To some people, sports betting is pure gambling. But to others, it can be an investment. The very best bettors in the world have become rich off of sports betting, mostly thanks to a professional attitude and an edge over the market.
If you are truly serious about sports betting, it can definitely be seen as an investment. In fact, the best sharps are making more from sports betting than the top investors on the stock market.
How sports betting can be an investment
The ultimate goal of sports betting is to make a profit. Unfortunately, most people only care about the short-term win. They place a wager on the team they believe will win, and that is it, for the most part. This strategy does not have anything to do with investing, so we have to look at it differently.
Sports betting becomes an investment when a player puts aside a solid bankroll, places a little bit at a time, and only on well-analyzed matchups with value. The professional sports bettor will calculate probabilities and stick to bankroll management. He will see it as a long-term project and make frequent adjustments. In this case, it becomes an investment, similar to a broker who is trying to time the stock market. And similar to stocks, winning in sports betting requires some specialized knowledge and the ability to follow a basic strategy without tilting.
The effect of compound growth is always important when investing in long-term projects. And the good thing about sports betting is that we can capitalize on compound growth if we follow a good strategy.
Let’s say you have an initial bankroll of $10,000. You will risk 1% of your roll on each bet. Since you place a percentage of your roll, your bankroll will also gradually increase with time if you manage to win.
To illustrate the effects of compound growth, take a look below. We assume a 3% edge over the market which is not unusual for top sharps. One line indicates the use of flat betting, where the bet sizing is not adjusted, and the other line indicates the use of proportional bet sizing where the wager is re-adjusted every time, simply based on a percentage of the bankroll. You can clearly see the effects on the earnings:
Of course, sports betting has a lot of variance, so don’t expect a straight line up like that. There will be ups and downs. But it illustrates the principle.
It is a bit impractical to adjust after every single bet, but you can do it weekly. For example, if you start with $10,000, the bet sizing would be $100 which is equal to 1 percent. But if you earn $500 during the first week of betting, your bankroll will now be $10,500 at the beginning of the following week. Now you could readjust your bet sizing to $105, and this is exactly what opens the door for compound growth. It will matter a lot in the long run, so be sure to use proportional bet sizing!
An edge is required
We can talk a lot about compound growth and bankroll management. But aside from that, you also need an edge. And that is often the hardest part.
Bookmakers are not dumb, and the market generally knows what it is doing. You need to know more than the bookmakers and the markets. You have to be able to spot value. Not always instinctively, but at least through analysis. To win in sports betting in the long run, you need to have a proper grasp of probabilities. And you need to be an expert in the sport where you place your bets.
Perhaps you know everything about the NFL. In that case, this is where your edge is. Don’t bet on stuff you don’t know anything about.
Or maybe you know a lot about soccer/world football. But there are many different leagues, so you should specialize even further. It’s easier to get an edge when you know absolutely everything about something. So instead of betting all the European soccer leagues, find one or two and focus fully on that. For example, you could become an expert in English football and try to get an edge in the Premier League and in the Championship. Or you could become an expert in the Southern European leagues and primarily follow the Italian Serie A and the Spanish La Liga.
Our recommendation is to specialize in something – because you do need to know more than the market and be better at identifying value than 98% of people if you want to be a long-term winner.
We mentioned earlier that it is a great idea to specialize in certain sports and even specific leagues. A laser focus and deep insights will help you beat the market. The downside of being so specialized is that you can’t make that many bets. If you are a Premier League expert, there are only 38 rounds with 10 matches in each round. There won’t be clear value spots in every game, but even if we imagine there are, that’s only 380 opportunities in a year. That’s not nearly enough to succeed – to fully take advantage of compound growth, you also need a high volume. Many sports bettors place as many as 3,000 bets per year. But how is that even possible when they are specialized in certain fields?
The trick is to get together with others. Many of the best sports bettors in the world are part of communities where experts are sharing picks with each other. This all happens behind the scenes, of course. If we compare serious sports betting to investing, we can call them investment groups. The big groups in the betting world are also known as syndicates, where several experts and analysts are permanently hired to estimate probabilities so that the group/community can prosper.
If you want to be a serious sports bettor, it is almost a must to have a network. Get together with some other experts. Maybe you know some sharps and clever sports fans in your personal life. Otherwise, be active on online forums and betting groups and see if you can become part of an investment group or start one yourself.
Systems and methods
Another way that some sports bettors achieve high enough volume to live off of sports betting (and become rich from it) is by using models and systems. This requires mathematical models.
One way to do it in soccer/world football would be to set up a model based on goals, expected goals, possession and chances. Estimate each team’s offensive and defensive strength. Estimate the home-field advantage. And then put the numbers up against each other whenever there is a matchup. The number of expected goals prior to the match can be inserted into a Poisson distribution which will help you estimate the fair odds. And when the fair odds differ from the market odds – that is when you pull the trigger. But this is simply one way to make a model. There are other ways to do it.
As for methods, it is very simple: Use bankroll management and identify value! Those are the only two methods required to win. They are hard, but once you master value betting, you basically have it made. Bankroll management is simply a habit. Of course, you need to find the right places to bet, too. We have several articles on where sharps can bet. For example, anonymous cryptocurrency bookmakers, betting brokerages, and bookmakers without limits are all good choices.
Sports betting can definitely be an investment – if you know what you’re doing. A bankroll management plan is a must. Proportional bet sizing is also key, and once you have made a clear strategy in that regard, you need to beat the market. Teaming up and sharing picks with other competent bettors is a way of increasing volume. A betting model could work if you have strong mathematical insights.
Overall, it’s a tough business. It requires a lot of skill and discipline, just like the stock market or the cryptocurrency market. But it is possible to earn a lot of money from sports betting in the long run. And we hope this article gave you some insights and some inspiration.