"Sports Betting as an Investment"

"Section 1: Sports Betting as an Investment​

Making Money by Betting on Sports​

Most people think that sports betting is about finding ‘sure things,’ but in reality such ‘locks’ are nothing more than gamblers’ fancy. Just as in real estate, currency, stocks, or any other speculative market, ‘sure things’ simply do not exist. As a professional sports bettor, my goal is to find and exploit many small edges over a long period of time to earn a compounding return. Winning 55% of games is very significant, and with very conservative bet sizing, you can grow your return very quickly. Investing $10,000 into the stock market for a year and earning a 10% return is considered a great investment – but your return winning a modest 54% of your sports bets would trounce that return.

My picks have yielded a much higher risk adjusted return than the stock market. Obviously, the variance from season to season is formidable, but as anyone who had a significant amount invested in stocks or real estate in 2008 can tell you, such swings aren’t limited to sports. In the long run, my edge in what I do is far greater than the edge that you could hope to gain in any other speculative market.

Juice, and the power of 55%​

Even though most sports bettors are losers in their own right (as a whole, bettors actually win an average of only 48% of their bets – less than they would expect to win if they just flipped a coin for every game), their losses are compounded by the fact that the house takes a cut of winnings, also known as the ‘juice’ or ‘vig.’ Most sports books charge a 10% commission on wins, which means that a bettor must actually win 52.4% of his games just to break even. (Wagering $100 per game, a bettor loses $100 with a loss and wins $90.91 with a win, so he must go 11-10 (11/21 = 52.38%) to break even).

In order to beat the juice and win in sports betting, a bettor must employ a disciplined approach in their analysis of each game using methods that have proven to be successful in the long run. I discuss my math models and analytical metrics in my Handicapping Methods essay, but you must realize that only the best and most knowledgeable handicappers can win more than 52.4% of their games. In their 2007 two page article about my handicapping success, the Wall Street Journal wrote, “…fewer than 100 people can sustain (win rates of 55%) over time. Most of them belong to professional betting syndicates that hire teams of statisticians, wager millions every week and keep their operations secret.”

Touts often claim to be able to hit 60% or higher, but as I explain in my essay on Bayesian Probability, anyone who tells you that their long term expected winning percentage is higher than 60% is deluding themselves. Ten or more years ago a sharp handicapper could win about 60% long term but those days are over, as odds makers have become more savvy in the past decade or so. For a bettor to claim a greater than 60% long term expected win percentage, that would be mean that Vegas would have to consistently release lines with egregious errors, and that simply just does not happen often enough nowadays for claims of a greater than 60% long term expected win percentage. Any short term win rates of around 60% or higher are simply due to blind, short-term luck. For instance, last year (2016) in the first season using a new NFL play-by-play model, Dr. Bob Sports’ NFL Best Bet sides were an incredible 66-26 (71.7%), but that record was enhanced by winning a very large percentage of close games (31-12 on Best Bets decided by 7 points or less) rather than splitting the close ones. It still would have been a great season on NFL Best Bet sides (62%) if the close games had been 50% but I still can’t expect the new model to win 60%-plus on sides based on that one season – although the play-by-play model back-tested at a very profitable 56% winners.

I often hear amateur gamblers erroneously claim that winning 55% of games isn’t even enough to beat juice. As demonstrated above, a bettor only needs to win 52.4% to break even, and a 55% bettor will be very profitable in the long run if they pursue an optimal money management strategy.

Of course, as in any game of chance, there is variability in the actual results and just because you have won 55% in the past and expect to win 55% in the future doesn’t mean that you’re going to win 55% this upcoming season. There is variance in sports betting, as there is in most investments, and I calculate the standard deviation to figure out how much of my bankroll I can safely wager on each game during the season to accommodate potential negative swings while having very little chance of exhausting my bankroll. I have extensively quantified the variance that exists in sports betting, and use mathematical formulas to dictate the exact optimal amount to invest so as to maximize the ratio of profits to variance.

My long term percentage on College Football Best Bets is 56% (1290-1017-40 over 29 years) and the new NFL play-by play model was 100-69 (59.2%) in 2016. However, despite being a combined 148-107 (58.0%) on Football Best Bets, college and NFL, in 2016, I will continue to use 55% winners as a realistic goal going forward. If I expect 55% on 200 Football Best Bets (I had 255 last year, which was higher than expected) then the expected profit at -110 odds would be 200 x (0.55 – (1.1 x 0.45), which is +11.0 units (or +22.0 Stars if my average Best Bet is rated 2-Stars). The Kelly Criterion recommends a wager of 3.4% of your bankroll for a wager with a 55% chance of winning and odds of -110. However, the Kelly formula assumes sequential betting and sports betting usually involves simultaneous betting, which is part of the reason behind using some fraction of full Kelly to reduce risk. If I play 2.0% of my initial bankroll per bet, or 1.0% per Star, (i.e. flat betting) then my expected return during football season (5 months) is 22.0%. Adjusting your bankroll after each week rather than flat betting will increase your expected return, as explained in the KC simulation section of my money management section.

