If you want to be a successful sports bettor in the long run without relying on luck, one needs to come up with a betting strategy while calculating probabilities better than the bookmakers.

First of all, as a professional bettor, you must be able to recognize value. In regards to sports betting, recognizing value simply means to spot if the rate of a bookmaker for a particular event is set too high. If after evaluating an event, your probabilities are better than those of the bookmaker, you’ve just discovered a “value bet”.

To better understand the concept of value bet let’s give an example:

Assume a soccer match between Chelsea v. Liverpool.

After a thorough evaluation of the match using static and dynamic components, you come up with 50% probability for Chelsea to win which is a rate of 2.00 (= 1/50 * 100). However, the bookmaker offers odds of 2.30 for Chelsea to win which corresponds to a winning percentage of 43.5% (=1/2.30 * 100). You have spotted your first value bet.

Spotting value bets doesn’t mean you’ll win each bet but if your probabilities are constantly better than those of the bookmaker then the chances to make long term profit are much higher.

Using our example, let’s run the numbers for 10 matches on Chelsea to win with a $100 stake for each bet. In our assessment, Chelsea will win 5 matches and lose 5 matches. Using the same probabilities for each match we come up with the following:

For 50% probability to win and odds of 2.0, our wins will cover our losses. Nothing lost, nothing gained. 5*(2.00 * 100) – 5*100 = 0

For 43.5% probability to win and odds of 2.30, we see a $150 profit.5* (2.30 * 100) – 5*100 = 150

In order to have long term profits and be a successful bettor you need to develop a forecasting system which is superior to that of the bookmakers. Your system must contain static and dynamic components.

Static components include data like: League stats (position in the table, distribution of wins and losses during the last 5 years), previous head to head encounters, and team stats (home wins/losses, and away wins/losses, goals score/received and many more).

Dynamic components affect the overall performance from game to game. Let’s give a few examples of dynamic components: missing/injured players, motivation (fight against relegation, duel etc.), weather, lawn state, change of coach, fresh v. fatigue players/team and so on.

There are many components to be taken into account in order to generate a good prognosis. Some components might weight more than other. Constantly testing and adjusting your system is an essential part that will eventually lead to success and profit.

[translate[How to make your system better than that of bookmakers?

Even if bookmakers employ huge amounts of resources and have statistics departments to find the perfect algorithms for calculating the perfect ratio, they often focus on major events. So, as a professional bettor, instead of betting on favorites and big names, learn to spot value bets. A good strategy would be to specialize in one or two leagues and know everything about those leagues.

By constantly improving your system, you will get to a point when you will stop betting and start investing.