In this chapter I would like to examine the betting market in all its particularities. There are many interesting aspects to this. First of all, there is a past and a present of the betting market. Then there are the different perspectives, that of the provider and that of the player. Then there is the perspective of the professional player and that of the entertainment player. There is, of course, a justification of the whole betting business. There are the different types of bets. There are a variety of operators who have different business principles. There are the combination bets, system bets and single bets. There are betting exchanges. And then there is live betting. For the absolute novice, this certainly already seems like a lot and they are looking for order. But even for the already experienced player, one or two things are certainly new, perhaps even confusing. In the following, I will endeavour to examine the relevant aspects systematically and thoroughly.
1) The justification of the betting providers
Of course, the same applies in business as in language (see chapter “Philosophy of luck”). Just as every existing word has its justification, so does every existing business. In this respect, the causes for the emergence of this line of business are just as comparable to the emergence of words. And the question of the first bet is also comparable to the question of the first emergence of chicken or egg. There was no “cheat” (betting provider) who was looking for people who would “fall for him”. It’s more like this: two people were looking for each other and found each other.
I only emphasise this because betting still has something disreputable about it, at least in Germany. A bookmaker, a betting provider, betting in general. I am constantly trying, not least with this book here, to fight against these prejudices. The two components that had to be found for betting to come about were, on the one hand, a sports fan looking for additional entertainment and, on the other hand, a provider offering odds on the requested, interesting events and subsequently also guaranteeing the payout of the bets. And these different components are not so easy to fulfil.
In principle, the betting industry belongs to the entertainment industry. It is like cinema, theatre, cabaret, opera, concerts. The organisers of these enterprises also have profit in mind to a certain extent. But they also have the obligation to entertain the visitors well, so that they get a corresponding return for their invested capital. This is also how betting is to be understood. In accordance with the laws of the market, the betting provider must also keep an eye on his profit. He must therefore act as profitably as possible. This is not only for this reason but also, as in other industries, for the usual reason of competition. If you are better entertained elsewhere, treated more fairly, get more for your money, then you change providers. Just like you keep it open which cinema film you go to see, or which play you like to go to.
So you have to keep an eye on the competition as a provider. There are criteria for that as well: Does the weatherer feel comfortable with the provider? Are they treated well and fairly? Does he get his turn quickly or does he have to wait, this is especially true when retrieving winnings? This is how you choose the cinema. But even more important for the betting provider is the odds on offer. This is comparable to the film you want to watch. You want to see one of them at all costs, so you might even go to the station cinema in an emergency. With the other, you might even choose the cinema first. Cinema is nice, all right, then I’ll finally watch the film.
In this way, the range of quotas is determined not only by diversity but also by attractiveness. High ratings are attractive. What is high is decided by the competition. “Variety” means not only as many offers as possible but also as many sports as possible (and meanwhile also other events such as the Grand Prix d’Eurovision or elections). So everything that could interest a potential bettor and especially what is in demand….
2) The traditional bookmakers
These, too, must be differentiated into those where you place your bets by telephone (or today by internet) and those where you go to the shop and place a bet there in order to be able to collect your winnings in cash later on. With the telephone and internet providers, on the other hand, you have an account where you have to deposit money, with which you can then bet and later have money paid out if you, hopefully, win.
The providers with the shops have to consider that the bettor can and wants to be entertained inside the shop as well. From the player’s/bettor’s point of view, it is of course more convenient and reliable to receive a bet confirmation when the bet is placed and then, if the bet is won, to take one’s winnings in cash. From the provider’s point of view, it is again necessary to offer the player as good a service as possible. On the one hand, this service almost always consists of a large number of televisions that provide as much information as possible about the sporting events on various channels. These are sometimes live broadcasts, sometimes simply teletext, announcements of events or even odds offers, recordings, preliminary reports. The other part of feeling good can, of course, be achieved with attractive ladies at the counters (this is true, but of course one should not say so; fortunately, beauty is always in the eye of the beholder) or with the provision of drinks or food.
The supplier has to think about a lot of things. Just like in any other business. From the player’s point of view, the situation is much simpler. He can pick the odds on the events that interest him, that seem inflated to him, that seem attractive enough to him, or just bet on something he thinks is coming. For the professional gambler, the odds should be picked to be profitable in the long run. For the entertainment gambler, it can simply be a pleasure. You play what you enjoy, with small money, have the excitement and, of course, the joy if you ever hit.
The player is in a most comfortable position. He only has to be able to pay the losses if they occur. The only thing the provider usually takes care of is that he obliges the player to pay the stakes in advance. In the shop in cash, by telephone or on the internet by account, which of course must be covered by the amount of the bet.
a. How is the betting offer created?
It is curious that one is very often asked about decidedly absurd things when one announces one’s profession. This is probably mainly due to the fact that betting is traditionally attributed to the English and then people have heard from some anecdotes that English people “bet on everything”. Of course, this is nonsense. As a rule, betting opportunities arise because interesting events are in the offing. That is the normal case. The special cases that a gambler/ bettor asks: “Can I bet with you that Boris Becker and Steffi Graf will get married? Or even “who will be the next US president?” “What colour will the Queen’s hat be when she next appears on camera?” All these curious things are asked by the weather. The provider then gets a headache. He then decides, for advertising reasons or even to please the gambler, to actually offer odds on such an absurd event. The headache is caused, on the one hand, by the fact that he may have a clue about everything, but not about estimating the probability of the Queen’s hat colour “purple” occurring. Then you waste a bunch of time thinking about it, write down an odds for each colour and make 0.0 Euro turnover on it. And if it’s 10 euros, then the effort certainly wasn’t worth it. Especially since you probably have to pay out because the customer hits, knows something or is just lucky.
What I want to say is that these abstruse bets, on which the English supposedly like to bet so much, have absolutely no meaning on the market. Anyone who has a lot of boredom or who claims that you can bet on “anything” with them can at best “write it off” as a promotionally effective measure. Otherwise, betting revolves around other, more lucrative sporting events. Of course, there is a standard that every provider has to provide, so to speak. Then there are the special offers, where everyone tries to offer something exclusive or particularly spectacular for the player in order to lure him to them. I examine these special offers under the point “special bets”.
Otherwise, the betting offer arises in the same way as other products that are common in a market economy. Namely, through supply and demand. Here, demand is actually even more decisive. I will now present all possible types of bets. They are still related to traditional bookmakers. Certainly something is happening here as well. They, too, are trying to catch up with the more modern types of bets discussed below. But one after the other.
b. The types of bets
The types of bets refer first to sporting events, specifically football, as that is still the main betting market. If a big handball, golf or snooker tournament is coming up, it can of course happen that, especially in the football-free period, such types of bets come to the fore. Golf or Formula 1 may also play a small role. But here I am looking at football. Much can be transferred to other sports.
i. Long-term bets
I emphasise right away that these also do not play a special role in the market. It may sound exciting to bet on a team becoming German champion, but there are two main aspects that make it unattractive or insignificant. Aspects” could well be replaced by “perspectives”.
The player’s perspective is like this: I bet that Bayern will be German champions. Well, who else? For the bet to be “fun”, I have to bet a relatively high amount, otherwise it doesn’t matter. So if, for example, you make 100 euros on a weekend, even as a small player, and Bayern bets for 100 euros on Meister, odds 1.80, then you would be interested in the weekend’s bets, but no longer in whether Bayern will be champion. You can win 100 or 400 euros on that day. Why should you care if you get paid 180 euros in 4 months, of which only 80 are winnings? Besides, you have to deposit the money. You don’t have it available for daily betting. So you would have to gamble a large amount. And then there is the problem that you have to “lock up” the money for months.
The provider’s perspective is first of all that it simply requires a lot of effort to recalculate the odds week by week. Especially since in principle you have very few clues as to what the “right” odds are. You know the individual games, that’s day-to-day business. But what about 4 months from now? How likely is a “run” of another team triggered by a player transfer, a coach dismissal? There are a lot of imponderables. You also make the offer as a provider only on customer demand. And you have a headache again. You really only do it when “you have to.” In addition, it is simply not attractive in terms of turnover. Especially not when you have to take risks again, because of course, as always, all the Bavarians bet on the champions. Uninteresting, insignificant, unattractive. For both sides, for different reasons.
ii. Results betting
This type of bet also only serves to entertain the customer. The provider wants to satisfy the small player with as little effort as possible. This means that usually only one odds scheme is provided. This also means that the bettor himself has to read the odds on the event he has predicted from such a scheme. It is structured in such a way that you can see from the favourite odds what kind of game it is. And then you can read the odds on the desired result in the corresponding column.
(here is an odds scheme)
Of course, this has the following consequence: the provider has made little effort with the odds. They are not calculated individually for the game but generally for comparable games, i.e. only roughly “estimated”. In this respect, he is certainly not prepared to accept high stakes. For the player himself, it is therefore only meant for entertainment. You just gamble 5 or 10 euros on 3:1 (why not 0:0? Well, it’s boring!).
