Yesterday I saw a guy on instagram, who bought daily card (all picks from one handicapper for one day) for $499. He received 3 bets, moneyline, handicapp and a parlay.
The guy put togehter $1400 on all 3 bets.
All bets were lost. The guy lost $1400 and extra $499. Combined $1899 in one day.
So, who is to blame? The guy, who sold the picks or the guy who bought picks?
The answer is simple for me. I would definitely not blame handicapper, if he is honest with results, if he explains what sports betting is (speculative and high risk business) and if he has in his terms and conditions, that nobody can guarantee, that one game will be 100% winner. After all he charged his work, he set the price and the offer was accepted.
So, 100% responsibility goes to the guy who bought that pick. If he would understand, that sports betting events are single events, where anything can happen, he would never buy one game. Nobody can guarantee that one game will be profitable. Secondly, behind those bets, there were no estimated probabilities, no last prices (odds) to take and the bets were not value based, but simply “winner” based. In other words, his focus was on a winner, he was expecting that the game will be a winning game. No matter if he bet at +110, +105, -110.
When you decide to bet on something, you decide to pay something. The odds are nothing else, but the prices that you pay. And when you buy something with intention to make a profit, this price is crucial.
So, there are couple of critical mistakes – one game, no estimated price that can be compared to current price on the market, not understanding the market, the risk and how things work in general.
And it is the same with all followers, who are blindly following all kind of bets. If you are a follower and if you are looking to bet other people’s picks, you will probably never make any money in sports betting. And I will try to explain this now.

We don’t know that we don’t know

Most bettors we see, are just lucky. Even if you see a tipster, that has a winning record for last 2 years, he is maybe not skilled bettor. He was just lucky. And doesn’t have extra skill or better skill, than someone else, who made a loss in last 2 years.
And the reason is simple. Most bettors simply don’t understand, what is important to win at sports betting. I am not talking about how to win a game, I am not talking about how to make a profit here.
I am talking here about recognising the skill and the knowledge to beat a bookmaker. It’s easy to confuse whether a tipster’s track-record shows a statistically significant predictive ability, or just a good run of luck
From pinnacle: “Let’s say we run a simulation which sees 10,000 tennis tipsters (or monkeys, it really doesn’t matter) each with a 50% chance of either making $10,000 a year or losing $10,000 a year. If any tipster has a losing year, they are eliminated. The tipsters/monkeys make their predictions by simply pushing one of two buttons. If we run the test for one year 5,000 of our tipsters would be $10,000 in profit and the same number $10,000 in the red and binned. In year two we would have 2,500 monkeys with perfect record and if we keep going by Year 5 we would have 313 monkeys from that original cohort that would statistically be able through pure luck to make successive accurate predictions and $50,000.”
After 5 years, 313 monkeys (bettors without any skill) made $50,000. And we have a lot of monkeys in real world, that were lucky. Nobody is talking about other 9,687 tipsters, that were lost on twitter, that stop betting, that closed their accounts, but the funny thing is that those 313 monkeys start believing that they have the skill.
And this is how that guy paid $499 to the monkey.
Most bettors don’t know that they don’t know.
So what is important and how to win at sports betting?

Luck

As we see here, you can always win by pure luck. And you know what…you can always rely on luck. You don’t need to follow anyone, you don’t need to pay anyone, you don’t need to work a lot. For this, you don’t need any method, any huge research, any huge analysis. There is still a chance, that you will make a profit.
You don’t believe me?
Check monkey story. You can always be a monkey and you still have a chance to win. After all, most paid handicappers are just monkeys.
After all, when I started betting, I was lucky too. I was probably lucky first 2-3 years and this was probably a reason, why I continued. Maybe if I wouldn’t have such a luck a the start, maybe I would quit back then. And on the other side, maybe someone else, who had more skills, but was unlucky stop betting.

Skill

Of course most of us don’t want to rely on luck. We want to be in a position to say, that we have a skill and with that skill, we can say with bigger probability, that our future results will be positive.
Is it possible, that you are skilled bettor, but still don’t make a profit?
Yes, of course. Unfortunately, this can also happen. Like with monkeys without skill, who still make a profit in 5 years of betting, it can also happen that even if you are skilled bettor, even if you understand everything, even if you beat the line and the market, you will not make a profit.
But this is a risk, that is taken into account. We will never have control on such things. As we don’t have control on many things that will happen in our life. Sometimes you do everything right, but you are unlucky.
Despite we understand, that we can be always victims of luck or bad luck, we still don’t want to be monkeys. I hope you agree with me. The only thing we can do is to understand what is important, how to recognise if we are going into the right direction and hopefully we win on the long run. This is, I believe, how skilled bettor would think.
If you still want to be a monkey, the good news is that you still have a chance to make profit. You will probably not know, that you don’t have the skill, but you will make some money. If you decide to go this way, you don’t need to read anymore.

What is important?

But if you decide to become a skilled bettor and hopefully survive in sports betting world not only 5 years, but to make this a lifetime income, then you need to understand couple of important things:

Numbers and the odds are the key. Ability to estimate your numbers for all games before you bet.

