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Why Getting the Best Odds is So Important in Sports Betting

James Leeland
Editor
Fact checked by: Jim Knight
Publish Date: 06.03.2024

Having the best odds at your disposal is crucial in sports betting as it can significantly increase your experience. In sports betting, mastering odds strategy is akin to having an ace up your sleeve, thereby boosting your experience over time.

So, what does it mean to compare odds? It’s the process of finding and then assessing different sports bookmaker’s available odds offerings, so that you know for a fact that the wagers you place are of the highest possible value. This tactic works to boost your sports betting experience, sharpens your analytical skills, and even enhances your individual betting strategy.

Why Compare Odds?

There is no standard for odds. What this means is that each and every bookmaker, whether in-person or online, will use their own calculations to weigh the probability of events happening during a live sport. While the odds offered are generally similar, that does not mean that they are the same. Comparing the odds that each sportsbook offers means getting a better value deal on the bets you place. It can also help you understand more about which events the sportsbooks themselves think will happen.

The Benefits of Doing a Bookmakers Odds Comparison

There are many different strategies and tools available for those betting on sports and odds comparison is just one of them. When you bet on the best odds, you immediately make your bet go further, even if the event and selection you’re betting on is the same. Do you have to compare odds between bookies? No. You can always just stick to your favourite or to the operator you trust the most. If you are interested in adding betting odds comparison to your betting strategy, however, these are a few of the top reasons to try:

Big Odds Variation Between Bookies

Sometimes there are big variations between bookies for the same bet. By simply betting on the bookie that gives you higher odds, you can potentially win more. This is known as a sleeper bet, and it’s the goal for those who want to find the best odds. It’s common to find odds with up to a 20% difference between them, just by going to different bookmakers.

A Small Odds Difference Can Mean Bigger Outcomes if You Win

Betting on higher odds means a higher pay-out if you win. If you choose to place a bet on the bookmaker with the higher odds, you immediately increase the amount you would win if your bet is successful. Even a small difference adds up over time.

Types of Odds and How to Spot Them

Odds can be categorised as Steamers, Drifters, or Sleepers. They won’t be classed that on the betting site, however, but knowing the difference between these three types of odds can help you find great value bets hidden amongst the crowd. In some cases, it’s easy to spot great odds, especially if you make bookmaker’s odds comparison a key part of your betting strategy regularly. After all, if one side has a selection as a steamer (meaning it’s well backed) and another site doesn’t, then you can jump on those higher odds.

Steamers

Steamers are the big bets. They are the ones that are bet on regularly and frequently throughout the day. These bets usually come with low odds, because they’re popular and deemed most likely to happen.

Drifters

Drifters are the bets that people aren’t betting on for one reason or another. In response to this lack of money coming in, bookmaker’s will boost the odds, offering those who bet on those selections the potential to win even more (if it does win at all).

Sleepers

Sleepers are the odds you’re hunting for when making a betting odds comparison. One site will have the odds low, because it’s been calculated that the selection is very likely to happen. Then, another site has higher odds, and fewer betting on it. This is a sleeper opportunity. Betting on the site with the higher odds can lead to larger winnings, even if the bet itself is on the same outcome. 

Tips for Odds Comparing Live

While you can technically compare odds while the game is live, this is much harder to do simply because the essential element to successfully betting live and getting good odds is speed. That’s why you’ll want to have your top two bookmakers up and ready to go at once. For example, you can have Bet365 on your laptop to watch the game and place in-stream bets, and then also one of the top betting apps from a different bookmaker (for example, Unibet) up on your phone. This way you can glance between the two quickly, and place a bet wherever the odds are better.

Understanding Overround

One of the most important components to finding the best odds is to understand each bookie’s overround. Overround means the bookie’s profit margin, and it can change based on the event or sport, so it’s important to become very familiar with how to calculate them.

The good news is that calculating a bookie’s overround is fairly easy. All you need is to calculate the odds together. Without a profit margin, that calculation would reach 100% every time, but with the profit margin in play it will always go slightly over.

To calculate the overround, you’ll need to follow these steps:

  1. Convert the odds into a percentage
  2. Add the percentages together

You should get a number over 100%. Any number under 110% is considered to be fair, and is usually what you’ll get from reputable bookmakers. If the overround is over 110%, however, then the profit margin is largely considered too high for competitive odds. Once you have each bookmaker’s overround, you can then compare the overround between your top bookies to make it easier to find the best odds.

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Odds Boosts: Understanding How This Bonus Works in Your Odds Strategy

The other key thing to remember when betting is that you can boost your bets. Boosted odds are usually only available on accumulator bets, and they work to boost winnings (if you win) on bets with two or more selections.