My Austrian friend and colleague from the Vierklee betting office, Peter Schönegger, once told me that they had one or more stands in the stadium in Innsbruck where people could bet. And there would be heaps of result bets. But people would only ever bet 3:1, 4:1, 3:2 and results like that. But the risk was small: as a rule they bet 10 or at most 50 shillings. You can just see from this: in Austria betting has been recognised and popular for decades. Everybody knows about it, a lot of people do it. There is nothing to be ashamed of. But that’s only in passing. And it shows the importance of betting on results. “Somebody’s got to do the job.” so it’s more accurate than, “I’ve got a betting shop, I’m going to get rich.”
iii. Half-time final score betting
This type of bet is also of secondary importance. You bet on the tendency at half-time (tendency: 1 – X – 2) and the tendency at the end. It used to be so popular because you could find out at least the half-time and final result of practically all matches, even insignificant ones. Although the significance is really rather low, comparable to that of result bets, I nevertheless had my betting start with such bets (see chapter “EM 88”).
The attraction for the gambler can be to get more attractive odds due to the obviously lower probability of such an event occurring (I have also had practical experience with this, which can be read in the chapter “My Betting Office”). So a normal scenario is that a heavy favourite in a match only achieves odds of 1.35. But if you then bet that he is already leading at half-time and will also win at the end, then you can perhaps “upscale” the odds to 1.80. Many small players are not interested in the fact that they have to “pay back” with the smaller probability of occurrence. The thought process goes something like this: “If I only bet on a win, I won’t win anything. That’s why I play half-time final score 1-1 (so leads and wins).”
From the provider’s point of view, it’s like with many other offers: you have to do the work “because the others offer that too.” The bets are not attractive. Not even for the provider.
iv. Goal number bets
These used to have no meaning at all. But nowadays there is a lot of “over/under” betting. It means that you can (or just do) bet on the number of goals that will be scored in the match. Since the goal average in football is always and everywhere in Europe, even worldwide, in the order of 2.5 goals, the betting offer is usually formulated like this: Will there be less than 3 goals? Or will there be 3 or more goals? These are the two sides you can bet on.
The importance of this used to be little to none (it was not offered). As I said, today it is a growing market (especially because of live betting, which will be discussed later). I am playing it more and more myself. And it sounds attractive to me: Is it more of a high-scoring game or a low-scoring game? The fine-tuning, that the providers also know that there are games and also entire leagues where more goals are scored or can even be expected and those where there are fewer goals, is of course still regulated by the odds.
The fact that it is interesting, and I think also from a player’s point of view, means of course that it is also interesting for the providers. You have to think about it (well), you have to assess the games well and you can then also achieve good turnovers and therefore, if possible, good revenues.
v. Special bets
Special bets almost deserve their own chapter. There are so many curious things that providers have come up with to attract players that it would go beyond the scope of this article to list them all. I, too, would come up with new possibilities every day on which odds could be calculated and then offered. I will therefore limit myself to a few examples.
Since I worked with Ladbrokes for a few years, I also have a little insight into the practice of betting providers. Anyway, we once came up with the so-called “Quattros” together. Here, you had to guess who would win the game and how many goals would be scored at the same time. According to the name “Quattro”, there were four possible outcomes: a) favourite wins and less than 3 goals, b) favourite wins and 3 or more goals, c) favourite does not win and less than 3 goals and d) favourite does not win and 3 or more goals. From what I’ve heard, this has been going on for years and punters have been betting on it. And apart from Ladbrokes, no one else has offered it in the same form.
- “Mad Max” bets
The “Mad-Max” bets were really a brilliant idea. They were meant for players who were always unlucky, at least according to them, and could never “guess” a single game. So the provider came up with the idea of offering certain 10 games and setting the task of predicting all 10 “wrong”. So you had to tick 1, X or 2 and if you got all 10 wrong, you got 20 times the money; if you got 9 wrong, you also got a prize. You could prove how unlucky you were, so to speak. Of course, this is no problem for the real “bad luck expert”. He simply makes exactly 8 mistakes…
You can also bet on something like that, but rather today. Of course, this is especially true for “big” games where you can reliably count the corners. The idea is to offer something new every now and then, while of course also giving the players an incentive to look into it and perhaps also look for flaws in the offer, i.e. winning opportunities. But I haven’t started looking yet. Who knows, maybe one day? What would be required for me here would be to collect statistics.
The betting offer then provides that one team may score more corners than the other or that you can bet on how many corners there will be in total in the game. You bet on that, as with goals, by saying “more than 12” or “less than 10” or something like that, depending on the game and the betting offer.
But I also think it makes sense to bet on events that occur more frequently in a football match, where there are often no goals for a long time. I have not dealt with it in the form of looking for an advantage. But I have done so in the form of occasionally placing a bet on it. I am just a simple gambler…
What you notice is this: You suddenly follow the game with a different, greater tension, because every attack that doesn’t lead to a goal can also lead to a corner. And, depending on whether you played “over” or “under”, you wish for the corner or you curse it. In any case, you have a different motivation to look. And I’m sure that’s true for other players as well. So it’s a good idea, I can imagine that the market is still growing there, because it’s somehow exciting. Especially in football, where you often wait 90 minutes and then sometimes not a single goal is scored.
- goal minutes
Such bets are usually only offered on bigger games, i.e. games that can be watched live on television. There are different forms. I will mention here the one form that is almost always offered and common in England: You bet on whether the first goal will be scored before a certain minute of the game or whether it will be scored after one minute. In addition, there are odds that are supposed to ensure that the provider wins in the long run. If possible, the minute is determined in such a way that it is more or less equally likely that a goal will be scored before or after.
For the player, it means engaging with the game in a different way. Moreover, one has a settlement of a bet after a certain playing time. Tiny problem with such bets: you either have to watch exactly when a goal is going to be scored or believe the bettors. Especially if it is scored exactly in the minute, or even worse, in the second. So there is a tiny potential for error here, too: Was the ball already in after 28:59 or only after 29:00?
- shirt numbers and goals
If you’re looking for a little confirmation of the craziness of the English and their betting offers, here you go: Sometimes they offer you the chance to bet on how high the sum of the shirt numbers of all the goal scorers will be. Of course, if you put Maradonna in the shirt with the number 99, that can be quite a high number. Didn’t Ronaldo once actually have the number 99? The Ronaldo, perhaps?
In principle, there is a sum offered for it and you can bet whether the actual one will be higher or lower.
- yellow cards
Such questions can also be interesting. By the way, what is required for an interesting offer is whether the bettor can give his own assessment, with which he can document his expertise. So if you predict that there will definitely be a fierce fight in the Dortmund – Schalke match, you simply bet on many yellow cards. Of course, the provider has to regulate this via the odds. It doesn’t matter to the gambler, though, he has contributed his expertise.
The same applies, of course, to corners, goals or other special bets. As a player, you want to lend weight to an assessment.
- who has the kick-off?
“Who’s got the kick-off” is really only something for hot-headed players. Someone has just lost a lot, lost a bad bet with a lot of bad luck (the famous goal against in injury time) and now needs to get out of the fire very urgently and quickly. He could run to the casino and bet on red or black (Black! I’m telling you, take black!), or he could see that a game is about to kick off. Well then, quick on the Liverpool kick-off, 1000 euros and? Too bad, lost. But it could have happened, couldn’t it? Of course, the odds regulate the calculated profit for the provider. But I have often seen odds of over 2.0 on a side. So someone is favourite to kick off?
Then I once played a side that had odds of over 2.0. I lost that bet. Then I let it go again. I don’t want to get “out of the fire”…
- first half
Simple game, simple offer. Anything you can offer for the final score, you can of course offer for half-time. What is the tendency at the break? How many goals are there until the break? Both sides, provider and players, naturally have new problems to deal with here.
The provider has to make different, new calculations than the usual ones. Does it matter if teams “struggle to get going”? Has that particular team made many “early starts” and their strength is waning? Or does none of this matter?
For the player, of course, it is a pleasure to have a tally at half-time. You already have a feeling of happiness at half-time, having won a bet, or sadness, having lost one. But you can occupy yourself with something else, you don’t have to wait so long. On the other hand, there’s the problem: you pick a favourite, but he doesn’t care whether he’s already leading at half-time. It’s enough to have won at the end. So then, of course, you can get frustrated because the team you played just isn’t really looking to score. After all, they still have one half-time left.
vi. Live betting
In the past, live betting was almost non-existent. Today, almost everyone offers it. You can bet it everywhere. Still mainly on the games that are broadcast live, that is clear. The main reason for this is that it is advisable for the provider to watch the game and include the current developments in his odds. But since this is also a growing market, it becomes more and more important to assess the incoming bets well and to see in which direction the tendency of the players is going. So the most effective thing from the provider’s point of view is, of course, the best possible software that shows him the possible earnings and payouts on every possible event at any time. Then one can react even more effectively to the bets by adjusting the odds in order to “balance the books”, i.e. to secure as much profit as possible, regardless of the outcome of the game.