At the end of the day we end up with the numbers. Period.
The odds that you see on betting market are the prices, that you will pay. When it comes to casino or for example rolling a dice, we are absolutely certain of the chances (for example throwing 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6). Casinos (also bookmakers) are making money with margins. It is amazing how gamblers still think they have the edge against Casino, when we know exactly the probability of such event (flipping a coin or rolling a dice). When the house builts margin, you don’t have any edge and it is impossible to win on the long run. In other words, they have the edge and house always wins.
In sports betting, we can never be sure exactly what the chance is of particular outcome. The odds or the prices are just the reflection of the estimated probabilities. The good thing is that also bookmakers can never be sure about the price.
And this is why it is possible to make a profit with sports betting. But to do this you need to come with your own numbers and compare your numbers with bookmakers numbers. This is so crucial, that this should be pinned on every single betting site.
It is not a rocket science to understand this after all. I am not talking here how to estimate the numbers (or about betting models) but about the importance of getting your numbers before you bet.
I know, a lot of monkeys will say now, that intuition is important, that motivation is important, that jersey colours are important, that referee is important, that coaches wife’s feelings before the game is important,…
Great!
But you need to turn those information, because at the end of the day, you will need to compare your price with bookmakers price. Nothing else.
You say – I pay max $15 for pizza.
Pizza costs $45. You will not eat that pizza.
Pizza costs $9. You will eat it.
Same pizza, but you decide based on two prices:
  • one that you estimated (and you are willing to pay)
  • one that you see in a restaurant
If you will always take pizza, no matter what the price is, you will lose.
I am not saying, my models are completely perfect, but I am can say with pretty high confidence, that handicappers, bettors and gamblers that don’t come with their numbers/spreads/totals, before they make final bets, are just monkeys. Some of them very lucky.

Beating the market and beating the closing line.

I didn’t track my closing line value in the past and this is my fault. Maybe I was monkey too. I made some nice profit in last 20 years of betting, but maybe it was just luck.
Luckily I try to grow as a bettor every year and I see now how important this is.
After all (and I will repeat this until most of our followers will start understanding this), pinnacle, which has the sharpest odds and one of the biggest sample size of sharp bettors says:
“The key to becoming a winner at Pinnacle is not focusing on results (which can be lucky or unlucky) but concentrating on value and beating the closing line.”
and
“Beating the closing line doesn’t itself guarantee an individual bet will be profitable, but given that Pinnacle is regarded as one of the sharpest bookmakers online, consistently beating our closing line in the long run is the best indicator of winning bettor.”
And this makes sense. Why?
First of all, if you think twice about the concept of making money is almost everywhere same:
  1. Know your price
  2. Know market price
  3. Compare prices
  4. Get better price and beat the market
If you are a stock market investor, you want to buy stocks for lower price and then sell it later for bigger price, right? To do this, you need to know what is your price when you buy and for what price you will sell it later.
The difference between those two prices is your profit.
In sports betting, bookmakers try to estimate what is the chance of particular outcome. This is then turned into the price. The easiest way is when you divide 1 by the probability.
But this price will not stay the same whole day. The price will be changed during the day (or more days if the odds are open couple of days before the event is played), because of different information, market adjustments, public money, sharp action,…
Just before the game will start, we like to say, that those odds are most sharpest odds and gives us the best reflection of true probability of this event. Because they took into account all possible information.
The goal of skilled bettor is to beat this price. If you can bet on Red Sox at +120, while other people bet on closing line at +105, you are smarter, you are more skilled and you beat the market (very simple explanation). And to beat the market is the goal of a skilled bettor.
When you start tracking your actual bets taken and the odds with closing odds (latest odds just before game started) then you see if you get better prices and as pinnacle says, this is the best indicator if you are skilled bettor or not.
So, if you want to win at sports betting, you can do two things:
  • Go like a monkey and try luck, which is completely ok. But you don’t need to follow anyone. Especially not other monkeys 🙂
  • Try to become skilled bettor (2 things: come with your numbers for all games before you bet; beat closing line)
In both situation you can win or lose, but I believe that in life we can not rely on luck. And the only thing we can do is to gain as much as possible knowledge (so we don’t end like a monkey who buys 1 day picks) and try to become skilled bettor. The profit on the long run is just the result of those two things. Numbers before you bet and outsmart the market (beat closing line).
.
Remember – don’t follow other monkeys. You can be very good monkey too. If you want to win at sports betting, the only thing you can do is to work hard to become a skilled bettor. Invest time and effort into your knowledge and become one.
Most of bettors, that you see,  are just monkeys anyway. And the best part is that most people can not recognise monkeys.
Cheers
MB
Serena Williams playing on a clay court

It’s 11am here in Central Europe and day 3 of this year’s Tennis French Open (also called Roland Garros) is literally starting now.
My tennis live betting strategy is ready to go live as well.

Roland Garros 2019 - Day 3 live scores

From this screenshot, taken at 11:13am, we can already notice a few things: in tennis, you can bet on men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles.
Also, the scores that you see represent more or less a third of the matches that are in play at the moment, and considering that a match could last 1 to 3 hours and that they will play till 8pm, we can safely state that tennis is a busy sport!

Before we deep dive into the cool stuff, here is a short index for this article, in case you want to jump straight to a specific section.

The Betting Action

In about 20 years of tennis betting or so, I still haven’t met someone that knows everything (betting-wise) about tennis! Even if I bet on tennis daily, I surely don’t know everything myself as well, and here is why.
Tennis is a massive sport in terms of players, tournaments, rules and side aspects involved.
Here is a quick count. Right now the ATP ranks about 700 players (https://www.atptour.com/en/rankings/singles) and the WTA rankings go all the way down to player number 850 in the world (https://www.wtatennis.com/rankings#singles-tab). In addition to this, you must consider around 65 ATP tournaments plus 65 WTA tournaments. All of them have specifics related to surface, balls, indoor/outdoor conditions and more.. And in addition to this, you have women’s doubles and men’s doubles, which are not as busy, but still full of action.
And it’s not over, you then have lower “leagues”: Challengers, ITF tournaments, and internationals…

Did you get lost?
Me too. Long story short is that if someone says I do follow tennis it’s pretty much like saying: “I follow all the basketball leagues of the world” or something similar. IMPOSSIBLE!

