Does your edge in the sporting markets equate to your status in the professional betting game?

Professional Sports Betting 101 - Key Factors to consider

We take a look at a myriad of factors actually involved in going full time pro in the sports betting game and how the pro life is misconceived by the masses. Reaching the pro betting summit is one thing, sustaining your spot up there is another in a diverse and ever changing sports betting market evolution.

I've been thinking a lot over the years about sports betting regarding my expected value and it got me wondering about the general consensus of what serious sports betting actually entails. It's not all sh!ts and giggles like social media would have you believe. In fact it's a proper full time job if you want to go down that route and maybe you even need to work harder than a regular 9 to 5. It's hard to articulate to someone who hasn't actually experienced betting at least semi-seriously as to what it's like. Or maybe that's not the case for everyone - maybe some people who have a significant edge in the sports betting game and make it pay have that edge mainly for 1 reason: They love it! 

A predisposed dopamine fix that means they actually can't switch off at all. If you have bets on, - and believe me these people always do - you just don't switch off. Whether you're playing out different scenarios in your mind re hedging or reinvesting or whatever, checking score updates every minute in the footy, answering emails from contacts or watching a golf shot tracker like it's Natalie Portman in Black Swan....
"Goal. Rapinha,out of box,left foot,high into the corner, 
            following fast break" 
There's so much more to being a pro or serious bettor than people think about. Being a probabilistic genius with a monumental edge over the sportsbooks doesn't even guarantee success. It would be only a small enough percentage of a much bigger puzzle to solve.

Professional Sports Bettors are consistently monitoring bets and information

See the quote above. This is a sign of the times with so much data and information now out there capturing everything that it makes it almost impossible for anyone that does this seriously to switch off. Well those that actually enjoy watching the sports anyway, which is in fact why we got into sports betting in the first place isn't it? That quote is from a well known football site which gives live in running finite detail of what's going on. If you're a fan of prop bets in the football it's great innovation. Or is it? Maybe not so great if you're looking to tune out for a while.

Professional sports betting is not all about having an edge on the market - big or small. There are a number of facets to overcome to realise that edge you might have. 

does your edge equte to your true expected value?
Access to many sports betting accounts is needed along with a rigid staking plan. Fastidious attention to bankroll management is a prerequisite, while discipline and patience are key. Another important aspect of having ago at the sports betting game, and one that is very much often overlooked is a proper set up / office to make things a lot easier for ourselves. Multiple screens and software need to be open at the same time and we don't want to be scrambling around looking for everything. Not to mention it helps to keep us alert and focused. We can all work out where and in what aspects we may have an edge over the market but that's not enough in professional sports betting. Below is a list I've compiled with all the key areas to be considered if you want to try your hand at betting sports full time:

Factors to consider before going Pro in Betting

  1. Discipline
  2. Scaling up
  3. Staking and bankroll 
  4. Managing variance
  5. Diversification
  6. Branching out (contacts/agents/brokers)
  7. Big bank or tank

Discipline in Sports Betting

We've brushed over some of these points already in the article but discipline is huge in sports betting. In fact it's probably my biggest weakness personally and it was always the same for me in poker aswell. As mentioned, even the presence of a proper set up can really help in the area of discipline. If you're prone to getting tired even more so. The one big advantage you have in betting sports over poker is you can get the majority of the work done (IE: get the research done and get the bets on) while you are fresh and then unless you're trading live in play, if you become tired and lacking focus at least it won't affect your bets. It's vital you do this and stick to a rigid staking plan. Try to detach yourself from the results over the short term and stick with the process.

We discussed a few tips to help you build a bankroll in an earlier article on Pro Betting Tips and we also covered in depth how to manage staking and risk in sports betting and these articles are vital in getting the right foundations in place if you want to take your punting more seriously. This will allow you to build the much coveted bigger tank and try to start scaling up. We also touch on diversification of the betting portfolio in these articles.

Scaling up the sports betting operation

Scaling up is another thing I've had difficulty doing over the years and probably more so to do with motivation and laziness than anything else if I'm honest - again a good point re the overall theme of this post.  Some of you will know one of the most difficult things about becoming or trying to become a successful full time gambler or sports bettor is actually having the means to get the bets on. And I'm not talking about the money. The more successful you are the more your "betting tools" are downed in terms of account restrictions and terminations. There are only so many "beard" account you can go through when you use up your own main betting "outs". To assemble a network of betting "agents" you can trust is no easy job.

In terms of growing the betting bankroll and moving up the stake ladder, this also correlates with when the account restrictions and betting limits become more commonplace. There are betting brokers and contacts you need to move onto to take your bets. This is probably step 3 of the pro betting 'getting on' process. Betting exchanges such as Betfair and Smarkets are obviously a help but are also quite limited as to what you can do. Many big edges come in the more obscure and less liquid betting markets such as prop bets. These props and obscure markets are generally found in the softer books - at least that's where the biggest pricing inefficiencies usually lie.

Staking Plan for optimal Betting Bank growth

The Kelly criterion is a staking formula in betting. It's been proven as the most efficient staking plan in terms of risk reward ratio and bank growth efficiency in sports betting. Fractional Kelly is the way forward as full Kelly is a little too volatile. This is an area of serious or professional sports betting that even many pros may underestimate. It's highly important to devise a staking plan to:

  • Realise your equity
  • Optimise bankroll growth re your EV
  • Diversify and level the graph volatility for longevity
Your staking plan is just as, if not more important as being able to originate accurate betting odds, or find a way to get to the true prices of a sports betting market pre game. As I've said many times, managing and understanding variance plays a huge part in professional sports betting.

Professional Sports Bettors

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