From the player’s point of view, it simply goes like this: you have an inclination to play a certain team anyway. But you don’t dare before the game because you don’t like the odds. Then the game starts, you see that the team is in a good mood and then you just play it live. The current odds can then be higher or lower than before the game, depending on the assessment of the other players or the provider. But you can be indifferent to that, as long as you are convinced of the bet. Normally, you have the choice of playing a favourite event or an underdog event. The favourite event usually becomes less likely as the game progresses if it does not materialise, i.e. the favourite does not take the lead. The underdog event tends to become more likely. This means that you often get higher odds on the favourite during the match. Inevitably, the other odds become smaller as a result.
For me personally, live betting has also become more and more important. You make your own experiences and of course try to improve constantly. I will go into this in more detail in the chapter “My System”. Nevertheless, as a hint for the beginner: live betting is a business of its own. It is a much bigger guessing game. However, this is also an advantage for the player in that no one really has a “correct” assessment here. It becomes a lot of speculation.
I’ll give you just one example here: there was a Portsmouth – Liverpool pairing in early February 2009. It was clear that the Liverpool coach was going to spare his first-choice attack Dirk Kuyt and Fernando Torres for the game. But they were on the bench. The market reacted accordingly. The price on Liverpool went up before the game because the first striker didn’t turn up. I then watched the game and Liverpool were good and clearly the better team even without them. So I played live the still rising rate. The reasoning was this: Liverpool can win without the first striker, that was obvious. But if it was close, Rafa Benitez, the coach, would still be able to substitute the players. Fortunately, I had a witness here, though not a notary. Because the game went like this: Liverpool didn’t make use of their superiority, even fell behind 0:1. Then Kuyt and Torres were substituted one after the other, each scored a goal and Liverpool won.
Since you’re not here, I’ll do the patting on the back myself. If only it always went like that….
But the moral remains: who is supposed to correctly assess such probabilities? No provider can do that, the provider only reacts to the bettors. Everybody guesses. You certainly have a chance to bet successfully with expertise and good assessments. But being lucky also helps here, that actually always works. But why not you? Have you tried it?
vii. 1-X-2 Betting
Of course, the main gambling, betting, on the outcome of the games takes place in the tendency. It is what ultimately interests. One also remembers that Hertha won against HSV back then. But was it 2:0? Or was it 3:1? But only 2:1? Were they already leading at half-time? Turned the game around? Forgotten. Only the victory, that’s what counts. Sometimes, of course, it can also be the draw.
It is the daily bread of the provider. This has the following consequences: The odds on the games in the tendency, i.e. on 1-X-2, are much better worked out. What you have to do every day and what is bet on every day, you develop a fine feeling, a routine, apart from the need to work well and as accurately as possible. Of course, it’s not much different from a player’s point of view. You gradually get to know whether this team is more of a 1.30 or a 1.40 favourite in that game. But whether it’s a profitable bet? This market is the most interesting, that’s for sure. But perhaps the hardest to beat in the long run.
Of course, it remains the case that one would only have to pick profitable bets in order to work with advantage and profit in the long run. But the chance to make higher turnovers here makes it sufficiently interesting again. I, for one, have been betting practically only the 1-X-2 market for a good 14 years, and with some success.
There is no simple recipe for finding profitable bets. I always suggest making your own assessments, writing them down before you see the odds on offer. This not only trains this skill, but you can then also check the estimates with bets. So if you have an assessment and the odds on offer far exceed your own assessment, you should be brave and bet on the game.
The interested reader will learn more about this in the chapter “My System”.
c. Fixed odds
You also have to look at this historically. 20 years ago, there was not even the possibility of betting by telephone in Germany, the internet was still unthinkable. Apart from that, the German betting market was only gradually opened up, which also had partly legal reasons. So there was one undoubted possibility to offer bets from abroad: That was the written bet. You received a letter in which the provider sent you his odds offer. You could then tick the games, state the stakes and post the letter again. I don’t even remember if you got a confirmation or how it went? Anyway, I only had one problem with it at most. It just worked.
Since the postal time had to be taken into account, the providers had often already sent out the quota slip for the next week before the games of the current weekend had been played. No one would do this today, but in the past it was a necessity. In addition, the provider had the problem of offering all odds as fixed odds. Fixed odds, as the name suggests, are fixed and cannot be changed. So if you ticked a 2.30 on the betting slip, the provider had to pay out these odds, even if he would have changed his assessment long ago. This leads on to the next point, the…
d. Combination bets
In a way, the provider was aware that he had a “mistake” here and there on his odds sheet. This led to the fact that practically all providers simply introduced a “combination obligation”.
This meant that the player had to bet at least three or four games (depending on the provider; the only one where you had to combine at least four games was SSP overseas betting, but also the first one I bet with). So let’s start with the three games. You had to play so-called three-player combinations. But you were also allowed to play four-, five- or six-player combos. That was allowed, but not compulsory. The reward for the (successful) efforts from the player’s point of view was the amount of the payout. To calculate the winnings in case of a successful bet, all odds had to be multiplied together. The reason for such often very handsome wages is of course to be found in mathematics. The bet is won if all the games are correct in terms of tendency, i.e. win, draw or defeat.
Mathematics promises that the probability of occurrence of independent events is calculated by the product of the individual probabilities of occurrence (see chapter “Independent events”). However, this also means that the odds, which reflect the probabilities of occurrence in the reciprocal value (see the chapter “How is an odds calculated?”), can/must be multiplied with each other (this cross line only arises because the provider would perhaps also like to pay out less, but such a thing is forbidden by the behaviour of the competition).
Another part of the prehistory of combination betting, however, is also in the origin of the lottery or the, purely human, need to make “a post office out of a stamp”. In other words, to achieve a huge, gigantic profit with the smallest possible stake. Lotto, Toto, other lotteries are the models for this. The player should at least be able to nurture the illusion of becoming rich in one fell swoop with a small stake and his clairvoyant abilities. It is also understandable that the provider, for lack of capital and also for entrepreneurial reasons, has to “put a stop to this plan” by limiting the maximum payout. But after all, 25,000 DM doesn’t sound bad, does it? Especially if you can achieve it with a stake of DM 5 or 10.
On the other hand, from the provider’s point of view, the combination bets are a protection against obvious mistakes. It forces the player to combine other games at the one, perhaps too high, odds. On the other hand, they also satisfy the small player’s inclination to make a nice, really high profit, through a combination of luck and skill.
The professional gambler’s point of view is once again somewhat different. But I would rather explain this in detail in a separate chapter, “My System”. Only this much here: The combination constraint is not necessarily a disadvantage for the player.
e. System bets
System bets are, as perhaps also known from the lottery, a combination of combination bets. For example, you write down eight games that you would like to bet on. With the corresponding odds. Then there is the obligation or even the need to bet the games in combination bets. But how do you combine eight games? You can play them as one combination bet, that’s clear. But is that also wise?
Now there are several aspects to this again. One of them is that of tension. If you play a combination bet of eight games, even if they kick off at the same time, there is at least the danger that at least one of the games will have a hopeless intermediate score. One can, after all, have all seven others right or still have chances. The one that is lost spoils the mood and doesn’t make you want to watch any more. You can only prepare yourself for the magnitude of the bad luck and then have a story (“Just imagine, I got seven out of eight games right. If I had got that one right, I would have won 845 euros, with a stake of 10 euros. What bad luck!”). That doesn’t do much good, unless one takes greater pleasure in being pitied.
Another aspect is, of course, how much money you want to bet. If you only want to use the above-mentioned 10 euros, then perhaps even the 8-combination is a good choice. Of course, you could also make two combos of 4 for 5 euros each. However, there is still the risk that you are a very good bettor and get six games right, but only three in each combination. That would also be frustrating. In addition, the bull’s-eye would no longer make you happy, because instead of the 845 euros that you would get with the 8-player combination, you would only get 177 euros with two 4-player combinations for 5 euros.
I will gladly provide you with a calculation example for this:
Here are the computer odds for the 19th matchday of the 2008/2009 Bundesliga season.
You have chosen the following eight games.
If you now play these eight games as a full combination (i.e. you only get money if you get eight correct numbers), this is the calculation for the payout:
10 euros * 3.20 * 1.85 * 3.90 * 3.30 * 1.40 * 4.00 * 3.40 * 1.50 = 21759.98 euros. That’s going to be a nice post office, isn’t it? When someone once gave me a bet like that and I replied: “That’s going to be quite expensive,” he replied: “Yes, but the Eiffel Tower has to fall down first before that happens.
Well, it’s still standing, as far as I know. Nevertheless, all these games ended up like that. But who could have guessed? Anyway, you would actually be able to get a payout that high here. However, if you play this as two combos of 4, the first four games and the remaining four ale one each at 5 euros, the result would be:
5 euros * 3.20 * 1.85 * 3.90 * 3.30 = 380.95 euros and 5 euros * 1.40 * 4.00 * 3.40 * 1.50 = 142.80 euros. In total as 380.95 + 142.80 = 523.75 Euro.
Surely, however, it would be much easier to hit at least one of the two bets. The correct application of mathematics ensures that these payouts are in the right proportion to each other. The much higher probability of occurrence for one of the last two bets can be illustrated quite well in this way, that in the case that you have the bottom four games right, the other four games could have any tendency, so you could even have guessed everything wrong, and you would still get paid out money.
