All over the world, bettors are looking for ways to get the best odds for the sports that they want to bet on. While offers and promotions can give a quick boost, many techniques help you to get better odds every time you bet.
If you want to enhance your straight ‘to win’ bet, or just want to add a bit more value to your bets, then this guide will help to open your betting world to the many other odds-enhancing ways in which you can place your stake.
If you’re new to sports betting, or even want a few more tips, then be sure to check out the Ultimate Sport Betting Guide before scrolling down.
Get In The Markets Early
The very best way for you to get the best odds on a favourite for any sporting event is to get into the market early and place a bet before most others.
This is because the initial odds are reflective of oddsmakers' calculations, but as more and more people back the favourite, the odds get shorter. The effect of crowds of people coming in to bet on one option will mean that those late to get some bets down will face shorter odds.
So, while you do risk a late injury or event having an impact on your backed team, if you’re backing the favourite, it’s best to get in early.
When it comes to football, you can usually find domestic league odds at the start of the week in which the game is to be played, but cup and continental competitions see some of their odds go up much sooner.
You can already check out 888sport's Champions League betting markets for the last-16 stage. For example, Manchester City are priced at 2/5 to beat FC Basel whilst reigning champions Real Madrid are 57/50 to beat Paris Saint-Germain - and these games don’t take place until mid-February.
But, you can bet that as more and more people add those favourites to their accumulators or bet on them outright, the odds will get shorter, thus less valuable to late bettors.
Do The Same With Other Sports Too
Other sports find themselves with their headline events sitting with odds well before they’re due to play, or well before the event has even been formally announced.
Take a look at the unconfirmed fights market, Gennady Golovkin is already the 13/25 favourite in his potential rematch with Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez. Their last fight ended in a draw so perhaps the Mexican’s 6/4 odds are worth grabbing before others take their chances on him.
Or, if you saw how the fight went, you’d consider the 13/25 ‘GGG’ odds to be decently weighed right now. Further on, with Anthony Joshua’s next fight almost certainly set to be Joseph Parker, you can get some of Joshua’s best odds yet of 8/13 to beat the newly-reinstated Tyson Fury.
Fury’s been out of the ring since November 2015 and is said to be severly overweight. If Deontay Wilder cannot be lined up after Parker and Fury has returned to the ring with a comeback fight, then Joshua versus Fury may well be on the cards – Joshua’s odds would shrink if that were to be announced.
The best way to get ahead of everyone else, including the bookies, is to be in touch with the sport and receive live news updates. This greatly came in handy in 2016, before the NFL Entry Draft.
On April 14, two weeks before the draft, the Tennessee Titans were set to take the first overall pick, so a defenseman was the favourite to be picked first overall. But, late in the day, the Los Angeles Rams traded for that first overall pick, clearly needing a quarterback.
Just after the trade, the top two quarterbacks in the draft were still at very long odds to go first overall – Carson Wentz at 13/2, Jared Goff at 16/1 – which many NFL fans were able to jump on and use to their full advantage.
Consider The 'Win To Nil' Market
The battle cry of football fans when predicting a score is 2-1, so much so that you can usually predict that someone’s going to say it before they do so.
In any case, the fact that 2-1 is classically the most common score in football means that calling a game to end with a team winning to nil is that much more profitable with the bookies. To add to this, the odds are far more in your favour than you would first presume.
Once 170 games had been played of the 2017-18 Premier League season – 17 games each – a whopping 48% of them finished with a winning side and that winning side keeping a clean sheet.
Given how competitive England's top flight is, that is a strong percentage. Now, of course, some teams have won more games to nil than others, with Crystal Palace being on the losing end of many of those ties at the start of the season, so a bit of research is needed.
You find the greatest odds in sports betting coming by correctly predicting very specific events, often methods and times of scoring.
For example, in the running to the 2013 Super Bowl between the Seattle Seahawks, who were 9/1 to win their conference, and the Denver Broncos, the first score to be a safety was at odds of 50/1 – which came in.
Anything can and does happen in sport, so even the most obscure events at the longest odds sometimes pull through.
A great example of this is in the boxing. A heavy favourite, as Anthony Joshua often is these days, will usually have quite short odds to win in the first few rounds, but after that, the odds stretch out immensely.
Getting into the round betting for a boxing match early and even placing a stake on a few rounds to cover more can greatly enhance your odds when backing a winner.
The Glory Of The Handicap
If you’re looking down the long list and see a team that you want to back, but they’re at such short odds that it’s barely worth backing them, you can always improve those odds by taking a handicap.
You’ll see teams like Manchester City and Barcelona regularly blow teams out of the water with massive score lines, so backing them at a -1 or -2 handicap can often be a good move towards enhancing your odds.
The best sport, and the best league, for utilising the handicap bet, however, is in ice hockey – specifically the NHL. In many ice hockey leagues, including the NHL, if a team is losing by one or two goals in the final minutes of the game, they will pull their goalie to get another skater on the ice.
Sometimes, this results in the team scoring and taking the game to overtime, but a lot of the time, the opposition reclaim the puck and shoot it into the empty net. This season, in the 207 games played in November, 57% saw the victors win by two goals or more – bringing in -1 handicap bets, or higher in many cases.
Why Make One Prediction When You Can Make Two?
Here, we’re not referring to stacking an accumulator, although that can be a good way to boost your odds, we are instead looking mainly at the full time both teams to score bets.
If you can call the result of a game as well as predict that both teams will score, you’ll get odds far greater than backing a simple win bet or draw bet.
At the point in which all Premier League teams were 17 games into the 2017-18 campaign, there had been a total of 74 games in which both teams scored, with only 14 games ending in 0-0 draws to that point. This gives a base rate of 44% of games seeing both teams net.
Accounting for the prevalence of both teams scoring, if you think that your team is going to win the game, but are a bit uncertain about their defence or goalkeeper, then a full-time result and both teams to score bet can be a strong way to improve your odds.
There are so many ways to get even better odds when looking at each sporting event, especially if you know the sport well.
So, if you don’t fancy taking the standard short odds of the favourite, you can always bolster those odds by getting to the market early, calling a win to nil, adding a handicap, or making a double prediction bet.
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*