The Strike Rate is a term used to quantify, in terms of frequency, the amount a system, tipster or bettor wins.
Here’s everything you need to know what the Strike Rate and the impact it has on your betting profitability.
What Is The Strike Rate?
The Strike Rate — also known as ‘Win Rate’ or ‘Hit Rate’ — is expressed as a percentage and is used to measure the number of winning bets in a sample. For example:
- If you place 100 bets and 25 of them win, your strike rate is 25%.
- If you place 10 bets and 5 of them win, your Strike rate is 50%.
The only way to determine a Strike Rate is by collecting more data. Once you have a substantial record of bets, you can measure the percentage of winners. More on that later.
A ‘Good’ Strike Rate
It’s a common misconception that a high strike rate automatically means it’s ‘good’. Strike Rates are relative to the price range you target, and can only be assessed accordingly.
For instance, if you consistently target outcomes at around…
- 2.0 decimal odds, then you’d expect your Strike Rate to be around 50%. You would therefore determine that anything below 50% is ‘bad’ and anything above it is ‘good’.
- 10.0 decimal odds, then you’d expect your Strike Rate to be around 10%. You would therefore deterime that anything below 10% is ‘bad’ and anything above it is ‘good’.
Importantly, you want your Strike Rate to consistently out-perform the implied chance of an event occurring. Let’s talk more on this.
The Real-Life Chance
Every outcome has a real-life chance of occurring. Betting odds approximate that chance with differing levels of accuracy.
For example, if the real-life chance of a an underdog team beating a favourite is 20%, then the correct odds would be 5.0 decimal odds (because 1 / 20% = 5.0). But it’s important to note that:
- Bookmakers form odds that overestimate the chance of an event occurring by lowering their prices. Those 5.0 ‘correct’ odds are more likely to be 4.0 or 4.5.
- Betting exchanges form odds that more accurately estimate the chance of an event occurring. These odds are said to be “sharp“.
Therefore, if you have nothing else to go by, the Betfair odds are a good estimator of the fair price (in liquid markets, especially), and the real-life chance of something happening.
So how does the real life chance relate to Strike Rates?
Well, in sports betting it’s vitally important to accurately predict the real-life chance of something happening — because that’s where the true Strike Rate will inevitably settle. So if you consistently bet on events with a 75% chance of winning, then that’s what your Strike Rate is going to end up as. As a sports bettor, there’s nothing you can do to change that.
But what you can do is use your knowledge of the real-life chance to finds odds that will pay a profit over the long term. This is essentially value betting — the key to winning in the long run.
Importance of A Large Data Set
The only way to find a Strike Rate is to trial a strategy and a record the win %. It’s as simple as that.
A Strike Rate can be produced from a very small set of data. But it’s important to remember that the Strike Rate will only become meaningful once you’ve collected a substantial set of data points — hundreds, ideally thousands, of bets.
The problem with producing a Strike Rate on a small sample size is that it’s easily impacted by variance.
The Impact of Variance
Swings in sports betting results can be described as “variance” in the results. Variance increases when you use high odds, and decreases with lower odds.
So if, for example, your average odds implied a 50% chance of winning (2.0 decimal odds), then you’d expect more predictability in the results than you would than if there was an implied 20% chance of winning each bet (5.0 decimal odds). The Strike Rate is more likely to be skewed by a set of high odds bets.
You also have to consider streaks in results. We refer to it as good and bad luck — but it’s completely natural from a mathematical standpoint. Those good and bad spells will have a huge impact to the Strike Rate if the sample is too small.
Lastly, a small sample runs the risk of producing a Strike Rate that masks the over-achievement from a set of minus EV bets. Or, on the other hand, hides the under-achievement from a set of plus EV value bets. These cases would, again, lead to false conclusions about a strategy’s profitability.
Variance is one major reason why a tipster’s Strike Rate (and ROI) should be taken with a pinch of salt until there’s a substantial set of bets to judge them by.
Standard Deviation — A Step Further
To fully determine whether or not you have an edge in your bets, then you might want roper metric to determine whether your results are truly “fair”. This is where the standard deviation comes in.
The standard deviation is a number used to tell how measurements for a group are spread out from the average (mean), or expected value. A low standard deviation means that most of the numbers are very close to the average. A high standard deviation means that the numbers are spread out.
For sports betting, you can compare the expected chance (using your own % calculations) against the measurements (the actual hit rate). What you hope for is a fairly low standard deviation.
I’m not a maths teacher, so I won’t show you step-by-step instructions of how to work out the standard deviation! There’s plenty of tutorials and calculators online. It’s not unique to sports betting by any means.
Strike Rates: The Important Takeaway
In any betting strategy the Strike Rate itself is meaningless unless the odds represent value.
So if you’re someone that only ever bets on extremely strong favourites at average odds of 1.1, your Strike Rate will be very high — because these odds have an implied 90.9% chance of winning. But ultimately there’s no gain if those odds weren’t high enough to generate a positive ROI over the long-term.
Similarly, betting on only high odds — let’s say 200.0 — would be certain to produce an extremely low Strike Rate given the implied 0.5% chance of winning. Yet if those odds are well-priced, the strategy should still be profitable long term, albeit very high risk!
Whether you have a low or a high Strike Rate, the odds are everything. Strike Rates only reveal the observed win rate — not the profitability of a betting strategy.
Finding Value Is Key
Refining your bet selection method is the most important aspect of your strategy. That should be your focus.
You have to gauge the real probability of an event happening in order to identify “plus ev” value bets in the market, and avoid taking fair or “minus ev” odds (which will not turn you a profit in the long run).
To improve your Strike Rate I recommend checking out:
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