How Bookmakers Set Odds

The odds are used in betting to show the probability of each possible outcome and the potential profits a player can receive. These prices are not random whatsoever. Bookies employ traders, stat models and software to compile them. If you want to know more about how bookmakers set odds, we will give you examples of all the top sports, including football, horse racing and basketball. How does the number of outcomes affect the final prices? What is the difference between a sharp and a soft bookie? Our advanced betting guides have all the relative info and more. So, let’s see how you can evaluate whether the odds are fair.

How do bookmakers decide odds

BMB_Betting_OddsOnce you comprehend how bookmakers set odds, finding value bets will be much easier. The key point is to check how they evaluate the true prices, the actual likelihood of an outcome, and how they compile them to make a profit. So, let’s examine how are betting odds set.

Software/Algorithms: These mathematical tools help create the true, accurate odds of any given outcome. By using the formulas, they find instant answers to complicated questions. Τοp betting sites have databases with advanced stats for each team, individual athletes, and sports. For instance, they know how often a team wins at home, how many goals they can score, the ball possession percentage, and more.

Οdds compiling: Besides the build-up and handling of statistical models, the odds makers use the sports experience to generate prices. They have reliable resources, like inside information for teams’ latest news, and create stats databases to monitor the cash flow for each market.

Probability/Margin: It’s easy to express the real probability using the examples of the 50:50 coin toss (two possibilities) and the 16,66% rolling dice (six possible outcomes). Regarding odds, bookmakers ensure they make money in all markets by pricing them without counting the real probability. The margin expresses their profit and is always added to their odds.

Sharp vs. Soft Bookies: Sharp bookmakers have their in-house team of traders that creates prices for each market. On the other hand, soft bookmakers simply follow their odds, but not to a fault. They wait for a sharp bookie to generate prices and adjust them depending on the sport and market they want to promote.

For example, Bet365 might set the odds for the 1X2 market in the Greek Superleague at 1.83 - 3.30 - 5.00 odds (i.e., 95% payout). However, a soft bookie targetting players who like betting on the Greek League will enhance the prices at 1.88 - 3.31 - 5.00 (96,6% payout).

Sportsbooks with the best available odds

BMB_Best_IconTo secure the highest possible profits, you have to play with the bookmakers at the best prices. Even the most minor differences can improve your bankroll considerably. Below, you can find a shortlist of bookies with the highest odds across all major and minor sports.

An example of how odds are set

BMB_Example_IconThe implied probability, the included margin, and the eventual starting prices are all fundamentals before understanding how bookmakers set odds. Let’s use a 2-way example from a moneyline basketball market in the NBA. The traders analyze the current form, the latest news, and all the advanced stats for the Celtics vs. Bucks clash. According to their analysis and software for odds making, they conclude that Boston has 60% implied odds (i.e., 60:40 winning chances).

So, based on that, the true odds are 1.67 - 2.50. Before adding the margin, they make the bettors’ profiling, predicting the cash flow for the two possible outcomes of the moneyline market. Traders believe that most will back the Celtics. So, after the margin is incorporated, the final odds are the following.

Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks

1: 1.57 - 2: 2.47

How do bookies set odds for each sport

BMB_Sports_GenericThe bookmakers generate odds for numerous events at the same time, which is the most challenging part of the process. The data analysis is different by sport, and their profit from the margin alters based on the number of markets (e.g., 2-way vs. 3-way). However, they comply with the main principles of how do bookies set odds in a sport.

⏩ Markets’ cash flow: The advanced algorithms project how much money would be placed on specific markets and sports. This process reduces the risk of losing because they know every moment the individual balance on each possibility, outcome, and bet. Cash projections are a vital leg of all types of betting odds compiling, affecting the movement of the prices pre-match and in-play.

⏩ Odds movement: It’s widespread, especially in sports with multiple potential outcomes, for prices on both favorites and underdogs to go lower or higher rapidly. The odds changes can be affected by several factors, a late injury of a star player, public betting (i.e., popular and unpopular bets), or a substantial total amount of money placed on a specific market.

⏩ Reduced odds: Shortened prices for popular bets and major events that attract bettors is a standard way for sites to defend their profit. They control their liability by reducing the odds and limiting stakes, avoiding paying huge amounts of money if a popular favourite dominates the underdog and some trendy bets of an elite tournament become winners.

How do bookies set odds for football

BMB_Football_BallFootball markets have two or three possible outcomes. For the match result market, there are three possibilities. It’s easier for bookies to calculate the value compared to sports like horse and greyhound racing, with more possible results. To answer the query, “how are betting odds set in football?” Before we move on to how to place a bet online, let’s see a practical example from the Liverpool vs Real Madrid UCL match.