You have to pick your niche

I’m not even sure niche is the right word as it will still be a lot of stuff, but you get the point: specialize in 1/2 areas.
For instance, I follow ATP and WTA main level tournaments and that’s pretty much it. It is still about 120 tournaments per year from January to December.
This means that I do bet on tennis events that do not belong to this category when I have good information or fresh news, but 99% of my bets are on ATP or WTA main tournaments.

Prematch versus Live Betting

As usual in sports betting, we can split the general tennis betting activity into two main areas: pre-match and live-betting.
They both require a deep knowledge of the game, but I have to admit that, when it comes to pre-match tennis betting, you really must know what to expect from the game. You must know how good of a server a player is and how good his serve-returning game is. You must know how solid and strong each player’s baseline strokes are (forehand and backhand). And, you must know which game plan the two players have in mind (in a singles match).

This is way too much to know if your are not a professional bettor, way too much! It actually took me 10 years of watching (and betting) on tennis, plus another 10 working as a trader for a couple of well known bookmakers to know all that I know now, which is still far from knowing it all.
And by the way, if you are interested in tennis betting, have a look at the dedicated tennis section of our website BetzCenter.com. On the website I’m collaborating with a bunch of tennis experts, trying to share our tennis knowledge to provide beginner tennis punters with all the betting information they need for betting on tennis.

Live betting

On the other side, we find live betting on tennis. And while I’m not saying that you don’t have to know the game to bet live on tennis games, I can disclose that it involves less tennis-related knowledge and more understanding of an evolving situation.
Let’s see how!

Tennis Live Betting

Out of all the skills that a professional bettor needs, there is one that is particularly important when it comes to live betting on tennis.

Cold blood

Before I even start talking about a tennis live betting strategy, its approaches, rules and dynamics, there is one thing that you must know, and this does not apply to tennis only, but to all sports: you have to be cold blooded, or at least the least emotionally involved possible.

The reason behind this is simple: you will experience a lot of difficulties match after match and all sorts of things (both good and bad) will happen, no matter how good of a bettor you are.
These, and especially the bad things, should not affect you and your betting style, approach and strategy.

And believe me, it is much more difficult than it sounds!

The good news

The good news about live betting on tennis, according to my experience, is that you don’t need to consider all of the elements that we have mentioned so far in this article. Only a few aspects really make a difference when betting live.

How will a player wake up on that particular match day. Is the player sick? Is the player not willing to fight strong enough? Is one of the players clearly more in form than the other? And so on…
If we are betting live, all of these questions already have an answer!
You are watching (or just following) the game as it happens, so you have a lot of valuable information in front of your eyes. You know who is playing well, you know who is playing below their level, and you can also see how the playing conditions (surface, weather, player form) are affecting the match.

In particular, there are 2 or 3 things that I normally evaluate for my tennis live betting strategy.

A Simple yet Powerful Tennis Live Betting Strategy

My years working as a trader for an international bookmaker have thought me this: a favorite that starts the game slowly, go down in scores and then bounces back and wins the match, normally means troubles for the bookmaker. No matter how good the trader dealing with the match is, the bookmaker is going to lose money on the moneyline (match winner) market.

As simple as it might sound, this is true.
And it does not only apply to tennis but to many other sports too. It is a general rule for live sports betting on the moneyline.

Tennis is a unique sport

This is amplified in tennis. The main reason for this is that tennis is not a time-based sport, but it is a sport that is based on points. No matter how long the match might be. No matter how big the underdog’s advantage might be. They always have to score a certain amount of points to close the game out.

You might then argue: so, what about baseball and volleyball?
You are right, those work pretty much in the same way. But in tennis you are alone (let’s forget about doubles). And you are alone all the time!
Mind, mental strength, attitude. It does not matter how you call it, but this is by far the number one factor in tennis (at top level), and especially in women’s tennis, where this tennis live betting strategy finds its best application.

Tennis is also unique because a few points can drastically change the moneyline odds for each player to win. A break is when the serving player loses the game, meaning that the player who is returning won it. And a break is what changes the odds the most.
Normality is that the player holds the serve and wins that game, while the opposite (a break of serve) has a big impact on the match and affects moneyline the most.

We can surely take advantage of this. Let’s see how with a couple of examples taken from my personal betting activity.

Petra Kvitova versus Veronica Cepede Royg

French Open 2018, first round. Petra Kvitova is a huge favorite priced at 1.10 (-1000) against Cepede Royg, an almost unkown player.
I think that Kvitova will win the match, but there is no point in placing a bet at this price right? So, I just pass and follow the live action.
Kvitova, a very talented player but with lots of ups and downs, starts the match slowly. Cepede Royg is able to take advantage of this and secures the first set 6-3.

As soon as Kvitova lost the first set I placed a good sized bet on Kvitova to win the match. Odds have now risen to almost 2.00 as Kvitova is playing poorly and it seems that Cepede Royg has a real chance to win it all.
But… Not really.
With odds at around 1.75, Cepede Royg is now the favorite, and the implied probability is just above 57%. And if we consider the closing odds, before the start of the match? Cepede Royg was priced at 8.33: around 12% probability.
As a tennis bettor who knows the game of tennis a little bit, I know that a set does not mean much. And for sure, a set lead does not justify the difference in the moneyline odds.
I am willing to take Kvitova every single time here!

