How to Work Out If You Have an Edge in Your Betting
It is a great feeling to win a bet. But even a successful wager can leave you filled with doubts. For example, you might wonder whether you now have a winning system. Can you repeat the feat and keep on winning?
In other words, have you worked out an edge to win regularly? Or have you just benefited from a stroke of luck? It might not seem all that important at the time. A win is a win, after all.
Yet, understanding the difference is crucial. This is what turns a single win into a series of wins. That winning feeling could become a regular occurrence in your life.
If you can confirm that you have an edge it is a big deal. It means that you can look ahead confidently to winning money on a regular basis. If you don’t have an edge then you will know that a new tactic is needed. Or you will eventually lose.
So, how can you work this out? The good news is that there are a few simple questions to help you out. The following points will show you whether you have or haven’t got an edge.
How Many Times Have You Won?
Have you won on a single bet or hundreds of them? One or two wins could be just down to luck. There is no way to draw conclusions from this.
Anyone can hit it lucky now and then. It is best to put this down to beginner’s luck rather than proof of a good system.
You might also fool yourself into thinking yourself that you have more won than is true. Wins are more memorable than losses. So you might forget just how many times you have got it wrong.
This is why keeping good records is essential. You need to record all of the details of every bet. It is the only sure way to know what has happened. You can see exactly how much you have won or lost.
If you want a long-term way of making money, you need a system. This needs to be something that provides value bets.
So you need to prove that system first of all. Don’t rush to conclusions after just a few wins. It can be tempting to think that you have a winning formula. You might get carried away and start placing more or bigger stakes. But you need to be sure of this method first of all.
To do this, you will need a large sample size. The more bet outcomes that you can assess the better. Remember that the operator’s edge also become clearer over time. Bookies and casinos know that casual punters will always lose in the long run.
They also knew that people will win. But the odds are against punters in the long run. Luck alone won’t help you to win regularly.
Those with a smart system can beat the edge. This needs to be seen over a period of time, though. The profit off just a few bets could soon disappear if it was just luck. No one has enough luck to hold out forever.
In some cases, even a system with a lot of wins can turn negative. A losing streak that differs from your normal results is a cause for concern. What is going on here? If you have done a decent sample then you will expect the same results to continue.
Any losing streak is probably due to something changing. Perhaps you were taking advantage of a temporary opportunity that is now closed. Sometimes, a winning system can start to fail because of even a minor change. This is when it is time to look for something new.
Of course, you also need a good sample size of losing bets. You can’t judge your process on just a few losses. Some strategies need only a few wins to counter a greater number of losses. You still need to go on a big enough sample size. And also be aware of any changes over time.
Analyse your results to see how profitable it is. Is the ROI high enough to justify the time you spend on it? This means not making snap decisions based on just a few bets.
Why Does Your Strategy Work?
Many punters have a scatter gun approach or trust their instinct too much. They may win now and then. But they couldn’t claim to be following a betting system of any type.
This kind of person bets for fun. They certainly can’t hope to build a profitable account over time. Many people think that they are beating the bookies. But they aren’t really. They just don’t take the time to work out the figures.
If you are using a certain strategy, it has to have some pattern to it. You need to be able to see why it works. By doing this, you can feel comfortable that it will carry on working. You will also have a clearer idea of when it might stop being profitable.
This is about seeing where your edge is coming from. If you can work this out, you have a strategy you can trust. This will also help you to deal with any losing streaks along the way.
There are some areas where the edge in a betting system will typically come from. It could be because you are getting tips from an expert. Does this tipster get inside information or use tools to work out the winners? You might never know how they do it. But the tipster is giving you an edge.
This is fine if you completely trust the tipster. At the end of the day, you are leaving it in their hands. They know how the strategy works but you don’t. In this way, you may feel nervous about keeping on winning in the long term.
You may also have access to information that others don’t have. This could be because you keep extensive records of every race. Or because you use a database service that provides lots of information.
Either way, you are using data to discover trends or some other secrets. The key is in knowing how to use the information over and over again to place value bets. The good thing about this method is that the amount of data will increase over time. This should help you to make better decisions each time.
Another possibility is that you are moving faster than others. This means that you can grab the best value odds. This is the approach needed for value bets, for example. Since they often only exist for a short time, you need to be swift.
Some people base their betting strategy on grabbing the best odds as quickly as possible. This makes sense provided that there is a clear advantage. Why does moving so quickly help you to win more money? Speed for speed’s sake isn’t enough.
Spotting and exploiting errors is another possibility. This is where you find odds that are wrong. As with the last point, you need to be fast to make money in this way. The bookies tend to quickly rectify any mistakes. You could also exploit errors made by other bettors on an exchange.
Another way is that you have found a loophole. Matched betting is the best example of this. You are placing a bet that can’t lose by betting on all outcomes. The amount of your profit is all that may be in doubt. As with the other examples, you know exactly where the edge is coming from.
