Bookmakers make their profit from a commission on winning bets, not – as is commonly assumed – from the stakes on losing bets. Bookmakers are not bettors – they do not take risks like bettors do. What they try to do is ‘balance their book’, by getting as much money bet on one outcome as on the other.
That is why they change their odds: if they accept a lot of bets on one side of the equation, they will try to encourage bets on the other side to balance it.
With so many bookmakers available, especially online, the careful bettor can find discrepancies in the odds.
There will be a range of opinions among ‘oddsmakers’, i.e. the people working for bookmakers who set the odds after looking at the likelihood of the results. These different views allow you to find better value bets.
For the new bettor, online bookmakers will often tempt you to join them with free bets and bonus betting money. These can be a very useful way of building your betting bank, i.e. the sum you have to bet with.
However it is quite common for bettors with a run of successes to find their online betting accounts restricted, or even closed, by bookmakers. There are a number of ways to avoid having your account restricted or closed:
- Open a number of online accounts, and spread your bets among the bookies.
- Don’t always make the same bet or type of bet with the same bookie, e.g. betting on Over 2.5 goals for every Manchester United game.
- Use round numbers for your stakes - £10, £25, £100 – rather than, say, £24.89.
- Withdraw your profits regularly. Don’t leave money lying around in your account.
- Use betting exchanges: they are much less likely to close you down.
OUR TOP TIP
Lots of bookmakers offer ‘Best Odds Guaranteed’. This means that if you place an early bet and the odds subsequently increase so that the Starting Price is higher, you are given the higher odds. With some it's automatic, with others you have to tick a box. Remember to check - it could increase your profits massively!