Beating the Closing Odds: One of the Most Important Metrics in Sports Betting

The biggest fallacy in sports betting deals with the never-ending rivalry between luck and skill.

To put it in other words, punters will often misunderstand luck and confuse it for skill which is a basic prerequisite for achieving success in the long run. In order to get there, one needs to polish the skills and let oneself be guided by a clear set of rules determined through a diligent research of odds and their movement.

The concept of odds is presented in two main categories. The betting odds are divided into:

  • Opening Odds

  • Closing Odds

It’s rather self-explanatory really. The opening odds are the first ones to be released onto the market, mostly a week or so before the match. The opening odds are presented as a reflection of past statistics, head-to-head records and other factors like suspensions or injuries. Due to the lack of proper information that late in the match, the opening odds rarely represent a high-value bet since they do not match the actual likelihood of the outcome.

As we get closer to the match itself, the betting companies will move to adjust the odds on a continuous basis with new information regarding the teams and the match. The bookmakers will also analyse the reaction of the market and adjust their odds accordingly before they close the line and set the final – closing – odds.

The closing odds appear just before the match. Influenced by shifts of the market and all the available data, the closing adds are rather good indicators of the likeliest outcome of a match.

 How to Beat the Closing Odds?

In order to take advantage of the closing odds and learn how to beat them in the long run, one needs to understand the movement of the odds. This is where skill kicks in and beats luck in the long haul.

Betting operators and big players are those who are responsible for odds movement. The movement is adjusted based on the market which will force bookies to react and protect themselves from too big of a risk.

To put it simply, if a lot of people are betting on Bayern Munich against RB Leipzig, the odds on the Bavarians are likely to be dropped but lifted on the other end to balance the correlation.

Placing and early bet on Bayern Munich could be a good way to check odds movements closer to the match itself. It will allow you to gain knowledge and understanding of your possible return which in the end reflects an expected value of a bet. The expected value is the amount you hope to gain or lose for the infinite number of occurrences.

The first thing you need to determine is the chance of winning. The chances of you winning might look favourably on a single occurrence, even at 50%, but they will not be a guarantee once you look it from a longer perspective.

This is why you need to do some calculations and not simply rely on luck. The expected value in a match is calculated through a simple formula:

(Likelihood of Winning_ x (Winning Amount per Bet) – (Likelihood of Losing) x (Lost Amount per Bet)

Putting things in right perspective and comparing the two sides of the coin will always give you a clearer picture of the value you can hope to get once you bet against the closing odds or simply hope to beat them.