F1 Betting Odds

Finding the right odds for your bet is half the battle in winning. As I wrote in the bankroll management article, this could become the difference between a winnings sports bettor and a losing one. Getting the right odds is imperative!

Introducing the term Line Shopping

You may have heard it before, or some variant of it, but if not, here is a quick explanation: Line shopping is the act of looking for betting odds at all the different sports betting sites that you have access to or know of and betting on the odds that gives you the highest return. The reason for this should be obvious, but for some, it is not, so let me show an example of why this is crucial.

For the next Grand Prix that is taking place in Singapore, you figure that Sebastian Vettel has a good chance of winning and you give him about 50% chance of doing just so. You see that the odds on your favorite bookmaker is 2.10, and you know that this will yield you positive expected value if you were to bet on him.

Expected value:
EV = Win probability * return – loss probability * stake
EV = p * b – (1-p) * f
EV = 0.50 * 1.1 – 0.50 * 1 = 0.05

For every $100 you stake on this bet, you expect to make $5. A $1000 bet would thus be “worth” $50 in the long-run.

But you should do some more work before you go ahead with this bet. Even though you stand to win money betting at this odds, you can hope to find even higher odds at another bookmaker. If you shop around and have enough sportsbooks readily available then you should be able to find odds that are 5-10 cents higher, and sometimes even more!

Let me put an emphasize on this problem and show why this is of importance. I know that people have trouble “understanding” this (I know my friends does :P), so I will attempt to illustrate it:

Let us say that we shop around a little. We check Bet365, Pinnacle Sports, William Hill and many other top bookmakers that offers F1 betting odds and find one that has Sebastian Vettel as the winner of the Singapore Grand Prix, but this time we are offered 2.20 odds.

Expected value:
EV = Win probability * return – loss probability * stake
EV = p * b – (1-p) * f
EV = 0.50 * 1.2 – 0.50 * 1 = 0.10

Now you will see that for every $100 you stake on this bet, you expect to make $10 which translates to $100 per $1000 bet. This is twice the amount that you expect to make if you bet it at the first and best bookmaker you find. So a little extra work after you have analyzed a race can go a long way. Let us say you make 50 bets a season, where you expect to bet $1000 on each with all of them the same propositions. This would increase your expected value from $2500 to $5000. I would say that is worth the little extra effort it takes to browse around some different bookmakers.

You can use services like BetBrain.com which is a site that compares odds at different bookmakers and lists them, so you easily can see which is the market leading odds and where they are to be found. Helps me out immensely and I use it often to compare odds when I am betting online.