How Betting Odds Work and How to Make Money at Sports Betting

You’ve likely seen or heard of ‘Odds Shops’ in the news; these are the places where you can place bets on sports events. If you’re unfamiliar, odds shops tend to be located in the vicinity of sportsbooks, and you can walk in and place a bet on virtually any sporting event that’s running under the radar.

You’ll often find people betting on all kinds of strange events, like the gender of the next baby or the popularity of Tom Brady versus Joe Montana. While these certainly are interesting bets, it’s not exactly what you’d call a wise investment. After all, the house always wins.

The odds of a thing happening are simply the ratio of the number of people who bet on it to the amount of money they’re willing to wager on it. For example, a classic odds bet is known as ‘lay-even’. This is when you lay down your money on a proposition that the scores will be even. So if you wager a dollar on every 10 cents that the scores will be even, you’re betting $1 on a win, $0 on a loss, and you stand to win $2 (assuming you win $10).

The house edge (the difference between the amount you win and how much you lose) on a lay-even bet is less than 1 percent.

This is why it’s not a good idea to bet on odds unless you’re prepared to lose a small amount of money. While some people argue that you can make money betting on statistics and patterns, the traditional sportster doesn’t usually fare too well when it comes to sports betting.

The Rise in Popularity

Despite the stigma that surrounds it, sports betting is on the rise. In the United States, the 2016 election year alone saw a 365 percent increase in legal sports wagering, according to a report by the American Gaming Association. That’s good news for avid sports fans who want to place bets on their favorite teams, but it can also mean more competition for the books and the oddsmakers who work there.

The increasing popularity of online sportsbooks has undoubtedly helped fuel the rise of sports betting. It’s now possible to place bets from the comfort of your home, and many people are doing so. One of the biggest advantages of online sportsbooks is that they allow you to wager from anywhere in the world. It’s now possible to place bets on European soccer matches even if you’re in Indonesia.

In addition to facilitating online betting, websites such as and serve as a veritable yellow pages for sports betting. This is convenient for people who want to make quick online sports picks, especially during the World Cup. If you’re a soccer fan, these are sites you’ll want to visit often for all your European Championship matches.

As stated, odds shops located in the vicinity of sportsbooks also see an increase in business. For those oddsmakers who work there, the benefits of being in an already established area of the business are apparent: more clients, more revenue, and a better chance of surviving a bad year.

All Things Statistical

As we’ve established, odds are simply the ratio of the number of people who bet on something to the amount of money they’re prepared to wager on it. For example, if 2 people bet $1 on a proposition then the odds are 1:1 that the proposition will come true. It’s important to note here that this is completely different from gambling, where the house edge is usually higher. Gambling tends to involve bigger wagers and more people playing at once. While there are many examples of people making a profit from gambling, this is usually the exception rather than the rule. This is why it’s best to steer clear of casinos and similar types of establishments if you’re looking to place a wager on sports events.

Many people who gamble also bet on sports. This is partly because they think that sports are predictable and partly because sports betting offers some perks that casino gambling does not. For example, many major sportsbooks offer good betters or even give special bonuses to people who wager on sporting events.

The Bottom Line

If you’re a sports fan who wants to place a wager on your team’s upcoming game, it’s best to visit the odds shop in your area. These shops usually are located in the vicinity of sportsbooks and accept customers both online and in person. You should also familiarize yourself with the various types of bets that are accepted at the shop, as this will dictate which ones you should avoid and which ones you should look forward to placing.