One crucial factor to consider when selecting sports betting sites is the betting margin, as this has a significant impact on your potential profitability.
In this article, I will discuss the importance of betting margins and provide straightforward advice on how to reduce them in order to maximise winnings.
What Are Betting Margins?
The betting margin refers to the percentage of the total amount wagered that the bookmaker expects to keep as profit. For example, if a bookmaker incorporates a betting margin of 5% and takes £100 in bets on an event, they expect to keep £5 as profit and pay out £95 to the winning bettors.
The higher the betting margins, the lower the odds offered to bettors and the lower their potential winnings. Therefore, finding a sports betting site with low betting margins can significantly increase the chances of making a profit in the long run.
Learn more on how bookmakers make a profit
Betting margins vary depending on the sport and the market. Generally speaking:
- Popular markets such as match odds in Premier League football have lower margins because bookmakers can utilise a vast amount of information to set competitive odds.
- Less popular or “niche” markets typically have higher margins as bookmakers have less data to draw on when determining odds, leading to more cautious pricing.
So how can bettors reduce the margin they bet against?
1. Use An Odds Comparison Site
Using odds comparison sites is an effective way to reduce betting margins, as it allows bettors to compare the odds offered by various bookmakers for a particular event or market. These sites make it effortless to find the sites that offers the best value for your bet.
For instance, if you plan to place a bet on a particular football match, an odds comparison site will display the odds provided by multiple betting sites for that event, revealing those with the most favorable odds.
This approach requires that bettors open accounts with multiple bookmakers.
Discover the best odds comparison sites.
2. Specialise In Specific Sports/Events
To reduce betting margins it can be beneficial to focus on a specific sport, as the quality of odds varies between different betting sites.
For instance, BetVictor and Betway have been found to offer excellent football margins when compared to other popular bookmakers — with BetVictor providing margins as low as 2.9%. Other bookmakers such as Unibet, 888Sport, William Hill, Bet365, and 10Bet also rank competitively for football.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that these same bookmakers may not offer the best margins for every sport. For instance, Bet365 has been known to offer baseball margins as low as 1.7%, while William Hill has excelled in ice hockey with margins at around 3.4%.
Thus, when choosing a bookmaker, it’s crucial to consider the sports that you frequently bet on and to select a site that offers the lowest margins for those specifically.
Discover the most popular sports for betting.
3. Use A Betting Exchange
Utilising a betting exchange is an effortless and effective way for bettors to reduce margins. Unlike traditional bookmakers, betting exchange odds are established by the bettors themselves, with the exchange charging a commission on winning bets only.
Typically, the commission charged by a betting exchange is much lower than the margins set by traditional bookmakers, leading to consistently higher returns on winnings.
Furthermore, using a betting exchange allows bettors to place both back and lay bets. This exclusive feature provides traders with the opportunity to act as both bettors and bookmakers, enabling them to take any position they deem advantageous.
The differences between bookmakers and betting exchanges
4. Claim Promotions & Free Bets
Promotions & free bets can help to reduce betting margins by granting eligible players the opportunity to place bets at improved odds, or with significantly less risk.
For example, a bookmaker may offer a promotion that gives bettors an enhanced price on a particular event or market, meaning that the payout odds are higher than the normal odds.
Similarly, a bookmaker may offer a promotion which allows bettors to place a bet without risking their own money. If the bet wins, the bettor receives the payout, but if the bet loses, the bettor doesn’t lose any of their own funds.
Learn about the different types of sports betting free bets and promotions.
5. Identify Value In The Market
To reduce betting margins, bettors can focus on identifying value. Finding value bets involves identifying and exploiting opportunities where bookmaker odds are higher than the true odds of an event occurring.
Bookmakers set their odds to generate profits, which often involves adjusting them based on a combination of popularity and public perception. As a result, odds may not always reflect the actual probability of an outcome.
To identify value bets, bettors need to gauge the true probability of events and compare it to the bookmaker’s odds. For instance, if a bettor believes that a particular horse has a 50% chance of winning a race, but the bookmaker’s odds suggest only a 40% chance, this could be a value bet.
Focusing on value is a smart, albeit challenging, way for bettors to reduce margins and maximise potential profits.
Learn about the concept of value betting.
Observing margins is crucial for any frequent bettor. The more value you obtiain from your bets, the less you’re likely to lose in the long run.
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