Nevertheless, even with the split bet on two 4s combos, there is still the danger of getting six or five right, for example, and still not getting any money. So the question arises whether it would not be better to play all 4-combinations. And this brings us to the possibility of system bets.
A system bet offers the player the possibility to combine many games, but not as a full combination, where all games have to be correct to win, but as a set of smaller combination bets. If you have selected the eight games at hand and do not want to play them either as a full combination or as two 4s combinations, you can also play them as a system bet “all 4 out of 8”.
The designation “all 4 out of 8” means that all 4s combos are played that can be formed with these 8 games. Of course, the mathematician has also done the work here long ago. The work involves the following points: 1) One must (be able to) calculate how many combinations there are. 2) When the games are over, you have to be able to calculate how much money you have won.
The calculation of the winnings is divided into the possibilities of having 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 or even all 8 games correct. Of course, this is a minor problem once you have solved it in principle and, best of all, understood it (the 0, 1, 2 or 3 correct numbers are the most beautiful even for primary school pupils, but only from a mathematical point of view. You don’t get anything back; how are you supposed to form a four-way combination with three correct numbers?)
I am now devoting myself more intensively to system bets for two reasons: the first reason is that I earned my money this way myself for about 14 years, and the second reason is that I would recommend it to every gambler to play this way for other reasons as well.
My experience, as far as the reluctance of the players towards such bets is concerned, tells me that it is mainly because the players do not understand it properly. And even the one who does understand it would still have the problem of working out the bets on his own if there is a win. Even then, one would like to spare oneself the embarrassment of not being able to calculate it or the worry of being “ripped off”.
In this chapter, I will first essentially introduce the calculation methods for system bets. In the chapter “My System” I will then explain the advantages of this type of bet in detail, there also with even more examples.
So now let’s first solve the problem of how to calculate system bets. First of all, how many combinations there are for which number and which selection of games. Of course, we will stick to the example above. We have eight games. We would like to play all four combinations. For those whose friend is not yet mathematics (only up to now, of course), there is always the possibility of doing it “on foot”. Personally, I also go this way very often in principle in order to visualise a problem. Often enough, the calculation methods result from the fact that it has become clear to me what is actually happening and how it is happening. For this, I simply imagine that these eight games are numbered from 1 to 8. The tips we give on them always remain the same, of course.
Let’s start with the first combined bet. For this, we have to combine game 1 with game 2, game 3 and game 4, with the given tips. It is obvious: it is a four-way combination and it is the first one (basis for this: the order of our number system). The second one would be to combine game 1, game 2, game 3 and game 5. It would be a combo, it would be different from the first, but it would also be four games and in the order it would be the next highest. That’s how we continue. I’ll give all the results in a list here once. If you like it, you can look through them. On the other hand, I think that after 20 combos at the latest, you will have understood the principle and would have got further on your own. For the sake of completeness:
|Kombinummer||Erster Tipp||Zweiter Tipp||Dritter Tipp||Vierter Tipp|
As already mentioned several times, please do not confuse this with the fact that it is only the selected match of your own selection. The actual tip remains the one on the previously selected tendency. So whenever the match number 6 appears there in one of the columns, it means that we have tipped the X for odds 4.0 on Gladbach – Hoffenheim.
That was the “on foot” method. There were 70 possible combinations. In each case, 4 selected matches are tipped, and all combinations are different. For the completeness of the combinations, I can only advise checking. Before we look at the calculation rule in general, I first assume that we decide on the system bet. However, here we touch again on one of the aforementioned problems: How much money do we actually want to bet? Since so far we have only talked about 10 euros, such a bet would require at least a unit size of 70. So if we want to continue “keeping house” with the 10 euros. we would have to play the bet with about 14 cents per row. Most betting shops tend to take only higher stakes, so they would not accept such a small bet at all. But it is good enough for our example here. It is also possible that you could place the bet like this. If not, you would have to play everything a little higher. But the fun is guaranteed to be higher, I can promise you that! For our example here, let’s assume that we had now placed a bet that would be formulated like this: We played a 4 out of 8 á 14 cents. That is 70 combination bets and thus all 4s combinations of the selected eight games. The total stake is 70 * 0.14 = 9.80 euros.
However, before we get down to exemplary settlements, I would now like to discuss the calculation rule and the correlations for this strange 70.
There is also a calculation rule for calculating the number of combinations, that is clear. There are even some nice parallels. Have you ever heard the wayward word “binomial coefficients”? Sure, you say, from a distance, because you were already away. Well done. Or who knows Pascal’s triangle? I don’t look at who’s answering either (even less at who’s not). But this is really nothing to run away from. Look at it once, understand it once and enjoy it for a lifetime. And on top of that, make friends (“Do you already know Pascal’s Triangle? No? You should, I’ll show you”). That’s how it works.
The mathematician, for his part, has no interest in making friends. He wants his science for himself and for himself alone. That’s why he calls such a phenomenon, for example, the “k-permutations of an n-element set.” Somewhat simpler, one could also just call it “the k-element subsets of an n-element set”. But does that help? Yes, it helps. One remains alone, but proud.
But we were really looking for the 4-element subsets of an 8-element set. All 4-element combinations of selected eight games. k=4, n=8. But I don’t want to bore you with the complete derivation now. I’d rather show you Pascal’s triangle. And somewhere mysteriously the number 70 appears.
You always have to start counting with 0. This is a little confusing at first because it is unfamiliar, but you can explain it quite well here and remember it. You can raise a number to the power of 0. But if you do, you reliably get a 1. So 6 to the power of 0 is 1, as is 8 to the power of 0. There is a 0. Element. The reason that 6 to the power of 0 = 1? It is simple and obvious: If you calculate (6 to the power of 2) / (6 to the power of 1), then you can shorten, i.e. lower the power by 1. The solution is 6, or 6 to the power of 1. 6 to the power of 2 is 36. 36 / 6 = 6.
If you simply write (6 to the power of 1) / (6 to the power of 1) instead, you get the same result, using the same logic. You can write it down as 1 or as 6 to the power of 0. So 6 to the power of 0 is 1.
So now you search in the 8th row. There, however, you also have to start counting with the 0. The 0th element in line 8 is a 1. The 1st element is an 8, the second a 28, the third a 56 and the fourth a 70. So we have found our 70. And we found it, albeit less coincidentally, in line 8 of all places as the 4th element.
How this element gets there is as easy to explain as any other entry in Pascal’s triangle. It happens by summation. An element standing in the middle under two elements is always formed as the sum of the two elements standing diagonally above it. If there is only one element above it (this is always on the extreme left or right when you start or end a line), you enter the 1 declared above. Subsequently, this 1 serves as a summand for the element that subsequently appears below it.
So the 8 in line 8 as element 1 is created by the summation of the (previously inserted) 1 and the 7 next to it.
So now you could first hang a Pascal’s triangle on your wall at home yourself (you would have great models there). Then you could go up to line 136, for example, and have a beautiful wallpaper. And at the same time you could also read off the number of 65-element subsets of a 114-element set, if you ever felt like it.
But if you wanted to calculate this number, I can also give you the calculation rule. With my twins, who are just now entering the first grade, I am once again discovering that multiplication is nothing more than clever summation. We can make use of this fact here. The multiplication required to save the summation is written down, in mathematical language, as “8 over 4”. It was only a brief moment of shock. 8 over 4 resolves in a flash as 8765 / 4321.
All the numbers we have to deal with here are in the number range from 1 to 8 (not so with 13 over 6; but there they would all be in the number range 1 to 13). And it really is as simple as this: There are a total of 4 numbers in the numerator (for 8 over 4). These 4 numbers start with the largest possible, i.e. 8. The following factors are then always one less than the predecessor. Until you have 4 numbers. And in the denominator there is simply 4 factorial. The factorial is the multiplication of all numbers from 4 up to 1. Whereby the multiplication with 1 is ineffective. And “ineffective” is really the appropriate word here.
With such a shiny edition, we can now quickly tackle the lotto problem, just to quickly apply our newly acquired knowledge once again. In the lotto, a total of 6 numbers are drawn (we’ll just ignore the bonus number here). There are 49 of them, if no one has cheated, all different from each other, and numbered consecutively from 1 to 49. So we have a classic case of n over k in the form 49 over 6. My wall could no longer take these numbers, so I had to do the math. But I’m really good at it. I have Excel…
To calculate, we have to start with 49, according to the instructions, to get the numerator right. Then we have to add 6 factors, each of which is 1 less than the predecessor. So for the numerator we get 49 * 48 * 47 * 46 * 45 * 44. For the denominator it is much easier. It is 6 * 5 * 4 * 3 * 2.