A basketball season with 53.5% winners (my career percentage is 53.9%) on 500 bets would on average yield +11.75 units ( (500*.535) – (500*.465)*1.1 ), or +23.5 Stars if my average Best Bet is rated 2-Stars. Using a conservative 1.6% of bankroll per bet (full Kelly at 53.5% at -110 odds is 2.35% of bankroll), or 0.8% per Star, results in an expected return of 18.8%. So, despite a lower overall winning percentage and smaller average wager size, a season’s worth of basketball wagers is fairly comparable to a season of football because there are so many more Best Bets in basketball season.

The NBA Guru Basketball service has achieved even higher returns in the 5 seasons that the Guru has been with Dr Bob Sports. The NBA Guru has an incredible record of 647-532-20 (54.9%) on his Best Bets over 5 seasons and 1366-1118-41 on a Star Basis for +136.0 Stars (with an extra -0.2 for added juice), which is an average of +27.2 Stars per season. You can risk more of your bankroll per play with the NBA Guru because he has a higher win percentage and fewer plays. I recommend 2.0% of your bankroll per play, or 1.0% per Star on NBA Guru Best Bets.

Money Management​

Money Management is as critical to a sports investor as picking winners. I have devoted many hours of careful analysis and math to optimal money management systems, which I have painstakingly outlined in my Money Management articles. Sports betting is more high risk (higher volatility and standard deviation of return) than stocks, but also results in a higher return if you follow a proven long term winning handicapper (of which there are very few).

My Money Management articles outline how to adjust your bet sizing based on your goals (expected return vs. probability of positive returns), your investment length (one season or many), your growth preference (flat or compounding), your risk tolerance (high or low) and the proportion of your overall bankroll which is made up by sports betting.

It is always better to set conservative expectations to avoid over betting.

Factoring in the Cost of my Service"​

continued at:​



EOG Master
I like Dr. Bob but how rich to call sports betting a investment when you don't bet.
Greenbacks;5938466 said:
Most casual bettors don’t make a profit from their sportsbetting hobby. This includes bettors who are relatively sharp as well as those who couldn’t pick a winner if their lives depended on it. That’s not a horrible thing either – if every bettor won, sportsbooks would be going belly up and bettors would run out of places to play.

