The New York Times
“The Millers are a small percentage who have made a career out of gambling…earning all of their income from gambling.”
WALL STREET JOURNAL
“We sought out a few pointers from Mr. Miller, who makes a living from sports betting…”
THE KANSAS CITY STAR
“Some play the stock market, the Millers play the pointspread. Same theories they say. Better rewards.”
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“to dissect the Super Bowl, City Paper consulted sources with a purely mercenary interest: professional gamblers…Mr. Miller is a veteran gambler who runs the website www.professionalgambler.com...”
“The Millers make a living helping others beat the system. They established Professional Gambler.com in 1997.”
JV Miller is widely recognized as one of the world’s top sports handicappers. Gambling Times Magazine calls JV Miller “one of the last legitimate handicappers-for-hire on the web.” JV is featured regularly as a handicapping expert on television, radio, podcasts, and speaks at seminars and educational institutions around the world. JV finished first place in the Marina Bay Sands Millennium Million Dollar NFL Contest against over one thousand professional handicappers.
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Here’s what professional gamblers expect to win.
Most professional sports bettors rarely sustain a long-term winning percentage higher than 55%, and it's often as low as 53%. All it takes is to win 55% to double, triple or even quadruple your beginning bankroll in one year. Many people believe professional-level sports bettors win at least 60% of their bets. It's understandable that people think this, but it's just not true. The fact is, the difference between the percentage of bets won by successful sports bettors and the percentage of bets won by chronic losers is relatively small.
There's always an awkward pause when a beginner or non-gambler asks what percentage of bets do we win. It's a less-than-simple question to answer because it can't be answered simply. That, of course, sounds like a cop-out, but the answer to that question really does demand an explanation.
ROI (Return On Investment) is the real question, right?
The goal is, of course, to make money. The measure of success of a sports bettor is not only his winning percentage, but his amount of profit made over any given period of time.
Most professional-level sports bettors earn between 100% - 300% ROI. Such claims sound too good to be true, until you understand the process.
This is one of the facts of life with which successful bettors must be familiar. It's a basic principle of math: The more bets you are able to place, the more likely it is that your winning percentage will be close to your expectations. A pro bettor must be as concerned with placing enough bets than with establishing a great winning percentage.
Generally speaking, non-professional gamblers go wrong by risking too much of their bankroll on individual bets. They don't spread their risk thin enough over a big enough number of bets. As a matter of fact, one good way to spot a non-pro is that he often has less than a half-dozen bets per week, and he risks more than two percent of his bankroll on each bet.
Most genuine professional-level sports bettors would never risk more than 2% of their working bankroll on any single bet, and all of them usually risk much less than that. The general consensus seems to be about 1%.
To illustrate the point, consider casino craps. The house has less than a 51% winning expectation against a pass line bet at craps, yet casinos advertise their craps games on signs 100 feet tall. Casino executives know that if they can get enough players to make enough bets they will end the day with approximately the percentage of profit expected. They also know that the fewer bets placed, the less predictable the percentage of winning bets. Can you imagine a casino wanting to limit the number of times you throw the dice?
A real pro applies all his advantages as often as possible, not only the best of his advantages when they occasionally arise.
The accompanying illustration (left) shows the results of different winning percentages over different numbers of bets when risking 11 to win 10. Standard vigorish charges of 4.55 percent are figured into the numbers. (To learn more about vigorish/juice, see our article A Crash Course in Vigorish.) The bookies' net commission is 4.55 percent of all monies risked when bettors risk 11 to win 10. Notice in the illustration that winning 55% of 250 bets is more profitable than winning 65% of only 50 bets, and remember that a profit is more assured - that is, more dependable - because of the higher number of trials.
Against pointspreads, where a bettor lays 11 to win 10, anybody can expect to win 50 percent…after all, the only thing required is to flip a coin and pick a side. The bookmakers' profit comes from the juice (commission/fee). Every time a player wins, the bookmaker withholds slightly more than 9 percent of the winnings ($1 for every $11 risked). Consequently, a bettor winning only half his bets will ultimately go broke. We have picked over 55% winners the last 3 years, and we post more than 1500 picks per year.
Progressive betting schemes such as the dreaded “Kelly Criterion” and "one-star, two-star, three star" systems are a sure-fire way to go broke. Professional bettors keep their bets “flat,” which means they bet no more than 2% of their bankroll on any one particular bet, and they don’t jiggle the size of their bets. Your bet size should remain exactly the same until your bankroll increases (or decreases) 25%, at which time you reset your bet size.
If you're a hobby bettor with a wad of 'mad' money to risk, go ahead and risk 4% or 5% of your bankroll on a single bet…but don't expect to play that way for long. Sooner or later, such poor money management will annihilate you. To quote from our book, How Professional Gamblers Beat the Pro Football Pointspread, the population of bad handicappers in Tap City is dwarfed by the population of bad money managers
We can pick winners for you, but we cannot manage your money.
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