After a thorough analysis, traders concluded that Liverpool has a 50% (i.e., 2.00 odds) of winning the match. So, the other 50% must be divided between the draw and Real Madrid’s win. Meanwhile, traders want to keep the VIG close to the brand’s average, knowing Liverpool may attract more bettors. That’s why they release the below odds.

Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

1: 1.91 - X: 3.80 - 2: 3.80

How do bookies set odds for horse racing

BMB_Horse_HeadThe process here is way more complicated due to the number of participants in a race; sometimes, there are 15+ runners in a horse event. Bookies want to protect their profits, so you will always face a high margin due to the several possible outcomes. Depending on the number of participants, it will range between 10-20%. Many factors affect the question of how do bookies set odds for horse racing, as you can examine on our online betting guides. These include possible non-runners, public betting, weather conditions, or jockey injuries. So, a trader has to do extra research to ensure that the bookmaker is covered.

Are the bookies’ prices fair?

BMB_Book_SpySeveral tools are available to compare prices and choose the best bet value. Each top bookmaker has its own algorithms for odds making, so you can get the highest and lowest at the same market to decide which price is the fairest and most suitable for you. In conclusion, there are no correct answers to the queries, “Which are the best odds?” and “How to learn if the odds are fair?”. First of all, determine what is the VIG in betting; it’s slightly different from bookie to bookie, so you must do thorough research for the best value. To summarise how you can secure the highest odds, analyzing every detail, we can mention the following:

BMB_Number_OneΜake a bookmaker comparison before you place your bet, searching for the lowest available margin, even for 0,5%.

BMB_Number_TwoFollow the process and understand how bookmakers set odds.

⏩ You can just read stats and all the latest news about the betting event you choose.
⏩ Gain experience keeping an archive for your bets.
⏩ Build your strategy based on their models for each market separately.

BMB_Number_ThreeAvoid bets where you observe major movements up or down because finding their accurate value is challenging.

Sharp bettors must always shop around and secure the best possible odds for their wagers. In the underneath list, you can find the complete bookies list with the most competitive prices and the lowest VIG on the major sports.

Q: How do bookmakers set odds?

There are several variants that bookmakers consider before they release prices. Team and individual sports depend on different parameters, which the algorithms simplify to create prices. On the other hand, odds makers compare ratings for each team or athlete and tweak odds based on stats, weather, scheduling, injuries, and home-field advantage factors.

Q: How accurate are bookmakers odds?

Bookies’ prices estimate the probability of an outcome to occur. In most cases, the odds set is reliable, showing which team or athlete is the favorite and the underdog, respectively. Undoubtedly, there are mistakes when the chances of a heavyweight favourite, for example, winning, are much lower than the offered odds and vice versa.

Q: How do bookies set odds for live betting?

The process for real-time prices is the same as pre-match, but the algorithms and the odds makers work on the factors that can reflect during the event. So, they set the in-play odds depending on the scoreboard, live stats, an injury, or a sent-off.

Q: What do odds really mean?

Low prices mean an outcome is likely to occur, while high odds mean the opposite. In general, the offered odds show how possible something is to happen. They ultimately determine your returns, so your winnings will be bigger if you bet on higher odds.

Q: Why do odds always change?

Numerous factors exist which can make bookies considering to change prices. Markets’ popularity, injury reports, or huge amounts of money on specific picks are the main reasons for the odds movement. Moreover, their target for bigger profits drives these changes and the odds comparison with competitors also.

Q: How does odds making work?

Odds making includes several tools that specialists use to create prices for each betting event. Algorithms, teams’ or athletes’ rankings, the latest news (injuries and bans), head-to-head stats, home-field advantage, and weather conditions are some. Odds makers tweak the odds leading up to an event based on the money each team or athlete attracts.

Q: How can I bet on high odds and win?

Prices represent the likelihood of an outcome, so the main thing you should know before you wager is what the odds mean. Betting on the underdog is risky, but your potential rewards will be higher if you place a winner; on the flip side, you have more chances to secure profit if you bet on a favourite. So, read and compare odds, analyze what to bet, and pick the bookie with the highest prices available.

Q: How do you outsmart a bookie?

There’s no need to be a professional to find a mistake and beat the bookies; the first step is to understand the odds value and try to place winners at the best options. Think about less popular sports besides football, basketball, and tennis. Then, protect yourself from additional risks by betting on markets like Draw No Bet or Asians. Finally, consider reducing stakes sometimes by using combined bets; it’s an acceptable way to boost your bankroll with a lower budget.

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