How to Figure Out Odds for Sports Betting

There are many reasons why you might want to look into sports betting, from the fun of placing a wager on games you are interested in to making easy money in a short amount of time. No matter the reason, the basic premise remains the same: you are putting money on the outcome of a sporting event. Naturally, as with any form of gambling, there are risks associated with betting on sports. It is always advisable to understand the odds, or the likelihood of winning, before risking any amount of money. In this article, we will discuss some general guidelines for when and how to use odds when sports betting. We’ll cover some of the most important concepts, such as:

Understand The Brinson Commission Formula

First off, if you aren’t familiar with the Brinson Commission Formula, then you might want to take a little bit of time to learn it. Simply put, the Brinson Commission Formula is the mathematical formula that determines the odds of a game, or a set of odds, in terms of the amount of money you are willing to wager on that game, or set of games. For example, if you wager $100 on a sporting event with an initial payout of $200, your effective odds of winning are 25% (you will make $25 back from your $100 wager). Another way of looking at it is that your winnings from the bet are equal to four times the amount you wager. So, in this example, you would win $100 (four times the $100 you wager).

The formula takes into account a number of factors, such as the form of the game, the score, the time remaining in the game, the average amount of money wagered on the game by previous bettors, and more. For a complete list of factors, check out this Wikipedia article on the Brinson Commission Formula. It is a very useful formula for figuring out odds, and we recommend you take the time to learn it.

Odds Are Shaped By Three Factors

Odds are, generally speaking, shaped by three factors: game, time and team. So, if you want to figure out the odds of a game, simply take the score, the time remaining, and the team. In the example above, if the game is Football and the score is 0-0 with one minute remaining, the effective odds will be 1/3 (roughly). This means that if you wager $100 on the game, you will lose $33 rather than $100 (assuming you have a perfect record).

Game is, perhaps, the most important factor affecting odds. Games with high number of total points scored (high-browed games) have higher odds than games with fewer total points scored (low-browed games). For example, a game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Green Bay Packers, with the game ending in a tie (0-0), will have odds of 1/3 against each team winning the game (depending on which team scores first, the probability of the game ending in a tie will be 1/6 for the 49ers and 1/4 for the Packers).

Time, or the time remaining in the game, is also a very important factor in determining the probability of a game ending in a certain way. One good example of what happens when time is running out is in the NCAA basketball tournament. The number of points scored in the last two minutes of a game increases the probability of the winning team being determined in the last few seconds of the game. In general, the more time that remains in a game, the more points will be scored by both teams, and the more interesting the game will be, the higher the odds of it being a good game, simply because more people will want to watch it.

Finally, team is the category that encompasses everything else. If you are unfamiliar, team is what happens when you put the other three factors (game, time and score) together. The better the team, the higher the odds of the game being good, simply because there are more variables to consider (a better team has a greater number of combinations of scores, times and games). For example, the 2017 Boston Red Sox team is currently leading the American League East division with an overall record of 28-18. The Red Sox have the benefit of playing in one of the best baseball towns in the country, as well as one of the most beautiful ballparks (aka “marshmallows”), and having some of the best players in the league. Naturally, with all those advantages, the Red Sox have higher odds of being a good baseball team than a typical National League team (which would be the Houston Astros in this example).

Use Brinson Commission To Determine Odds

Once you have a firm grasp of how odds work, it’s time to apply them to determine the probabilities of various outcomes in sports. Simply follow these steps:

  • Take the four factors that affect odds (game, time, team and score) and combine them using the Brinson Commission Formula.
  • For each game you bet on, only use the team that you’ve chosen for the game. Once you’ve chosen all the teams you’ll be using for a given game, make sure you stick with them.
  • If you switch teams after you’ve started making wagers, the betting software you’re using will most likely flag you as a suspicious user, and you’ll likely lose any money you’ve made so far.

Each of the factors in the Brinson Commission Formula has a major impact on the odds of a game or a set of odds. For example, consider a set of NBA odds where the home team is 7-2 against the spread and the away team is 6-3 against the spread. Immediately, you can see how the 7-2 home team edge might make them slightly favorite in this particular set of odds. Now, take the score of each game into account: as it stands, there is no score in the basketball section, so we’ll have to consider the point spread in isolation. According to the wiki, the current point spread (as of March 23, 2018) is -7.5, so we will use that here to calculate the effective odds of each team winning the game:

For the home team, this is 6/10 (1/5 plus -7.5), or 62.5%. The home team’s effective odds are, essentially, half the amount you would get if you bet on the NBA game using the regular odds, and half the amount you’d get using the regular odds plus the point spread, in this case -7.5.

The point spread takes the game’s form (in this case, basketball), the location of the game (LA), the current time of day (evening, or nighttime) and whether or not holidays or special events are in the offing (in the case of the Lakers, it’s the Summer Olympics, so this game has a bit of an edge), into account. The sum of all these variables results in the overall probability of the home team winning the game being 64.26%. This is higher than the odds of the Lakers winning the game, simply because there are more variables to consider. In general, the more variables there are, the higher the odds of an event occurring. So, while this particular game does have slightly higher odds than the average NBA game (based on the current point spread), remember that there is more to consider, which makes the overall probability of the home team winning the game higher (a higher-variety of factors).

Now, let’s say you’re interested in wagering on a College Football game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Michigan Wolverines. Both teams are currently ranked in the top ten, so this is certainly an interesting matchup. The Wolverines are currently 7-0 with every game being decided by less than ten points, while the Buckeyes are 5-1 in their last six games with four of the wins coming by ten points or more. Based on this information, we can use the above steps to figure out the effective odds of the game: