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Probability Theory: How It Helps In Sports Betting

Some amateur bettors mistakenly believe that the results of matches are too random. According to this view, sports forecasts are like roulette and don’t lend themselves to accurate calculations. But the probability theory in sports betting at is the basic thing newcomers should learn.

Each event has a coefficient calculated based on statistical analysis. The value of the parameter decreases as the chance of a successful outcome increases, otherwise, the bookmaker will start working at a loss. Due to randomness and human factors, the use of probability theory in sports betting doesn’t allow you to play only on the plus side. Using calculations helps identify potentially profitable predictions, and here’s how it works.

Fundamentals And Patterns

Probability theory is a part of mathematics that is focused on random events and quantities, as well as their properties. Thanks to them, it’s possible to determine the probability of events compared to each other.

The role of this law in sports betting is difficult to underestimate. Randomness surrounds everyone daily. And the theory can be applied to absolutely any event. Nonetheless, with betting, it’s worth bearing in mind that the outcome of any match is random. Both direct and indirect factors can affect the final result of the game. Nobody can predict results with a complete guarantee.

Even a bookie cannot predict the probable outcome of an event with a complete guarantee. A bookie puts a particular probability in each odds, but even odds 1.1 will never guarantee winnings. For example, the odds 1.1, according to the bookie, show a 90% probability of the event. It means that the odds should be played in 9 out of 10 games. However, is it possible?

Using The Probability Theory

Margin is profit for the bookmakers, and wagering is profit for the player. To be in the black, players need to find matches in the line where the bookie hasn’t correctly estimated the probability of the event.

Statistics are helpful in sports betting. Nonetheless, relying on statistics alone is not the greatest choice. Past game results should not be considered as a fundamental factor. For example, if Arsenal has beaten Manchester United in the last 5 games, it doesn’t mean that Madrid is guaranteed to win in an upcoming game. There are many factors that are specific for the present situation:

●  Teams’ form;

●  Injured athletes;

●  Schedule of games;

●  Athletes’ motivation.

Approaches To Probability Theory

A Priori Method

The a priori approach (also known as the Bayesian method) relies on Bayes’ theorem. It’s one of the basic theorems of elementary probability theory.

Using Bayes’ formula, you can accurately recalculate the probability of an event by considering both pre-existing data and data from new observations. This approach is based on the definition of conditional probability-the probability of a particular event if another event has already happened.

Empirical Approach

In this case, the probability can be calculated based on statistical data using the formula:

P = N / X.

N is the number of matching outcomes, X is the number of all outcomes. For example, team A has won 15 out of 24 matches on its field against team B in the last 20 years. Then the probability of team A winning the next home game will be 15 / 24 = 62,5%.

Subjective Probability

It’s based on an observer’s experience or analysis of a current situation. While counting the probability, consider more factors.


All in all, the application of probability theory in sports betting is inevitable. However, one shouldn’t blindly follow its predictions.

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