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How Probability Relates to Sports Betting

Posted on April 16, 2023

Many people may not fully understand how connected probability and sports betting is. When you see odds and a spread for a sporting event, what you’re looking at is the probability the Sportsbook places on one team winning and the other losing. For example, if the Yankees are hosting the Athletics, the implied odds would be that the Yankees are heavily favored. In other words, the probability, or “odds”, of the Yankees winning, is very likely. This is exactly why if you bet on the Yankees to win, your payout will not be anywhere close to as much as if you bet on the Athletics to win. How much you win is directly tied to whether or not you bet on the favorite or the underdog. The same logic applies to all aspects of sports betting. Events that more likely to happen pay less if/when they occur. This is why parlays have big potential payouts, because every single leg has to hit for the bet to win.

Thinking of sports betting in relation to probability can help you make more informed betting decisions. Of course, there’s ways to make bets even when the odds of winning are seemingly unlikely. The answer isn’t to just bet on favorites or events that are seemingly likely to happen. By betting only on favorites, you will have to win more often to break even. It’s important to remember that the Sportsbook will always take their cut, or vig.

At the end of the day, sports betting is about understanding. If you have this knowledge and understand what it takes for you to break even, and then make a profit, you’re going to put yourself in a better position to be successful. That, at the end of the day, is the name of the game.

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