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They may copy them. They may license a data feed that provides lines—this is how most in-play lines are delivered to retail sportsbooks. These lines are a bit of a black box. This is not inside information about players or coaches involved in the sporting event. Therefore, retail sportsbooks must balance two competing concerns. They want to drive as much volume as they can while still maintaining their margins. But they are in perpetual fear that they are getting the wrong kind of volume—the volume from bettors who know more about their markets than they do.
Retail books typically walk this line by taking protective measures. They use relatively low betting limits—doubly so for bets taken on an app or website rather than in person over the counter. They increase the hold in their markets as much as they feel like they can while still driving volume.
And, most controversially, they curate their customer pool—sometimes with a very heavy hand. Finally, accepting bets like these sometimes is good for marketing. One thing you will notice about retail sportsbooks is that they often do not move their lines on action. If you make a limit bet into a market maker, they will usually move the line immediately. If you make a limit bet at a retail book, however, they will often not move the line. Think about it this way. Bullion, jewelry, and so on, in small amounts like people would have in their homes.
Someone walks into his shop with a bunch of heirloom jewelry and wants to sell the gold. This is a lot of gold—about the limit of what he would normally see in a transaction. He quotes his price of market-maker-price-minus-somedollars, and the person agrees to sell. And what if you found a shopkeeper who did that? Every time they bought gold, they lowered their price for the next customer. And every time they sold gold, they raised their price for the next customer?
As a rule, retail sportsbooks are keenly aware of this practice, and they absolutely hate it. For the most part, they know exactly where their lines are compared to the relevant market makers. Most sportsbooks rely mostly on the retail model. If you increase the hold, you increase your margins. Then the trick is just to try to get more customers and get your current customers to bet more and more.
Everyone wants the reliable customer who will click in bets and has no real chance to win. This one will offer a deposit bonus. That one will advertise on TV. The other one will offer a loss rebate. A fourth one will promote odds boosted markets where the hold is reduced or removed. You get the idea. Public Money Sports betting media is obsessed with the concept of public money. Usually this information is presented as-is without much interpretation. Public money is here.
Sharp money is there. Okay, great. Sounds good. Sometimes the provider of said information offers some thoughts about how to use the information. If you followed the discussion in the market making and retail book explainers before, you have enough knowledge to understand why. The vast majority of lines get set through price discovery at a small handful of market making books.
The retail books then use these lines to price their markets. They end up just gambling on the outcome. Limited exceptions to this general rule can happen in markets where there is massive public interest—NFL playoff games, World Cup games, and the like. Most sportsbooks use the retail book business model, and most of the public action is booked by retail books. In summary, lines for the entire market are set predominantly at a handful of market making books.
Therefore, the huge weight of public action has relatively little overall impact on where lines sit. Okay, the public is all over the Dodgers tonight. It does matter a little. For one, market making books get plenty of public action as well. Mayweather was clearly a big favorite. The only question being how big a favorite he should be. That meant to bet on him, you had to lay a big price like or more. But that event was a huge outlier. Because if there were still a sharp side, sharps would bet it, and the line would move.
In these cases, you can likely bet the other way blindly and consider it a good bet. Once the game begins, the markets close. In-play markets open once the game begins. Most sportsbooks these days offer at least some form of in-play betting. The menus at some books can be as simple as continuations of the main three pregame markets.
Or at other books the menus can be extremely extensive with hundreds of betting options available at all or at least most times. Each of these markets have prices that update in real-time as the game goes on. Where the heck do all these prices come from?
Most often, sportsbooks receive these odds as a data feed from a third-party vendor. As a matter of disclosure, at the time of this writing, I am in the process of launching one of these vendor companies. So this is a topic that I know a fair bit about, but also where I may have some personal biases that come through in the discussion. The way it works, roughly, is a sportsbook operator decides they would like to offer in-play betting markets to their customers. They contract with a third-party vendor who provides a data feed with markets and suggested prices.
The sportsbook then adds a hold to the markets—how much they add is up to them—and they offer the bets to their customers. Some sportsbooks contract with multiple vendors and combine the individual feeds with perhaps a twist of their own into a proprietary, aggregate feed which they then use to price the markets they offer to their customers.
