top of page

Profitable bettors can lose money more days than not!

One of the things I've learned over a long time betting sports is that even the best lose... often.

Most would consider 55% over the long-term a very strong sports bettor (assuming -110 or better average odds). You can make a living at that percentage if your unit size and volume of bets is right.

But we are inundated every day by seeing winning 10 team parlays and people showcasing their 9-1 day on Twitter. It's the nature of the beast unfortunately. If you don't show off when you win you can't get any attention from #GamblingTwitter & #bettingtwitter . But what it can do is create unrealistic expectations from people who think betting sports is easy and a way to make lots of money fast.

Those of us who've been around a minute know very well that for each winning 10 team parlay posted by a sportsbook (side note: why do you think these sportsbooks want everyone to see these winning tickets? Can't be because they make a huge chunk of their profits on these type of bets, can it be?) there's thousands that didn't win. And for every 9-1 day, there are far more 5-5 days and even quite a few losing ones.

Here we will explain binomial distribution so that you can properly understand what the chances are of each outcome for your handicapper (or yourself).

We are using a simple online calculator found at for our examples.

Let's use that 55% long-term winning percentage. That means for every 20 bets this person makes, on average they will win 11 of the 20. (0.55 x 20).

But not every 20 bets will finish with exactly 11 wins and 9 losses. In fact, that outcome will only occur 17.7% of the time!

The above chart is the binomial distribution of these 20 bet outcomes. As you can see, 11-9 is the most likely outcome but again it only occurs about 1 in 6 times. Here are the outcomes by likelihood:

11-9: 17.7%

12-8: 16.2%

10-10: 15.9%

13-7: 12.2%

9-11: 11.9%

14-6: 7.5%

8-12: 7.3%

7-11: 3.7%

15-5: 3.6%

6-14: 1.5%

16-4: 1.4%

5-15: 0.5%

17-3: 0.4%

Just about 50% of every set of 20 bets, should see a result between 10-10 and 12-8 if this is a normalized distribution of a 55% winner.

What gets more interesting is if we do this across a smaller set of bets. Let's say that you average 4 bets per day and run at this same 55% long-term winning percentage.

About 36.7% of the days we will go 2-2 and lose a little due to the juice. But about 20% days we will go 1-3 for a decent loss and about 4% of the time we will go winless. So just about 1/4 of our days will be significant losers and a little more than 60% of our days we will lose at least a little!

On the other hand, we will have a sizable winning day almost 40% of time (30% 3-1; 9% 4-0).

So even a highly succcessful and long-term profitable winner will lose money 60% of the days they bet if they place 4 wagers!

We know we aren't the first ones to write about this, but we had a recent conversation with someone about this and thought it would be a great refresher for all of us so we can have realistic expectations moving forward!

Cheers to successful bets and to thinking about long-term profits!

Nate - SoccerPicksClub

@Soccer_Winners on Twitter

46 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
Post: Blog2 Post
bottom of page