Which bookmakers have the best odds?
Choosing a bookmaker is the first and one of the most important steps on the way to success in betting. The bookmakers are your key partners in betting and they must meet a number of requirements, such as reliability or fast payouts. Obviously most players first pay attention to odds value when looking for the best betting site. But is it so easy to determine which betting site has the most attractive odds? Should the value of the odds be the main selection criterion? Is profitability of a punter depends only on the bookmakers` payout ratio? Let’s try to answer these questions.
Betting margin: Less is better? Not necessarily!
You can easily calculate a bookmaker’s margin using specialized web services. A newbie can check these rates and choose a bookie simply and quickly – the one who has less margin is the best betting site. Reality is a little bit different and more complicated. The thing is that all bookmaker’s margins are average values. But do not forget that there is no “average player” as each player is unique, because he has his own manner of betting. If you are going to buy a bottle of beer, you are not interested in an average price for all sorts of beer on the market; you are looking for the best price for the beer brand you like, right? The same can be said about betting. Let’s say that some bookmaker has an average betting margin of 5%, but its betting margin on football is 6%. Another bookmaker’s average margin is worse and equal to 6%, but it is about 4% on football. If you prefer betting on football, the second bookmaker will be better for you though its average margin is higher.
The betting margin depends not only on the sports, but also on certain league or tournament. As a rule the more popular the league, the less is margin. Average betting margin is comprised of margins for all types of bets, and it can have different value when it comes to favourites and outsiders. Some bookmakers run a small margin on favourites, others, on the contrary, on outsiders. So, it very much depends on your manner of betting – if you usually place bets on favourites, then you need one bookmaker, if you prefer to bet on outsiders or unexpected results, then another betting site will be better for you.
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*Commission on net winnings
Let’s consider an average bookmaker margin and try to prove by a real-life example that these values have nothing to do with real winnings of punters. The value of margin on football in the table is a bit surprising, isn’t it? Top betting sites are far from taking the leading positions! How can it be? Well, there are many reasons. For example, Pinnacle runs the smallest margin but this bookmaker offers odds only for main markets (1X2, Asian Handicaps, Over/Under), which means that the comparison with other bookmakers will be incorrect. As already mentioned above, the margin for such big markets as Full Time Result is always less than for smaller markets like Both Team to Score. Thus, average margins of other bookmakers are higher as they simply offer more markets, while their margin on main markets is the same as Pinnacle runs. The calculation of average betting margin is a good thing, but practical aspects weigh more than the theoretical! Most punters prefer to bet on top leagues and main markets. Ok, let’s calculate the profit from 10 bets on ‘Full Time Result’ in 10 real games (English Premier League round). We are unlikely to be interested in odds that haven’t won, so imagine that you bet 10 bets of ₤100 and all 10 stakes have won. How much profit will you get with these betting sites? The result will surprise you!
As you can see, real winnings do not correspond to average bookmaker’s margin. BetVictor was among the top three bookmakers running the lowest margin, but in fact our earnings were quite average with this bookie. At the same time Bet365 had one of the worst margins, however, it helped us to receive a big payout!
Is odds value the most important criterion for choosing a bookie? Definitely not!
Many players, not only beginners, but also experienced players, believe that it is possible to be successful in the long run by only placing bets with the betting sites offering the highest odds. It sounds strange, but in fact it is not quite true! First of all, not every bookmaker with high odds will suit you. The betting site may not be the best, but it can be the best for you. Yes, Pinnacle offers great odds, but can you regularly win with this bookmaker if they offer only main markets? For example, you are not able to place ‘Both Teams To Score’, which means that you will regularly lose potential benefit that could be earned on this bet type. Unibet also runs a low margin, but it’s unlikely that you will be able to place a big bet with this betting site, which means that you will again face potential losses. As it can be seen from the table above, the difference in the bookmaker’s margin is only 2-3%, but at the same time some bookmakers take commission for withdrawing funds, while others do not. You can easily lose the extra profit you made at higher odds when withdrawing your funds. Betfair is a good example. Everyone knows that this is the betting exchange and you can always find the highest odds there. But is it really so? What about the commission on winning? It is around 5-7%, which is certainly more than any margin difference between any bookmakers! An illustrative example: player #1 had bet ₤100 with Betfair at @3.00, player #2 placed the same bet at @2.90 with other bookmaker. The player #2 had won by ₤10 less, but withdrew his money without commission and got ₤190. The player #1 had won ₤200, but paid commission of ₤14 and eventually had ₤186 in the wallet. Is it possible to say that betting with Betfair at higher odds was the best option?
Every year a number of bookmakers is increasing on the market. Growing competition means that the difference between the quality of services is getting smaller. Now almost every bookmaker offers practically the same odds, so a small difference between odds will have a little effect in the long run. Let’s once again forget about the theory and simply calculate the possible losses in cash. Let’s get back to the table above and take a closer look at the last column. We can see that the maximum difference in yield is 1.39%. Obviously, you cannot only bet on the lowest odds with any betting site, but even if we imagine such impossible situation, how much will you lose in comparison with the player who places bets on the highest odds? Let’s say you place 1-2 bets per day, which is about 500 bets per year and your average stake is ₤50. So your annual betting turnover is ₤25.000. According to official statistics, the yield of an average winning player is about 8%; the total annual amount of payouts will be ₤2.000. Using the indicators from the table, we can calculate earnings of players via different bookmakers. The punter placing bets with the bookmaker that offers the highest odds will win ₤2.101 per year. The punter placing bets with the bookmaker that offers the lowest odds will win ₤1 909. Yes, you will say that ₤192 is definitely not a small amount. Nobody will argue with this! But this is only on paper. In fact ₤192 is the winnings from only 4 bets at @2.00. Only 4 bets out of 500, it’s less than 1% of total bets and this is within a range of statistical uncertainty! Even if your bookmaker offers the highest odds, but not all types of bets, it’s quite obvious that you will not be able to bet a few of them during the year, for example, the above mentioned four bets. In this case your winnings will be the same as if you were placing bets with the bookie that offers the worst odds but has the vast range of markets. Delicate balance, isn’t it? Too delicate to choose a bookmaker by only one criterion – the value of the odds! All that requires a multifaceted approach and the main criteria for choosing the best betting site should be: a comprehensive range of markets, an average or above payout ratio and zero commissions for withdrawals. A successful punter simply has to open several accounts with different bookmakers to be able to place bets on competitive odds for all sports and all types of bets. We should also mention the sites that work with Bitcoin, you can learn more about this on Bitcoin Sportsbook.