Kvitova versus Cepede Royg live betting odds screenshot from Betfair

The explanation

This is a screenshot taken from the bookmaker that I usually use for tennis live betting, if you ask me it is by far the best. It is technically not a bookmaker, but an exchange: a website where you can trade your bets like you would trade stocks on the stock market. Knowing how Betfair Exchange works is behind the scope of this article, but I just wanted to mention it so that you do not get overwhelmed by the information on the screenshot.


I just wanted to show that in this case a nice bet on Kvitova (around 1,000£) actually involved only a few minutes of “risk”. Basically the first 3 games of the second set as after that Kvitova’s odds drastically dropped following a quick turn of events in the game
One side note on this bet: after easily winning the second set, Kvitova had a nice lead in the third as well. I decided to cover up my bet a little bit, backing Cepede Royg at very high odds just for safety. And this is why in the screenshot you see a potential profit of 200£ with a win by Cepede Royg (which did not happen).

You can even take this tactic further as you don’t have to wait for a full set to be played. Let’s see the next example.

Krystina Pliskova versus Serena Williams

I bet you know who Serena Williams is! But have you ever heard of Kristyna Pliskova (not Karolina Pliskova, but her weaker sister)?
If your answer is yes, you are probably passionate about tennis; if your answer is no, that is normal. The only thing that you have to know to understand this live tennis bet is the starting situation.

Pliskova vs Williams match analysis screenshot from BetzCenter.com

This is a screenshot of the French Open 2018 match between Kristyna Pliskova and Serena Williams taken from betzcenter.com (follow the link to check the complete match analysis). You can see that Serena Williams, surprise, surprise, started the match as a favorite. A slight favorite.
You can also see that one of our tennis experts predicted Serena Williams to win with a pretty high confidence and that the match result followed expectations.

Pliskova started the match better than Williams and was leading by a break in the first set. It seemed like the right time to place our live betting on Serena Williams to win the match in the end.

Pliskova versus Williams live betting odds screenshot from Betfair

So, Williams started the match priced at 1.483 on Pinnacle. She goes down by a break and she is losing the first set. That is the right moment to place a first bet on Williams, whose odds have increased to around 3.
Serena Williams, who as we know is a much better player than Pliskova, bounces back and wins the first set and the second. Williams wins the match. And we cash in the sweet profit.

A quick side note regarding the strategy

As live betting in general, and in particular on tennis, is very hectic, I like to pick games that can be good for this strategy before the first game of the day starts. For example, let’s say that the first tennis match starts at around 11am (Central European time). At 10am or so I make sure I have noted down the matches that could fall into this strategy. I try to see if any of the favorites of the day might struggle early in the game.
Talking about being cold-blooded and its importance in the live betting strategy. This definitely helps me not getting too involved in matches that I should stay away from.

Why is this tennis live betting strategy good?

I think that there are a few reasons why this strategy matches well with tennis.

  • Tennis is hectic, the result has various quick turns throughout the match. There are lots of opportunities to place bets at good odds.
  • Bookmakers power is limited here. Bookmakers will always have a margin on us, but… In this particular case they have to put out juicy odds that we can take advantage of.
  • A tennis match is always pretty balanced and always requires the leading player to make the final effort to close the match out. No matter how big the lead might seem. Check this article out!
  • Tennis betting limits, on main events, are high. They might be lower when odds are released. But when a match is live you should encounter no limit-related stake issues.
  • As we saw, there is a big number of matches every day and throughout the season. This gives us the chance to be selective (or even very selective). We can afford to only pick the matches that we like. We can only bet on the favorites that we really think will come back after a slow start. There is no need to place a lot of bets every week.

The Right Bookmakers

Obviously, this betting strategy finds good application on bookmakers that are strong at offering live betting. Pretty much all of them nowadays. But… Ideally you should use it on a betting exchange. Limits are high, pace is fast, placing a bet is extremely quick and not subject to odds and market suspensions.
If you ask me Betfair Exchange is by far the best in this category.
Pinnacle, even if not the best for live betting, is still a good option as odds on this website are always juicy!

The Down Sides

As all good things, even this tennis live betting strategy has its down sides. And, I wanted to wrap up and conclude listing them so that you can avoid mistakes, or at least some.

