Are you looking at betting on the football, horse racing, greyhounds, golf or any other sporting or special events? Then open an online account and place a bet with any of the following leading bookmakers to take advantage of tax-free betting.
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Open an account, deposit £10* or more and you will be entitled to up to £200* in free bets with their fantastic 100% Initial Deposit Bonus. *or currency equivalent. They have the most comprehensive Live In-Play service with live streaming so as the sports action happens you can adjust your position. View Site »
£50 FREE Bet! A free bet to the same value as your first bet. Minimum qualifying stake £5. Paddy Power is Ireland's largest bookmaker, they are the first major Irish bookmaker to venture into online betting. Apart from almost every sport under the sun, you can bet on politics and current affairs. You can put your money on things such as who a certain pop star is going to marry. View Site »
Up to €50 Free Bet. Register and enter your PROMO CODE FB50. Place a single bet of €5 or more on any sport. Ladbrokes will match your stake with a Free bet up to €50. They cover all your favourite betting sports including football, racing, greyhounds and others, as well as covering lotto/pools, poker, balls and casino betting. View Site »
Betfair is a betting exchange, not a traditional bookmaker, acting as a broker and provides the technology to match bets placed by individuals. All bets on Betfair have been placed there by users who want to have a bet in the normal way (back), or "be the bookmaker" & offer odds to other punters (lay). View Site »
What You Need to Know
- Set yourself a budget for betting and set these funds aside from the rest of your cash. An online account with a bookmaker can provide a convenient way of separating your betting budget from your current account.
- Size your bets as a proportion of your budget. Wager 1% for a standard bet and 2% when you're supremely confident.
- Be sure to shop around for the best price on any bet you want to make. Having multiple accounts with different providers can make this easier to do.
- Finding bets you believe to be significantly underpriced can be the key to success. Unfavoured teams playing at home are seen by many as providing good value.
- If you're going to be betting regularly, ensure you understand how pricing works. You'll generally need to get considerably more than 50% of your bets right to break even.
- When making bets based on form, statistics and research, always question the relevancy of the data. Having as much information as possible is great, but it's important to think about which factors will most influence the outcome.
- Don't gamble when you've been drinking, feel stressed or are in a heightened state of emotion.
Sport, with its innumerable variables, makes for an incredible spectacle. Its enduring appeal lies in the fact that nothing is ever certain and, as a result, it's a favourite with bookmakers and betters alike. Here we give some basic advice to those looking to enter into the world of sports betting, giving tips on everything from mentality to methodology.
Have a Budget
As with most other recreational activities, gambling costs money and should be budgeted for accordingly. If you gamble regularly, it's a good idea to set aside a pot of money to use for this purpose. This should be seen as separate to the monies you use to bankroll your living expenses. You should not be depending on your life funds to constantly top up your account with a bookmaker, and nor should you be depending on the funds you use for gambling being sufficient to support you financially. In other words, there should be no overlap between your gambling reserve and the rest of your cash. Picking a bookkeeper (or a few different bookkeepers) and setting up an online account (or accounts) with them can make it easier to reinforce this divide by having your funds ring-fenced in a different place to the rest of your cash.
Potential winnings should never be factored into your fiscal planning. Though, with any luck, you will experience some wins, you will also inevitably lose at some point. It's best to budget on the assumption that you will not be profitable. This might seem like a pessimistic way to go about things, but it guarantees loses will not have any major impact on your life and will really allow you to appreciate the money you do win. Mentally, you should see the cash set aside for gambling as money spent, rather than money invested.
Develop a System for Sizing Your Bets
Whether you are just having an occasional flutter for fun or making regular bets, you need to be disciplined in your approach. A devil-may-care attitude will drastically reduce your chances of making sound decisions and could easily lead you into difficulties.
A good rule thumb for sizing wagers is to view them as a percentage of your gambling budget. Think of 1% as a good size for an average bet and 2% for a wager you're supremely confident of. Do not wager more than 5% of your total budget in a day.
Such a system provides a good way to help you avoid chasing your loses. It's all too common for betters to follow a loss by chancing a big proportion of their remaining money on a bet designed to make their money back. This can lead to your budget being burnt through in no time. Remember, the only good reasons for placing a bet are because you think it's significantly underpriced and has a great chance of going your way, or to add a little spice to an event you want to follow anyway.
There are a wide range of influences that are factored into the odds offered by any one bookmaker for a particular outcome, from public perception, to the amounts being bet either way. Never neglect to check whether a better price is available for the bet you want to make. Even if you're in it for fun more than profits, it makes sense to maximise the returns on offer.
