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Dropping odds – Understanding odds changes

Dropping odds under 4.5 goalsOdds movement is a never ending procedure in online betting. Bookmakers odds on a sport constantly keep going up and down many times before the start of a match, while when the event is in play, there can be up to 200 changes on the odds offered, making this both exciting and confusing in equal proportion. Many punters are keen to analyze dropping odds before a match as an information tool, to better understand where money is being placed and choose whether to back the popular choice or go against it.

What is it exactly

Dropping odds has come to be one of the most predominant conspiracy theories in online betting. Τhey are supposed to be linked to mysterious inside information about a match outcome, or a last minute fact, that is considered so crucial, that it will single-handedly affect the game result. However, most of the times, its just the online bookie’s reaction to the last minute cash flow taking place from many punters towards specific picks.

Playing on dropping odds means that you bet on a bookmaker that has yet to adjust the odds according to market movements. If the majority of the market offers 2.00 for over 2.5 goals on a match, while a single bookmaker offers 2.40, then you can assume this is a good bet and buy it at 2.40. However, this is getting more and more rare, as most bookmakers are carefully monitoring the changes of the entire market and adjust their odds almost instantly.

What do these dropping odds mean? There are many reasons that force an online bookmaker to differentiate the initial odds. The main reason, as mentioned before, is that the odds of a specific choice are overwhelmingly selected by the majority of punters, who considered this choice to have value. As a chain reaction, bookmakers will adjust the odds in such levels, as to be considered fair by the punters.

What causes downwards odds movementodds changes

There’s also a possibility of early estimations being wrong from, so called, opinionated bookmakers, who will offer odds on matches many days, even weeks, before the start of an event. The odds are changing according to incoming news during this time. An opinionated bookmaker, usually a strong brand name in the betting industry, operates other “clone” bookmakers, who are carefully watching all the odds movements and allowing them to respectively adjust their odds.

Odds manipulation is another story. It is not so widespread as punters think it is, but in some matches (usually from lower leagues, where odds can change with a lower amount of money) there have been such occasions. This is an effort from some professional speculators to lower the odds on a pick they’ve already wagered on, in order to increase the other outcomes' odds and take advantage of a surebet.

Odds also drop due to certain information, right or fake, concerning a game being fixed. When a rumor is spread and wagers go crazy towards specific picks, bookmakers will usually follow the cash flow and keep dropping the odds, if not withdraw the match completely. However, in most cases those rumors are proven untrue, so it’s not right to back these odds based solely on ungrounded facts.

Dropping odds do not necessarily mean that the probability of a particular final result has changed. In most cases the bookmaker will try to maintain a balance for every possible betting market. However, bookmakers' starting odds could change dramatically. Most oddsmakers use their own estimations, based on personal experience or specific software to calculate them and offer the odds sets. Some bookmakers will have to adjust their odds accordingly, while others prefer no to, as they estimate that their starting odds were right.

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How do bookies affect the market

Bookies can play their own "mind games" by altering the odds sets. All bookmakers take a serious look at the total money a bet gets, so if too much is waged on team A, they simply decrease the odds. The effect is obvious: Less people will bet on that team. The dropping and rising of odds is often caused by what is often called as "herd mentality". If a punter observes that the odds for the specific team are dropping, he would also  follow and bet on it as well. As a result, the odds drop even further.

Betfair, the leading betting exchange firm, published a study a few years ago. The conclusion was rather strange: If a punter was to back every horse with rising odds and lay all the horses with dropping odds, in most occasions he would make a hefty profit. This means that changes in odds are often not based on extensive calculations concerning the expected result.

Downwards odds movement can be a sign that the difference in strength between the teams has changed. So if odds drop, this might mean that if even the slightest value existed on these odds, it is now long gone. Consequently, you should know how possible your pick is to be confirmed, before you try to calculate the value in the offered odds.

odds droppingDropping Odds Strategy

Understanding why the odds might have changed on a sporting event is a hard earned skill, but today, in the age of 24hour news, you can find as much information as any bookmaker, or even stay one step ahead if you follow the right tipsters (where perhaps in the past, bookmakers had an advantage in this area). Be quick when you discover something that may affect the odds, like injuries and suspensions or a player being absent from training as although you won’t be the only one to spot it, you may get a head start on the bookmaker. If odds change for no apparent reason, you should seriously consider backing the team or player whose odds are now more profitable according to your estimation.

When you look at the odds changes, the most important thing to consider is the number of online bookies, where odds have moved. Usually a basic odds movement is reliable when the odds have changed on over 70% of the available betting firms. This is considered a global movement. Of course you could pick your own set of bookies to monitor, but this number shouldn’t be smaller than 10-15, in order to allow for a better appreciation of the global odds movement.

The total percentage of odds changing is another fact. Odds could lower from 1.80 to 1.65, 3.00 to 2.80 or from 20.00 to 15.00. Which of them is truly worthy of being considered a crucial change? Usually punters follow the “15% rule”, this specific percentage is the minimum limit of change. Any odds movement higher than 15% will alert those experienced punters.

There’s also the completely opposite reading: Going against the dropping odds. As a great number of bets being placed worldwide on specific teams, bookies will be forced to change the odds sets, thus affecting both teams probabilities. Once the odds are changed they no longer correspond with the original match prediction the bookmakers had, which is generally more accurate compared to those mediocre bettors do. Thus, it is possible to find higher odds compared to the real relative strength of both teams.

Respected oddsmakers

Some online bookies, such as Betfair and Pinnacle, have built a reputation of being the place that bettors and bookmakers alike follow in order to gauge the movements of the betting market. Few more accurate indicators exist than the football betting odds movements on these betting sites, which influence almost every other betting company. They tend to offer the best odds in a vast majority of bets, that's their unique business model.  They use the “stake 'em high and sell 'em cheap” philosophy, which attracts professional bettors looking to maximize their potential profits.

All other bookmakers, which offer higher margins (up to 12%) receive far lower amounts of money and therefore their prices should not be used to measure true market prices. The rule is having a look about an hour before the start of an event in case you'd like to know the “fair” market price of a game.

When analyzing the odds changes, the key is to try and understand why the odds are moving and not simply watch them as they drop. Odds movement can be a valuable tool when used in the right way.

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