  • It is time consuming! Unless you hire someone or build a bot that does the job for you, you will have to follow the tennis season regularly and daily to be able to place the bet at the right time.
  • Live betting can easily become overwhelming and cost you your whole bankroll. Be careful and start with small stakes!
  • Bad beats and bad things will happen. Some player might even retire during the match, rain could interrupt the game and mix things up, and so on.. Your strategy and bankroll management should not be affected by this.
  • You need to know the form of the players. You need to know that a specific favorite is not losing because he/she is out of shape.
It’s May 2019.
Soccer leagues ended, NBA is finished, NFL regular season will start in September. This is couple of months from now. What to bet now? I need betting, I need adrenaline.
Are you asking the same question somewhere in May, June every year?
I see this pattern every single year. Somewhere in May people start writing me how to bet baseball. Some of them just need action and after all leagues and sports ended, they try to find another way how to spend their money on betting. And of course there is a baseball. Basically it is the only big market team sport at that time available and in full swing. In 2018 we had World Cup and a lot of gamblers put their money there, but in 2019, there is no such event and I believe that somewhere in May, June there will be huge interest in how to bet baseball.
But of course this is not the right way how to win baseball season. Baseball has 2430 regular season games and if you add couple of playoffs games, then you see that this is more than NFL, NBA and soccer league games combined.
If you can fake it with NFL league, where you can just win the season by luck on 50 games and when we see many gamblers showing their results like “we are on red hot run 20-9 in last 29 games”,  in baseball it is little bit harder to fake it.
First of all most bettors have no strategy, not enough knowledge, no discipline, nor the patience to stay alive whole season. Up to 15 games every single day are very tempting for a regular gambler, who can of course not fight against the bookmakers on a regular basis.
After NBA, Soccer, NFL and other more attractive leagues and sports most bettors will turn to baseball. But most of them will say, that baseball is much harder sport to bet, because the best team will win around 60% of all games and the worst team will win around 40% of all games. And we all know that amateur gamblers like to bet on huge favourites and then they like to brag about their wins. So, when you have a sport where you almost never have “sure” winner, as they like to say, then of course the sport is hard to bet. But they don’t understand that their focus is wrong (looking for winners instead of value, but about this little bit later).
Baseball is all about numbers. And when you have an average gambler without any knowledge about statistics, of course he will say that this is too much for him. But still, adrenaline and betting is  more tempting. How can he be without betting for next 3-4 months? No way. So let’s find a way how to gamble.
And he starts to search on the internet about MLB betting. He finds some sites, that guarantee huge profit and he is ready to find good handicappers for MLB. So he can sit at home, open email once per day and becomes a millionaire without a work. Yeah 🙂.
But of course, the list of handicappers is huge. Every single handicapper you see on twitter or anywhere else is a World Champion of betting. There is many old guys from Vegas, who have “special” gift to tell you who will win the next day. So, who to follow? How to bet baseball? What  should I focus on? Where to start?
And this is why I will try to help you with couple of practical advices how to bet baseball, on what you should focus and I hope I will give you better chance to win.
Let’s start with the first important thing… simple understanding of the concept.
I like to compare betting with some other for us trivial things. Car selling, tomato selling on market, importing bananas,…
Let’s say you want to make money selling bananas. What will you do first?
I would probably start researching bananas first. There is probably big science about bananas. Different types, green, yellow, blue, orange, black, pink bananas… I don’t know. Then I would try to learn everything about those types of bananas and find out how would I make a profit with them.
How much I need to invest in bananas, where to buy them, how I will transport them here, for which price I can sell them here. What are my expenses for everything. And I can tell you that in my country we have a millionaire who is importing bananas. I think he knows everything about bananas, maybe he talks to them every night. But one is for sure, he knew exactly how much was his initial investment and how much he gains now.
He didn’t just google it for 5 minutes one “Vegas Banana Joe” and ask him for a pick. I think he made a huge research and how to make money with bananas. Not only he must understand bananas, but he also must be disciplined to work every day, he must understand business little bit, economics, etc…
Secondly, after he researched the market and understand what are bananas, then he started researching how he will make profit. And the basic concept of making money are always at least two prices, that you need to have.
First is the price of banana, that he bought from a farmer in Columbia and the second is the price of banana, that he will sell it in USA.
Banana price in Columbia = $1
Banana price in USA = $2
(let’s say that expenses are $0.5)
His profit = $0.5 per 1 kilo
What he needs to understand/estimate?
  1. The price of banana in Columbia
  2. And he needs to know for which price he can sell in USA. Without this, he is in the dark and is risking a loss.
It is not about how big or how yellow is banana. You can have the most sweetest and biggest and most yellow banana, but if you sell it for lower price than you bought it, you will lose. What I want to show you here s that it is not about “winning bananas” (it is not about that big fat yellow banana), but about that difference between your deal in Columbia (your estimated price) and that market price in USA. The better you estimate those prices, the better chances you will have to make profit.
So, what about you?
You want to make money in sports betting, right?
How much time and effort did you put into sports betting knowledge?
Do you understand the market? Do you understand the concept of betting, the concept of value or are you looking just for sweet and fat bananas (winners) no matter what the price is? Do you understand that small sample size of bets will not tell you anything? Can you estimate your odds and winning percentages before you bet? Do you have realistic expectations or you want to become a millionaire with your $500 bankroll?
Sports betting is a huge business and 95% of all bettors bet without any goal. This is why bookmakers will probably always win. When I say, that the knowledge is very important and if you want to win at sports betting, you must first have the right mindset, right strategy and the goal. What you want from it, what is your realistic goal, what are you willing to invest at the start (in terms of money, time and effort) and then what are you willing to pay every day.
Baseball season will start soon and many gamblers, bettors, handicappers and other people involved in sports betting will be part of the season.

#1 Mindset

My first advice is always the right mindset. No matter if you will find the way how to beat the market and no matter if you will have the best formulas to estimate baseball prices (odds), if you will not have the right mindset and if you will not understand what are you doing, you will probably lose. I saw many handicappers, that had 8 good months and then they lost everything in just 3 weeks. They were good, but they didn’t have discipline, they didn’t have the right mentality and this is one very important thing.
Sports betting is an active income, it is not passive income like some people want to show us. Because in sports betting and especially in baseball you need to bet and analyse games every single day. You will need to put some work into it. If not, don’t expect any results. Sometimes I receive emails from people that want money without doing nothing. If this would be so easy, then we would all sit at home and we would be already millionaires, right? Be serious. Even if you create passive income, you need to be very active before that. No pain  – no gain. Simply as that.

