What is a 'Betting Edge' and How to Identify It

Jay Pryce

Tuesday, September 26, 2017 2:28 PM UTC

Tuesday, Sep. 26, 2017 2:28 PM UTC

Jay Pryce, one of SBR's cappers takes a moment to answer the deep question of: What is "betting edge"? How do you find it? Click here to learn from the pro.

What is a betting edge?

A ‘betting edge’ is any knowledge a player employs to gain an advantage over bookmakers; simple as that. In sports betting, odds are typically set at an 11/10 (-110) ratio, meaning the house takes a 10 percent cut of the bet win or lose. Books are designed with this built-in protection to make money over time, giving them a safety net in the marketplace. To overcome this, one must predict the likelihood of an event occurring with greater accuracy then the current odds imply. To do so successfully is a player’s betting edge. 


How to uncover edge?

To beat the books long-term is near impossible, but skill, patience, and proper money management can overcome the odds. Finding advantages in each is what separates recreational sports bettors from sports investors. Here are some generic methods to uncover betting edge.

Modeling is one way uncover an advantage over the house. Sports are inherently unpredictable and inconsistent as a product, making accurate probability forecasting tough. Oddsmakers are armed with a treasure trove of data to aid them is setting lines, but sound mathematical systems staying ahead of the curve can exploit the inequities between the game and the market. This is how most sports betting professionals do it. Learning the basics of big data, statistics, and coding are close to a requirement for investors these days.

Patience is a virtue in sports betting, too. Line shopping is one of the easiest ways to gain an advantage over the house. Betting markets are very efficient, so finding the best odds, and at the right time, can consistently chip away at that house edge. Picking up a half point in NFL spread betting (+3 to +3.5) is akin to a 4.5 percent swing in probability in both directions. Overtime, being on the right side adds up. Serious investors have funds in multiple sportsbooks to accomplish this. So should you.

Patience is also a virtue when gathering key information that may be undervalued in the marketplace. The internet and social media allow bettors to acquire critical, up-to-the-minute details concerning sporting events. Weather, key injuries, team strategies, favorable matchups, etc., can serve as advantages in the marketplace. Getting ahead of the books with this data is vital to maintaining a betting edge. The tools are out there. Use them. The SBR sports betting forum is a good starting point.

Knowing marketplace figures is necessary for calculating edge as well. A half point is vital in NFL betting, particularly when landing on key numbers like a field goal or a touchdown. Scoring typically occurs in multiples of 3 in the sport, so the difference form +2.5 to +3 or +6.5 to + 7 is the difference between beating the house and the house beating you. For example, roughly 19 percent of all games end with a margin of victory of a field goal versus 5 percent at two points.

Understanding league trends helps, too. Did you know home underdogs prove the least profitable for the house against the point spread in NFL betting? Since 1989, the bet covers an average +4.6 line 51.2 percent of the time. At -110 odds, this equals up to a 1.2 percent advantage for the house, it’s lowest. Knowing these vulnerable spots in the marketplace goes a long way in formulating player advantage.

Proper money management is required to maintain an advantage over books. Calculating one’s edge in the market is the hardest aspect in sports betting. Most bettors tend to overvalue theirs. Typically, your true edge will be no more than 1-5 percent better than the odds. Calculating how much to wager for optimal return is necessary to outperform the house over time. Check out the Kelly Criterion as a money management tool for proven long-term growth.  

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