There are several factors to assess when choosing sports betting sites. One of the major considerations is the betting margins.
Introduction to Betting Margins
Before appraising bookies by their betting margins, it’s important to understand exactly what it all means.
Basically, Bookmakers will always aim to offer odds that are lower than the real probability of an outcome implies. This difference between the odds and reality is what creates their “betting margin”, and enables Bookies to generate a profit regardless of the outcome of a sporting event.
So, the bigger the bookmaker’s margin, the lower the odds are, and the less profit there is for punters. Therefore bettors want the highest possible odds for each of their bets.
Generally speaking punters can find the lowest margins (highest odds) using a betting exchange such as Betfair. However, financial-style betting doesn’t appeal to everyone — particularly casual punters looking for an occasional bet.
So putting betting exchanges aside, where should punters look to obtain the best value odds with the lowest betting margins?
Search by Individual Event
One of the simplest ways to consistently find the lowest betting margins is to open several bookmaker accounts and to search for the best possible odds for any given event. An odds comparison such as OddsChecker helps enormously.
This approach works very well for maximising the value you take at bookmakers — but it’s inconvenient. Managing funds at multiple bookmakers can become a nuisance, with more withdrawals and deposits required to shift your money where you want it.
It’s for this reason that many punters look for one or two bookies that consistently offer the best value for the events they generally bet on. This leads into my next suggestion for finding low margin bets.
Choose by Specific Sports
While searching for online bookmakers with the lowest betting margins, it’s much easier if you concentrate on a specific sport as the quality of betting margins tends to differ between sports at individual bookmakers.
Looking at football — arguably the most popular sport in the United Kingdom for online betting — recent statistics suggest BetVictor offers the best odds and lowest margins. At just 2.9%, BetVictor is ahead of many other popular online sports betting brands in terms of football odds. The next best bookmaker in terms of low betting margins for football betting is Betway at 4.8%.
This makes the football betting odds at BetVictor a wise choice if you’re looking to predominantly bet on the highly popular sport.
Some of the other online bookmakers to feature highly in terms of the lowest betting margins for football currently include Unibet, 888Sport, William Hill, Bet365, and 10Bet.
Interestingly, despite being a popular online bookmaker in the UK, PaddyPower does not currently offer the best value when betting on football — their betting margins are out at 8.6%.
Not everyone wants to bet on football, and that’s precisely why the above figures should not be used to rank online bookmakers in terms of their overall value.
In other words, some bookies may not offer the best football betting margins but could still come out on top for other sports. And vice versa.
Baseball is a good example, with Bet365 regularly providing betting margins as low as 1.7%. Similarly William Hill often excels in ice hockey betting margins, which tends to hover around 3.4%.
So, bookmakers tend to offer higher betting margins in specific sports rather than across the board. This means that it’s important to consider what sports you’re likely to be betting on regularly when selecting a top bookie that you plan to regularly use.
How Important are Betting Margins Anyway?
Observing margins is vital if you’re betting frequently. The more value you obtain across all your bets, the less you’re expected to lose over time.
If you only bet on the occasional event such as the Champions League final, the betting margin still remains important — as it’ll determine how much profit you earn on a win. But ultimately the margin will truly impact your bankroll over a substantial set of bets rather than the one off punt.
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