We have a fraction of (49 * 48 * 47 * 46 * 45 * 44) / (6 * 5 * 4 * 3 * 2). The result (get Excel!) is 13,983,816. So the chance for the 6 correct ones is 1/13,983,816 or, somewhat simplified, about 1 in 14 million. But I do have one piece of advice: make several different picks, this increases the chances of winning considerably! For advanced players: Play a system bet! Again, very briefly, the calculation for the financial outlay if you only want to cover 9 numbers:
So you want to combine your 9 favourite numbers and not leave out any combos (please do not take the birth dates of your loved ones; refer to the chapter “Examining the Games”). Then you have to make 9 over 6 picks. 9 over 6 is (9 * 8 * 7 * 6 * 5 * 4) / (6 * 5 * 4 * 3 * 2 * 1). That is 84, so the investment would be 84 euros. After all, the chance of getting 6 right would now be 84/13,983,816, which is already 1/166,747. To be on the safe side, however, I would quickly advise against it. Your equtiy is not improving. In fact, in absolute terms, it will get considerably worse. Unless you know something. Details about this can be found in the above-mentioned chapter.
Here’s a little trick: As you can see, all numbers in Pascal’s triangle appear once per line. The reason for this is simple: 9 over 6, for example, is exactly the same as 9 over 3. But you can see it not only in Pascal’s triangle, but also in the calculation written down above. The 6 * 5 * 4 appears in both the denominator and the numerator. We can shorten it at any time. And instead of the fraction above we get this one: ( 9 * 8 * 7) / ( 3* 2 ). And that would be exactly the same as we would have had to write down if we had wanted to calculate 9 over 3. In general, the mathematician knows the answer here too. He then simply says: n over k is equal to n over (n-k). Do you want to check? So for 9 over 6 it’s true. 9 over 6 is equal to 9 over (9-6). And 9 over ( 9 – 6 ) is 9 over 3.
Now we are only faced with the last, but by now almost small problem, how to calculate the profit in the case that… In the diagram, where all possible combinations of 4 are listed, we can of course read off which of the bets has won. That would be the “walking” way again. But at least it should work now. Let’s assume we hit five of the eight games, the other three are wrongly tipped. The correct tips are the tip on game 1, the tip on game 2, the tip on game 4, the tip on game 5 and the tip on game 7. We have game 3, game 6 and game 8 wrong.
So we have five games right out of eight and as we have chosen 4s combos for our system we have 5 over 4 combos bets right. We can of course read the correct bets from the chart. The following bets are correct:
To calculate the winning amount, we now have to use the odds that we have achieved with these tips. We read the odds again from the original tips. For game 1, Bielefeld Hertha, the odds on the X that was tipped and received were 3.20, for Schalke – Werder the odds of 1.85 on a home win, tip 1, for Leverkusen – Stuttgart tip 2 with odds of 3.40, for Wolfsburg – Bochum we got the 1 correct, odds for that 1.40 and finally Frankfurt – Cologne the X, odds 3.40. In the scheme it looks like this:
If we now calculate the obviously five correct combinations ( 5 over 4 = 5 over 1 = 5/1 = 5) by multiplying them out, the whole thing looks like this with the result:
So we would have gained 201.28 units. Of course, it is not the net profit. It is the winnings payout. But we had 70 units bet and got back 201 units. And all that with only 5 correct numbers out of 8 games! Makes your mouth water, doesn’t it? The last step we have to take now is to go to the counter and collect the money. All right, first we multiply the 201.28 by our stake, namely the 14 cents, just to be on the safe side. The result is a payout of 28.18 euros. If only we had played for 1 euro! But even so. No more queasy feeling when collecting money. Step forward with confidence. From today only system bets, right?
f. Single bets
Single bets are explained very quickly and simply. All bets on types of betting other than 1-X-2 are in principle also single bets. You bet on a single match with the given odds. If it comes off, you get your stake back times the odds, as usual. However, the significance of single bets varies greatly. There are even very different views on this.
As mentioned before, part of the problem is that of the provider. In the past, single bets were often not accepted at all, The reasons are discussed above. But those that did accept them may have accepted limited stakes. By that I mean really very small ones, there is always a limit in principle. But it goes without saying that every bookmaker, every provider, wants to protect itself from making “mistakes” and that these are also uncovered and exploited. The easiest way to exploit an obvious mistake is with a single bet. But if the provider then only accepts 100 euros, the effect is rather small.
I would just like to mention here that it is possible to bet on individual games. Nowadays, most providers accept this. I will talk more about the advantages and disadvantages a little later. But here is the reason why most providers accept it nowadays. It is because of the…
g. Quota changes
As I explained in detail above, many things have grown historically and can be explained accordingly. For a certain time there simply had to be fixed odds. There was no other way for written bets. With the telephone providers, this principle has gradually loosened somewhat. There were two interrelated reasons for this as well: The player was still sent an odds slip on which all course offers were printed. On the other hand, the provider had his customer directly on the phone when the bet was placed. Consequence and cause at the same time: one could find out about the change in odds on the phone, if there was one. On the other hand, on the printed piece of paper, the betting offer, one had written out the game at the given odds.
The bookmaker could therefore inform you of a change in the odds. The player himself, however, could become quite grumpy. The bookmaker had a certain reluctance to change his odds because of the odds sheet that was sent out and wanted to do it as seldom as possible. On the other hand, of course, the player had to accept it. One could sometimes hear on the phone: “We have already received many bets on the game. That’s why the change.”
I always pointed out to people who complained about (too) many odds changes that it was most certainly more serious when odds were changed than when bets were accepted unconditionally. The provider who accepts everything, regardless of the amount, may not be able to pay out at all at some point. So, I said, be happy if he changes odds, that is a clear indication that the man will also pay out if he loses.
On the other hand, I was also annoyed about it, that’s clear. But only for the following reason: I was a professional. So I worked out my bets quite meticulously. That could often take hours. The bets were also related to each other. So I removed a game from the betting at one provider because I could (apparently) play it somewhere else for a higher rate. Then, when I found out about the odds change, I occasionally had to change many bets again. Especially, the already finished bet for this provider. But subsequently, perhaps some with others as well.
As a consequence, it meant that at some point I no longer played at all with providers who changed the odds a lot and frequently. I was not angry with people either. There is no obligation for anyone to lose money with me. I’m just asking, if he “capitulated” in this way, i.e. realised that I was better, why didn’t he want to use my services? (Note: a few times this did happen. Thanks for that).
Well, time has moved on here too. A lot of things are done either in the betting shop, where there are more small players, or via the internet. And the internet makes it possible to play higher, but because there is no printed paper, there is always only the current rate. That might be changed all the time, almost everyone does. You really can’t complain about that any more. You get the current rate, you place your bet on it or you don’t. It’s just for professional players. It’s just a different way of working for professional players.
h. From the professional player’s point of view
3) The Asian betting market
So far we have examined the possibilities of betting with traditional bookmakers. This business will probably always have an importance. It is the classic, easy way to bet, and for everyone. Apart from that, it is an absolutely fair offer. The player can but does not have to bet. He can “compete” against the providers with his own assessments. The competition between the providers ensures that the odds offered must always be within reasonable limits. A slightly higher quota is offered here by one provider, but there by another. The player has the choice. For the skilled player, the fate of losing is by no means predetermined. I consider myself the living example. Of course, I have to accept that people a) don’t believe me or b) simply label me as lucky.
Nevertheless, from the provider’s point of view, one effect remains unpleasant. This effect is living with risk. On the one hand, this risk is, of course, not knowing the truth, the correct assessment, and, in the case of skilful, good to very good players, losing little by little, or at least not winning enough. Of course, there are also protective measures against this, which the various providers take. One of these measures is gambling bans. Personally, I have also been banned from playing often enough. The provider simply does not want to accept the bets. The gambling ban was also expressed by the fact that perhaps only ridiculously small bets were accepted or also that the odds of the games I selected were constantly changed. I then simply deleted these providers from my selection. After all, I don’t want to force anyone, nor could I.
Another form of risk is that the bets placed are not balanced overall. This means that the ordinary gambler has a tendency to play the clear favourites. It is also obvious that when you hear the pairing Bayern Munich – Hansa Rostock or Manchester United – FC Southampton, FC Barcelona – Sporting Gijon, Real Madrid – Almeria, you “predict” the victory of the home team, the clear favourite. Intuitively, somehow everyone would do that. You can only possibly dissuade the player from betting on one of these favourites by offering unattractive, i.e. particularly small, odds. But you certainly can’t entice the normal gambler to play the underdog. He plays the favourite, mostly even the clear favourites. Or he plays nothing at all. The underdog doesn’t win anyway, so why should he play him?
The risk that traditional providers always face is that maybe one day all the favourites will win and they will have to pay out a huge, perhaps excessive amount. And the feeling of being at risk, i.e. having to fear for one’s business every day, may be a habit in many sectors, but the question still arises: does it have to be?
b. The basic idea
The basic idea that one should have understood to understand the Asian betting market is this: can’t you make every game an even game? If you could do that, then at least the gambler would no longer have a recognisable inclination for the favourite, since there is none. I like to compare it like this: if I were to play a game of golf against Tiger Woods, if you were to swim a race against Michael Phelps or if you were to play a tennis match against Roger Federer, it seems like a lost cause. Unless, that is.
Unless the target we get is big enough. We get to swim 75 metres before Michael Phelps is allowed in the water. Tiger Woods goes into the match with 235 strokes already completed, which we then have to do, Roger Federer has to start at 6:0, 5:0, 40:0 for us. Maybe the match will be even then. You always just have to find the appropriate handicap that the favourite has to give the underdog in order to make every match, every game, an even match.
