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Your Football Betting Guide from Football-Data Football-Data Guide to Betting

In my new book, Squares & Sharps, Suckers & Sharks: Science, Psychology & Philosophy of Gambling, I explore the science of probability and uncertainty, the difference between expectation and utility, the irrationality of human beings, luck & skill, market efficiency and the wisdom of crowds, why winners take all and why indeed we gamble at all.

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It has been said that 97% of gamblers fail to turnover a profit over the long term. Everyone can get lucky and win a bet, even if it's a longshot on Exeter to beat Manchester United at Old Trafford at fixed odds of 50/1. The much harder task, over many bets, is to consistently win more that one loses. The reason, of course, is because the "odds" or probabilities, literally speaking, are stacked against the punter, since as we know the bookmaker, who sets the odds, is not in the game for charitable purposes. Those odds contain an in-built advantage for the bookmaker such that if the punter bets blindly or randomly, he will surely lose over the long term, just as he would at any casino roulette wheel. That so many punters are actually losing long term is merely confirmation that the bookmaker's advantage, or overround is particularly difficult to overcome.

The traditional approach to beating the bookmaker has been through forecasting and prediction techniques commonly referred to as rating systems in an attempt to reveal errors by the bookmaker. As such, the punter, here, is approaching sports betting in exactly the same manner as the bookmaker; that is to estimate the chance of a particular result and assign to it an odds value. Profitable betting opportunities arise where the odds estimated by the punter are more accurate than those estimated by the bookmaker. If, after the bookmaker's in-built advantage has been taken into account, their odds are still more generous than the punter's, this presents what is termed a value bet.

Football-Data's Betting Guide, with material taken from the book Fixed Odds Sports Betting: Statistical Forecasting & Risk Management, provides detailed information for the punter to help him overcome the bookmaker's advantage, beat the odds and make a profit. Just browse the contents of this guide via the menu links to the left.

Fixed Odds Sports Betting
This book examines, through various numerical techniques, how fixed odds punters may learn to beat the bookmaker, protect profits through a sensible approach to risk management, and turn high-risk gambling into a form of low-risk investment. Topics include value betting, rating systems, profitability and risk, singles vs accies, staking plans and money management, favourite-longshot bias and significance testing.
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