How To Beat The Odds And Make Your Own Luck

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1 How To Beat The Odds And Make Your Own Luck There is no way to guarantee you will win a bet and no betting strategy in the world is fool proof. You may not be able to beat the bookie, but you certainly can beat the odds on occasion. What do we mean by beating the odds? This is looking for prices that are overly pessimistic, i.e. the bookie rates the chances of the event happening lower than they are in reality and therefore offer higher odds than they should do. If you can spot over-priced lines when they crop up you really can add a lot of long term value to your betting. This doesn't increase the chances of you winning, it simply means that when you do win you get the best payouts possible. In this article we discuss how to spot over-priced markets, how to make better decsions and how to have more fun in casinos. How Are Odds Prices Set There is no magic behind odds, ultimately final prices are decided by other people and this means all odds price setting is open to human error. If you can spot the human error before the bookie does this can often allow you to take a price that is higher than the chances of the event occurring. The simplest and oldest form of gambling is between just two people. This relies on two different people having independent guesses on the outcome of an event. If one person thinks an event will go one way and another thinks it will go another then you can turn this into a bet. If the bet has an equal chance of occurring then the odds will be close to evens, if there is more chance it will be below evens and if there is less chance the price will be above evens. But who decides what the actual chances are of something happening? This comes down to the objective assessment of the person proposing the odds. Modern bookies use many tools to set odds, but the ultimate decision is made by the objective and subjective assessments of odds traders. While these may be trained people they are still people and this means they can still make mistakes. Bookies are

2 also overly reliant on statistics, such as previous form and win rate, and on public opinion, how many people have backed the outcome. Statistics and collective opinion are great at predicting events in the long terms but don't often take into account short term fluctuations that a punter can take advantage of. Bookmakers are overly optimistic, i.e. they set odds prices for an outcome assuming it is more likely to happen than chance alone suggests. This is how bookmakers make profit, by building in margins into prices so that whatever you bet on they should always make money (so long as they have a balanced book). For example, think of a 'draw no win' bet between two evenly matched football teams. The odds for each team to win will be about 10/11, not evens. This means whoever wins the bookmaker makes a profit (if they have an equal amount wagered on both teams). How To Beat The Odds Beating the odds is all about the ability to spot when an odds trader may have missed something or got it wrong. This doesn't happen too often as bookies will watch each other's prices as a benchmark, but it is possible. In addition to using stats and form, odds prices are also based on public opinion, if lots of people back a horse for example then the price for that horse will fall. The underlying statistics for that horse haven't changed, only public opinion, if you think that everyone else has got it wrong, or missed something, then this is your chance to beat the odds. Around 95% of so called professional gamblers lose in the long run. This means predominantly the bookmaker wins but it also means that 1 in 20 people regularly beat the odds and turn a profit. Here are some basic rules that could help you do this too. Pick The Right Events And Markets You are not going to get one up on the bookie very often when it comes to major football, tennis or top horse races markets for example. Bookmakers employ dedicated traders (often more than one) for each of the big sports and with so much information available that mistakes are rare. Try to look for events where your research or knowledge is more likely to have an edge over the bookie. A common example would be novelty and special bets. Bookmakers rarely employ specialists for these less popular markets and are more likely to just benchmark themselves against other operators. This is your opportunity to find prices that are over generous if you know your stuff. It is still possible to beat the odds for bigger events too if you pick the right line to bet on. The match result market for example is pretty solid but if you bet on other markets such as over/under, method of next goal, etc, you can sometimes find a top price that may have been missed by the traders. Novelty And Specials Betting Sites

3 Novelty and special bets are more popular than ever before and for big events such as a government election the amount wagered in the UK can easily hit the tens of millions. Novelty bets apply to both sports and nonsports markets and effectively cover any betting line that doesn't fall into the standard sports markets. Novelty bets can be placed on politics, TV shows, awards ceremonies such as the Oscars, weather, the next pope, next hosts of the Olympics, you name it if you can predict an outcome on something there is a bookie out there to give you a price on it. Many betting sites will also provide odds on special markets if you get in touch with them. When it comes to specials bookmakers are by no means equal, some are certainly better than others in depth of market and value. In this guide we show you the best bookies for specials betting, the types of bets you can place, how to find live betting and how to get the best prices. Best Online Bookmakers For Novelty & Specials Betting Every betting site listed on this site provides at least some markets for these types of bets. Many however only cover the very biggest events. If you place these types of wager regularly then try out one of our recommended bookmakers. A novelty bookmaker Novelty bets are exactly what Paddy Power are about, they even coined the term 'novelty' to describe these bet types. Paddy Power are a fun bookie and this means they

