 12-of-12 shooting in an off-night for Harden (5-for-16 from the field). Nene is an astonishing 23-for-25 from the field in the series, and his 12-for-12 outing matched the NBA playoff record for most field goals without a miss set by Kansas City-Omaha Kings forward Larry McNeill in 1975.

When it comes to rebounds, the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder rank No. 1 in the league with 46.47 per game. That compares with Houston’s No. 9 ranking in that category. The story is different when it comes to three-point shooting where Houston is the NBA’s No. 1-ranked team at 14.22 per game, while the Oklahoma City Thunder rate No. 26 with 8.42 per contest. Betting on a decisive game is fun and can be lucrative, sign up at

Sports Betting Relationships

Sports Betting RelationshipsBack in 2007, when $7 million in wagers (10 times the normal amount) poured in on No. 74 ranked Martin Vassallo Arguello to beat No. 4 ranked Nikolay Davydenko in a tennis match in Sopot, Poland, many online sportsbooks nullified the bets and immediately notified the ATP Tour, which, in turn, contacted Scotland Yard. Davydenko, who won the first set, retired in the third, giving the win to Arguello.

Sure, sportsbooks were protecting their bottom line. But they also were guarding the sanctity of the bet maker/bet taker relationship which, if nothing else, survives and flourishes only on the bedrock assumption that, irrespective of the vigorish, neither side has any other hidden advantage.

This is hardly the first time that sports bettors and sportsbooks have been on the virtual same side of the counter.

It was in early March of 1994 when two young men, pulling $20 bills out of a duffel bag, wagered more than $200,000 in Las Vegas that the lowly 5-20 Washington Huskies would beat the point spread against the 14-12 Arizona State Sun Devils in a Pac-10 basketball game played in Tempe. The heavy action reduced an opening line that once had favored Arizona State by as many as 11 points down to 3 1/2 points at some sports betting venues.

When Washington jumped off to a 13-2 lead, Las Vegas bookmakers feared the worst. But Arizona State, which missed its first 14 shots and committed eight turnovers, clawed back to a 25-23 lead at halftime. Still, it wasn’t until midway through the second half, when the Sun Devils went on a 24-0 run, that the game was decided. ASU wound up with a 73-55 victory and, most importantly for Nevada sportsbooks who had maximum exposure, a cover.

Despite winning, Nevada sportsbooks notified officials at the Pac-10, a move which led to the involvement of law enforcement and the eventual conviction of several Arizona State players who tried to fix the game. (It was only after learning at halftime that their scheme had been discovered that the ASU cheaters played to expectations).

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But for the diligence of sportsbooks, who reaped the benefits of the bad bets but still unearthed the matter, the failed fix might never have been discovered.

Oddly enough, though NCAA higher-ups often grouse about the impurity of wagering on college athletics, it is legitimate sportsbooks who continue to play a large role in helping to protect the integrity of the sport.

Sportsbooks were tipped off to the attempted scam by several factors:

First, the bettors were unknown and, bookmakers will tell you, it is very unusual for wagers of that amount to come from players who do not have a history with a betting outlet.

Second, since a large portion of the cash was dispensed at two sportsbooks that were part of the same casino network, where any wager at one sportsbook would show up on the computer screens of the other – a factor any experienced professional player would know – bookmakers smelled a rat. Difficult as it may be for some bettors who view those on the other side of the counter as anyone but the enemy, sportsbooks really are a player’s unlikely ally in the fight against wagering fraud. See why sports betting relationships make sense, sing up at

Football Betting Never Sleeps

Football Betting Never SleepsThere is a reason why football is the most popular sport in the United States and the biggest betting sport. It’s been only a couple of months since closure of the 2016 season but fans have received with euphoria the unveiling of the 2017-18 schedule.

The excitement is floating all around, this year’s edition of Betting on Football, the leading networking conference by SBC Events, is set to see double the amount of delegates. The number of attendees is expected to be just over 800 people for the conference which takes place between 3-5 May at Chelsea FC’s home ground, up from the 400 delegates who attended last year’s event.

As well as the number of conference stands sold rising from last year’s total of nine to 37 at present, 2017’s event will see over 130 CEOs and directors speaking on variety of subjects.

With the new season unveiling last Thursday there was money flowing across the counter, with many shops putting up lines on the Week 1 games. Covers checks in on which matchups are drawing the most early interest.

New England was the best team on the field in the 2016-17 season, and it was the best against the oddsmakers, as well. The Patriots went 14-2 SU and a stout 13-3 ATS in the regular season, then won and cashed in all three playoff games, including a rousing come-from-way-behind Super Bowl victory, 34-28 in overtime laying 3 points against the Atlanta Falcons.