This idea, by the way, is once again ancient and of course from America. They’ve been betting like this practically forever. The underdog victory is not rewarded by higher odds, but there is a “line” that represents the level of the favourite. And bets are placed against this line. This applies to all sports that are popular in America. Basketball, football, ice hockey, baseball, for example.
However, these sports have a single, but serious difference to football: In all of them there are considerably more points, goals, higher “scores” than in football. This does not result in any significant difference in the type of bets offered. It is only because of this that there are problems in understanding the type and presentation of the handicaps, i.e. the handicap. I would like to point this out and make it understandable in the following:
c. The Asian Handicap
The Asian handicap only gets this addition because the invention of applying handicaps to football originated in Asia. However, the idea and its implementation was so ingenious that in recent years (2000-2009) a huge wave of operators has spilled over here. The Asian betting market dominates the scene. The reasons will hopefully become apparent in the sequel.
So one tries to find a target, a handicap, which is the amount of the better party’s favourite. Anyone who has ever seen a betting slip from a traditional bookmaker may have noticed that there is often the offer of a win with a handicap. This often looks like this:
|Deutschland, 1. Bundesliga||1||X||2||HC1||HCX||HC2|
|8||21/2/09||15:30||FC Bayern||–||FC Köln||1.40||4.75||6.00||(0:1)||2.00||3.90||2.85|
(this is a list generated by my computer for the 21st matchday of the 2008/2009 Bundesliga season).
You can play a team to win, draw or lose. In addition, you can also play them in handicap. The amount of the handicap is shown in brackets, followed by the odds for the individual events. The handicap is always 1 goal. There is no higher advantage than 1 goal, so to speak, not in the 1st league. When Germany plays an international match against San Marino, Luxembourg or Liechtenstein, the handicap can be 4, 5 or 6 goals. With this form of betting and also the handicap, there are still three possible outcomes. This applies to victory, draw and defeat anyway. These are the three possible tendencies of a football match. But even with the form of the handicap, that still applies.
So if you bet, for example, that Bayern – Köln will win in the handicap (it is obvious: they will win anyway, but “you don’t get a course”, so you play the win in the handicap), this means that the bet is only won if Bayern wins by 2 or even more than 2 goals. 2:0, 3:1 would be enough, but of course also 4:0 or 6:2. In each case, the difference is greater than 1. However, in the case of a win by one goal difference, the bet is completely lost. So with 1:0, 2:1, 3:2 you have the win right, but not the bet in the handicap. The money is gone.
The three outcomes offered in the handicap are such that there is also a handicap X (handicap draw, HCX marked). This occurs when Bayern wins by exactly one goal. The disadvantage, the deficit they had, the handicap, of 0:1 is exactly made up. So if you bet HCX and Bayern actually win by one goal, you will be handsomely rewarded with odds of 3.90. But you have to get there first!
The Asian handicap is different. There are only two sides that can be bet on. You can bet the favourite or the underdog. If you play the favourite, you first have to make up the handicap to win the bet and then you also have to beat it. However, the aforementioned difference with American sports is noticeable here with football: In a game as low-scoring as football, a few gradations in the handicap inevitably had to be introduced. You can also see from the odds shown above that the one goal, which is in brackets, often enough turns a (quite clear) favourite into an (almost blatant) underdog. Schalke are indeed favourites against Dortmund, even quite clearly with odds of 1.80. But as soon as they have to make up the one goal, their odds are set high at 3.25, while Dortmund’s 4.0 on victory in the handicap is suddenly a 1.95. Of course, Dortmund’s win in the handicap is characterised by them saving that one goal lead over the finish line, and they have always achieved that when they don’t lose the whole football match. Imagine a 1:1. Then Dortmund would still have a one-goal lead due to the handicap and all bets on HC2, i.e. Dortmund winning the handicap, would have to be paid out.
To explain the much finer differentiation in the Asian handicap, I will send the goal expectations for the 21st match day of the Bundesliga given above as an example:
|FC Bayern||FC Köln||2.42||1.00||1.42||1.50|
We first look at the columns under Goal Expectations for Home and Away. So you can see that they are all between 0.85 and 2.42 goals. But most expectations are between 0 and 2. How could it be otherwise with a goal average of 2.9 in the Bundesliga? The home teams score an average of about 1.7 of these and away teams 1.2 (that’s longstanding about 1.BL; this season currently 1.75 : 1.222; but the season is also rather a high-scoring one so far and the home teams have scored a bit too much; or is my programme just bad?). So it all plays out within this framework. Outliers are sometimes at 2.4, as typical, once again the Bavarians. And they also “took the cake” in the difference. I, or my stupid computer, expect them to score 1.42 goals more than Cologne. In other respects, too, the values are always within the range shown in the difference column, between -0.54 and +0.65. So nowhere would a handicap, a goal target, of a whole goal be justified. Such a superiority of a team is rather the exception.
Let me summarise once again. We are now at the following point: the task was to make a football match as exactly balanced as possible by means of a handicap, a special handicap. To do this, only two sides should be able to bet. Team 1 wins with the handicap set or team 2 wins with the handicap set. On the way to setting such a handicap, we unfortunately had to realise that the game of football in such a balanced league as the 1st Bundesliga (but in foreign leagues or in the 2nd Bundesliga it is similar) does not allow you to use whole goals to balance the difference in playing strength. It is simply too much.
Note: It is also worth mentioning here that betting on more than two sides would not be suitable at all (if not impossible anyway) with an equal chance distribution. So when betting on 1-X-2, which is already three outcomes, there will always be one more likely outcome and other less likely outcomes.
Remedies for the problem that 1 goal would be too much of a gradation have been created by clever people. They first introduced the half goal. Admittedly, one cannot imagine a half goal very well. But I would like to compare it with the example before to the first game given above. The game was Schalke – Dortmund. In the handicap (0:1), which is printed on my list, a classic list therefore, means that Schalke can win the game in the handicap if they win by two (or more) goals difference, or Dortmund can win the game in the handicap, then if they don’t lose the game and the game can go out in the handicap X if Schalke wins by exactly one goal.
We would now only have to abolish the case of Schalke winning by one goal, and thus the case of “Handicap X”. And that succeeds with the half-goal. Dortmund, instead of starting the game with a whole goal lead, as stated above, instead start the game with half a goal. The effect would be: If Schalke win the game at all, they would have completely made up for the handicap of half a goal and transported it to their side, so to speak. They win 1:0. The handicap, which as an example was half a goal, was on Dortmund’s side before the game. They had this lead. At the final whistle, however, Schalke has this half-goal advantage and has therefore won the game in terms of the handicap of “half a goal ahead”.
That’s how it had started on the Asian betting market. There were half-goals, whole-goals or even 0-goal leads. When I first encountered it, I also thought it was ridiculous at first. If you play a team with a 0 handicap, what happens if the game ends in a draw? The answer was given to me by the betting rules. They say: in the event of a draw, the stake is returned. So if you choose a side in a match and the handicap is 0, you have neither won nor lost in the event of a draw. The bet is at par, you get your money back. I thought that was boring at first. But as we all know, you get used to everything, even the dative…
First of all, it is a fact that there are definitely games in which there is no recognisable favourite. It is just as obvious, if one applies the basic idea of equalising the difference in playing strength through a handicap, that this handicap must then simply be 0. After all, the game is already balanced beforehand. So no team has to receive any handicap or make up for it. The only problem you then have with such games is the settlement. Of course, you would still win the bet if the team you bet on wins. Likewise, if the betting team loses, the bet would be lost. Special case, that draw, is now also settled. It is not a bet, money back, not lost, not won. Actually, that makes sense.
Unfortunately, football still has “its own laws”. It is true that there are also larger differences occasionally, those of a whole goal. Even with these, the accounting problem only arises in the case of a 1-goal victory, but this has already been solved: you play a team that was rated with a -1 handicap before the match. The team must therefore make up (at least) 1 goal. If, however, it succeeds in doing so, and by exactly that one goal, it wins by 2:1, for example, then this bet is also at par again. The handicap can also be 2 goals, in which case the same rules apply. Two-goal win by the favourite = both sides get their money back (yes, even the one who had the underdog).
Football’s own laws only now come into play: even half goals are not quite enough to differentiate. Half a goal is still a bit too rough as a gradation. That is why these clever people have simply inserted a further differentiation level. This then runs in quarter-goal increments. If you look at the column “nearest quarter goal” in the list above, you will see that in the games Schalke – Dortmund, Karlsruhe – Frankfurt and Stuttgart – Hoffenheim the nearest goal is a quarter goal. For Schalke it is the quarter goal between 0.5 and 1, i.e. 0.75, and for the other two it is between 0 and 0.5, i.e. 0.25.
The first betting offers I saw with the quarter-goal increments also confused me. Especially as I didn’t see the point. You’re in a better position there, because I always try to make you understand the meaning: it’s about evening out the difference in playing strength for a pairing. And occasionally it is necessary to do that with a quarter goal. But the first thing I read was a reformulation of such a bet on a quarter goal. It said that if I were to play a team with -0.25 goals, half of my bet would be placed on the 0 handicap, the other half of the bet on the 0.5 handicap.
