How Much Money Can You Make Betting on Sports?
The obvious answer to this for most punters is nothing followed by a polite request to replace the word ‘make’ with ‘lose’ in the title.
Most of us who regularly stick a Yankee on the televised racing on a Saturday together with at least one fixed odds football coupon dream of making a full time career out of it. We have a good month, made a few quid and think to ourselves ‘If only I’d scaled my bets up tenfold I’d be looking at the new cars at the VW garage rather than patching up the exhaust on the Peugeot with gaffer tape and putty’.
But just how easy is it?
You don’t have to be a genius to win money on betting as Simon Inglis discovered when his prize for being the recipient of the William Hill Sport Book Of The Year in 2014 was a £1000 bet. After his initial punt brought him a further £400 he appeared to use his windfall as a social experiment. He wanted to discover whether you can make money gambling or, more likely, whether he was better off punting the cash rather than sticking it in a bank.
He was no professional gambler – very much a once a year Grand National sort – and he stuck to simple parameters to limit his chances of losing: only bet on two horse races which ironically meant no betting on horse racing, maximum odds 1/1, only ever bet on the result and keep a record of all your bets.
In a year he returned an 18.5 per cent profit. Now we all dream of the £10 on Leicester to win the title at 5000-1 but if you could ‘guarantee’ a near 20 per cent return you’d happily take it.
But Simon was lucky in that he was a successful writer, he knew a bit about sport, he was unlikely to remortgage the house to chase any losses and he had £1000 to play with.
For those of us that aren’t that lucky and who have found ourselves nursing a headache after having arbitrage betting explained to us and how it ‘guarantees’ winning based on different odds of different bookmakers, then we should keep to the basics:
Stick To What You Know
If you live in a flat in Bristol, spend most of your spare time following City with the occasional trip to Bath racecourse then probably best not to stick your neck out to guess on who’ll win the rugby league Challenge Trophy.
You know the Championship and League One, you know the best striker your defenders have faced this season, and you know which trainers get their charges ready to handle drying ground at Bath.
Keep your bets simple. If there’s a track specialist running and they’re odds on then don’t stick your tenner on a horse that’s got the same name as your first pet. If you’re fairly sure your team isn’t going to beat Brighton then bet on them to lose. The only problem is that your mates ask you why you’re smirking when your team goes 3-0 down after half an hour.
Don’t Get Too Greedy
We’ve all done it. You’ve got your four bankers on your coupon but the odds are a little too slim for your liking. You’ve been keeping half an eye on the Vanarama Conference and you’ve noticed Dover have won three in a row and they’re at home to a side at the wrong end of the league. If you turn your four bankers into five then that £5 bet coming in will just about cover the road tax due on the Peugeot so you add Dover. Your four bankers come in but the Whites are held to a 0-0 draw. Turns out that their star striker was suspended but you didn’t know. Never again you say until next weekend when you do the exact same thing. [Note: This is why we think team news is so important!]
Don’t try to be clever because if you chase the better odds more often than not you’ll end up with nowt!
If you bet a tenner a week and can afford to lose that tenner don’t start betting £20 a week. Stick to your limit, keep a record of your bets and see if you can follow in Simon’s footsteps. You may not make a fortune but if you’re disciplined and don’t get too greedy then of course you can make money from sports betting. And yes it is better when there’s money on it – unless you lose of course!