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So it was no surprise that the Pats opened as 7-point home favorites against Kansas City to kick off the regular season on Sept. 7, in a Thursday night affair. The Chiefs went 12-4 SU and 9-7 ATS in the regular season, winning the AFC West to get a bye into the divisional playoffs. But K.C. went no further, losing at home to Pittsburgh 18-16 as a 2.5-point underdog.

The Golden Nugget also had its numbers up Thursday night, with a couple games drawing early money.

“The Giants are +6.5 against the Cowboys.

Several shops were at Dallas -6, a couple opened at 5.5, and CG Technology opened Dallas -5.

Houston opened -4.5 at home against Jacksonville, but the Texans’ glaring hole helped bring that line down to 4.

It’s easy to pull the trigger against a team tha’t doesn’t know who will be under center in Week 1. The Texans certainly have a huge question mark at that position, and this could be more of a positioning play from the sharps.

A perceived dominant team against a decent ‘dog that has value. The Giants have been good in this matchup for quite some time now, and the opener may have been a tad too high. But when this game does eventually roll around, we know we’ll get plenty of Dallas money from the public. Sign up at

Value of Buying Half Points In a Sportsbook

Value of Buying Half Points In a SportsbookAmong the many features that online sportsbooks offer their members is the chance to buy half points on any game they would like to bet on. That alone should indicate that it doesn’t provide members with a huge advantage. After all, if giving up a half-point were very advantageous to the player then the sportsbook wouldn’t allow it. Buying a half-point might seem like a very good idea in all situations where you can but it’s actually much more complicated then that.

The premise behind buying the half-point is simple. The member is able to buy 0.5 and apply it to a spread or total that they want to bet on in exchange for risking more money on the wager. This is yet another tool that bettors have on their favor if used wisely. With NBA playoffs for example, if the player wanted to bet the Cavaliers at -3.5 against Indiana Pacers they could pay a little more in order to adjust the odds to -3. The advantage would be that if Cleveland won by 3 it would be a PUSH instead of a LOSS. While there are situations where buying a half-point makes sense that isn’t necessarily all of the time and depending on the spread for the game the price for buying points could vary.

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Is Buying A Half-Point Smart?

While buying the half-point is the difference between a PUSH and a LOSS in the situation above that game could also very well end with Cleveland winning by 4 or more points or the Cavs winning by 2 or less points. There is also a chance the Pacers could shock the world and win the game straight up. Suddenly that half-point is completely irrelevant except for the fact that the player lost more money than they would have had they not done it. Then there is the fact that the sportsbooks tend to charge even more money to buy a half-point on key numbers like moving +2.5 to +3 or moving -7 to -6.5. That is because these half-point situations are more likely to have an effect in comparison to the Cavs moving either way at -3.

The only time that a bettor should buy a point is when the line is at a key number where it could make a big difference. For example, if the Bulls were listed at -3 against the Boston Celtics and the player liked Chicago then buying a half-point would move the line to -2.5 and ensure that if the Bulls won by a field goal then he would WIN rather than PUSH. However, it’s also important to note that the player will have to pay more in this situation to get the half-point because of the fact that the spread is on a key number. The situation listed above for the game between the Cavs and the Pacers would be that much less enticing to buy the half-point for even though it is available at a lesser cost than it would be if it was on a key number. Sign up at and learn more about the value of buying half points.

The Biggest Upsets In Ice Hockey

The Biggest Upsets In Ice HockeyUpset is a term used to describe a result where an underdog has defeated a favorite and won a game outright. Upsets in sports betting keep things interesting. Hockey is definitely no stranger to shock victories and Canadian players are all too familiar with underdogs rising up to snatch victory at the very last minute.

But not only Canadians know about it. It would be impossible to have an article on upsets without a mention of the 1980 Olympic showdown between USA and the Soviet Union. This is the type of matchup where all the sports betting strategy in the world could not have predicted the outcome.

At this point the Soviet Ice Hockey team was a powerhouse that was all set to crush the inexperienced US team at the Lake Placid Olympics. Amazingly the US team fought their way to a 4-3 victory over the Soviets, leaving many fans absolutely speechless.

Another big one that would have made immense waves today for the world of professional sports betting was the 1936 Winter Olympic match between Great Britain and Canada. It was the first ever recorded loss between Canada and Great Britain and it cost Canada the Olympic gold.

The irony of the situation is that a large portion of the British team was made up of British Canadians, almost as if to rub salt in the wound.

The Soviet hockey team has always ensured that sports bettors enjoy some of the best sports betting action around. In their face-off against Canada in the 1981 Canada Cup however resulted in quite a shock defeat.

This event came on the heels of the 1980 Olympic loss of the Soviets to the USA and it seems this fired them up for this final. The Soviets walked over Canada for a shocking 8-1 win, despite expectations that Canada where going to bounce back in the finals after an average tournament performance.

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Championship Loss For Sweden

No matter what sports betting systems you use, you can never predict an upset. This is what adds that element of excitement, and is also a driving force behind wagers on clear underdogs. The odds for an underdog win are sometimes just too tempting to pass up on. NZ betting sites, and sportsbooks around the world, generally offer great odds on underdogs, and many punters have reaped the rewards of a long shot bet.

Kazakhstan Triumph

Another underdog win was recorded in the 1998 World Junior Championships between Kazakhstan and Canada.

The Kazakhstani team was young, not very experienced and were playing with borrowed equipment. There were only 7 spare sticks for the entire team. Regardless they already had a lead after the first half and walked away with a stunning win against the Canadian team.

Looking back at the biggest upsets in ice hockey, you can see that there is no way to predict them but you can take part in the action with the NHL playoffs at

Avoiding Betting On Must-Win Games Blindly

Avoiding Betting On Must-Win Games BlindlyBoth NHL and NBA have taken us down to the playoffs, although they provide plenty of drama and entertainment they also provide a very dangerous situation for betting. The sportsbooks understand the fact that a team is in a must-win situation gives them a chance to adjust the odds accordingly and the result ends up being that player’s pay a bigger price than they should. The negative effect of this is two-fold as players might think they are making a smart bet based on the must-win situation and odds that appear to support the idea that they will get the job done while also paying a greater price then they should to take that team.

Playing the must-win system is as simple as finding teams that are in a situation where they can’t afford to lose and betting on them to win on the moneyline.. Teams that are in must-win situations will give a maximum effort most of the time but it’s still important to consider other factors that will play in to the result.

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The numbers aren’t exact because they depend on which bets the individual players make based on the information they have. The most obvious factors to consider pertain to the matchup and the opponent that the team in the must-win situation is playing against. If the team in the must-win situation is in that situation in the first place because they have been terrible on the road all year and they are playing on the road again then they are at a disadvantage. If the opponent is a far superior team then it might not make a difference that one team is in a must-win situation. However, if the superior opponent has already clinched a playoff spot and wants to rest its players then that becomes important to factor in to a betting decision. The idea that a team in a must-win situation has a major edge over a team that has been eliminated from playoff contention might seem to make sense on the surface but really you should consider that the team that has been eliminated is playing without any pressure and relishes the role of spoiler. The opponent might also have clinched a playoff spot at the same time is trying to win in order to eliminate the team and avoid a potential playoff matchup. The point is that there are many variables that factor in to the outcome of a game and the fact that a team is in a must-win situation is not enough to bet on them blindly.

There will also be situations where the team in the must-win situation has other factors working in its favor including home ice or a chance to play an inferior opponent but even then the adjusted odds will make betting on that team that much more risky. Join

MLB Betting Favors the Public

MLB Betting Favors the PublicThe MLB season makes it a very popular time for sports bettors. But when it comes down to revenues the same sport that gets so much attention from bettors is the same that Las Vegas sportsbook likes the least. Fortunately for them they only have one month on the calendar when baseball is the main source of income.

Right now, they’re thankful the betting public has most of its interest and bankroll side-tracked and dedicated to the NBA Playoffs. The NHL Playoffs even get a little more traction with public appeal at this time of year.

After two weeks of action, baseball has been a grind so far for the house, which is right in line for most years. The books have been winning a few days, then they lose a few, making it basically a push, and that’s not the type of consistent results a casino desires.

They got a boost when the Pirates swept the Cubs over the weekend. The Cubs are respected by bettors everywhere and when the majority make their daily parlays, the Cubs are often thrown blindly into the mix.

The VP of risk management at CG Technology Jason Simbal said the easiest way to tell whether his books were a winner or loser on the day in baseball is simply checking to see if popular teams like the Cubs and Red Sox won on the same night together.

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What I’m here to tell you is not to be too distracted by the allure of the NBA Playoffs at the expense of betting baseball. If a book holds 6.8 percent in the NBA, 7.1 percent in the NHL and 0.9 percent in baseball, what would seem like your best option to make money with?

When I worked behind the counter, part of my job was analyzing the P&L’s, including all wagering categories offered to the public, giving reasons why we won and excuses why we lost. Baseball was always filled with lots of excuses, more so than all the other sports. And the year-over-year analysis was always the same with occasional losing months in baseball and the lowest hold of all sports.

The simple reason was we were offering a 10-cent money-line split compared to basketball and football that has a 20-cent split on the point-spread and money-line. You can juice out the other sports with equal action, but with baseball it’s much smaller with the same limit wagers because of the line movement.

In other sports you move the spread with the same juice remaining on both sides. In baseball you move the money-line and each ensuing line move puts the book in a smaller window of opportunity to win if equal action is eventually bet on the other side.

So enjoy the NBA and NHL Playoffs, but know your best bet is still baseball. The advice here is to stay away from the run-line, unless taking +1.5, and the best parlay is the two-team side to total, usually with a hot starter tied to the Under.

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