Betting for beginners

Better odds, better profit

There are as many as 100 online betting outlets and a wealth of high street bookmakers. Many people choose one at face value, but does that mean you'll always get the best odds?

Many people choose to bet with their local high street bookie, whilst others settle for the comfort of the first bookmaker they come across, one with the most appealing sign-up bonus, or even just the one that is just the most aesthetically pleasing.

Getting the best odds means just that- getting the best possible odds that you can get for your bet of choice. Bookmaker A may price an outcome at 2.00 (1/1), whilst bookmaker B may price it at 1.95 (19/20). The difference for one individual bet is miniscule, but bookmaker A has what you would call best odds because the odds are higher.

Over time, betting on best odds can mean much higher profits.

The advantages of best odds

Better odds means more money. Best odds ensure that you are making the most out of every bet and make the maximum amount of profit available to you in the long term. You're making the most of value. If you find a bet that is expected to be good value, you'll make the most of that value by getting best odds. Seeking best odds leads to betting with many bookmakers, which can prevent you being limited if your performance at one bookmaker is too profitable.

Getting value for your money is often overlooked in sports just as it is in life. Most of us chose to value our time over our money, but that's a dangerous approach when betting on sports. If you can buy a bottle of milk for £1.00 one street over, why pay £1.20 just because that shop is closer to home. It's the same with settling for one bookmaker rather than seeking better odds elsewhere.

How to get best odds

Most people are creatures of habit and set up camp with just one bookmaker. It may be they feel a loyalty to that bookmaker, enjoy the layout or features, or it's just become a habit. But settling for whatever odds your bookmaker is offering could mean missing out on much better odds elsewhere.

You'll need to be prepared

Common practice for most high level or professional bettors is to open a sports account with a wide variety of bookmakers. Doing this means you have many more options as to where you place your sports. If you spot that one bookmaker offers a much more attractive price down the line, you'll already have an account.

Spread your wealth

Some people stick to using one bookmaker because it is inconvenient to have to transfer money around, but there are ways to better prepare. Whilst it's important to track your overall betting bank, profit and loss, it doesn't have to be in one place. Some people leave a couple of stakes worth of betting funds in several accounts, whilst others use ewallets like PayPal which allow for quick transfers. One other method is opening a separate betting account or prepaid card that is solely for your sports funds.

Use comparison websites

Finding the best odds doesn't mean having to manually trawl through pages of bookmaker odds every time you wish to place a bet. There are a number of useful odds comparison sites out there that will show you the odds at a number of different bookmakers for the betting market of your choice, also highlighting which one offers the best odds.

Below is a visual example of how important best odds can be. Below are two tables of tracked bet outcomes. Individual and overall profit has been recorded on each table, and both tables are reflecting the same 10 bets.

The table has purposely omitted losing bets to reflect a bettors last 10 winning bets, which shows the difference in profits that can occur over time. Every bet is based on assumed stake of £10. The table on the left reflects odds with one bookmakers, whilst the table on the right reflects best odds using various bookmakers.

Bet AOdds AProfit ABet BOdds BProfit B
Overall Profit£115£122.30

The extra £7.30 profit gained through shopping around for best odds is not far from one full extra stake unit (£10) and a high volume bettor may place this many winning bets each day, on average.

In one week that could mean £51.10 more profit is earned, which equates to +£2,657.20 over the course of a full year. This truly highlights the value in spending a little time spent shopping around for the best prices.

It's important to remember that while it may make such a small difference from bet to bet, looking back on a year's worth of best odds and comparing them to a year's worth of lower odds would highlight how big a difference it can make.

It also helps you make the absolute most of a good value bet. Bigger value means putting a bigger beating on the bookmaker. If you don't have the time to search manually for the best odds, then remember there are a number of usual odds comparison sites out there that can find best odds for you, including

Ready to learn more? Why not get to know the different betting terminology used by the sports betting community.

Your guide to betting terminology

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