4 host markets that no other bookie will dare too. The bookie have even been in trouble in the past for offering odds on things like Barak Obama to not complete his first presidential term, many saw this as actually offering a price on his assassination! They also gave prices on the next species to go extinct as a result of the BP oil spill. Paddy Power devote an entire section of their site to novelty betting with news and opinion pieces to inform your betting. The bookie have so many specials we can't list them, as an example there are permanent prices on when alien life will be proven. Paddy Power are not famed for having the best odds and you may want to shop around for the big markets but then again you will often find you simply can't get access to some markets elsewhere. From time to time they also run offers around specials bets that can really add value. The only criticism of any is the markets tend to focus on the UK and Ireland. Best for TV show offers Betfred do not have the most expansive special markets around but they are our top bookmaker for TV specials. Every top TV show in Britain is covered by the bookie from X Factor, the Voice, Celebrity big brother, etc, etc., and not just outright result prices Betfred provide many lines to bet on right throughout the running of the show. In general prices are very good with Betfred but the real value comes from the reliable and regular offers they push for the UK's biggest TV shows. Generally, the bookie run offers such as money back second on outright bets. For example, bet on the winner of I'm a celebrity get me out of here before the show airs and if that contestant comes second get your stake refunded. Other offers are available throughout the running of the shows too. Non-sports Home Coral have a dedicated non-sports section that contain most of the bookmakers novelty bets. Have a look though the sports sections as well though as each sport is likely to have special markets. The non-sports area shows betting highlights with write ups on each event they cover. Depth of market is good and the prices available are some of the best I've seen. We know Coral are one of the best betting sites for rewarding loyal customers and if you do a lot of novelty betting I can almost guarantee the bookie will push special deals your way. Broader Perspective Based in Malta with a European outlook you will find more non-uk markets with Betway than any other bookie we list. At the time of writing the bookie are providing lines on over 10 TV shows, 5 awards ceremonies, several elections and about another 15 other markets to do with movies, current affairs, sport and more. UK specials are also fully covered. Fine you are not going to get the type of funny betting lines that you will find with the likes of Paddy Power but that being said if you take your novelty betting seriously this is your bookie. Prices are very competitive and available well in advance. Betway are also one of the best around for virtual, esports and less well know sports so if you want a lot of choice in addition to all of the standard markets go no further. Top value specials Bet365 are our top all round bookie for a reason. Not only do they have an absolutely vast sportsbook they also give prices on almost every major TV show, award ceremony,

5 election and more. Don't expect any razzmatazz, crazy markets or in depth write ups but do expect to find the best odds around on the events they do list. Bet365 are also one of the first to the table when it comes to listing ante-post markets in advance and have one of the highest payouts for novelty bets. If you love betting on sports but like to place the odd novelty bet with the few quid left over in yoru account then Bet365 is for you. What Are Novelty & Special Bets Novelty betting is a very modern phenomenon, the rapid rise in popularity has been driven by the age of online betting that now gives us access to more betting markets than ever before. In the last century novelty bets were placed on an individual basis with punters approaching bookmakers to give them odds on the occurrence of a specific event. This was highly uncompetitive and the prices given were generally very poor value. It is believed that these bets can be traced back to a wager placed in 1989 by a man from south Wales who stuck 30 on five events occurring before the turn of the millennium. These were Cliff Richard to receive a knighthood, EastEnders to still be on air, Australian shows Home and Away and Neighbours to still be broadcast on UK television and U2 to still be together. He only went and won nearly 200,000! A huge amount has changed since then and now you can find novelty bets with almost every bookie in the world. Some markets attract millions of pounds in wagers. For example when the character Lucy Beale was killed off on the UK soap EastEnders punters reportedly bet more on this than any other novelty bet in British history. Novelty bets tend to be seen as fun type of bet and less serious than sports betting and for this reason is often shunned by professional gamblers remaining the pursuit of the average bettor. Naturally some operators lend themselves more to these bet types than others. As a rule the more seriously a bookie takes itself the poorer the specials markets they provide. For example Paddy Power and Coral are excellent whereas BetVictor leave a lot to be desired in this area.