If you are using bookie offers this is a big help. You can’t just use offers on their own, though. This needs to be part of an overall strategy. For example, you might use offers to increase the profits in a matched betting strategy.
The same applies to any successful betting system. Your edge has to be coming from somewhere. If you can’t explain it, then you can’t trust it to carry on giving you wins. You are just betting on a wing and a prayer, like most punters do.
Would It Work If You Used Level Stakes?
The results of a strategy can be masked by varying the stake. If you change the stake for each bet, it might appear to be more profitable than it is. You won’t be able to judge it properly in this way.
A good test of any betting system is to try it with level stakes. If it doesn’t work like this, it can’t be trusted to bring you a profit. If it does work, then you will know that it is worth continuing with.
The same applies if you have been losing because of different-sized bets. Your losses might be varying because of fluctuating stakes.
You simply can’t judge your results based on uneven stakes. You will be distorting the results by using unequal amounts each time. This will give you a false impression of your success.
You don’t need to carry out a new sample of bets on even stakes. Just work out what the results would have been with level stakes. If you can see consistent profits then you should be confident that you have got a winning formula.
It is important to remember that a level staking plan doesn’t always mean the same stake every time. You can do this in either of these two different ways.
- The first approach is to use the same amount each time. Regardless of the odds, you always use the same stake. This is an easy system to follow because the stake never varies.
- The other idea is a different type of level-risk staking plan. This involves finding out the risk for the odds. Then you calculate the stake based on that. So, if the odds are lower the stake is higher. This keeps the profits even. So you can tell more easily whether you are making money.
As you can see, both cases are based on following a system. There is no varying of stakes done on a random basis. The strategy’s success can then be more clearly seen.
Did You Discount Any Out of the Ordinary Results?
We saw earlier how a big sample size is needed to accurately assess a strategy. This is how the good and bad results will even out over time. Yet, there may be situations in which an extraordinary result or two distorts even a big sample size.
This is when you win at huge odds, for example. It is the type of win that you might only get once in your life. So you can’t rely on it for future wins. Unless, of course, you used an edge as defined in the earlier point.
By its nature, this sort of result only comes along very rarely. But when it does, it can mess up your figures. A big win is clearly a good thing. But it becomes a negative if it fools you into spending more on an unsustainable system. You could end up losing a lot more than you won.
You need to strip these weird, one-off results out of your data. One way of doing this is by restricting the odds that you bet on. You can make sure that you only bet up to certain odds. This means that the system stands or falls on its own merits.
Even a big win won’t help you in the long run without a good system. The bookie’s edge will eventually erode your winnings and put you at a loss.
A good way to understand this is with a slot machine example. No skill is needed on these games. But you might get lucky and win the top prize of, say, £100 on your first spin.
If the return to player is 95%, then you will expect to get 95% back from betting the £100. Wager that £95 and you will expect to get 95% of that back. And so on, until the casino’s edge has finally triumphed.
If you try and beat this in-built advantage, you can’t. You are just playing the bookie or casino at their own game. Theoretically, no matter how much you win, you will eventually lose it. Unless you have an edge of your own.
Are You Beating the Starting Price?
The starting price reflects the odds just before a race of match begins. It takes into account all of the relevant, up to date information. Therefore, this can be considered as an accurate figure for the odds.
Beating these odds is a way of winning with a repeatable system. It means finding prices that are incorrect, or that move late on. This partly comes down to what we saw earlier in being fast. And also in taking advantage of any errors that pop up.
In terms of odds that move, there are two worthwhile ways to do this in horse racing.
- The first is if the odds rise after you have layed it.
- The other is if they fall after you backed it. The same theory applies in other sports too.
The betting exchanges are highly efficient markets. As are sharp bookmakers. They will tend to offer fair prices taking the wisdom of crowds into account. This is the price that considers all of the factors.
Your challenge is to find a system that identifies odds that will change before the event. It isn’t easy, but gives you a system you can use with confidence.
The Next Step: Stick to a Winning System Once You Find It
By now, you should be clearer about whether you have a genuine edge. Can you see where the profit is coming from? If you still can’t then it seems that you are relying on luck.
What happens once you find a winning system? The simple answer is to stick to it. You can now see that it works. Just as importantly, you can see how it works. This means that it is worth sticking to.
Here is a free example of a winning system that’s been proven over years.
Knowing where the edge comes from lets you keep on using it. So when should you stop? Once something changes that means you lose your edge. This strategy might not last forever. Bookies look for ways to stop winners and technology changes over time.
Because you have looked into it, you know how to spot the signs. Once you begin to lose money, it is time to make a change. Doing this as quickly as possible is crucial. The longer it takes, the more money that you lose.
This is where you get your final advantage from knowing about your edge. You can see when it disappears. While other players could carry on for too long, you should know when to quit.
At this point, you can look for a new system to use. Just remember to do the same checks. You should understand the new approach like the old one. In fact, it makes sense to check out any betting strategy in this way.
Don’t settle for using a strategy that you don’t understand. The more you know about where the edge comes from the better. This will let you make smart decisions consistently.