Needless to say, this did not shed any light for me either at first glance. Nevertheless, I will try to shed some light on the matter here and now. After all, we now have the ability to settle the bet. I’ll note down a betting offer on one of the weekend’s games. I have just read this in the form from the internet:
Pairing Asian HC Quote1 Quote2
VfB Stuttgart – TSG Hoffenheim -0.25 1.84 2.07
So the handicap is actually 0.25 goals with this provider, as my computer also suggests. The odds on a Stuttgart win (in terms of this handicap) are 1.84, the odds on a Hoffenheim win are 2.07. So let’s imagine that we place 100 euros on Hoffenheim. The odds are 2.07.
So, just like before, when we still played at the traditional bookmaker, we still wish Hoffenheim to win the match. But, apart from the fact that our pipe dream can come true, we already somehow know that there are other possibilities. One of them is that they lose the game, another that the game ends in a draw. But what happens to our money in both cases?
We look again at the betting formulation that came to me. Half of our stake is placed on the 0 handicap, the other half on the 0.5 handicap. Half is 50 euros. Fortunately, if Hoffenheim loses, we don’t have to calculate for long. The bet on +0.5 is lost. They did not save the half goal over time. But the bet on the 0 handicap is also lost, because the whole game is lost. So the case is like before: we had Hoffenheim, they lost, the money is gone.
But there is still one case that concerns us now: What happens in the case of a draw? The game ends 2:2, which means that we have made the bet on the handicap 0 par. We get the 50 euros back. But the other bet, the one with the +0.5 handicap, we won. We were half a goal ahead before the game, and still ahead after the final whistle. So we won the bet with 50 euros at odds of 2.07. The payout on this part of the bet is 2.07 * 50 euros = 103.50 euros. In addition, we get back the 50 euros bet on the handicap 0. The total payout is therefore 153.5 euros. We have bet 100 euros and got back 153.50 euros. So it is not a whole win but (somehow) half a win.
In gambler’s language it is also called “half a win”. Although it’s not quite right in the expression. 53.50, our winnings, is not half of 100. The correct expression would be: you win half the stake * the odds. Short form: half the winnings.
But what would have happened if we had played Stuttgart at -0.25? Again, our bets are placed on the handicaps 0 and 0.5, but this time from Stuttgart’s point of view with -0.5. The half goal has to be made up to win. So we now have 50 euros on Stuttgart with -0.5 and 50 euros on Stuttgart with handicap 0. Assuming the result of the match of 2:2 above, we would have kept the one bet with handicap 0 at par, so we would get these 50 euros back. However, we would have lost the other bet, the one with the -0.5 handicap, and the 50 euros would be gone. So we had a stake of 100 euros and got 50 euros back. Now we can justifiably talk about “half a loss”. 50 is half of 100. It’s called that and it reflects the facts exactly.
Another example would be if Stuttgart won 2:0 and we had Stuttgart. Then we would get the full profit, but it would still only be 100 * the odds and the odds are only 1.84. So we would get 184 euros back, net profit 84 euros, that’s like before. If we take the Hoffenheim side and Hoffenheim wins the game, we also win in full, but this time 100 * 2.07, so 207 euros, net therefore 107.
One could also express it in such a way that the quarter goal has evened out the difference between the two teams as exactly as possible in this case, but again not yet in the form that the odds, which reflect the probabilities of the events occurring, are still not equal. The odds are fairly even due to the quarter goal, but still not definitive. I guess we’ll have to keep waiting for the eighth goals….
Or keep reading until the “spread betting”.
d. Betting levels and price adjustments
The Asian market is probably where most of the money is wagered. The betting offer is extremely fair and the stakes that can be placed there are sufficiently high. Of course, the odds are also adjusted to the incoming bets. So you always bet at the current rate.
So the provider controls the attractiveness of both sides via the rates. He constantly sees how much has been bet on one side or the other. Most of this is already software-controlled. In principle, the provider hardly has to worry about ending up on the losing side.
e. Goal number betting in Asian handicapping
Goal number bets also come with an Asian handicap and can be placed in this way if you wish. As with the sides, the handicaps are graduated in quarter-goal increments. So, depending on the league or the match, you can sometimes bet on an “over 3.25” (for example, when Bayern play Cologne), or sometimes on an “under 2 goals”. With “over 3.25” there is a special case only if exactly 3 goals are scored. In this case, we already know the settlement modalities: Half of the bet, the “over 3”, is at par, the other half, the “over 3.5”, is lost. The total is then half a loss again.
With the “under 2”, the only special case is exactly when two goals are scored. We are used to it, the whole bet is at par. With 0 or 1 goals we would have won, with 3 or more we would have lost, with 2 we are at par.
For me, these bets are the most interesting at the moment. Because I have already met a lot of players, oddsmakers, bookmakers or other experts. And all of them, after some experience and dealing with the numbers, could effortlessly create odds for 1-X-2 off the top of their head (which were at least correct in the order of magnitude; the conversion of these odds into Asian handicaps is also comparatively easy). But I have yet to meet anyone who could do goal count odds reliably and well off the top of their head. You hear a pairing and think “Oh, there are goals coming” or even “the game sounds like it won’t have many goals”, but hardly anyone succeeds in converting these intuitive thoughts into correct estimates. My computer programme is made for that.
f. Early Market
That’s one thing about the “early market”. Especially since I always try to look at both perspectives here. From the provider’s point of view, he prefers to receive bets very early so that he can adjust his lines and the corresponding odds in time. However, in the early days, the providers made the mistake (?) of accepting very high stakes. As a result, some professional players “struck” early and placed their bets at the lines or odds that were still incorrect in the beginning. The provider was either then already at risk or his profits were considerably reduced.
But providers also have the right to learn (and unfortunately often do so far too quickly). Today, only smaller amounts are accepted on the Early Market. But they must already have a certain amount so that they remain small “treats”. Nevertheless, they are sometimes too small. The provider hopes to correct his odds (or the line) in time through smaller stakes and then have the “right odds” on match day.
Here, too, the explanation: of course, it always remains the case that most bets are placed on the match day itself. Almost all players do this. The game is on, now you have all the news, now you are hot, now you play. In principle, the early market is something for professionals. But nowadays it is a welcome measure for the provider to detect possible mistakes at an early stage (one could also call it: to read the market tendency).
For me personally, it’s a two-way street. I quite like playing on the early market. It’s just that the stakes tend to be so high that it’s not quite as attractive. In addition, you often “spoil” the price for the game day itself. So it’s better to wait? Apart from that: of course you don’t have any information yet and you don’t know any tendency, any market movement. This means that it could be possible that you yourself already find the price attractive, but the price would still rise.
In general, the great art of the entire Asian market is to always find the right time for the bet. The best time would always be when the price on the side you are playing is at its maximum. But who can do that?
g. Protection against betting fraud
As indicated in the section above, the stakes accepted on the Early Market tend to be smaller (up to 2000 euros, but only for major leagues). Part of the rationale is to protect against professional players who simply spot mistakes and bet on them and win in the long run (and the money they win, someone has to pay). But another part is protection against betting fraud. If very large bets are possible, then that is always an attraction, also for fraudsters. If only small stakes are possible, it also becomes uninteresting for fraudsters.
And there is one thing I have to mention here: the Asian betting providers are very interested in correct, unmanipulated procedures. That would be fatal for the betting business. The customers jump off, don’t want to play at all or are constantly afraid and play less. Apart from that, the cheater has to harm someone. And if it were not other players, it would be the provider.
This leads to the second point with which the providers protect themselves from betting fraud today: Games that “stink”, where at some point the stakes on one side are inflated (and as described above, it can’t be that high), are not given constant course corrections or line corrections, but are simply removed from the programme. And that is guaranteed to be worth nothing to the fraudsters. They can then still win very small sums, if any at all. And you still have to bear in mind that there is always a certain risk in attempting a scam. If it doesn’t require a financial stake (bribery?).
The players themselves in the market have also become more cautious. In other words: if some manipulated games could still be provided with high stakes on the part of the cheaters in the early days, and the profits they made with them were partly financed by the provider and partly by other bettors, then both sides, provider and other players, are becoming more cautious. The providers sense in time that something is wrong, the players themselves, who may have thought “Wow, a gift” when they saw an odds offer, bet on it and lost, will no longer do so in the future, or if they do, then only cautiously.
Personally, I am also an aggrieved party. I once couldn’t believe that a Bundesliga match could be rigged and actually placed 10,000 euros (and dutifully lost).
In summary, however, I have to say that at least on the betting market you can currently play quite carefree. There is no cheating. Cheating is only worthwhile if the cheaters can also safely earn a certain amount, and that is simply no longer the case.
