Dropping odds – Understanding odds changes

Odds moving up and down in every single moment! That’s what's happening before the start of a sport event. But, why on earth is this happening when there’s no change on match data? Don’t bother looking for the answer, focus on the betting opportunity instead!

Odds drop or rise every moment for a vast number of reasons, that’s the way it is. The most exciting thing about this is that you can make a lot of money, if you can understand the odds changes correctly and place smart bets.

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 does dropping odds mean

There are actually two cornerstones about using odds movements to gain profit.

  • The reason: Purely obvious. If you can graps the question why odds drop, you have an extra advantage to decide whether you catch the dropping odds before further stinging or back the opposite, where the odds are ascending.
  • The momentum: This is the most crucial in order to find out why do odds drop. Understanding an odds change before it develops into an avalanche is the safest way of augmenting your bank account. Of course, there would be less times (if any) that you can achieve this, but the more you try, the more you succeed.

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. 

So, why do odds drop? 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 to find a balance, as to be considered fair by the punters.

Respected oddsmakers 

Some online bookies active mainly in Asia, such as SBOBET, IBC Bet 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.

As mentioned above, 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.

Dropping odds: Myth or reality?

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. This is the myth which is weaved around odds: Someone who knows better than you is loading high amounts on certain picks. If you follow suit, you’ll win too.

However, most of the times, it’s just the online bookie’s reaction to the last minute cash flow taking place from many punters towards specific picks. This could happen for a number of reasons, most common is an unexpected word of mouth: Someone says something about a match and within minutes this “information” travels globally. In the end, nobody knows where it began from.

The heavy boat theory: Dropping odds are not always right

You might have heard about this “heavy boat theory”. What does this mean? That you shouldn’t overrate this dropping odds issue. The fact that many punters are loading a specific selection with large amounts of money doesn’t prove that this selection is a winning one. In fact, this theory asserts the exact opposite: When a boat is overloaded and becomes heavy, it has more chances to sink!

There are many examples of this in almost every weekend. Just look at popular bets and trendy betting options about hot favorites and various teams that “refuse to lose”! You’ll find out that many of these favorites don’t win, even if they’ve gathered a fortune. So, when you discover dropping odds on most popular teams, you should be more suspicious.

What to watch at dropping odds changes

  • Check out fast that the odds you see at an odds comparison website are the actual odds in the online bookmaker’s website. It happens a lot of times, and mostly deliberately. Some bookmakers delay their changes for some minutes to get more attention, but they don’t accept your bet on the odds shown, but on minor ones.
  • Before rushing out to get the valuable odds, take a good look at the odds fluctuation at a specific bookmaker. Odds history is kept and offered at most odds comparison websites, such as You’ll realize in most cases that the starting odds would be a lot different than you thought.
  • Most odds comparison websites follow a vast number of online bookmakers. This plurality is advertised as useful to a punter, but in many cases is nothing but confusing. Make a list of the bookmakers you have an actual account and follow only them. It’s no use to compare tens of bookies and follow only the average odds at the end of the list.

Dropping odds betting strategy

Understanding why the odds drop or rise on a sporting event is a hard-earned skill, but today, in the age of 24/7 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). Here are some practical advice in order to create a dropping odds strategy:

  • You should intersperse your total amount of money available for betting into more than one online bookmakers. In this dropping odds strategy, there’s no rule about the right number, but having about 5-10 different accounts seems OK (many professional punters use many more). So, you can take advantage of odds movement at a belated bookmaker and bring off better odds. You don’t have to deposit a fortune to each bookmaker, just have enough money to place your usual bets.
  • Be quick when you discover something that may affect the odds, like last minute injuries or late 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.

Going against the odds: An alternative strategy

There’s also an alternative dropping odds betting strategy: Going against the 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. To get it straight, in this odds movement strategy you respect and follow bookmaker’s initial view about the game. If he’s a respectable one, he wouldn’t be always wrong. In fact, in most cases he’s right. 

How do bookies affect the market

Online bookmakers 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 they drop, this might mean that if even the slightest value existed on these lines, it is now long gone. Consequently, you should know how possible your pick is to be confirmed, before you try to calculate the value offered.


The best way to take advantage of dropping odds is to create an odds movement betting strategy that can identify the matches where the lines are pushed down on an Asian online bookmaker and take the highest odds offered on a European online bookmaker. If you’re quick enough, you’ll find odds before they drop. Focus on odds difference more than 2,5% (for example, a 2,00 dropping at 1,90).

Now, whether to back already dropped odds, it’s your choice, but I strongly don’t recommend it, especially if the dropping odds difference exceeds 5%. Of course, in many leagues (nearly 80%) the vast majority of these odds are confirmed, but in the long term you don’t gain any value by backing them. You should also be aware of the remaining 20% of leagues, usually the most popular ones, where dropping odds doesn’t always mean a “secure” choice.

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