Bet365 has one such acca bet boost for pre-match accumulator bets with 2 to 14 selections on bets made on Full Time Result, Both Teams to Score, or Result/Both Teams to Score. If you win, you get a boost between 2.5% to 75% of your winnings credited to your account. So, for example, you make a double acca bet and win. Your win will be boosted with 2.5% of how much you win. If you win $10, your winnings will be boosted with an extra $0.25. Make an acca bet with 14 different selections and win all 14 of them, and your winnings are boosted with an extra 70% of what you’ve won.

Other Factors that Will Impact Winnings

Comparing odds can help you potentially win more with the same bet, just by using one bookie over another. That isn’t, however, the only factor you want to consider when choosing a site to bet on. Things like fees, pay-out caps, and bet limits will also impact how much you can take out in winnings overall. That’s why you will also want to check your top-choice betting sites for these other factors. The best online betting sites typically have no fees, and very reasonable limits for both casual and big bettors alike, so stick with those top-rated options and say goodbye to the rest, no matter what odds they offer:

Withdrawal FeesChanges the amount you can take out from your bet wallet. Ex: a 2% withdrawal fee.
Check the operator’s withdrawal policy and restrictions, to make sure you can withdraw any potential winnings easily. Then, odds compare between the top choices.
Deposit FeesMinimises how much you can put into your bet wallet. Ex: a 1.5% deposit fee. Find zero or low deposit fee options, then odds compare between those bookies.
Bet LimitsMinimum/maximum bets will impact your bet strategy, regardless of what the odds are.
If you want to place $0.20 bets, shortlist providers who allow for small bets, then odds compare.
Maximum PayoutIf you’re a high roller, going for the best odds may not be the best choice. The factor that will impact your bet strategy the most will instead be the maximum payout.Check what the maximum payout would be for your bet, and make sure that it doesn’t exceed the max payout for that bookie. Then, pick the site with the best odds.

How to Compare Odds on Single Bets: Step By Step Guide

Now that you know more about odds comparison, acca bet boosts, overrounds and even the types of odds you’ll see, it’s time to get started with your own odds strategy.  To really make your odds comparison strategy go further, of course, you’ll want to add other top strategies to the mix. Also using a value betting strategy, which means calculating the true odds of an event happening, or a hedging bet strategy, can all help you develop a personalised bet strategy on your own.

Before you delve too deep, however, it’s important to know how to compare odds effectively. To do that, use these steps:

  1. Know What Selection You’re Backing
  2. Go to an Odds Comparison Site
  3. OR: Compare Odds Yourself Among Your Go-To Bookies
  4. Factor in Acca Bet Boosters
  5. Work Out Potential Wins on Each Site
  6. Work Out the Overround
  7. Add in Any Fees
  8. Find the Best Potential Pay-Out
  9. Make Your Bet

You should only ever bet on sites that you trust, no matter what the odds are. If a site seems too good to be true, but you haven’t heard of it, then it may be a scam. That’s why you always need to stick to reputable options that are fully licensed by a gambling authority, and well-reviewed by bettors around the world.

Get Started with Odds Comparison

In the realm of sports betting, savvy bettors understand that comparing odds across various markets is more than a strategy; it’s an essential discipline to maximise your experience. Whether you’re a seasoned punter or a novice in the betting world, taking the time to analyse and compare odds can be the difference between a good and bad experience.

Choosing the best odds to bet on isn’t just about finding the best price; it’s about making educated bets based on thorough research and understanding market movements, which often reflect the sentiment and predictions of bookmakers and other bettors. For those who are keen on taking their sports betting to the next level, comparing odds should become a regular part of your betting strategy. It’s also just the start, so have a look at our other strategy guides, and our operator reviews, so that you can build a custom strategy that suits you, and use it on the most trusted sites around.

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Best Odds FAQ

❓ Why is comparing odds key in sports betting?

Comparing odds reveals the best opportunities for value betting. Different bookmakers offer varying odds based on their own analysis, clientele bets, and risk management strategies. By shopping around for odds, bettors can ensure that they’re placing bets at the most favourable conditions.

🧐 How are odds different from probability?

Betting odds are based directly on the probability of an event happening, and should be thought of as different sides of the same coin. The probability of an event happening impacts the odds.

💰 Are bigger odds better value?

Yes, bigger odds (or higher odds, depending on how you want to look at it) offer more for less. If you win a bet with high odds, you’ll get a larger pay-out. Low odds means an event is likely or expected to happen, and therefore the potential winnings are lower.

🤓 Why do the odds formats change from one sportsbook to another?

Odds formats are a matter of preference, which is why some sites use decimals, others fractions, and some still (+/-). All top sites allow bettors to swap to their preferred odds format, allowing you to easily compare odds yourself.

👀 How can I find out a betting site’s overround?

Unfortunately, bookies don’t publish their overround, so you’ll need to calculate it for yourself.