How Do Bookmakers Generate Odds?

Many bookmakers hire a mix of mathematician’s and knowledgeable sports experts to generate odds, and their aim is to stack those odds firmly in their favour.

How Bookmakers Stack Odds In Their Favour

Bookmakers generate odds for horse races and other sporting events because they want punters to bet with them. But you don’t have to take their odds if you don’t think they offer value for money.

When betting first became legal, punters didn’t have much choice when it came to taking odds. There wasn’t competition amongst bookmakers there is today, and it was much easier for bookies to build in a percentage for themselves.

For example, if a bookmaker offered odds on a two-horse race, football match, or tennis match in which both selections were deemed to have an equal chance, bookies used to offer 10/11 each of two – when the real odds are even-money.

That means if a bookie laid £1,000 on both selections, he would have a turnover of £2,000. But, regardless of which selection won, he would only pay out £1,909 – guaranteeing himself a profit of £91 or 4.5% of his turnover.

The above is a simplistic example of how bookmakers generate odds, but the principle of building in a percentage for themselves remains the same no matter how many selections there are in a sporting event – it just takes more skill on behalf of the bookie.

Of course, each selection doesn’t have the same chance of winning and the bookies aim is to try and offer odds that represent a slightly less chance than the real chance of each selection winning.

Your challenge as a punter is to try and spot where the bookies have made a mistake. For example, if you think that a bookmaker is offering 5/1 about a horse that you think should be a 3/1 chance – that’s when you should bet. It’s your opinion versus theirs and, when you’re right more often than you’re wrong, you’ll make long-term profits from betting.

Different Ways Bookmakers Formulate Their Odds

Horse racing betting markets can be especially volatile, as there are several different influences that can affect these markets.

Online bookmakers are normally the first bookmakers to offer odds on a race. Ante-post odds on the biggest races of the year such as the Cheltenham Festival races or Royal Ascot races are often available months.

Many bookmakers also offer ante-post odds on the biggest races each week, often pricing up big Saturday races on Monday afternoon shortly after the 5-day declarations have been released. These markets are then reformed after the 48-hour and 24-hour declaration stages. These are the easiest races for bookies to prices up as there is normally a great deal of form and statistics from previous editions for their odds compilers to consider.

Most smaller races aren’t priced up until the night before and these are more difficult races for the bookmakers to pile up. Some big bookmakers will have their in-house odds compilers do it, whilst some will pay an outside firm to do it. Some of the new sportsbooks even simply copy the odds of other bookmakers.

Bookmakers will try and build in a big percentage into their early prices for these races, as these types of markets are open to a greater degree of fluctuation. There are normally early gambles on horses the moment the odds are announced. There are then early morning movers and other gambles throughout the day.

Another major influence in horse racing markets is the on-course bookmakers. On course betting patterns can often be completely different due to the type of people who bet on course. Favourites are especially popular with many people who are simply having a day out at the races, as are outsiders with occasional punters who are looking for a quick and easy return on their money.

The other major influence is the betting exchanges such as Betfair and Betdaq and millions of pounds are bet on the exchanges each day and these markets. The difference between the exchanges and the bookmakers is the exchanges don’t build-in a percentage to try and make a profit, because they simply take a percentage of everyone’s winnings. That’s why many punters consider the exchanges offer a true reflection of what the real odds are about any selection in any horse race or other sporting event.

The good news is that all these influences make betting markets and odds more competitive and, as many fluctuations are based on the betting activity of non-professional punters, there are lots of opportunities for professional punters to exploit.

Beating The Bookies Odds

Anyone who tells you that making money from gambling is easy is as a liar, but anyone who tells you it is impossible is also wrongly informed – Today’s competitive world of bookmaking does offer the professional punter a good chance of beating the odds.

You need to put the work into studying the form, deciding what are the real odds about a selection’s chances, and betting when you get those odds or better.

If you don’t have time to put the hours in that a professional punter does, you can always follow the advice of a professional tipster for a small monthly fee.

Remember – it’s the bookies’ job to generate odds and your job to beat them!

Are bookmaker prices and odds the same thing?

Bookmaker prices and odds are essentially the same thing. Bookmakers use odds to represent the probability of an event occurring and to calculate the payout for a winning bet.

Bookmakers calculate odds based on a number of factors, including the likelihood of an event occurring, the amount of money wagered on each outcome, and the bookmaker’s desired profit margin. They use these factors to set the odds for each event, which are also known as bookmaker prices.

In other words, bookmakers odds and bookmaker prices are interchangeable terms used to represent the same concept. Bookmakers work by setting odds for each event and adjusting them based on the amount of money wagered and other factors. They aim to set odds that will attract a balanced amount of money on each outcome, which will allow them to make a profit regardless of the outcome of the event.

Overall, bookmaker prices and odds are the same thing, and they are a key component of how bookmakers work to set prices and make a profit.

Do VIP bookmakers offer better odds?

VIP bookmakers may offer better odds and benefits to their high-end customers. VIP betting is a way for bookmakers to reward their most loyal and high-stakes customers with exclusive benefits, such as better odds, higher betting limits, and personalized service.

VIP bookmakers may offer better odds to their VIP customers as a way to incentivize them to place larger bets and continue betting with their platform. However, it’s worth noting that not all VIP bookmakers offer better odds, and the benefits offered may vary depending on the bookmaker and the customer’s level of VIP status.

It’s also important to note that VIP betting is typically reserved for high-stakes customers who place large bets regularly. It may not be accessible to all customers, and there may be strict requirements to qualify for VIP status.

While VIP bookmakers may offer better odds and benefits to their high-end customers, it’s important to do your research and compare odds and benefits across different bookmakers to find the best value for your betting needs.


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