6 There is too much money in this rising market for betting sites to completely ignore and this is why you can get prices on the biggest events, such as the UK general election, from all bookies. Novelty bets are sometimes termed proposition bets (proposing an event will or won't happen), special bets, alternative bets or non-sports bets (although you can have novelty bets on sports). Bookies don t trust novelty markets as much as sports markets because this pushes traders (the people who set odds) out of there comfort zones. It is thought that many special markets are more open to inside information than sports markets. This is partly to do with the fact that professional sports have a code of conduct that contestants on a TV show for example do not. Some entertainment markets have also had their fair share of corruption such as the ITV phone vote scandal. This lower trust level has two main effects. Firstly bookies tend to air on the side of caution when setting prices and so if you can find the market with several operators it is worth shopping around. Secondly payout limits tend to be some of the lowest on these lines and in some instances can be capped as low as See our payout comparrison in the payments section for our bookmakers limits. It is certainly worth checking in advance especially as many novelty lines have high odds (e.g 100/1) and just a 50 bet could hit those limits. How To Place Novelty & Specials Bets Novelty and specials bets are no different to most other sports bets, all you are doing is predicting an outcome or an event to happen and this means most single and multiple bet types can be applied. The main restriction on betting is not the inability to place bet types but the fact that the lines provided are more limited than for most major sports markets. Here we cover the most common bets available for alternative bets as well as how to get the best value out of them. Outright Result Betting I would say over 90% of novelty bets are outright bets on the outcome of an event before it starts. This bet type will be covered by virtually every bookmaker and so this is a highly competitive market. As we know the more competition the better the value for the punter. For something like the result of a UK or US election or the winner of an Oscar you will be able to shop around and find the best price. Remember to look for offers, most novelty promotions are aimed at outright betting lines. If your betting on the outcome of a TV show for example make sure you vis in particular Betfred who are famous for money back deals. Win, Place And Each Way Betting Win and place betting is highly applicable to specials betting. Many TV competitions for example are knock out format. Think of Bake Off or Big Brother, and this means many

7 bookies will give a number of places on outright winners. The each way price is relative to the win price and so these bets also offer decent value. Remember to check the number of places given and the odds of a place when looking for the best bets. Novelty Sports Bets Most alternative sports bets that don't fall into traditional categories and can vary hugely. Some common examples include betting on sports related awards such as BBC sports personality, the winner of the Ballon d'or, etc. Depending on the bookie you will also find various other sports related markets. For example Paddy Power seem to have an obsession with David Beckham and will give you odds on everything from the name of his next child to the next person to sponsor him. Other sports specials include things like who will host the next major tournaments, who will be the next club to move to a new stadium, who will win the WWE royal rumble, etc. Be careful with these wagers if they are not widely offered then the value can often be quite low. TV Specials Most betting on television shows is based around knockout competitions such as cooking shows, big brother etc., but it is also common to bet on events to happen in other shows, such as a character to be killed off in a soap opera. Whilst most lines focus around the outright winner there are an almost infinite number of possible markets, from the gender of the winner, winning coach or judge, highest points, lowest points, next eviction, you name it. It is also common to bet on things like who will be the next host of popular chat shows or how long a anchor will last in the role. Again be careful with the odds offered for some of the more convoluted lines. For example when betting on the winning gender you should expect odds close to evens but these can be as low as 4/6 each, showing you how much edge is built into some of these lines. Many markets will also close in advance for pre-recorded TV shows as there is a risk the identity of the winner could leak out so make sure you get your wagers on in time. Politics Betting on politics is only second to TV show betting. Depending on the betting site you can bet on the outcome of every major election in the world. If your looking for a worldwide focus check out a bookie like Betway that have a more international focus. Many UK bookies will give lines on the US and UK elections but not much more. Paddy Power of course give expansive markets on Irish elections too. Most markets are for the outright winners with ante-post prices but closer to the event you bet on all sorts of things, such as: number of seats won, number of female ministers (or cabinet ministers), next party leader, individual constituency betting, date of next election, overall majority, referendums, first minister to resign, number of votes a