4) The betting exchanges
Another modern form of betting takes place via the so-called betting exchanges. Here, the provider only acts as an intermediary for the bets. This means that any private person who has an account there can place a bet. The organiser provides the software with which the bets can be exchanged. In other words, the formulation of the bet is predetermined in a certain way. The event on which bets can be placed is made available in this way. The organiser has an interest in being as diverse as possible in the formulation of the offers. In principle, any type of bet that promises revenue is made available. The customers themselves must then agree on the bets by supply and demand. The organiser cleverly retains a percentage. However, only the winner of the bet has to pay this percentage. Then an excellent system is installed, which grants discounts to the frequent or big players. So if you make a lot of turnover there, you pay a lower percentage in taxes.
In concrete terms, betting there looks like this: Let’s stay with football. Of course, every important game is offered there, and the trend is increasing here as well. The number of leagues offered is growing. Now, just as naturally, the conventional 1 – X – 2 is made available, so you can bet on it. If you register now, at betfair for example (betfair is the largest betting exchange), open an account and want to bet on a Bundesliga match, let’s say Borussia Dortmund – VfB Stuttgart. Let’s say you want to play early in the week, on Monday. And you want to play Borussia Dortmund to win. Then click on the corresponding market. Football – Bundesliga – Match Dortmund – Stuttgart, 1 – X – 2. Then you will find the option to click on “back” or on “lay”. “Back” means you want to support the side, i.e. bet. “Lay” means you want to offer the page, pay a rate. Now it is still early in the week. The market hasn’t formed yet, but odds are starting to come in. Let’s say you had, before, during or after studying the book, already determined your probability of occurrence for Sieg Dortmund. This is 45%. The fair odds are the inverse of 2.22. That is your assumption.
You find a rate of 2.28 at which you could click “back”. On the other hand, you find a 2.32 that you could click “lay” on. These are courses that other participants in this game have already entered before you. Now, you don’t want to play this 2.28. Because when you subtract the tax, you are left with something less than the fair rate (bill!). So you enter your desired rate, with an associated amount. For example, you want to get 2.35. Then you enter this rate and, for example, 100 euros as the stake. At the same moment, your bet appears as an offer on the “lay” page. If a later participant also clicks in, he will see your offer. However, he can get the “lay” even cheaper because someone before you was already willing to play for just 2.32. But if this bet is sold, i.e. the person is willing to pay this 2.32 on a Dortmund win and “buys the bet”,
then your offer may be in first place. The next person who wants to pay a rate on Dortmund will only find your rate offer. And either he accepts it, or he asks again for a cheaper rate, just like you did before.
So the market forms here in exactly the same way as on the Asian betting market. Only there are slightly different, but actually more obvious criteria for it: there is a concrete person who is willing to play a team for a certain rate, otherwise there would be no offer. And on the other side, there is a person who is willing to pay this rate. That’s how the bet is arranged. So if you ultimately want to play Dortmund in any case, you can also enter 2.25 as the rate, for example even with 1000 euros. 2.25 in the “back” column. What happens now? You immediately receive all bets from all players who were willing to pay even a higher rate. So you get the 2.28 that was there in full, as long as the amount is less than 1000 euros. If there was an offer of 2.27 before that, you will also get it, as long as the total of both amounts does not exceed 1000 euros. Then there might also be someone who was willing to pay 2.26. You will also get this if it is still under 1000 euros. You will still get that too, if the total is still less than 1000 euros. But let’s assume you now have a total of only 500 euros on these three bets and there is no 2.25. Then your (remaining) offer of 500 euros moves up to position 1 and the next person who watches this game or even wants to bet now sees your remaining 500 euros in the “lay” column at a rate of 2.25. So he only has to pay 2.25.
Let us now continue to assume that you would have classified the 45% as a minimum chance. So you then say in principle “45% or more” and this assessment is correct and good, then the price will possibly move downwards in the course of the week. The price for which “Dortmund is trading”. Then, as on the stock exchange, you have acquired a good value. Something else even happens: The price thus moves downwards according to your assessment and “closes”, i.e. is then at the start of the game, at 2.05. Then you have a so-called “sure bet”. You could now immediately play the opposite side, i.e. pay the daily rate on Dortmund, with the corresponding amount, and would immediately have secured a profit. This will then usually be relatively small, so in this case an estimated 45 euros or something in the order of magnitude. This procedure is also called “settling” a bet. The bet is settled, in new German. That means you play both sides, in the more favourable case you then have a guaranteed profit.
But it is also possible to settle a bet at a loss if you no longer like it. You simply sell the bet at the current price. You have made a mistake, the price has not developed as you would have liked, the team news is unfavourable, you sell. This behaviour is also called “taking a loss”. You accept your mistake and take a loss for it.
Let me summarise again: In a betting exchange, bets are brokered. The participants are private individuals. Anyone can participate. They can ask for tailor-made rates. You can ask for any rate you want to get. However, you have to expect that your bet will not be placed. Because other players are willing to play the same bet you would like at a less favourable rate. But you can also bet at the current rate, regardless of whether there was or will be a better rate at some point before or after. The betting principle is just as simple and convincing as the Asian offer: The organiser does not take any risks. He is guaranteed to win, virtually on every bet placed. On the other hand, the participant has the advantage of being able to choose the courses that would appeal to him or play at the current rate. And this rate is usually higher than the rate of a conventional bookmaker. So the advantages work both ways, the bettor himself and the organiser have advantages. As a result, this betting system is also a huge competitor to the traditional bookmaker.
My tip also to every (potential) gambler: the payout is much better secured with Asian providers as well as with betting exchanges. Because: due to the reduced to eliminated risk, they are guaranteed to have money. And people who have money and lose are happy to pay, because business is good. With a conventional betting provider, the payout is more likely to be at risk, especially with larger to very large winnings.
5) Spread Betting
There is another form of betting. This is the so-called “spread betting”. It works like this: The bookmaker determines a “line” and you bet against this “line”. You still have the choice of going “short” or “long”, as with shares. You can, as is readily apparent and an obligation for the provider, bet both sides. So let’s take the game Dortmund – Stuttgart again. Dortmund were favourites, our pay odds were a 2.0, our fair odds something like a 2.20. The probability of victory slightly greater than 45%. Then our betting offer in the spread would look like this: “Dortmund -0.35”. That means Dortmund is at a 0.35 goal disadvantage. Their superiority in this match is (estimated) 0.35 goals. So if we were the provider of the spread, we would offer that you can play Dortmund with -0.45 goals and Stuttgart with +0.25 goals. The provider’s profit margin is then the difference in payout between the – goals for Dortmund and the + goals for Stuttgart. So if Dortmund wins by one goal, we would have to pay out 0.55 goals for every winner Dortmund has. This is calculated in such a way that Dortmund’s goal advantage in the match is reduced by the spread, i.e. here 1 – 0.45 = 0.55. Now if someone played Dortmund with 1000 euros in the spread with -0.45 goals, then he would win 0.55*1000 = 550 euros.
The person who had Stuttgart in this game would have to pay 0.75 goals, because he had Stuttgart only +0.25 goals. +2.5 – 1 = -0.75. So if someone also played 1000 Euros on Stuttgart, he would lose 750 Euros. We as the provider would have made a profit of 200 euros on 2000 euros turnover, a full 10%.
Certainly, there are one or two snags for the provider: First of all, you have to set the line so that both sides are equally attractive. It’s like with Asian providers. You have to hit the line as precisely as possible. Here, too, adjustments can be made. If one side is playing more, you can move the spread, the line. With the intention of attracting bets to the other side again. And here comes a problem: the market is not that big. So it becomes more difficult to “balance the book” here.
Another problem is that the possible loss amounts on the part of the bettor is in principle open. The match could end 10:0 for Dortmund. Then the person who played Stuttgart would lose 9.75 * stake per goal. The problem is how high bets are accepted. If the customer’s account balance is 1000 euros and he wants to play 400 euros per goal, for example. Should one accept that? One would have to get the money first from a 3:0 victory, because the account cover is used up.
In principle, these problems have been solved in England. The customers who are allowed to play there are reliable payers who also make a commitment to pay out the money. There is a state regulation for this. The only disadvantage is that you can’t let it grow as big as you want. You only have a select clientele.
In spread betting, by the way, you can also include long-term bets and other sports in any form. As an example, I will mention here: At the European Football Championship, for example, you could “buy” a team in the tournament, i.e. support it. There is also a line for this. For Croatia, for example, the line was 29 points. The settlement is then made in this way: Elimination in the preliminary round results in 0 points. Whoever “bought” Croatia lost 29 points. Elimination in the quarter-finals: 25 points. If this happens, the bettor has still lost 4 points. Elimination in the semi-finals: 50 points. So if that happens, the client has gained 21 points. Defeat in the final: 75 points. The bettor wins 46 points. European Championship winner: 100 points. Whoever had then “bought” Croatia would win 71 points.
Analogously, you can of course also “sell” any team, but then the line for Croatia would be 27 points. If Croatia is eliminated in the preliminary round, you “only” win 27 points, if they are eliminated in the quarter-finals, you only win 2 points and then you have to pay.
I personally appreciate spread betting very much. It is an absolutely correct method of betting. You have to take into account that if you are watching a match and your team is actually on the winning track, that every further goal will earn you the full money. So, unlike other types of betting, further goals are not irrelevant. If you are very confident about a match and your team actually wins 4-0, you will be fully rewarded for your superior assessment.