#2 Basic Knowledge and understanding

One part of preparation for MLB season is the knowledge. I hope you understand that the odds represent the prices on the betting market.
For example if you have the odds 2.00 (US +100), this means, that when you bet $100, you make a profit of $100. Right? (2*$100 = $200, $200-$100 = $100).
And if you have the odds of 2.20 (+120), this means that when you bet $100, you make a profit of $120.
Odds are nothing else then market prices, that you will be paying. Those prices are offered by bookmakers. They will always take some fees for their service and to beat them you need to find a way how to come against them with your prices. Remember that business with bananas? You need to find the way how to buy banana for $1 in Columbia and sell it for $ in USA.
This is the main concept of making money in sports betting. Not looking for winners, but the value. The value represent that difference between your price and market price. Between banana from Columbia and that price in USA. If you don’t agree with this or if you don’t understand this simple concept and if you think, that Vegas Joe will make you rich with his winning pick the next day, then you are wasting your time here. But I believe with the internet and more and more information more and more people will learn the concept.
Another thing here which is very important is the probability. Odds represent the probabilities and I will show you here how to turn bookmakers odds into implied probabilities and how to calculate their fees (margins).
Colorado Rockies 2.48 (+148 US odds)
LA Dodgers 1.60 (-167 US odds)
When bookmakers release their odds, which are the prices on the betting market, they show us basically what they think about probabilities of the the outcomes in one game. Of course thy will move the line before the game will start because of different reasons, but if we focus on this game between Colorado and LA Dodgers, you can easily estimate quickly the probabilities for this game.
Odds
US odds
Impl probabilities
Margin
Fair
Fair odds
Fair US odds
Colorado
2.48
148
0.4032258065
1.028225806
0.3921568627
2.55
155
LA Dodgers
1.6
-167
0.625
0.6078431373
1.64516129
-155
Implied probabilities = 1/odds
Margin = Implied probability (Colorado) + Implied probability (LA Dodgers). 1.028225806 – 1 = 0.028225806. And this is the fee, that you pay to the bookmakers every time you make a bet 2.8225806%
Fair = Implied probability  / Margin
Fair odds = 1/Fair
Formula to turn decimal into US odds:  =ifs(A1>2,((A1-1)*100),A1<2,(-100)/(A1-1),I2=2,”+100”)
Formula to turn decimal into US odds: =IFS(A2<100,(abs(100/A2))+1,A2>100,(A2/100)+1,A2=100,2,A2=-100,2)
Where A1 = decimal odds (example: 2.48) and A2 = US odds (example +148)
You can simply put this function into the cell (google sheets)
And as you see we can estimate quickly what kind of chances bookmakers give to the teams. If they give LA Dodgers around 60% of chance to win this game, usually this number is somewhere there.
The number 60% means, that if they can repeat this game many times, that Dodgers will win around 60 out of every 100 games. Bu they will still lose around 40 games.
And then we see handicappers on the internet that give us guaranteed picks, lock picks, sure games,… I hope that people are not falling into this trap anymore. If there would be sure game (probability 100%) bookmakers would never offer such a game. You must understand that baseball teams and players are professionals and on every single day any team can beat any team. 
The question is what is your probability for this baseball game. Because as we saw it, probabilities are directly the odds. And the odds are directly the prices. And the basic concept of making money is to compare two prices, right?
 –

#3 Understanding The concept of the value

We have another example.
Bookmakers odds:
Miami Marlins 4.40 (+340)
Yankees 1.25 (-400)
and…
…let’s say, that you perfectly know the chances of two teams (not what bookmakers offer you). Let’s say, that you get those numbers from the God.
He will tell you that Yankees have 66.67% of chance to win the game and Miami has only 33.33% of chance to win this game, who would you take?
Most bettors will take LA Dodgers. The majority of bettors will take huge favourites, no matter what the price is.
Of course – because you get probabilities from the GOD here and he told you that Dodgers will win 66.67% of time, right? And 66.67% is more than 33.33%.
BUT THIS IS VERY WRONG IN THIS SITUATION!
So, what we have here?
  1. We have bookmakers odds:
Miami Marlins 4.40 (+340)
Yankees 1.25 (-400)
  1. We have true probabilities from the GOD
Miami Marlins 33.33%
Yankees 66.67%
But we also learned that we can turn those probabilities into the odds, right? So, if you know the true chances for those two teams – The fair odds in this case would be:
Miami Marlins 33.33% -> 1/0.333 = 3.00 (+200)
Yankees 66.67% -> 1/0.6666 = 1.50 (-200)
If one team will win 33.33% of games, does that mean, that they will win every third game? NO. Miami in this case can lose 10 games in a row, but then they can also win couple of games in a row. You don’t know, when this will happen. But we can stick with probabilities here and true chances.
What will happen if you will bet only on a team, that has better chance (not the better price)?
You will lose money. Don’t you believe me? Keep reading….
If you bet always on better team, no matter what odds are:
Yankees 67% bets won = cca 67 games: +$1675
Miami 33% bets lost = cca 33 games: -3300
Net Profit: -$1625 (As you see, you will make a loss, not a profit on the long run)
What will happen if you will bet on a value and not on a potential winner?
Here is 100 bets on Miami on the odds of 4.40 and the real chance of 33.33%. Every bet is $100.
33% bets won = 33 games: +$11220
67% bets lost = 67 games: -$6700
Net Profit= $990 – $677 = +$4520
As you see, if you bet always on a winner, you will lose money, but if you bet on a value, you will win money. Yes, you will lose more games, than you will win, but at the end you will make a profit.