Okay, so the operators buy a feed of pricing. But how do the vendor companies price all these markets in real time as the game is in progress? Exactly how any vendor does this is going to be proprietary, and they all do it a little differently. But the basic idea is that each vendor will have some sort of model, algorithm, or other process that takes in information about the teams, as well as game state information, and transforms that into prices for the markets. You want to make an in-play moneyline for the game.
But the basic idea is there. There are two major problems with this, and you may already have thought of them both. Maybe a player or two got injured during the game. Maybe the teams are playing different strategies than the market expected before the game started. Maybe the teams are playing faster or slower. Maybe the weather took an unexpected turn. Maybe one key player is playing at a much higher or lower level than their usual standard. Much of this is information that is readily available to anyone with a web browser and a TV.
They want to offer dozens of markets. All updated by the second. All priced in an instant. Since the game state is a key part of the equation to price the markets, if the game state data is either slow or error-prone, the lines priced using it will also be slow or errorprone. Even if the data feed is fast, sportsbooks are potentially vulnerable to every glitch or mistake in the data feed.
That was the Patriots yard line. Sorry about that. Timeout in-play betting is a style that focuses on offering bets to customers only during stoppages in play—timeouts and commercial breaks. While the game is in progress, the bets are unavailable. Then once play stops, the markets go up for a couple minutes until the game starts back up again. In-play betting is most popular so far in Europe, and soccer is the most popular sport to bet in Europe. American sports are different, though. Things happen faster.
In the NBA, the average possession is now just a little over ten seconds. In football, a team could break a big play for a touchdown basically at any time. Even in relatively slow-paced baseball, any given pitch could turn into a game-changing home run. Not to mention hockey. Hockey is nuts. By the time you see Steph Curry bury that three on TV, likely to seconds have passed since he did it in real life, and the other team has probably already completed an entire possession in the meantime.
The sportsbook knows via their third-party vendor feed what happened on that possession. American sports also all happen to have plenty of timeouts. I suspect as the industry evolves that we will see the timeout model take root as the predominant form of in-play betting in the USA. There are two main business models for sportsbooks. The market maker model and the retail model. You have to make hard decisions about exactly how to move the prices on your markets, and also if and how much to move related markets when a single market gets bet into.
The retail model is to accept bets only from recreational customers. If you determine that someone is likely beating you, you limit their bet sizes, or you close their account entirely. Many operators run a business model that is a bit of a hybrid between these two extremes. Some market makers will only make markets for a few core sports and will behave more like retail books for the other sports.
Some retail books attempt to limit or refuse as few customers as possible. The way lines get made is that market maker books post opening lines with low limits and begin to accept bets. Market makers move these early lines quickly on action. How much to move. How much to move related markets. Which markets in fact are related—and how strongly related. Sportsbooks with the best talent will get to a good line much faster and therefore less expensively than books with mediocre talent running the show.
They may shade the lines one way or another in anticipation of action from their customer base. For example, if they know their customers love to bet the Lakers, they might make any bets on the Lakers more expensive by a few percent.
But rarely will they take this idea too far—typically they will anchor even their skewed markets to the lines at the market makers. Retail books will then peg their lines to those at the market makers until the market closes. If a market maker moves a line, retail books will make the same move. This is such an entrenched strategy these days for retail books that there are third party companies whose entire business is to sell this line service to retail books—they will notify retail books in real time of any movement in any monitored market at the market maker books.
Some will even automate the entire line movement process for a retail book. This is less true for any derivative markets. But the more exotic a derivative, the less likely the retail book will be to peg their lines to those at another book. These days books like to offer as many derivatives on major events as they possibly can. Player props e. Retail books love derivatives and props because their customers love derivatives and props. Retail books will often open these derivative and prop markets by copying similar markets at a market maker.
But as often as not, they will just use the opening lines and most importantly will not peg their lines to those at another book as the market develops. Or they may not copy the markets and lines at all and just put up a quick and dirty opening line themselves. In no case have I seen any retail book attempt to propagate any line move on one of these markets to any related markets. As a simple example, say I see a prop on the number of touchdowns scored by both teams combined in a game.
