How to confirm sports (soccer) betting odds are better than any lottery?

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How to confirm sports (soccer) betting odds are better than any lottery?

If lotteries are stacked against you, is it more realistic to win millions on the lottery or grow your soccer betting bankroll?



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Updated on 24 February 2019
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Betting Tips for Today's Football

Find more value in your next football bet. You could gain a betting edge by checking out the tips and stats for today's and tomorrow's fixtures...


Warning…this post contains a mathematics, so I can demonstrate, taking the time to understand the ins and the outs of football betting will be more beneficial for your pocket over the long term than attempting to hit it big with any lottery.

Which has better odds, lottery or sports betting?

Before we answer the question that you really want to know, we must think about the approach that people want to take with their sports betting and lottery games.


There are sometimes different people that will play the lottery or dabble at sports betting, but all financial gambling is designed to do the same thing…


Provide enjoyment, hope and distraction for people while they risk money with the dream and desire to win more money. It is all stacked towards the uneducated, people that have more hope to win money than the knowledge of how to acquire the money.


Everything inevitably comes down to getting more for less and doing something one day and getting more for that one activity than was invested in the process.


As we all know, life in general is not like that. Most people cannot turn up to an exam and expect to pass without attending any lessons or doing any research about the exam. In just the same way as babies cannot walk immediately after birth and they cannot deliver a speech as soon as they utter their first word.


Everything in life takes at least as much effort to understand, practice and prepare before we’re capable of doing that activity. Everything requires effort to get any reward.


Obviously, there will always be a limited few who can simply turn up to exams and pass or win lots of money with no effort. As we all know, the limited few that can do all of those things are either extremely gifted (and well read), extremely talented (after lots of work) or just plain lucky (1 in a million or more).


Unfortunately, you and I will most likely have to grind out our victories by doing the hard work; the work that no-one else wants to do, so we can aim for legitimate bankroll growth rather than false ‘get rich quick’ schemes.

Why is any lottery a bad investment?

Often, lotteries appeal to a broad section of society; across all demographics, it’s easy to see why, as the prospect of walking away with millions after a small investment is the dream of most people.


However, unless the lottery players understand the true meaning of expected value, they will often, lose money, sometimes a tremendous amount of money over the long-term.


Let’s break this one down, so we can understand why most lotteries are bad investments:


If a lottery requires players to choose numbers between 1 and 59 (i.e. just like the UK lottery) and costs around £1 to play, with an average jackpot of £5million (after any taxes or charges). We can use this information to look at the expected value and see if risking £1 with the prospect of winning £5m is a sensible approach.

What would happen if you played the lottery with a single ticket?


To understand the next steps, you need to take a moment to think about what the lottery really means. The lottery is asking the player to choose 6 specific numbers out of a pool of 1 to 59 numbers.


Before we do anything, we must calculate the probability of that one mystery ticket winning the top jackpot prize.

The Choose Formula (h3)

We need to look at something in statistics called the Choose Formula, which can be used to determine the maximum combinations of 6 distinct numbers within a pool of 1 to 59 numbers.


The Choose Formula works like this:

nCk = n! / k! (n - k)!


n = maximum number of options (i.e. 59, which match the number pool 1 to 59)

k = maximum number of distinct combinations of numbers (i.e. 6)

! = factorial of the preceding number, or 4! = 4 x 3 x 2 x 1, 3! = 3 x 2 x 1, 8! = 8 x S7 x 6 x 5 x 4 x 3 x 2 x 1

If we now calculate 59 Choose 6 (or the maximum number of distinct combinations of 6 numbers within the 59 number options), this would give us…

n = 59

k = 6

Therefore…59 CHOOSE 6

= 45! / 6! (59 – 6)!

= 59! / 6! (53)!

= 45,057,474 Possible combinations


Now we have the possible combinations, this can help us find the probability of a winning lottery ticket and the probability of a losing ticket with some straightforward division and subtraction.


Probability of winning lottery ticket = 1 / 45,057,474 = 2.2 x 10^-8

Probability of a losing lottery ticket = 1 - 2.2 x 10^-8 = 0.999999978

How do we change the lottery winning and losing probabilities to expected value? We simply use the Expected Value equation, which we would use for our soccer betting selections:

Expected Value = (Probability of a win x Possible Return) + (Probability of loss x Amount Lost/Stake)

Expected Value = (2.2 x 10^-8 X 5,000000) + (0.999999978 X -1)

Expected Value = (0.11) + ( -0.999999978)

Expected Value = -£0.89 (negative £0.89)

So, even if you played the lottery an infinite number of times and you could only win the jackpot, you would lose money, as the expected value is negative. So, even if you could live forever and kept playing, you would end up with less money than when you started.

How does soccer betting compare to the lottery?

Football/Soccer betting is not the same as a lottery or prize draw. Your possible returns are not entirely based on chance and luck of the draw. Success at soccer betting is based on your decisions to place your wager and the available odds to accept before you place the wager. The two fundamental differences are key in changing your long-term expected value.


If you can nudge expected value (i.e. your edge over the betting market) into the positive and high enough, you will return more wins from your selections and increase your betting profits and your bankroll.


If your odds calculation of the betting opportunity is accurate, it will be a mathematical process for a positive return and expected value is the only approach for you to take for long-term success.

You may need some help on this journey to football profits, but understanding soccer statistics, consistent team performance and betting strategy over the long term can only help.

Good luck!




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