How To Understand Probability Within Odds

I started “supporting” West Ham by betting on them back when I was 17 years old. I used to go to a local betting shop near my place almost every day for the following 2 years. It was illegal but authorities were not that bothered back in 1993. An underage person could easily drink, smoke and even gamble his money away.

As you can understand, there was no internet connection at that time. There was no scope for online betting. You could only choose from tennis, horse race, ice hockey and football when it came to sports. Boxing, cycling, swimming or other sports were simply not part of the offer.

Questions may arise about my betting potential. Why did I use to visit the local betting shop almost every day? Was I winning? Well, the answer is ‘No’! As I matured, I realized one thing, I used to guess right only about 60% of the time and I didn’t go for odds over 9/10. If analyzed closely, I might have won one match and lost the rest in any 20 accumulator bets. I used to exhaust my entire monthly betting budget within a week.

Explaining the maths

Probability is a crucial matter in a betting game. Let’s do practical math. If we use decimal odds, the probability is 50% for a fair odds of 2.00. The math is simple: 1 / decimal odds x 100% = probability Therefore, for 2.00, 1 / 2 = 0.5 x 100%= 50%.
You can take the stake and then multiply it by all other odds on the betting slip in any accumulator bet. If you have 3 matches with odds 2.3, 1.4 and 4.5 and let’s assume that your stake amount is £10, the chance of your winning amount will look like the following:
2.3 x 1.4 x 4.5 x 10 = £144.9 Here’s the formula for easy calculation: Winning probability = Odds(1) x Odds(2) x Odds(3) x … Odds(number) x Stake

Keep your emotions under control

Well, it’s not possible to underline the basic agenda of betting psychology in simple words. That’s because a lot of it has an emotional hazard. Let’s cut that out and follow a simple betting strategy on the basis of mathematics. In this book, I have been more concerned about betting strategy, so let’s focus on the psychology here.

Let’s assume that you have placed 20 bets and you have lost 18 of them. Strategically speaking, you would bet another £100 on the next game. And this is when, my friend, you need to quit! Even if the strategy encourages you to gamble more, you must stop. An understanding of the psychology of betting will help you to avoid the following cases.

Your bet should win

Mathematically, you may come across football predictions that suggest a winning potential of e.g. Southampton but you have placed a bet on West Ham because they should win. Such an approach is technically logical but it is going to be miserable. From my earlier experience, it completely made sense that e.g. Leeds United should win the next game in order to avoid any relegation. No matter what the football predictions had to say about it. It made similar sense that the opponents had nothing to play for. So they should let the one that has something at stake.

It really made me upset to get the results the next day. The teams that had no objective to play for have won over the ones who had to remain in the competition. Well, that’s reality. Probability doesn’t care at all about what we need.

Would be fair for West Ham to win

Again, strategic mathematical football predictions suggest that Leeds takes it all but you have placed your bet on West Ham as West Ham deserves the points. West Ham took only 2 points and it’s for them to win. Everton should let them win as they are playing in the home stadium of West Ham. Who wants to dishearten the fans who are paying so much to see the match live!

Are you thinking just the way I am thinking? Have you resonated with what I said in the earlier point? If you find yourself murmuring ‘it would be fair’, stop right there! Football or betting is never fair.

I am supporting my team

Do you place your bet on the basis of which team you support? Suppose you are a supporter of West Ham, why would you place your bet on Manchester United? I’ll tell you why. To win the bet! It doesn’t matter which team you support. In fact, expressing your support by betting on your national team is utter nonsense. Skip betting on your favourite team. Instead, bet on the one that is playing well. Your money should be placed on praxis, not on a mere ideology.

What does the probability really care about?

So far, I have discussed what probability doesn’t care about. It pays no heed to love, obligation, the “would be fair” concept, and so on. Probability cares only about probability. You don’t have to trust my words. Make an experiment yourself and you will understand what I am saying. Toss a coin 10 times and pray that heads land more than 65% of the time. Now repeat the same experiment 50 times and check the results. Apply the same logic while placing a bet. That’s the psychology and the strategy of betting, be lucky. Ed


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