The line is 6. I bet the limit on the over. Make sure you understand how each of these markets is related to an over bet on combined touchdowns scored. Everything I just said about derivative and prop markets I can say about in-play markets, but even more so.
Trading in-play markets is a legitimately hard and complex problem. Books want to offer all the same props and derivatives in-play as they do in their pregame markets. So right off the bat these in-play derivative and prop markets will suffer from the same vulnerabilities that the pregame ones do. But layer on top of that all the extra information available to you if you are following the game closely.
Sportsbooks often deal a dozen or more different games in several different sports simultaneously. They deal dozens of derivative and prop markets in each of these games. That amounts to hundreds of in-play markets available at any given moment to customers.
Think about how hard it is to get all that right! You can imagine which job is much easier. My business and interest in this industry is to solve this problem once and for all for sportsbooks. Until a lot of smart people put in a lot of work to get all this right, you can be sure that in-play betting will be extremely vulnerable.
In fact, I think any attempt to do this systematically should be considered cheating the sportsbook and potentially a crime. In-play betting is a game, a fun game, where you can use your knowledge of the sport, what you see with your eyes, in-game statistics, and more to try to outwit the sportsbook. Buy your bets at the lowest available price.
But I have a question. A good answer to this frequently has relatively little to do with the Broncos or their opponents. Every sportsbook employee operating in the US has looked at this bet. Nevertheless, you might want to bet that Broncos after all. What would be the implications for bettors? First, there would be no penalty for dart-throwing.
You could bet completely at random, and you would not lose over time. The only way to be a losing sports bettor in this alternate world would be to have a skill or gift for picking bad bets. Weather starting to look bad in Cleveland?
Bet under. Bet every over. Guess what. Bet Rockies Do you think the Rockies bullpen has been getting lucky lately? Only upside for being right. If you bet randomly into this market, you will lose—but very slowly. Occasionally, the synthetic market hold goes negative.
This is a There are hundreds of people as you read this running computer scripts that scrape worldwide sportsbook lines all day long looking for scalp situations and then automatically betting them when found. You choose a side you like better for one reason or another and bet only that side. And whether the market has a 0. This is perhaps the most core winning sports betting concept of all.
Both Sportsbook A and B have the point spread at Missing something important is a huge potential problem for you when you bet into a hold even a 2. Because, again, once the hold is zero, you can throw darts and break-even. So if your opinion has any real merit at all, your Bills bet will be worth making. You turn to the moneyline markets.
Teams that are 5. There are various ways to know this—you can just look at a database of games and choose point spreads around 5. For something this simple, you can also theoretically just look at how the market makers tend to price these games over a period of time. Anyway, one way or another you need to be able to convert that The price on the Bills converts to a Let me go through that one more time. I want a market with zero hold. So ideally, I want Bills But if I were to convert Bills Not only is on the moneyline available, but which is ever so slightly better is listed at Sportsbook A.
I now have our zero-hold market, and I can bet our Bills quarterback hunch by taking the moneyline price. This same idea can be used with other pairs of related markets as well. Game point spreads and totals to team totals. The one slight caveat here is that you can convert incorrectly.
I said that a My model can be wrong. It can be wrong because I built it badly. It can be wrong because it has some inherent error in it. It can also be wrong because the game is changing and for whatever reason NFL teams are now materially more or less likely than in the past to win by between 1 and 5 points. If I think the hold is I need to develop ways to convert between related markets that are very good but not necessarily perfect. Who is betting the Sooners? Who cares. You log in real fast and bet Oklahoma before they can move their line.
This is just a subcase of the more general idea from above— betting into zero or negative hold markets. I estimated the hold by using my college football push rate chart. The sportsbooks have—for just a moment—decided to offer you the hold instead of keeping it for themselves.
Why not? Steam chasing wins. You may not know a thing about either the Sooners or the Wildcats. But you know you can bet on either one with zero hold in this case negative hold. And you also know which sportsbook is likely to have the sharper line, because you know how each sportsbook makes their lines.
Sportsbooks, as a rule, hate steam chasers. You can see why. It would be very hard to write a book to teach you to break into computer systems—at least the way most people would think about it. Teach me to hack the Pentagon. Because in some crazy world where you could go to a URL and download a script that actually hacks the Pentagon, the moment I wrote it down in a book and anyone at the Pentagon read it, they would patch the system.
