Odds shopping and the need for bookmaker access
In this article I will write about utilizing betting brokers to make use of the best odds available on the market. I have written before about the importance of securing the best odds when pursuing any betting strategy aka Odds Shopping. This is a point very often neglected by the average punter. We will go a long way to build a thesis regarding the probability of a given outcome but when the time comes to actually place the bet we will often choose the most convenient option available and just place the bet at the one bookie we regularly use.
However, what if there is a bookie or an exchange out there with 3% better odds which we have neglected due to not doing our research? Keep in mind that is not an unrealistic case – as you can see for yourself on a website like oddschecker odds tend to deviate quite a bit among bookmakers even for major events. If every time we place a bet we take a 3% worse than the optimal price this means we decrease the return of our strategy by 3%.
How important is the overround?
A successful bettor will rarely achieve a higher long-term return on turnover of more than 1-2 percentage points (for example Steve from Daily 25, one of the most popular betting P&L blogs, reports 1% historical return), while the overround of a bookmaker on even the most popular events will normally be at least 2.5%. So it is clear that those 3% will be crucial to overcome the overround of the bookmaker and secure an edge. Furthermore, being able to pick the best odds on the market is at least half the work when it comes to turning a profit from sports betting.
Now, when I said bettors don’t take the best odds due to not doing their research I wasn’t being entirely fair. As most of you know betting is strictly regulated in most countries leading to bookies pulling out from certain jurisdictions like Pinnacle from the UK for example (though rumors are circulating they are coming back – I keep my fingers crossed for all the UK bettors out there!). On top of that bookies themselves often restrict territories where they are unable to turn a profit (e.g. countries infamous for a lot of bonus-abusers).
And while there is not much you can do to open an account in a soft bookie which doesn’t want to do business with people from your country (except for moving to another country), there is a way to get an access to some sharp bookies and exchanges via a thing called betting brokers (or agents). This is not a very well-known option so I decided to write a few paragraphs about it.
Provided that you do not breach any laws in your country (I believe it is clear that researching that is your own responsibility), by opening an account with a broker you can access certain sharp bookmakers (including such that are available only via a broker) and exchanges that you otherwise cannot. Clearly this will help you quite a bit in securing the best odds available on the market for any event of your choice.
Still, there are a few things you have to be careful about. To this day betting remains a shady business and that applies not only to the bookies. Both are usually headquartered in overseas territories and regulated virtually by nobody. However, note that shady does not necessarily mean fraudulent. As with bookmakers, the fairness of the transaction between a bookie/agent and you as a bettor is secured mainly by the reputation of your counterparty has in the betting community. So before deciding to trust your money to an agent (or, for that matter, a bookmaker), make sure to carefully research their record. Focus on fairness and speed of payments, transaction fees and the like.
Brokers I have used and have had positive experience with are Sportmarket and AsianConnect88. They are both established names in the field, can provide you with accounts in most sharp bookmakers and exchanges at favourable times and you can fairly sure your money is safe with them.
Terms and conditions apply
In addition, it is important to carefully read the fine print in the broker’s agreement. Most brokers (logically) prefer clients with a higher bankroll who will stay with them for a long time. This means there will be a minimum deposit amount to open an account with a bookie via a broker. Moreover, you might need to pay some transaction fees if you fail to meet certain rollover requirements. Transaction fees are key, since many brokers will offer you some small commission on the bets placed via their accounts. This makes brokers a great option for Arbitrage Betting. However, those can be offset by the fees you will need to pay later on for moving your money around.
So in short, when following a betting strategy always make sure to explore the options available on bookies, exchanges and brokers. Wherever you decide to place your bet, make a solid research beforehand in order to be sure that the counterparty is reliable. You can also ask me in the comments and I would share what I know. That’s it for now, happy betting and best of luck to everyone!