8 candidate will win by, percentage turnout at an election, and so on. These markets can swell to a huge size just before an election and are popular when live betting. Music Punt on anything from the winner of the Eurovision song contest to the Grammys album, song or record of the year. Bet on who will headline at Glastonbury or Reading, what the next world cup theme song will be, the singer of the next James Bond song, NME awards and more. Often bookies (especially Paddy Power) will have specials that focus around a single group or artist. For example One Direction specials seem to be very popular with lines on the names of the band members future children and even if they will have other band members as god parents. Hollywood And Film Specials One of the best value novelty markets around are those on major film awards such as the BAFTAS or Oscars. Most bookies cover these and so these lines are generally competitive. Not all bookies will cover these in the same depth however so if you want to bet on 'best make up artist' for example you may need to shop around. In recent times you can even by on the Razzies allowing you to wager on more fun lines such as worst actor/film/actress, etc. Markets can be found on who will play a certain character in a certain film, who the next James Bond will be and much more. Current Affairs This is the category where you can bet on things like who will be the next pope or archbishop, next Nobel peace prize winner, when Julian Assange will escape from the Ecuadorian embassy, etc. Current affairs is the most popular category for punters proposing their own bets to betting sites. If you want to wager on an event and you can't see the market anywhere else then contact the bookmaker and ask them for odds. This is actually how many bookies get their ideas for markets to publish to other customers. Don't expect amazing value on these bets though. Weather Very popular in the UK especially where we are all obsessed with the weather. This line tends to see its highest popularity around Christmas with typical markets on whether it will snow on Christmas Day or New Years Eve. Depending on the time of year there are either loads of these bet types or none at all. For example it is possible to stake on things like the cost of damage caused by a hurricane.

9 Lottery Specials Lottery betting has more lines than you might first imagine. Bet on the colour of the first or last ball, the lowest or highest drawn number, the bonus ball number, whether it will be a rollover or number of rollovers in a row, first/last/bonus ball to be odd or even, etc. Many of these lines have two outcomes and so you can easily see from the odds price how much value you are getting. My guess would be not a huge amount. Other Novelty Bets How long is a piece of string. I promise you if you propose a wager there is a bookie out there that either has a market for it or will at least give you odds personally. Other markets to bet on include the winners of pageants such as Miss World or Miss Universe, royal specials with lines on who will be the next monarch, royal baby specials and more. Lately I have seen markets on who will have the most twitter followers by the end of the year Accumulator And Full Cover Novelty Bets There is no reason why you can't place multiple bets on novelty lines, especially if these are outright singles. It should be possible for you to combine an alternative market with any other bet. If you want to bet on the winner of X-factor and Liverpool to beat Arsenal in a double then go for it. On the same token it should be no problem to place a full cover bet such as a lucky 15 or a Yankee with these selections. Be careful of one thing if doing accumulator bets like this. Payout limits are often capped on the event in your multiple with the lowest payout cap. Handicap, Conditional, Spread And Forecast Betting In theory it its possible to handicap, forecast and spread bets on any novelty markets. The problem here will be finding a betting site that actually provides these lines. I have seen some of these lines available on politics in the run up to the election such as spread betting on the number of seats won, conditional betting on a series of outcomes and forecasting the order of winners. In general though should you wish to place these bet contact a bookie like Bet365 and see if they will give you a market. Live In Play Betting Live betting on novelty events can be very hit and miss. If your betting on a big event such as the UK general election then many bookies will run live betting from when the polling stations close until the result in announced. This is also common around popular