The directions in the book would be obsolete long before they released me from my detention in a featureless interrogation room. Long before. The core principle in that process is this. Attack sportsbooks where they are vulnerable. Avoid betting into their strengths. Simple and intuitive. Avoid strength. Attack weakness. Of the zillions of lines that sportsbooks offer every day, some of those lines are made through a very robust process where a market maker books millions of dollars of action on both sides.
You want the ass bets. But lists are good. Many traders, risk managers, and other employees monitoring prices. They watch the market—what lines other sportsbooks have. They monitor incoming bets. They move lines. They may decide whether to accept or reject bets on a customer-bycustomer basis. The bigger the sportsbook, the more of these people they will have on staff. The largest sportsbooks in the world have hundreds of these employees.
Their entire job is to use everything at their disposal to make sure you never get a good bet. Small sportsbooks employ relatively few traders, but often they still have to monitor between them hundreds of markets. Small books are also acutely aware of this shortcoming, and so will usually have defensive policies in place.
Large books will have many more traders, and so will make fewer mistakes. But this capacity at times can make them complacent. They may be less restrictive on their customers. They may not notice as quickly a customer who picks them off. Has to count as an advantage in their column. Advantage 2: Mathematical models to make derivative and in-game prices.
In general, derivative and in-game bets will be more vulnerable than the main side and total markets. Take in-play betting on an NFL game, for instance. This is a very beatable market as of the writing of this book. Gimme that! The math that goes into the in-play lines is far from perfect. Advantage 3: Betting Information. Theoretically, the information advantage that sportsbooks have should make it nearly impossible to beat them.
I say theoretically, because information is only as good as the person or software trying to use it. But if that person really gets into it and tries to beat every customer—particularly the high volume, high stakes customers—the information at their disposal can be too much to overcome. Your opponent gets a heads-up display HUD with up to the second summaries of your betting history, including dozens of relevant statistics and an AI analysis of your strengths and weaknesses as a player.
You get no HUD, and you see an anonymized screenname and a cartoon avatar of a smiling tortoise chewing some leaves. This is theoretically a huge advantage. Sportsbooks have information about every bet every one of their customers has ever made. They know what markets they win and lose on. They know who they win and lose to. They know what those people bet. They know how they bet. They also at least currently in the United States—perhaps these regulations should change have the power to accept or reject any bet at any time for any reason.
Take this to its logical extreme. The only reason you can win at all is because the current software sucks and humans run the show. In practice a few sportsbooks are fairly good at using the information at their disposal and many of them are pretty bad at it. The same way you can tell who is good at poker and who is not by playing with them for a while. Advantage 4: The hold. This is the most obvious advantage, of course. One good way to think about how the hold kills you is that it destroys your margin for error.
Since they win more than the Basically break-even. You made four good bets and one bad one, and the one mistake completely wiped out all your good work. This is why limiting or eliminating the hold by creating synthetic markets across sportsbooks is a fundamental skill.
Because without doing that, you have to basically be perfect at this if you want to win even a little bit. Attack surface represents all the possible ways into a computer— legitimate ways in like accessing a website or receiving email. The more attack surface you have, the more chance there is you made a mistake locking things down. And the more chance that your computer will get hacked.
It relays emails from one network to another. The security principle states that you should remove as much software and hardware functionality as possible from this server that is not essential for it to perform its task. If the operating system automatically installs a web server, uninstall it.
Remove Minecraft. For a sportsbook, derivative markets are attack surface. Every one of them is sitting there waiting for someone clever to correctly price the relationship between the derivative and main markets and pick off the mispriced markets. Not only that, but sportsbooks are addicted to these derivative markets. They want more, more, more options for their customers. Disadvantage 2: They must post their price and take bets on either side at any time.
Price things too high, and your customers walk on by. Price things too low, and you get hit. Haggling—while annoying to many Americans—is a solution to this problem. But instead of walking away, the customer understands the game. The customer can effectively sell to you at that price minus the hold by betting the other side.
