By 'sports betting' is meant wagering on all those sports other than the traditional betting sports of horse and greyhound racing. Soccer, American football rugby, golf, snooker, tennis, boxing, motorsport, cricket, athletics and darts are among the most prominent, but almost any high-profile live televised event is liable to arouse some betting interest.
Because such sports are conducted independently of betting objectives, sports betting is more or less free of the manoeuvring and secrecy which tend to be a characteristic of racing.
Since many sports bettors are prone to wagering on a partisan basis, rather than on an objective viewpoint based on form, value far exceeding anything that can be expected in horse or greyhound racing can often be found. In sports betting there are no SPs. Each bookmaking firm makes its own prices. By judiciously choosing from among them, the bettor, in effect, lessens the over-round. On occasions, the best of all the available prices may even be under-round.
General press coverage of the sports in question tends to be in the more lyrical, less objective, style suited to 'fans' rather than betting-oriented readers. Bettors are therefore urged to follow the sports betting coverage in the racing press and to read specialised sports magazines to obtain background information in depth.
Straight betting on sporting events, as to which of two contestants will win, appeals to professionals who think they are a good judge of form. But they don't appeal so much to the small punters who are merely looking for a bit of fun. Bookies cater for these, however, through what is known as 'sectional betting'. An example of this is to be found in Boxing where 'long odds' are usually quoted as to which round the fight will finish.
At the start of a tournament spread over many days, the annual Wimbledon Championships being an example, quotations are available against all the various players winning, and, usually one third or one quarter these odds against your selection reaching the final.
Punters should be chary against taking 'long odds'. It is wise to assess all the quotations with reference to the table of odds in order to calculate the over-round that the bookmaker is imposing. This is often quite heavy in sporting events because bookmakers have no way of assessing unexposed form.
Bookmaking is so competitive now that you will often see quite different odds for events that bookies know little about. So it pays to shop around and by taking the longest odds available for each outcome of an event it is sometimes possible to turn an over-round into an under-round.
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SPORTS BETTING Resources
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