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Learn to calculate margins in football betting odds

Learn to calculate margins in football betting odds
See how to calculate the margins that bookmakers are offering in a match.
by Academia   |   comments 0
Wednesday, July 14 2021

A very important issue that goes unnoticed by most inexperienced bettors is knowing how to calculate the margins that bookmakers apply to the odds of a football match. What the absolute majority do is just look at how much is being offered for the victory of one of the teams (or draw), but without delving into these numbers, to know what value the house is charging on that bet. In the long run this becomes a huge differentiator, as margins vary widely from one company to another.

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So before learning to calculate, now you know: bookmakers do not offer 100% real odds, as they include a small percentage, which is their way of getting their profits. This is natural, you seek to profit, so do they, everything is ok. The important thing is to know how much they are charging in margin, so that you can make your assessment and conclude if it is fair or not.

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Taking as an example the most bet market, that is, the 1v2 (moneyline bet - choose Team A, tie or Team B), let's do the following calculation:
The bookmaker is offering these odds for Coritiba x Vasco, Série B – Brasileirão:
Coritiba: 2.39
Vasco: 3.41
Tie: 3.19
The first step is to take these individual probabilities and turn them into decimal probabilities. For this use the 1/actual probability calculation.
Coritiba: (1 / 2.39 = 0.418)
Vasco: (1/3.41 = 0.293)
Tie: (1 / 3.19 = 0.313)
Before going into the calculation, the important detail of these numbers is the sample of the chances that each result has of winning according to the evaluation of the bookmaker. Coritiba will have a 41.8% win, Vasco 29.3% and a tie 31.3%.
Following the calculation, now just use the following formula:
(Probability Team A) + (Probability Team B) + (Tie Probability) – 1
(0.418) + (0.293) + (0.313) -1 = 0.024, that is, 2.4%
For this match, the bookmaker is charging a 2.4% margin.
That means if you add up the 3 odds above, it would be 102.4%. To be probabilities with fair and real values, it would have to close 100%. Any percentage above that is the bookmaker's margin. As we've already said, it's a natural procedure, but it's always important to assess how much is being charged, as it varies from match to match, and especially from bookmaker to bookmaker.
Quietly, some platform will be charging 12% in this duel, against 2.4%. In this case, the odds would be 2.10 for Coritiba to win, 3.10 for Vasco to win and 2.90 for a draw. It's very different from one house to another, greatly distorting the real chances of each result working. Although this is an acceptable procedure and does not have a limit, we can say that in this case a very high amount is being charged. It remains for the bettor to assess the advantages and disadvantages, or what he considers fair (or not) in those values.
As mentioned at the beginning of the text, in the long-term gains, this ends up making a lot of difference, and you may not obtain a greater profit, just for not having done the necessary evaluation and calculations, aiming at professionalization in this field. Great bettors are successful not just because they know how to correctly analyze the odds of a bet, but because they evaluate every detail of them, including what we teach today. We hope the information in this article is helpful to you, good luck!

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