This is a pretty major disadvantage—particularly so if the sportsbook likes to post zillions of markets including exotic derivatives, alternate lines, and props. And obviously if the sportsbook honors the implied promise and actually lets you bet at the posted prices. To compensate the sportsbook for this admittedly generous offer, they get to set a hold on every market—and they can basically set the hold to whatever they choose.
The hold is clearly declared on the betting menu, and the customer can calculate it easily using the method I described earlier in the book. Disadvantage 3: Talent is expensive. That human is an employee of the sportsbook. That employee is hired from a relatively small talent pool. Many of the people who are the best at this therefore tend not to work for operators. The main deal that sportsbooks make is they put up both sides of every bet, all the time.
Say it was your job to trade stocks for a living. How do you think that would go for you? Tick, tick, tick. Times up. No one sold you any stock. Try again. Hard to win with those rules, right? But the principle is the same.
How badly the delay hurts you depends on how aggressively your counterparty i. As a simple example, say halftime in an NBA game has just started, and the Pistons open at Line has moved. Would you like to make the bet at -4?
You are annoyed, but you still like it at -4, so you say yes. Oh no. Just as the delay ends, you see the line jump to Would you like to make the bet at This is incredibly frustrating when it happens. Most of the time, the clock ticks, the delay ends, and your bet gets approved. The smarter they are, and the more aggressive they are, the more it hurts you. If they reject your bets on any regular basis, your edge at that sportsbook is not what it may seem. Advantage 1: Specialization.
Books put out markets in every major sport and many minor ones and try to put out many markets including derivatives, props, and in-play markets. Bettors can specialize by sport. Many use it to an almost extreme extent. Advantage 2: Modeling. I listed this as advantage 2 that sportsbooks have, but bettors can turn the tables and turn it into an advantage for themselves.
You can gain major edges through math. I want to be clear. Most mathematical models people build to predict sports are utterly worthless for beating sports markets. This is even more likely to be true if the creator of the model publishes it on the internet. Every model makes decisions about what to include and attempt to account for and what to ignore.
They are quick and easy to understand and often preferred by players who are new to the game or new to strategizing about roulette altogether. Martingale Some popular choices here include Martingale and Fibonacci, both of which are considered staple roulette betting systems. Martingale essentially tells you to bet a unit and then double after every loss.
Fibonacci Another popular choice is Fibonacci. Fibonacci is a mathematical sequence that you can find in nature. If anything, Fibonacci is the type of roulette strategy you ought to stick to if you are really keen on staying safe. Here, you would want to double your bet after every win, which statistically makes it slightly safer than the traditional system.
Now, some versions of the game, such as American, may have a slightly steeper edge, so consider this as well. Instead, you bet in flat amounts. The first step is to pick a betting unit. Usually, around 0. In this strategy, you want to increase or decrease your bet size by one unit depending on whether you have won or lost. The principle is pretty simple — progress slowly, either up or down.
Labouchere Labouchere is another fun roulette strategy to factor in. It basically tells you to take an amount you wish to win and break it down into multiple bets. Once again, you are not very likely to run out of betting room for having reached the threshold.
Here is how it works. All you need to do is split this amount into multiple individual amounts you are willing to bet. If you lose, you add the number on the right side of the sequence, so it looks like this: If you win, however, you will simply cross out the numbers on the left and right that you just used to bet with, like this: How you order the original sequence is entirely up to you, which gives you a lot of flexibility and say in what happens next!
Non-Progressive Roulette Strategies Non-progressive roulette betting systems are exactly what they sound like. You will no longer need to worry about upping the ante after every bet you have placed. These strategies are anti-climactic, and they want to keep you safe while winning more. It was actually designed by Ian Fleming, the father of the James Bond franchise. Remember when you asked if there are the best roulette bet combinations? According to Ian Fleming, there are.
This strategy is far riskier because it takes in luck more so than the other strategies here. The main issue is the house edge which will inevitably play a role. However, even if you ended up losing, your losses are not very likely to be too high. Roulette Strategy Fallacies Naturally, there are some fallacies that have been romanticized and taken as true through repetition. There are clear-cut mathematical rules that say otherwise.
Some people argue that clever calculations and analysis of the numbers that have already been played will give you a better understanding of what numbers are most likely to appear next.
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