10 awards shows such as the BBC sports personality or the Ballon d'or and live competitions such as the Eurovision song contest. TV shows generally do not have in play betting as most shows are pre-recorded and this means the winner is already known by some people when the shows are broadcast and so markets can actually even close days or weeks in advance of the show. News, Results And Statistics Some bookmakers devote entire sections of their websites to news and opinion features to do with Novelty betting. If your looking some news, stats or gossip then check out Paddy Power and Coral in particular. In general though don't expect much beyond odds prices for these markets. Live Streaming And Commentary The nature of novelty bets tends to mean there is nothing to stream as such. For example if you are wagering on an ITV television show then the bookmakers can't stream the programme directly. Then again most things that you can bet on in this area tends to be broadcast on free to air TV anyway so there is little call for streaming. Some bookies that provide live betting will have some sort of graphic that will allow you to keep track of the action but then if your betting on Eurovision for example you may as well just watch it. Novelty Betting Controversies Bookmakers are a little weary of many TV shows in particular due to irregularities in the past that has tarnished their regulation a little. This is one reason why prices and payouts are generally poor for novelty betting markets. Back in 2005 ITV in particular were exposed as having irregularities in telephone voting on the British Comedy Awards and later for Dancing on Ice where a technical problem lead to over 11,500 votes not being counted. More recently in 2015 the winner of Britain's Got Talent was contested as

11 the winner was found to have used a stunt-dog, leading to many bets being voided. Bookies only ever need the slightest sniff of foul play to cancel a market. Odds And Payouts Odds As I've highlighted on a few occasions in this guide odds prices for novelty bets can be very hit an miss. If betting on the outright winner you should usually be in a competitive market and so prices should be reasonable with no more than a 10% edge built into the book. Poor value is more associated with more bizarre lines such as will alien life be discovered. This is firstly not a competitive market and secondly very hard to quantify. For example Paddy Power give odds of 100/1 of this happening but in reality the odds would probably be closer to 100,000,000/1. If the bet looks to good to be true it probably is. Payouts Large prices are often available for many alternative bet type with many selections showing prices of 100/1 or more. This means you only need to place a few quid on the market and you are already into the 1000's if you win. Please don't end up in the position of making a fantastic prediction only for your winnings to be capped by low limits. I wouldn't expect to find payout limits in xcess of 25k ftom any operator though. Do Your Homework And Spot The Weak Links When the British intelligence service tried to break the Enigma code during WWII many said it couldn't be done. How can you break a machine with a 15 billion billion different ways to encrypt a message without even a computer? Well they did it and it was all about spotting the weak link, the machine may have been complicated but it was built by humans, humans make errors and errors can be exploited. Finding holes in bookmakers odds is not hugely different. Studying form and statistics is not going to be enough, the odds traders have far more resources here than you and therefore it is unlikely you will beat them this way. Instead research things they don't look at so much. For example, if betting on a tennis match look into the recent personal situations of the players. If a player recently had a baby for example they may be more tired or have less focus on the match. This could make them less likely to win in a way that may not be reflected in the odds. Whatever the market there is always an edge and if you do research, stay focused and don't get misled by emotion then it is possible to find those needles in the haystack. Don't expect the edge to last forever and always keep looking for new avenues. Bookmakers are not stupid, if they see a loop hole they will close it pretty damn fast.

12 Only Bet If The Odds Are Better Than Your Own Prediction If an outcome has odds of say evens and you think the outcome has about an even chance of happening then this is not the right bet. If the odds are better than even and you think there is an even chance then this is the time to take the price. Do your own research and make your own prediction then go out and look for odds that beat this. Try to give yourself a benchmark, say 20% better than your own guess. If you stick to over time it should mean that when you do win your payout value is higher, and over time, this gives you more chance of turning a profit. Here is an example, you think the chances of an event happening is 5/1. In this instance you should be looking for a price of 6/1 or more, this will give you 20% extra on your own guess. Rare Occurrences For more obscure and rare outcomes betting sites are less certain when setting the price, afterall everything is relative and if it hasn't happened before they are more uncertain as to where to set the price. The best example of this is when Leicester won the English Premier League in Bookmakers priced Leicester at 5000/1 to win the league at the start of the season. If you think about those odds that means in 5000 years Leicester (or a team like Leicester) would only win the league once. This means if the Premier League had been running since the Pyramids were first built in Egypt that Leicester still shouldn't have won the league. In hind sight this now seems ridiculous and those few lucky punters who backed Leicester truly did beat the odds. If you were to back every team each year at 1000/1 or more chance to win a league then I think you would be more likely to win than once every thousand years. Of course rare events carry high odds and for this strategy to work you need to place lots of these high priced bets in the hope that the occasional one will pay off. Hard To Predict Outcomes The other option is to look for hard to predict events. The 2015 UK general election is a good example of this. All polls suggested a no over-all majority result, yet the Conservatives won a majority government, so how did this happen? This is again down to human error. The assumption was made that the polls were reflective of public opinion but in fact they missed a huge demographic of people who voted tory. Bookies over rely on these polls when setting prices so if you did your own research and worked out this might happen in advance then this is a great option to beat the odds. Unknowns And New Comers