To make this easy to facilitate you might split your gambling budget between a few accounts with a few different bookmakers. On this subject, always be sure to familiarise yourself with the policies of a bookmaker before signing up for an account. Pay particular attention to the terms and conditions surrounding things that will affect your ability to take your money out, such as minimum bets and maximum payouts.
Shopping around for the best price is one thing, but if you are going to be betting a lot, you'll need to go further. Indeed, rather than finding the best value available for the bets you want to make regardless, you should also consider basing the bets you make on the value you can find on the market.
In sports betting, value would be broadly defined as the disparity between what you perceive to be the likelihood of an event and the actual odds on offer. To give a reductively simple example, if you were to bet on a coin toss you'd know that 1/1 (or 2.0) was a fair price (If you don't know what that means, that some time to learn how odds are expressed.). If you found someone offering 2/1 (3.0), you'd be well advised to take them on.
Obviously, figuring out the probability of the outcome of a sporting event is a much more difficult task. There are various systems out there that have been put forward which, depending on the sport you're into, you might look into. Whatever system you develop for gauging probabilities, chasing down prices that belie your take on the odds is one of the keys to profitable betting.
There's no hard and fast rules as to where you'll find what you consider a good value bet, however, it's been noted that unfavoured teams playing at home often do better than expected, so this could be a good place to start. In general, profitable betters prefer to back underdogs rather than favourites, but everything has to be taken on its merits.
Understand How Bookmaker's Stay Profitable
Obviously, if bookmakers paid out more than they took, they'd be out of business. While the exact procedures that go into determining their prices are quite complex, the underlying principle is simple: They do not pay a 'fair' price.
Earlier we gave the example of a coin toss as being an event where a fair price would be 1/1 for either heads or tails, offering you the chance to double your money. In reality a bookmaker would not offer you 1/1 (2.0). Instead they might offer something like 7/8 (1.875) on each outcome.
So, if you imagine they attract 100 people to have a bet on the coin toss, as you'd probably expect, the punters will be split roughly 50/50 due to the fact there is a 50/50 chance of either outcome. So, for the sake of simplicity, let's say half bet on tails, half on heads. Again, for the sake of simplicity let's say everybody bets £10.
So there's £1,000 riding on the flip. It comes up heads. Each winner gets £18.75 from their ten pound bet. The losers get nothing. In total, the bookie pays out £937.50. As they took £1,000 in bets, this leaves them with a profit of £62.50. Importantly, had the coin landed tails instead, they still would've made the same level of profit. Whilst for the punter it could have gone either way, financially speaking, there was only one result possible for the bookmaker.
This example is very basic, but illustrates the 'balanced book' situation bookmakers are trying to set up whenever they set a price.
(Alternatively, think of a roulette table. You want to bet make simple bets of either red or black. In this instance, you are offered a price of 1/1. You can double your money. But again, this is not a fair price as, thanks to the fact that the 'zero' is green, the chances of either red or black coming up are actually slightly less than 50%.)
In the scenario described above, if you keep betting on coin tosses you'll need to be correct 54% of the time in order to break even. As you can see, the odds are against you, hence the importance of chasing 'value' rather than 'certs'. In sports, unlike coin tosses, no one can say what the odds really are, hence it is possible to find value. First, however, you should understand that a bookmaker wants to give the most attractive price possible whilst remaining profitable. This won't be, strictly speaking, a 'fair' price.
Make Your Research Relevant
If you are going to be betting on sport frequently (hopefully) your choices will be based on a combination of good value (as discussed above) and your knowledge/research of the event in question.
Having a wide range of statistics available to you is undoubtedly useful, but the real issue is deciding which statistics are going to be most important on the day. Before, we mentioned that unfavoured teams playing at home can quite often be a source of good value. When this happens it's generally because the bookie has placed too much emphasis on one statistic (the side's overall win/loss record) and not enough on another, possibly more relevant data set (their record at home).
You don't want to make the same mistake. It's important to question what you're predictions are based on. For example, it might make sense to back Team A to beat Team B on the basis that they won 2-0 in the corresponding fixture the season before, but if both goals were howlers by a keeper who's since been sold and they haven't conceded since, it'll make more sense to look at other factors.
Don't Drink and Gamble
Not all bets have to be made on the basis of a rational appraisal of pricing and odds. If you want to back your favourite team simply for the fun of it, as long as you budget for it appropriately, that's fine. However, even if you are happy to make bets that aren't strictly rational, you should only do so when in full possession of your faculties. Drinking will make you far more likely to stray from the boundaries of your system and will also impair your ability to choose good bets, increasing the chances that, when you do put down more than you should, you'll lose it.