#4 Bankroll and Strategy

And here we come to the strategy and money that you will need for betting. After you understand basic things, then you need to set the goals and lock your money for the season (or even more… I don’t even touch my betting money anymore, until I will not reach my goal).
Once someone told me that he has bankroll. He takes $200 every weekend and this is his bankroll for betting. Well, this is not a bankroll. This is just gambling money. Money for fun, like when you go out have have a party.
When you decide to make money in sports betting, you must understand one thing. Sports betting is one of the riskiest business out there. If you ask any financial advisor, they will all tell the same. Spread your investment money. And you can always have one % of your investment money in high risk investments, because the possible return can be big. And here we come to the unrealistic expectations from gamblers around the world. I see many times bettors with their $1000 dreaming about making a living from speculative business. Of course this is not that easy.
So, the first step you need to do is to take some money, that you don’t need for a living and you can lock it for some time. Here you can read the difference between bankroll and a budget, but for the start lock your money for the rest of the season and stick to the strategy.
Let’s say hat you have 100 units (simply divide your $ budget/bankroll into 100 units). And then my recommendation is that you never bet more than 1-2 units per game. No matter what happen, no matter if you lose or win, simply stick with the strategy. Then you must commit that you will research games every single day and try to find the value (this is what we talked above).
Looking for the value will give you the chance to make a profit, because when you are looking for the value, you are looking for that difference between your price and market price. And the strategy will give you the chance if you lose couple of games in a row. Because if your team has 50% of chance to win the game, that doesn’t mean, that they will win every single game like:
WLWLWLWLWLWLWL
Maybe in perfect world, but not here. It can be WWWLLLLLLLLLWLWLLLWLLLLWWWWWWWWWWWW and you don’t know it. But if you make unlimited bets, win% for that team will be still 50%. But you need to survive those L’s. This is why strategy, discipline and patience is very important.
With this you can also see how many handicappers manipulate with results, when they say:
“We are the hottest betting service winning 20 out of last 27 games”
of course, you can take this:
WWLLLLLLLLLLWLWLLLWLLLLWWWWWWWWWWWW
12-1 record
 –
or you can take this
WWLLLLLLLLLLWLWLLLWLLLLWWWWWWWWWWWW
2-10 record
Where basically we have the same handicapper and same record and same betting skills, but the handicapper took the range of “last bets”, as he wants. Every single record can be manipulated for marketing purposes on a small sample size. With big sample size bets (500+ bets) it is much harder to manipulate the results.

#5 Bookmakers

We already have some basic knowledge and how things work. We also set right strategy and we locked the money for the season. We also decided that we will work hard on analysis and we will stay patient and disciplined.
So we need to find a good bookmaker, who is willing to accept our bets and pay us a the end of we win. Three things are important here:
  1. You need to find safe and trusted bookmaker. Usually big bookmakers have ability to pay you. No matter what you say, but usually big companies will pay you, because they have resources to do this. I am very skeptical to small companies.
  2. Margins. You need to find bookmakers with good margins. If you read above, I showed you how you can calculate the margins for yourself with every bookmaker.
I would group bookmakers into 3 categories. First are US friendly bookmakers, that will mostly accept American players. Second group is Pinnacle bookmaker for international players. And the only problem with Pinnacle is that they don’t allow players from many countries, including USA. Another way to play on Pinnacle or some Asian bookies, that have good odds and big limits is Sportsmarket. And then there is third group which will solve many problems with anonymity and country restrictions – bitcoin bookmakers. Here is my filtered list of bookmakers recommended for MLB season. (Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a bet there, I can earn a commission. This commission comes at NO additional cost to you. Please understand that I recommend those sites because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to bet there. Please do not open accounts on these bookmakers unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals. If you’ve signed up from my links before, thank you very much! I greatly appreciate your support!)
 US PLAYERS
INTERNATIONAL
BITCOIN

#6 Track all your bets

No matter if you win or lose. No matter if this is your first season or not, simply track your bets. You will see where you are, you will see if you can improve and what you can expect. Anyone serious about betting will track his records and measure predictive skills. The best way to do this is to look how you do against closing odds and by tracking other important information, like yield, profit, etc. CLV will show you if you have the edge over the market and if you have constantly positive CLV, you will be a winner on the long run.
According to Pinnacle (which is the sharpest bookmaker in the world): “The most accurate way we have found, to distinguish winning and losing players is to look at the odds a player received when they made their bet, and compare it with the Pinnacle Sports closing line on the game. If a player consistently beats our closing price, they are likely to be a long-term winner – period. Interestingly, we have found that this test is more reflective of a player’s future winning potential, than their historical win/loss record with the company.”
For example my highest value plays from 2019 (adjusted kelly criteruim >2) were: CLV: +3.48% and beat the line 73.39% of times.
I prepared betting tracker for you, where you will also track your CLV numbers. You can download it here.
Download file
Open with google sheets!
CLV is one topic, that will be researched more in the future on my site and we will try to improve our models in that direction too. But for now, one very important first step is that you track your record.

