How to calculate odds of winning a bet and reduce vigorish?

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How to calculate odds of winning a bet and reduce vigorish?

Learn how you to get long-term profits. Check how to calculate odds of winning a bet, as real probability is different to bookmakers implied probability.



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Updated on 07 January 2017
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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...


How to calculate odds of winning a bet is usually down to three things; the number of possible outcomes, the likelihood of an event occurring and the amount of money (or vigorish) retained by the sportsbook or bookmaker.

The number of possible outcomes


Now you know the possible outcomes. What’s next?If you were to place a bet that the two-sided coin will land on a head. This would mean there is a 50% chance that the coin toss will land in your favour. So, the probability of you winning the bet with a coin toss of heads is written as…

The number of outcomes you want to occur (1) divided by total number of possible outcomes (2) = 1 / 2 = 0.5 or 50%

1X2 Home Win-Draw-Win Away bets

If we look at basic football soccer matches where there are three possible outcomes. Home Win, Draw or Away Win. There are a total of three possible outcomes of any football match. If we lived in a 100% fair and a just world, each outcome would be equally likely to occur and we could calculate the probability for each of the outcomes; Home Win, Draw or Away Win.

We would write each outcome like this:

Probability of a Home Win occurring: 1 / 3 = 0.3333 or 33.33%

Probability of a Draw Win occurring: 1 / 3 = 0.3333 or 33.33%

Probability of an Away Win occurring: 1 / 3 = 0.3333 or 33.33%

Unfortunately, we live in an uneven and an unfair world it is never equally likely for each of the Home Win, Draw or Away Win within a 1X2 bet to occur with equal probability. This will ultimately change the probabilities and then change your chances of winning a bet.

Top of the table vs Bottom of the table clash

Let’s consider a heavily favoured team, such as a team at the top of the league playing a team at the bottom of league. In this scenario, it is more likely that the top of the league team playing at home will win and the away team will lose the fixture.

Let’s use a real life example. At the time of writing Chelsea is currently top of the English Premier League and we would like to discover how to calculate odds of winning a bet. If we look at all of Chelsea’s home games over the past 5 years when they’re playing a team lower than them in the league. There were a total of 82 matches; 62 Home Wins, 12 Draws and 8 Away Wins.

This translates to the following:

Chelsea has won 75.61%

Chelsea has drawn 14.63%

Chelsea has lost 9.76%

Now. We can take the percentages and turn each percentage into the real historical probability of an outcome occurring (real odds) based upon statistical data. So, this would translate to:

Chelsea Home Win: 1 / 75.61% = 1 / 0.7561 = 1.32 odds

Chelsea and opponent Draw: 1 / 14.63% = 1 / 0.1463 = 6.83 odds

Chelsea lose and the opponent has an Away Win: 1 / 9.76% = 1 / 0.0976 = 10.25 odds

Although, this is a simple example and does not take into account a number of factors or soccer betting tricks. You can start to speculate that the probability of Chelsea winning their home games against lower placed opposition can drastically change the likelihood of an event occurring. This will then massively affect the sportsbook and bookmaker odds.

Probability of winning is changed by team performance

Now you can start to consider the implied probabilities offered by sportsbooks and bookmakers using the odds provided by online websites, mobile apps and odds comparison services.

Dividing the bookmaker odds into 1 will give the implied probability. What is the implied probability? Implied probability is the chances of an outcome occurring if you take the bookmaker odds as a realistic representation of the event. Remember, the bookmaker is not trying to give you realistic probabilities of events occurring, as they’re trying to balance all sides of the bet and collect a profit at the same time.If you look at the odds provided by a recent Chelsea vs Stoke City fixture, you can see the odds are presented as:

Home Win: 1.24 odds turn into 1 / 1.24 = 0.81 = 81%

Draw: 6.47 odds turn into 1 / 6.47 = 0.15 = 15%

Away Win: 13.59 odds turn into 1 / 13.59 = 7.4%

Combined probability: 81% + 15% + 7.4% = 103.4%

When you add all of the probabilities together, you can see that the combined probabilities add up to more than 100%. The sportsbooks or bookmakers are making this profit on every bet that passes through their books. They’re merely trying to balance their risk on every side of the bet. When more money is placed on one side, they simply slightly alter the odds across the bet to balance their risk and tempt bettors and punters to risk more money on another side of the bet. Therefore, balancing their risk and collecting their profit or vigorish (vig) with every bet placed.

What can you do about vigorish?

The vigorish will tell you how much it will cost you to place a bet. Betting tax was eliminated in the UK many years ago, but each sportsbook and bookmaker provides each of us with their version of the tax. This is their commission for taking our bets and it is what each bet will ultimately cost you; even if you correctly identify the outcome and you win the bet.

Remember that you’re always losing money from a bookmaker even if you win, so try to reduce the vigorish given to the bookmakers or your winnings will also slowly reduce over time.

You should also have a look at how to find accurate football predictions for free and approaches to enhance your chances of long-term profits by adding to advice from any football betting guide for beginners. This will give you more details about the easy things that you can do to increase your winnings and become a more profitable sports bettor.

Good Luck!



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