13 Bookies can only base their prices on things that they know. If they don't have a benchmark to go by then they can only make their best guess, and even educated guesses can be wrong. Horses, for example, begin racing life unclassified and can only be rated based on how they perform over their first year of racing. Horses are then classified or handicapped based on those ratings. If you get in early and think you've spotted the next future star then this is your best opportunity to beat the odds. The same principle applies when horses move between grades, change to jump racing or come back from injury. The rule can be applied to any sport, spot the next tennis champion or the next Lionel Messi and you could make a few quid before the bookies cotton on too. Look For Less Popular Markets And Outcomes As we know odds are based mainly based on form and stats but also on opinion. If everyone is backing an event then this can cause the odds to fall, however the converse is also true, if no one backs an outcome the odds can lengthen. If you can spot these lines then it can be a great way to add value to your wagers when you do win. Most bets have an emotional or personal angle and it is a fact that people don't like to bet on things they don't want to see. Very few people will bet on 'no goalscorer' or even the draw. This means if you back these outcomes they can sometimes have better value than other markets on the same match. Open Multiple Accounts And Shop Around For The Best Prices This is the most obvious thing to do yet it is amazing how many punters (even so called professionals) stick with one or two betting sites. By opening several accounts you can not only take advantage of the welcome deals available but also give yourself the best chance of getting the top prices on a weekly basis. Find the line you want to bet on, set your own prediction, and then look on odds comparison websites to find the best price available. This is the easiest way of adding regular value to your bets. The other reason why it is advisable to hold several accounts is to prevent operators closing your account. Betting sites, after all, are private businesses and If you are winning regularly or betting on only certain types of markets the bookmaker can simply close or limit your account without waring. By spreading your bets between different operators you decrease the likelihood of this happening. Loss Leaders And Enhanced Odds Bookmakers, just like supermarkets, run loss leading lines. When you walk into a store you often see great priced deals run at a loss at the front of the shop. The merchant is doing this for two main reasons. First they hope you might buy other things while you are there that they will make a profit on and secondly they hope that if you get a good deal that you will come back again.

14 Betting websites run loss leading headline bets all the time to get you in the door. These price boosts used sensibly, can be very valuable. Again it makes sense to have several accounts open to take best advantage of these. It is critical that you are not lead by the enhancement, first of all find the bet you want to place and then look for a price boost, if you do it the other way around then you are being led by the bookie. If a price is enhanced you can also ask why? Maybe they know something you don't? Always, always do your own research. Take Advantage Of Good Offers Bookies run offers for the same reason that they run loss leaders, to get you to bet. If you are sensible and take the offer on its own then this can enhance your chances of winning over time. Look for offers, like price boosts, that will give you cash winnings rather than free bets or bonus cash. If you do take an offer with a free bet or promo cash check out the rollover requirements. Wagering requirements are a method used by bookies to ensure that you need to bet your winnings several times over in the hope that you will lose some, or all, of the winnings. The lower the rollover the more chance you have of winning on the offers regularly. There are some standout reliable deals that are available year round to ensure you get great value. Bet365 do best odds guaranteed on all horse race markets Exchange Betting And Arbing Think of and exchange as a room with lots of micro bookmakers. Here you are betting against peers and the operators simply takes a commission. This means you have more chance of turning the odds in your favour as you are only pitting your wits against another person rather than the resources of a betting site and odds traders. Many professionals choose to use exchanges for this reason. Some people that lay odds on an exchange may do so more for emotional reasons than an odds trader would. For example, they may lay higher odds than you would expect on a team to lose because they have an emotional connection to them. If you can spot these types of bets it is a great way to beat the odds you would have got on a fixed odds book. It is possible to arb whereby you back a favourable price on an exchange or with a fixed odds bookie and then lay that same bet at favourable odds on an exchange. In this scenario you guarantee a profit whatever happens. Arbing, while not illegal, is not promoted in the industry, betting sites share information and if you are a suspected arber you may have your accounts closed. Predict Coincidences

