Dead Man’s Chest: What Are the Odds of Winning?

Many people have tried their hand at ‘Gambling For Fun’, and many others consider it a pastime. For those who do it professionally, however, gambling is both a pastime and a career. Professional gamblers make millions of dollars a year by placing bets on the results of sporting events, especially those associated with Las Vegas. In this article, we will discuss the odds of winning when gambling, as well as how to play the game to maximize your chances of winning.

The Mathematics of Gambling

If you’re looking to place a ‘Gambling’ wager in the sportsbook, then you’ll need to consider the odds of winning. In general, the mathematics of gambling can be rather complicated, and it can be difficult to work out the exact odds of winning. That being said, most sportsbooks and casinos will give you the winning odds for each combination of team and event, so you don’t have to worry about calculating them yourself. Here’s an example from a typical Las Vegas sportsbook:

For the first game of the 2019 NBA Finals, let’s say you have a craving for the Lakers and hope that LeBron James and the team can bring home another championship for their city. You also notice that their next game is against the Celtics, which you think may be a tricky game for them given their history.

The sportsbook will give you all the relevant information you need to make a rational decision. After all, they are the professionals:

  • Lakers -183
  • Celtics +163
  • Over/Under 188
  • Game 1: Lakers win
  • Under/Over 213
  • Game 2: Over/Under 213

The odds of winning for the first game are given by the following formulas:

  • Lakers -183
  • Celtics +163
  • Over/Under 188
  • Under/Over 213

Now, you may not want to wager the entire $183 on just one game. That’s why most sportsbooks give you the option of placing smaller wagers on different games. For instance, you can lay $30 on the Celtics to win game one and another $30 on them to win game two. Depending on how the games go, you may want to adjust your wagers. If the Lakers win both games, then it’s safe to say you made a great gamble since your initial $183 wager turned into $513 (ignoring commissions).

How To Play The Game

If you want to maximize your chances of winning, then you need to consider how to play the game. There are several key things you need to watch out for, including:

  • The spread
  • The over/under
  • Time of the game
  • Weather
  • Your stamina

Let’s examine each of these elements in turn.

The Spread

You may have noticed that the Lakers -183 numbers in the example above were not exact. This is because most sportsbooks will give you the spread, which is the point differential between the two teams. In our example, the spread is 23, which means the Celtics need to win by at least 23 points in order for you to win your wager. If the game is tied at the end of regulation, then there will be a one-minute, halftime break and a full three-quarters of a minute of additional play in the second half. In this scenario, the number will change and you’ll need to recalculate your odds. However, the general idea is the same: the more you wager, the higher your odds of winning.

The Over/Under

Another key element to consider is the over/under. This is the total amount of points you’ll need to score in order to win the game. For example, the over/under for game one was set at 188 points, so you’ll need to reach or exceed this total in order to win. If you do, then great! If you don’t, then you’ll need to adjust your wager. Fortunately for you, the sportsbook has you covered with respect to this element, too. They will either take your wager off if the Over/Under is reached, or they’ll give you back your original investment if the Under is reached.

Time of The Game

The last element we’ll discuss is time of the game. This is particularly important for NBA basketball, as many of the games will be played at night and may go into overtime. You don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket and risk missing out on the games because they were played at 4 am your time and there were no other wagering opportunities at that hour.


Now, we can’t forget about the weather. It’s extremely important to consider the weather when making wagers, especially in the summertime when the temperatures are rising and it’s nearly impossible to stay indoors due to the heat. The weather may also play a role in the outcome of the game, especially if there are thunderstorms or rain delays. These elements can either increase or decrease your chances of winning, so it’s important to stay aware of them.

Your Stamina

Your stamina is the last element we’ll discuss, as it relates to how you play the game. This is important for both recreational and professional gamblers. It’s common to experience ‘stamina’ when playing a game, and while it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll lose, it does mean you’ll need to take a break from the game. If you’re not used to exercising a lot, then it will be difficult to maintain your stamina during a game. Remember, too, that the longer the game goes, the more your chances of getting ‘winded’. When this happens, you’ll need to take a break from the game or risk throwing up from hunger. It’s also important to drink plenty of water throughout the game, as losing water weight may end up being more detrimental to your chances of winning than anything else.

In general, it’s important to remember that the mathematics behind gambling are very complicated. However, most bookmakers and casinos will give you all the relevant information you need as long as you know what to look for. By playing the odds and using common sense, you’ll be able to maximize your chances of winning.