Many bettors really don’t seem to care very much about earning a long term profit. They like to have some action on games as a form of recreation or excitement, not as an investment decision. Many of these types of bettors are far more interested in TV games than anything else, and they tend to bet more on bigger games, like the Super Bowl or the NCAA Tournament.
Much of the industry jargon considers money management as important as picking winners, if not more so. And it certainly is. But throwing around buzzwords like ‘money management’ and describing esoteric concepts like ‘isolate a percentage of bankroll’ and ‘positive expectation bets’ really doesn’t help the fortunes of most recreational bettors.
If you, personally, are content with betting for entertainment purposes only than this essay will serve little purpose. But if you wish to be a successful sports bettor, even as an amateur, and earn a profit from your betting over an extended period of time, here are some tips that should help you in that quest.
Don’t bet into bad numbers
Professional handicappers recognize the value of the half point. On the average college basketball Saturday, for example, there are at least ? dozen games that are won or lost against the spread by a point or less. If he bet on the game, the pro bettor will be on the right side of just about every one of those decisions. He’ll either be getting the push when others lost, or he’ll get the win when others pushed. (I use ‘he’ because, to be honest, every professional sports bettor that I know is a man – this is a very segregated industry in that regard).
The pro will take the extra time to shop around for the best number at multiple sportsbooks. He’ll have accounts that are funded in enough places to ensure that when he finds the line that he is looking for, he’ll be able to place the bet. He’ll have an idea of which direction the line is likely to move, enabling him to bet early or late, depending on which time offers an advantageous number.
The pro wins by a half point far more often than he loses by the hook. Making a modest 20 bets a week (1000 a year, a number that is on the low side for most professionals), it is not unusual to gain an extra 10 or 15 wins a year and another 10 or 15 pushes just by betting into good numbers. Assuming the bettor is betting a modest 2% of his bankroll on any given play, those 20 or 30 favorable decisions translates into a 40-60% swing in his return on his sportsbetting investment. That’s not chump change, folks, it’s hard earned profit gained one half point at a time!
Make more straight bets and fewer parlays
Professional bettors make the vast majority of their bets as straight bets, not as parlays. For amateurs, the number is closer to 50:50, and there are many, many amateurs who rarely straight bet at all. But the straight bet is the pro’s bread and butter.
Professionals are satisfied with the return on investment from a 3-2 day, or a 12-8 week. They are in it for the long haul, not always looking for the quick score that parlays provide. Amateurs are often lured by the big paydays that winning parlays provide, conveniently forgetting that a season largely consisting of steady 2-1 type days will be even more profitable than the big hits that parlays provide even in a good overall season.
Straight bettors never curse the 4-1 days – when they pick more winners than losers – because they make a profit every time, while parlay bettors don’t. There’s a reason that every sportsbook in Las Vegas has their parlay cards prominently displayed – frankly, parlays pay the bills at most joints here in town. That’s not to say pro bettors never go for the longshot score, but when they do, they do it for a considerably lesser percentage of their bankroll, and they do it in conjunction with their straight bets, not in lieu of them.
Concentrate more on box scores and less on final scores
It’s easy to look at the final score of a game and make all kinds of false assumptions. This team got killed; that team gave ‘em all they could handle. But without reading game recaps and looking at box scores, you really have no idea of what took place, and what kind of current form the teams you are examining are in.
It’s key to handicap games again, after the games are over. What happened that you expected to happen, and what was a surprise? Which things are likely to repeat themselves, and which are something of an anomaly?
Here’s an example. The Pistons play the Cavs at home, as nine point favorites, but win by only seven, 97-90. But looking at the box score, it’s clear that Detroit dominated for most of the game. The Pistons won the rebounding battle and forced Cleveland into turnovers. They led by double digits at halftime and after three quarters. But the Cavs hit some late shots in garbage time and made the final score closer than the game was.
On that same night, the Wizards are nine point favorites to the Raptors, and win by that same 97-90 margin. But the box score here indicates a whole different story. The Wizards trailed throughout this game, but got hot in the 4th quarter to steal the win. Washington made an uncharacteristic 27-30 from the free throw line, and hit ten three pointers, while Toronto shot just 4-19 in the 4th quarter.
By examining the box scores you can recognize that the Pistons are in better form than the Wizards. Your expanded knowledge of how the two games with the same final score actually played makes your future wagers involving those teams more likely to be successful.
Take advantage of value
Linesmakers have a pretty good idea of which way the money is going to flow once they hang their opening numbers. And amateur bettors are a big part of this, falling in love with ‘public’ teams, betting them over and over again.
In college sports, these ‘public’ teams are usually in the Top 25, from a major conference – well known schools. In the pro sports, they are the hottest teams, teams at the top of their respective divisions or conferences. The professional bettor will recognize this public bias, notice that the lines are inflated for many of the best teams in the country, and either bet against many of the good teams or pass on their games entirely.
Instead, the pro’s concentrate much more on backing the ‘good but not great’ type of squads, teams that have fallen underneath the public’s collective radar, as well as fading some of the mediocre type squads that are in poor current form. The pros bet against Top 25 clubs far more often than they back ‘em – that’s where the value is, catching six points with an underdog that should only be getting four.
It’s equally important to recognize when the linesmakers have priced you out of a play. The Mavericks and the Suns have been red hot in the NBA for the last months. While few bettors of any ilk like to step in front of juggernauts like these, they also recognize that the time to back these two squads has come and gone – there’s no value on their respective sides now that the linesmakers and bettors have finally made the necessary adjustments.
Be smart when betting your streaks.
It’s one of the most common mistakes that amateurs make, and it’s quite possibly the most costly. Amateurs press their losses, raising the stakes to get back to even off a losing week/streak. Pro bettors know that there will be times when you lose more than you win. Hopefully, those times are few and far between, but inevitably, they will happen to everybody.
Rather than raising the stakes during a bad run, the pro lowers his stakes, conserving bankroll while waiting for things to turn around. There’s no ‘double or nothing’ attitude on Monday Night Football games for the pro.
Conversely, the pro knows that winning streaks are the time to press your bets, not the time to pull back with a conservative approach to their recent profit. When a ‘capper is in good form and good rhythm, with his read on the games in solid form and the bounces generally falling in his direction, he’s not afraid to raise his stakes a bit, making larger plays when the percentages are in his favor (positive expectation wagers). It sounds so basic – don’t chase losses, ride your winning streaks, but few amateur bettors are able to maintain an even keel during periods of higher rates than the norm of both successes and of failures.



EOG Master
dr bob service probably wins but you still need don best to get an overall view.. there is a lot of over head just with those 2 services.