Sports Betting As A Business                                                         



In a nutshell:

"There are a lot of bookmakers in Nevada, but probably not as many as in Cleveland."
- R. J. Miller


With a 57.5% winning expectation on each of our next 21 bets, we can expect a result of...

...3-18 or worse 0.01% of the time

...4-17 or worse 0.04% of the time

...5-16 or worse 0.18% of the time

...6-15 or worse 0.71% of the time

...7-14 or worse 2.22% of the time

...8-13 or worse 5.81% of the time

...9-12 or worse 12.82% of the time

...10-11 or worse 24.21% of the time

...11-10 or worse 39.61% of the time

...12-9 or worse 56.98% of the time

...13-8 or worse 73.25% of the time

...14-7 or worse 85.83% of the time

...15-6 or worse 93.77% of the time

...16-5 or worse 97.80% of the time

...17-4 or worse 99.40% of the time

...18-3 or worse 99.88% of the time

...19-2 or worse 99.99% of the time


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Binomial Distribution & You

Why the Size of Your Bet Can't be Used as a Pry-Bar to Make More Profit Than You Deserve


Even if you have a long term advantage against pointspreads and over-under lines, you will go broke with the use of faulty money management. For our purposes in this article, we'll say you have a 57.5% winning expectation on each and every bet. (Of course, the actual winning expectation is rarely the same on any two bets, - but our record shows we expect between 55%-58% over the long term.)

...So, how many winners can you expect in the next, say, 21 bets? Well, 57.5% of 21 is 12.075, so the answer figures to be 12, producing a win-loss record of 12-9.

Trouble is, a record of 12-9 is not the only thing that can happen. There are several other results that are also very likely, and some of these other results are not good. The graph below shows the binomial distribution of all the possible outcomes.


Notice that although a result of 12-9 is the most likely of all outcomes, a result of precisely 12-9 will occur only slightly more than 17% of the time. That's only about one time in six. In real life, you can figure on a record of something other than 12-9 about 5 out of 6 times.

With a 57.5% expectation-per-bet, you can plan on making any profit at all only about 60% of the time over your next 21 bets. In 4 out of 10 cases, you can expect to win less than twelve out of 21 bets.

Even with a 57.5% winning expectation on every bet, you must be aware that it is just as easy to go 7-14 (or worse!) as it is to go 17-4 or better.

Once in about 8 times you can expect to lose 13 or more of your next 21 bets. By understanding the consequences of the probabilities involved,  you can  avoid  the  disastrous results of using such nonsensical  money  management traps as the so-called 'Kelly criterion' or the suicidal 'one-star, two-star, three-star' nonsense, or some other progressive betting schemes.  

In our book, How Professional Gamblers Beat The Pro Football Pointspread, we explain why most people go broke betting on sports because they don't understand the ramifications of the probabilities; - not because they can't call winners. They are victims of the fallacy that progressive betting schemes can produce more profit than they deserve.

Over the course of an entire NFL season we figure to have upwards of 210 opinions against pointspreads and totals, - but that does not mean we can view those 210 opinions as though they were ten individual 'blocks' of 21 bets. The 210 opinions can be regarded as a continuum of bets from 1 through 210, or a continuum of 21-block units from 21 through 210. Bets 1 through 21 comprise the first such block, bets 2 through 22 comprise the second block, bets 3 through 23 comprise the third block, etc...Within 210 consecutive bets there are 189 blocks of 21 consecutive bets.

Since there are 189 'blocks' of 21 consecutive bets in a series of 210 bets, it's virtually a sure thing that we will have more than one block wherein our record will be WORSE than 8-13, and it's also pretty much guaranteed that we will have more than one 'block' wherein our record is better than 16-5. Neither of these results means we are performing better or worse than our normal level of handicapping. Such results are caused by wholly normal and natural fluctuations from the mathematical expectation - binomial distribution.

The trick is to be ready for the ups and downs that are bound to occur simply due to the mathematics of the situation. With upwards of 210 opinions against NFL lines, we do expect an overall win rate in the area of 55%-58%, but we also fully expect a very bumpy ride along the way. Against the NFL, to insure that you'll still be alive in January, we highly recommend a bet size of no more than 2% of your bankroll. Guarantees come with toasters, not football bets, but we are confident we can offer you a pool of 55%-58% winners from which to make your own choices over the entire NFL season. How many bets we might win over the next ten or twenty tries, however, is hardly more than a guess. Scale your bet sizes so you'll be alive in January. Refrain from 'jiggling' the size of your bets; keep all bets the same size.

NOTE: According to expert researcher Dr. Nigel E. Turner, Ph.D., Scientist, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health ( ), incremental betting is one of the telltale signs of someone with a gambling problem.

Did you get that last paragraph? If you absolutely cannot resist betting more on some plays than others, if you cannot resist increasing your bet size to either catch up or to press a winning streak, you may have a gambling problem.

Sports betting on a professional level must be approached as an investment, not a bonanza. Understanding that fact may be the biggest difference between successful bettors and chronic losers. Sports betting is not a means to get rich overnight. Think "stock market," NOT "lottery." Think "investment," NOT "Brink's truck explosion."

We have nearly 2,000 picks per year in Professional Gambler Newsletter. (That's against pro football, basketball and baseball.) We expect a minimum of 30 units' profit per 1,000. Risking 2% of your bankroll per bet, you figure it out. What are the chances of doing that well in the stock market?

If you are not familiar with the vagaries of binomial distribution described above, we recommend that you track us for at least 100 picks, and preferably 200 picks, before subscribing to Professional Gambler Newsletter. It will give you a better sense of the winning and losing streaks we expect along the way. We do have losing streaks and some of them get pretty damned brutal. Check our Track Us Here page for today's picks.

J. R. Miller & Jack Painter, 1993

      Jack Painter (right) taught us, “If you use a Star-betting system you’d better like stars because you’re going to be sleeping under them.”
    Jack was a good teacher. His insights concerning handicapping sports and managing a bankroll are helpful to even the most sophisticated sports bettors. Before his death in 1994 Jack taught sports betting at Community College of Southern Nevada and on his radio show, Insider Sports. He did a lot for us, never asking for anything in return. We still owe him.

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How Professional Gamblers Beat the Pro Football Pointspread
- J. R. Miller

How to Profit from Parlays
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Successful Gamblers
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Insights Into Sports Betting
- Bob McCune

Revelations in Sports Betting
- Bob McCune

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