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While this article covers some practical experiences of using arbitrage betting from Vida, a guest contributor on the Trademate blog. However, the majority of sure-bets will occur at the soft bookmakers we will defined this later , which can lead to several practical disadvantages:. Soft bookmakers limit sports traders who are able to win consistently. You need to find high enough odds on all of the outcomes for it to add up to a sure-bet.
If the odds deviate too much from the rest of the market, bookmakers are able to void bets placed on that game. You are now unable to complete the sure-bet, which results in a huge negative expected value on the bet. If you are unfamiliar with the statistical concept of expected value EV , read this short article. You will need to distribute your capital and thus tie up your capital across a very wide range of bookmakers to take advantage of the sure-bet opportunities.
A rational investor will attempt to maximise returns while minimising risks. Investors in financial markets can broadly be divided into two categories: Long-term oriented investors who rely on fundamental analysis and short-term oriented investors who follow a trend or technical analysis.
The former are often referred to as value investors, which means that they try to identify assets that are underpriced by the market. They also require the asset to be significantly underpriced, which provides a margin of safety, before they purchase a given asset. In the meantime, you do not know whether your hypothesis that the asset is underpriced holds true.
The opposite of strategy would be day trading, taking advantage of short-term price discrepancies in the market. Day traders apply different methods such as looking at chart patterns or technical indicators in order to predict future market movements. Now the main disadvantage with being a day-trader is that computers are superior to humans in performing statistical analysis and for discovering patterns in large datasets.
Thus gaining an edge in the market when you are competing against HFT firms is very difficult. The gap in access to information held by hedge funds compared private investors have increased dramatically in the last decades. Today hedge funds can rely on real-time satellite images of the parking lots of JC Penney to predict their quarterly returns , while private investors rely on historical financial statements.
The result being that it is very difficult for private investors to compete against the professional hedge funds, especially if they rely on technical analysis. This is because, if there does exist price inefficiencies in the stock market it will be exploited by the HFT firms way faster than any private investor is capable of, returning the market to an efficient state.
Thus in practice, the day trader performing technical analysis is competing against HFT firms, with access to less information and using inferior methods. To manage risk the principle of portfolio diversification is followed by both groups of investors. The short-term investor will typically mitigate risk, by making a high volume of smaller trades with low risk and low returns that add up and provide a positive ROI.
Similar to the day trader, a sports trader will perform a high volume of smaller investments on the sports market. With any strategy, it is important to set up a feedback loop that provides you with data on how your strategy is performing. Within sports trading, the natural benchmark is to measure whether the odds you are putting money on is able to consistently beat the closing lines of the sharp bookmakers. If so, you will have a positive expected value , which in theory should lead to profits over a large sample size of sports trades.
Poker players will be familiar with the difference between the short and the long term. In the short term is possible for anyone to win, regardless of skill. Because luck or randomness has a large impact on the outcome. While in the long run, the random variance will even out and the players who have an edge will be the ones making a profit. The same holds true for people who trade in both the stock and the sports markets. Anyone can make a profit in the short term, but in the long term only traders who make decisions with a positive expected value will be profitable.
The reason that computers running algorithms are used in trading the financial markets is because in these markets prices are updated so fast that it almost impossible for humans to exploit. In the stock market the difference in price that you will be able to obtain when purchasing Tesla stocks at Nasdaq versus LSE is close to identical, since the updates happen within milliseconds across exchanges in different markets.
While in the sports markets the same asset, the outcome in the game between Liverpool and Manchester United is priced differently at different bookmakers or exchanges. In addition, these inefficiencies are not necessarily corrected in real-time. For instance, in the game between Chelsea vs Manchester City on February 21st, it took the bookmaker Norsk Tipping almost 30 minutes to adjust their odds compared to the Asian market , as seen in the image below.
You can read more about how value occurs in the sports market by clicking the link in the previous sentence. Now compare this to the stock market, where the price would have been adjusted within milliseconds. These market inefficiencies create arbitrage opportunities that can be exploited by smart sports traders.
For professional sports traders, the majority of work is put in during the weekends because this is when the majority of games are played. In a given weekend you can potentially run through your bankroll multiple times by placing a high volume of trades. Trades are typically placed within a couple of hours before the game starts to reduce the variance that may occur between the opening and closing lines of the bookmakers.
Thus the capital of the investor is tied up in the investment for a shorter period of time. The result being that you can grow your fund much faster, than for long-term investments in the stock market. Now obviously, whether you endure winning or losing streaks will have an impact on your actual profits.
Prices of the positions or odds on bets change as new information becomes available. When demand is high and lots of people want a certain stock or side of a bet, prices rise. In sports betting, the price is reflected by the odds, which pay less as a bet becomes more likely to win. The main point of the Efficient Market Hypothesis is this: All public information, as soon as it becomes available, is immediately reflected in the price of an asset.
Information travels so quickly, and trading systems are so sophisticated, that as soon as fresh news comes out regarding a company, buyers bid up the price of a stock or sellers bid it down. Key here is that it happens instantaneously. The conclusion: No public information, whether from a chart of historical prices or from an up-to-the-minute newswire, is useful in helping to predict the future price of a stock.
By the time you can react to the public news that a startup tech company just got a huge government contract, the market will have already driven up the price to where it should be. Not everyone agrees that world financial markets are completely efficient. While there are millions of participants in financial markets, a small sportsbook may be catering to a few dozen players.
The goal of a smart bookmaker is to balance the book: He wants equal money on both sides of the game, so that he wins regardless of the outcome, by paying the winners slightly less than even money. Now the bookie is in a tough position. Given this news, he should probably move the spread back to Saints-minus-6 or even minus-5 or 4, but he also has to think about his unbalanced book.
In this case, the lack of participants in the market has made it illiquid, and therefore inefficient. True, the teams are likely to score a lot of points. In an efficient market, betting with information everyone knows is the same as betting with no information at all. And in the long run, the vig will wipe you out. Instead, I prefer to build mathematical models to process the ample numbers that are now available for any sporting event.
While everyone has access to these statistics, my feeling is that the mounds of data contain patterns of information that human beings are unable to recognize due to limited processing power in our brains. So why am I not rich? More importantly, manual accounting for injuries and other hard-to-automate information required far more hours than I had to give, so I eventually abandoned the system. What if I could convince 32 passionate people to each handle the injuries for a single team that they follow anyway?
Sound like fun? Actually…there is a way to place sports bets that is guaranteed to always make money. It just happens to be a lot of work and involves multiple bookies. Find two sports agents that have different odds on the outcome. Determine how much you need to bet at each bookie so that a win at one offsets the loss at the other and vice versa.
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