Probability is an important concept to understand when it comes to sports betting. Simply put, it’s the likelihood of an event occurring. For example, what is the chance of the Green Bay Packers winning a football game? Or, if you’re a baseball fan, what is the chance of the New York Yankees winning an upcoming game?
While there’s no exact science to sports betting, there are mathematical methods that can be used to calculate win probability. In this article, we’ll teach you how to do just that.
How to Calculate the Odds of an Outcome
The first step in determining the win probability for any given team or sportsbook is to calculate the odds of them winning a particular game. To do this, simply find the odds each bookie is offering on that game and then add them together. The total should then be divided by two since you’re betting against the point spread (which is usually half the total).
For example, if you’re betting $100 on the Green Bay Packers at +2.5 points, the odds of them winning the game are 25% (2.5/10). Similarly, if you’re betting $100 on the Los Angeles Rams at -2.5 points, the odds of them winning the game are 12.5% (2.5/10).
What is Win Probability and Why is It Important?
Once you have your odds of an outcome, you can move on to the next step and find the win probability for that team. To find the win probability of the Green Bay Packers, for example, you would simply need to divide their odds of winning (25%) by two (since they’re playing against the spread). The result is the percentage of wins they can expect against a typical opponent (in this case, 50% chance of winning). While win probability alone doesn’t always mean everything, it can certainly be helpful in understanding a team’s performance.
Use Win Probability to Evaluate a Team’s Performance
You might be wondering why we went through all of this instead of using common sense to figure out the win probability for a team. After all, it’s not like the odds of an outcome or the win probability of a team are necessarily going to be accurate. What is accurate, however, is that they can be used to evaluate a team’s performance. To use win probability to evaluate a team’s performance, you would need to compare their actual results to their expected results given their win probability. This can be a little tricky since most people prefer to use a sportsbook when placing a bet rather than compare apples to apples on their own, but it’s worth the effort.
Compute The Expected Results of a Team Based on Their Win Probability
Now that you have all of this data, it’s time to use it to compute the expected results of a team. To do this, simply take the total odds of an outcome and multiply them by the win probability of that outcome. The result will be the expected profit (or loss) if you match that particular wager.
For example, if you bet $100 on the Baltimore Ravens at +3 points and their win probability is 40% (expected result: +2), the expected profit is $200 (100×2). And if you bet $100 on the Los Angeles Rams at -2.5 points and their win probability is 12.5% (expected result: +0.5), the expected profit is $100 (100×0.5).
These are the basic mathematical principles of sports betting. There are a few more steps involved in putting them into practice, but they are pretty self-explanatory. For example, you’ll want to make sure you have enough money to cover your bets since placing bets with insufficient funds is a crime in most states. And you’ll also want to check the rules and regulations before you begin playing (and make sure you’re not breaking any). Good luck out there.