How The Bookies Get It Right: The Math Behind The Odds

How The Bookies Get It Right: The Math Behind The Odds

Predicting the weekend’s football is something we all try and do. From pundits to plumbers having lunchtime banter, we all have our opinions, but when it comes to bookmakers they use the stats to back it up too.

Bookmakers are perhaps the most accurate when it comes to predicting the outcome of a football match, but how do they do it?

Well, in fact in a variety of ways, with the aim always being to make a profit themselves ultimately. That doesn’t mean they aren’t worth paying attention to either though as they are regularly accurate, no matter what the market.

Think about the vast number of markets available. From the match result to players being booked, to the number of corners in a game. Every single price offered by bookmakers has data to back up why one particular selection is the favoured outcome.

This regularly changes in the build up to an event dependent on circumstances too. For example, the bookmakers may offer odds favouring Tottenham to win a match due to Harry Kane having scored in his last seven games. However, should Kane then be ruled out with an injury, the odds would change and perhaps not favour Spurs as much.

That of course means tipsters and sites such as have to keep on top of ever changing odds. These type of websites allow you to see just how frequently odds differ and change from market to market. These sites not only give you a good range of different odds, but also provide free bets & bonuses for new users. This is why it is always worthwhile to check them even just for more background info about the game.

That’s due to each bookmaker having their own mathematicians and statisticians. Bet365 and Paddy Power, for example, make their odds based upon the research taken by employed analysts.

They look at form, history, statistics and the context of the game, alongside their own opinions, other bookmaker’s thoughts as well as public opinion.

The latter is particularly interesting, as bookmakers need to balance their books, and a large sum placed on a certain outcome will dictate odds, regardless of whether the bookmaker believes otherwise.

In a situation where a large amount of betting is done towards one side, the bookmaker will try and balance this by encouraging punters to bet on other selections by offering better value odds.

For yourself as a punter, it’s all about identifying where this is happening and potentially even taking advantage of it.

When it comes to reading how the bookmakers are seeing the fixtures, it’s all about calculating them.

When it comes to fractional odds, that’s simple. The number on the right of the fraction is the number the bookmaker expects the bet to win out of the total sum of the fraction. For example, if the odds were 4/1 for Newcastle United to beat Liverpool, the number of times Newcastle would win that game, according to the bookies, would be once in five attempts.

Liverpool may have odds of 1/3, which is the bookmakers’ way of telling us they would win three times out of every four matches played between the two.

It’s a great way to get a good reflection of how the bookmakers are seeing the event of an outcome, and this can be put into practice no matter what the market. It’s not often they get it wrong.

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