Getting an edge
A casino or bookmaker will always try to make sure that they make a profit in the long run, despite short term swings. When the ball lands on zero in the roulette wheel, the casino collects all the bets on black and red, even and odd, high and low. This practice gives the casino a nice edge; the game is (openly) rigged to give the casino the upper hand. An individual player might get lucky and win big one night, but in the long run the casino will profit from the roulette table.
The same thing is true for bookmakers. They set the odds to ensure a long term profit. Of course, they can’t give you too bad odds because then you might not like sports betting anymore or you might seek out a bookie that offers you a better deal. For the bookmaker, there is always a delicate balance between keeping an edge and keeping the customers from leaving.
One way for the player to counteract the bookmaker’s edge is to be more knowledgeable. If your analysis of the situation is more accurate than the bookmaker’s, you can exploit this for your own gain. It is always a good idea for the novice punter to stick to a few cleverly selected sports/leagues/markets etc that you have a keen interest in, so that you continuously seek out information about them. Spreading yourself to thin and trying to keep up with everything, from ice hockey in Sweden to rugby in Australia and the FIFA World Cup, is a common beginner’s mistake.
If you are a die-hard fan of a certain minor league, than that is probably where you should start your betting career – provided that you can keep your head cool and not let your emotions do the betting for you. You probably know more about this minor league than the bookie, and this is something that you can exploit to make a long-term profit.
Knowledge is power, but knowledge that is commonly known will be known by your bookie and priced into the odds offered. So, while you must of course take this knowledge into account, you also need to seek out less easily available information. Do not be afraid to seek out sources that might not be people’s first choice. Perhaps one of the players in the Danish volleyball team has a personal blog – in Danish – with few readers? How many international English-language odds setters do you think are going to make the effort to keep up with this Danish blog?