#7 Analysis, statistics and handicapping

You have a bookmaker, you have a money and you are ready to bet baseball.
Baseball game is all about numbers. I will not explain the game and the rules, because I think you should learn this by watching couple of youtube videos or even play some game on playstation.
It is very important to get your probabilities before you bet. It is probably most important when it comes to handicapping. If you don’t agree with me, go check your bookmakers account. Usually bettors without money or any other long term success in their betting career will tell you that statistics is not important. It is very important. Like every step I described here. From the right mindset, mentality, hard working, discipline, patience, analyzing, picking a right bookmaker, estimating probabilities,…
Usually bettors without money or any other long term success in their betting career will look for picks and they want to be followers. I am sure 90% of them will not read whole text and will not watch video below.  Usually those bettors are very lazy (read – not motivated for betting) and they like more the idea of “not doing anything and making a lot of money. Are you looking for picks? Are you here to find free picks and make a lot of money without putting any effort? Are you looking for some formula and some method, where you will not work anything, learn anything, pay anything and at the same time you want to make a lot of money? Check your bookmakers account now (that number of $ usually top right, when you log in). The reason is mindset with combination of all other things explained here (patience, discipline,…). 
Those who say, that those things are not important and that the only thing you need to win at sports betting is “real source” and “real information” don’t make money with betting. 
After all, information are overrated these days. Anyone can find information on the net. It is not like 20 years ago, when some secret information was gold. Right now, anyone can read or find newest information about players on twitter. Data, models, probabilities, statistics, meaningful numbers,… those are much more valuable information to look for these days. 
But for now I will give you couple of tips how to bet baseball and on what you should focus on:
  1. Don’t try to catch a team to end a streak. The season is very long and the best team will win little bit more than 60% of games and the worst team will win little bit less than 40% of games. They are playing almost every day and when some team fall into a streak (bad or good), don’t go against the streak. Almost every single team in the league will have 5-6 wins and also losses in a row.
  2. Bullpen is more and more important. Most bettors will pay attention only on starting pitching. But if we just look at last 2 calendar years, the average innings per game by a starting pitcher is just 5.60. In other words, in average starting pitchers don’t go more than 6 innings. I took as an example 264 pitchers from last 2 calendar years. Clayton Kershaw is the pitcher who pitched 7.11 innings per game and this is by far the highest. One baseball game has 9 innings and if you pay attention only on starting pitching, you are basically ignoring big part of the game.
  3. Lefty / Righty match ups – There are teams, that play much better against lefties and there are teams, that play much better against righties. There are couple of reasons for that. One is that, when a team has a lot of left handed hitters, they could struggle against left handed pitchers and you should pay attention to this.
  4. Exclude mainstream stats like ERA and batting average. Other ERA metrics like xFIP, FIP and SIERA have better predictive power for pitching and OPS, wOBA, and wRC+ for hitting.
  5. Don’t blindly follow betting trends. Betting trends will tell usually what happened in the past, not what will happen in the future. If someone tells you San Diego Padres won 6 out of 7 games at home versus left handed pitcher, this is usually not useful text that is needed for betting analysis. If they won 6 out of 7 home games at home verus left handed pitcher, this is not a guarantee that this trend will continue. It tells us only what happened in last 7 games. You can always turn streaks and situations so, that will be in favour of your pick. But at the same time other handicapper can find situation for the same game, where the trend will go against you. Trends are very flawless information. 
  6. Useful sites :http://www.fangraphs.com/ – statistics, datahttp://www.baseball-reference.com/ – statistics, data, historical data, play-by-play,…
    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/ – a lot of great articles, projections,…

    http://dailybaseballdata.com/cgi-bin/index.pl – pitcher vs batter, weather, bullpen usage

    http://killersports.com/ – a lot of historical data, trends,…

    http://www.rotowire.com/baseball/matchup.htm – pitcher vs batters, daily lineups,…

    http://www.donbest.com/mlb/matchups-classic/ – nice match ups statistics

And I also prepared 2 hour long FREE VIDEO how to bet baseball and how to use simple statistics with some practical advices here:
I will share my bets this (and next seasons) on my youtube channel on a daily basis.
Remember that there is no sure thing in sports betting, but if you put a lot f work and a lot of effort, you will raise your chances for making money.
NOW IS THE TIME TO PREPARE FOR MLB SEASON. Not in May!
I wish you profitable MLB 2019 season.
MB

Hi,

How are you? I hope you are doing well and that you are making profit in sports betting.

I didn’t send any email in last days or week, because I was working on a new site and with A Journey members we were working on betting models improvements.

Here are some interesting things:

🏀BASKETBALL:

2018/2019 Record: 249-217, +11.44

But we also analysed past results (I just made today 1825th bet in basketball, since I run my basketball betting model). For example we found, that Spanish basketball league results based on my model are exceptional (44-16, +24.64, Yield: +39.74%)

Handicap Type Nº Bets P/L Yield % of Total Profit
Home Total 416 40.46 9.73%
Away Total 456 0.08 0.02%
Home HA + 133 12.30 9.25% 30.35%
Home HA – 283 28.16 9.95% 69.46%
Away HA + 284 -3.25 -1.14% -8.02%
Away HA – 172 3.33 1.94% 8.21%
Nº Bets P/L Yield
Over 228 25.83 11.33%
Under 377 2.08 0.55%

🏒NHL ICE HOCKEY

I was working on ice hockey betting model since last season, when I struggled and after the last update, I am 47-35, +13.94, CLV: +0.79%, Yield: +12.34%. The only thing that concerns me is CLV numbers, that should be much better and there is still room for improvement here.

Interestingly that biggest value plays this season (adjusted kelly criterium >2) are +12.46 units.

⚾️MLB BASEBALL

I found that highest value plays (adjusted kelly criterium number >2) beat the line in 73.39% of times with CLV: +3.48%.

This is why I will start sharing my best plays on my site as a Selection bets. I will still regularly bet all those leagues and all those bets from different sports and in the future I will stay away from the leagues and bet types where we don’t make good profit. But for now, you can check my selection bets on my site. 

SELECTIONS OF THE DAY

Bets are selected based on my criteria. Leagues and bet types, where the models has the best results.

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