Sports betting Probability

What is really probability in sports betting, and how it helps us improve our betting returns?

Like you might know identifying of value bet is the fundamental of sports betting. And value bet is going hand in hand with a solid understanding of the probability of an event to occurring. And we need to be able recognize when bookmakers are wrong with their odds.

To fully understand probability concept, we need overcome very common mind tricks, which our brain is playing with us, when we are dealing with probabilities.

The Monty Hall Problem

This is very famous probability problem. To example is explained on TV show with car and goats. There are 3 doors, and behind one door si brand new car, and behind two doors is a goat. Then you will chose one door, a behind will be goat. But moderator gives you another chance to win a car, and you can choose again one door from rest 2. And now is there question:” Would you change your mind, and chose another door, or you will stick with your initial choice?”

You should every time switch!! Why?

And here comes mind trick. Almost everybody think that probability is 50/50. And it doesn’t matter which doors they chose. But this is really wrong. On the beginning you have probability 33%, you have 3 options, and need to chose single one so it makes perfect sense. But, if you don’t choose to switch, your probability is still only 33.3%. But if you switch your chance of winning is boosted to 66.7%. Let’s look at this video below, where it is nicely described.

The Birthday Paradox

Another amazing example of how mind is playing with us, when we are dealing with probability.

What do you think how many people you need to have in the room to have have 50% and 99% chance, that some of them has the very same birthday day like you? You can be surprised with answer. For 50% chance it is only 23 people, and for 99% you need to have 57 people in room.

Basically, we are guessing a lot higher numbers, because we are not familiar with probability and tend to make the wrong estimations. For deeper information please look at the Wikipedia for The Birthday paradox.


The Hole-In-One Gang

Not only bettors are affect problems to ready correctly probability, also bookmakers can have same issues.

Let’s see one famous example is the Hole-In-One Gang, story of two great sports bettors Paul Simmons and John Carter.

This happened in pre-internet era back in 1991. The subject of betting was hole in one in golf tournaments. These guys find out, that probability of hole in one is around 50%. So bookmakers needs to make odds below 2 to be profitable. But in these wild days the odds for hole in one was between 4 and 100. So bookies was been fooled by probability and made huge mistake. And Paul and John did not hesitate, travel around UK, and made as much bets as possible (no internet in 1991).

In this year in 3 of 4 major tournament were scored hole in ones, and these guys take home half million pounds sterling. Back in 1991 it was  a lot of money.


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