I hear a lot of silly things said by people in the MMA betting community, and in the betting community in general…
“There’s no value in a losing bet” is among the worst, so I thought I’d briefly share my thoughts on it.
In a nutshell, it’s fundamentally wrong in every way – yet I see it being used often, even by people who have gambled for several years.
For those that already know why it is wrong, good for you. You know how winning at betting works at the most basic level. For those that don’t, I will teach you why in the simplest way I can think of…
Imagine you bet on a fight. One fighter has odds of -1400 to win, which translates to a very high 93.3% implied probability of winning and would yield only a measly $7 profit from a $100 bet if it won. The other fighter has odds of +850 to win, which translates to a very low 10.5% implied probability of winning but would yield a huge $850 profit from a $100 bet if it won. The fight ends up going to a split decision, meaning the judges were split on who won the fight because it was very close.
The huge favourite with odds of -1400 to win ends up getting the decision, with two out of three judges giving him the nod. However, the general consensus is that the fight could’ve been scored either way because it was so close.
Should people who bet the +850 fighter regret it just because it lost?
No. Of course not.
Why? Because the odds were clearly very wrong judging by how close you could see the fight was with your own eyes, and if the fight occurred 10 times, it’s obviously way more likely that the huge favourite would lose more than once, which is what the odds made by the bookmaker suggested.
This should be an obvious concept to anyone who has a real interest in beating the books and winning money over the long term. Unfortunately, the majority of bettors still don’t get it, even when it’s explained to them – meaning they will never understand how winning works.
Odds of -1400 imply that there is an extremely low chance the bet loses. In the context of a fight, this should mean that the fighter with these odds has advantages in every area, or at least one area that their opponent won’t be able to deal with, should dominate them and win at least 9/10 times if they were to fight 10 times. If a -1400 favourite goes to a split decision in a genuinely close fight that could’ve been scored either way, then it obviously means that, for whatever reason, they struggled with their opponent and the betting line should’ve been much closer.
If you bet a fighter with odds of -1400 (93.3%) that should’ve been more like +100 (50% implied probability of winning) say 1000 times, it is mathematically impossible to make a profit and you will lose badly in the long run. However, if you bet a fighter with odds of +850 (10.5% implied probability of winning) that should’ve been more like +100 (again, 50% implied probability of winning) 1000 times, then you have a huge edge over the bookmaker and will beat them and win over the long term.
This is all basic stuff and how winning at betting works. If you don’t learn this, you will never be a long term winner.
- Set your own odds based on your own perceived probability
- Compare your own lines to the real odds using an odds converter like this
- Find lines you think the bookmaker priced wrong, i.e. find value
Try your best to put yourself in positions where even if your bet loses, you can look at it logically and think to yourself “I do not regret making that bet, it clearly had value.” If your bet lost because of a reason you failed to take into account with your own perceived probability, then LEARN from it and don’t make the same mistake again. An example of a mistake is betting against a young fighter that had no footage available of their fights since 2015, meaning the fighter you analysed isn’t the same one that ended up fighting due to massive improvements they made over four years – which renders your read on the fight useless and one you simply shouldn’t have invested any money in due to limited information.
The problem is, however, the huge, amazing value in my exaggerated example is very hard to find over the long term…
Even finding small value is very difficult and there are MANY more things you have to take into account to win long term, which I can teach you personally. However, just know that IT IS POSSIBLE. Don’t believe the people that say the books always win. I, and many other professional gamblers, have proven that beating the books over the long term can be done – ESPECIALLY in MMA because it is a new sport and not stat-based, making it much more difficult for bookmakers to make odds for.
Don’t believe me? Then why was I able to get odds of +100 on Max Holloway to beat Brian Ortega? Again, +100 implies a 50% probability to win and yields a massive 100% return on your money. If you haven’t seen that fight, Holloway dominated Ortega bell to bell (like what seemed obvious would happen based on footage of both fighters) and would clearly beat Ortega at least 8 or 9/10 times, meaning he should have been more like a -1000 favourite.
The fact I got to yield a 100% return on investment with a bet on Holloway is insane and alone proves that bookmakers struggle to line fights correctly, and the general public that bet on fights and shift the lines have no idea what they are doing. This means that people like me and you can take advantage of odds like these and get a huge return on our investments over the long term, which is exactly what I do full time!
Investments like this are EXTREMELY hard to come by in not just betting, but in life as well so we should take advantage of them while we can, and me and my clients cashed in big that night…
Again, everything in this article is basic stuff. Being a long term winner isn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination. There’s a reason why 99.9% of bettors lose. There’s a lot more work involved than what I mentioned in this article – you have to study tape on fighters every week, learn bankroll management and discipline, train your mind to eliminate bias and emotion, have a deep understanding of mathematics and the overall concepts of gambling, be very mentally strong and much, much more…
If you don’t have the ability, time or patience to do this, that’s absolutely fine. Because I can do all of the work for you. I do this full time and have been beating the books for several years now. I am banned or severely limited by all online bookmakers for being a long term winner, but continue to bet big money in other ways while sharing my personal bets with and advising hundreds of clients on how to bet the right way, win long term and make an income from betting on fights.