15 Coincidences are a classic example of human misunderstanding of how chance works. Coincidences seem to us to occur more often than random chance would suggest, but in fact if you understand probability theory you will realise they don't. Bookmakers can fall into this trap just as easily as anyone else so predicting coincidences can not only be profitable but can also make you look good when you do. In a typical football match for example there is an over 90% chance that two players will have a birthday within one day of each other. On the face of it this seems unlikely, there are only 22 players but 365 days in a year, but in fact you can pair off the 22 players in 231 combinations and based on probabilities the 90% prediction holds true. Odds traders can commonly fall into two traps. One they underestimate the chances of a coincidence and secondly they will tend to push these lines harder to punters because they are more headline grabbing. If you can spot these then you can beat the odds. Lets take a simple real sporting example. We predict the chances of Liverpool winning at the weekend are 75% and Everton winning are 60%. The chances of both teams winning is a simple multiplication between the two probabilities (0.6 x 0.75 = 0.45), 45%. The chances of one team winning is ( = 0.9) 90% and the chances that neither team win ((1-0.6) x (1-0.75) = 0.1) is 10%. In this scenario you are looking for odds better than 6/5 for both teams to win, 9/1 for neither team to win and 1/10 for at least one team to win. Scout around for odds and offers and see if you can do this regularly. A bookie might be running odds for 2/1 for both teams to win in this example, this is far higher than the chances of it actually happening. Have More Fun In The Casino Casino games often have lower margins than sports markets. On the face of it this means you are more likely to win casino bets over sports bets. The problem however is in casinos we tend to place many small bets that over time can reduce our chances of winning. Casinos work on the theory of large numbers. This means over time the casino is guaranteed to turn small margins into big profits. Even with a less than 1% margin over thousands of spins the 'house edge' will always guarantee the casino wins. This means the more bets you place the more likely you are to lose. If you want to be that casino player that wins then pick a game with a small house edge (e.g. roulette or black jack) and decide how much you are prepared to lose. Now avoid making lots of small bets as this is what gives the casino the most chance of winning. Of course the best way not to lose is not to play in the first place, although that isn't much fun. Make Better Decisions And Have More Fun We all makes bets every day, most are not for money but rather are aspects of our daily life. You might predict that you will get home quicker if you take a certain route or you might decide to take one job proposal over another. All these choices are made based

16 on uncertain scenarios and we do most of this by instinct. This section isn't so much about beating the odds but more about getting the most enjoyment out of your bets. There is a branch of probability known as decision theory. This takes into account not only the chances of an event occurring but also consequences that could arise in each case. Let' say you've heard a rumour that a night club is going to be built at the end of your road and you are wondering if you should move. Rank the consequences of both staying and moving on a scale between -10 and +10, if you move and the night club is built this will be a plus, if you move and its isn't built this may be a negative. Likewise if you stay and its built it s a negative and if you stay and it isn't built it s a positive (well, unless you want a nightclub on your road). Now multiply the consequences (on the -10 to +10 scale) by the real world chances of the event occurring. In the case of the nightclub lets say there is a 30% chance of it being built, now this also means there is a 70% of it not. Add together the results from the two consequences of staying and likewise add together the two consequences of moving. The outcome with the highest score is the one you should take. Of course this is still subjective based on your own assessment of the consequences and chances of them happening, but in the long run this should mean you make better decisions for you. How does this apply to placing a sports bet I hear you say? Well it's about thinking of the bet in the context of the overall scenario. If you are betting on your own team then the consequences of them winning is not just that you will win money, it is also that you will feel happier that they won. This is why many people don't like to bet against their own teams, because they may win money but they won't be happy about it. The converse is true when betting on teams or contestants that you don't like. Afterall we gamble for fun (or at least we should do) so making a better decisions for you in the long run won't necessarily earn you more money but it will mean you are happier about the bets you do win.

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