There are elements and layers of sports betting that take it beyond the simple matter of trying to beat the bookmaker. The goal at the end of the day is to try and win bets and turn a profit, but there are some extra benefits to be taken from betting.
What happens when you are watching a football match and you have a bet riding on that fixture? The intensity and excitement levels automatically go up. The simple act of placing a bet on a sporting event invariably increases the excitement that goes with it.
Suddenly the outcome of that particular fixture has more importance on it than it would have without the bet. Think of a football betting scenario where the UEFA Champions League Final is contested between Bayern Munich v Real Madrid.
You may not be a supporter of either of those teams and you may not have an interest in who wins. But if, after studying statistics ahead of the match, you placed a bet on Bayern Munich to win, then suddenly your perspective of the match changes.
You have a sizable interest now in the outcome of that game. You will be cheering every time Bayern gets on the attack. So there is without question, an aspect of sports betting that actually makes the sport being bet on, all the more interesting.
Sport to betting feedback loop
The more than you delve into sports betting by studying markets such as handicap bets, totals and accumulators for example, the more dimensions you can explore. Backing Bayern Munich at a -1 handicap for example in the scenario above totally changes the aspect from just backing them in the match outright.
The more exact conditions that you set, based on the statistical study, the more nuanced the excitement levels of a game are going to be. A small wager can exponentially raise the interest levels in a fixture.
Then there is live in-play betting as well, being able to study a fixture while it is in action and make betting calls based on what is unfolding in front of your eyes.
There is a basic feedback that happens. The more you study statistics to create bets, the more insights you will look for into the sport itself. The knowledge of the sport increases allowing the punter to make more selective bets.
There is another area in which sports betting is useful. That is through understanding probability related to how bets work. At the end of the day, it is all mathematics. The odds that you are looking at are based on probability.
So understanding small things like 1.44 decimal odds representing approximately a 69% of an outcome happening, while 11.00 decimal odds represents approximately a 9% chance of the outcome happening, is important.
The odds aren’t just random numbers. They have a purpose and they need to be understood in order to approach betting sensibly.
But that can be fun and challenging. Why is this important? There’s little value in backing a selection at 1.05 decimal odds to win as that means for every unit of stake you earn 0.05 profit only. So you want to be able to find a good balance between probability and value in odds.
There are the fun challenges of sports betting, picking the right bets in that sweet spot of value and probability. Being able to quickly glance at odds and understand the probability of them is extremely useful.
You can then take the learning forward to doing things like creating your own strategies and systems. You can apply any knowledge learned through your betting adventures to formulate your own betting strategies, even down to very basic ones like backing the second-favourite in a sequence of horse races for example.
One of the great things about sports betting is experimentation. You can test your own systems on paper first by studying results to fine-tune them and get them just right. You can play with different bet types and probabilities until you find the right levels for your own preferences.
Deeper sports integration
There are two sides of the same coin when it comes to how sports betting fuels a deeper integration and interest in sport. The more that you dig into a sport to understand key statistics, then the more it will feedback into your betting as well.
For example, if you start rugby betting and as a beginner, you just start by selecting an option from the match outright. You have a home win, a draw or an away win to choose from.
But then over time, you want to expand and look at the popular points handicap options. So you have to study statistics for insights to spot trends, such what kind of margins the home teams win by on average, on a common basis.
So you then start noticing that certain teams are far more defensively minded and tend to pay a higher percentage of matches with only low margins.
Then, of course, there are other variables of things like player injuries. If a team is going into a match without their top kicker, that is naturally going to have an effect.
To keep up to date with very important, yet basic information like that, you have to follow the sports news and by doing so, your knowledge of the sports gets deeper and deeper.
So there are many exciting elements and useful aspects of sports betting. Yes, it is ultimately about the money but at the same time, it’s not. It’s about the challenge, it is about the punter trying to take on the bookmaker.
The excitement and challenges can come from small stakes like trying to build a successful accumulator, so it’s not always a case of the more stake that is riding on an outcome, the more exciting it is going to be.
Sports betting is finely nuanced. It develops mathematical skills, it raises interest in sports and when it is done while remaining in full control of a bankroll, then it can add up to fun.