The Magic of 55 Percent Winners

The new-look Bovada sportsbook.

As many readers of this site know, I'm not the biggest fan of sports services. While there do happen to be some good ones out there, the vast majority of them will only separate you from your money faster than would happen if you were to wager on your own selections.

One of my biggest complaints with sports services is that they have managed to distort many people's perception of what to expect in sports betting.

We've all seen ads of various touts proclaiming 60 and 65 percent winners. The vast majority of these claims are downright bogus, but they are an improvement over what we typically saw in the 80s, where services had no problem claiming 75 percent winners until the public began to catch on.

There's the now famous tale of the service that placed a newspaper ad congratulating itself on its 8-0 Saturday. The only problem was that due to deadlines the ad had to be submitted two days before the games were played.

What the Pros Expect

The best professional bettors would be delighted with a winning percentage between 56 and 58 percent. Yes, really. They're wise enough to know that will produce a healthy profit over the long run.

A professional better hitting 57 percent of their games is really no different than you hitting 55 percent of yours due to one simple reason. The professional bettor will visit many sportsbooks looking for the best line available on a consistent basis and their willingness to do so adds several percentage points in their favor during the course of a year.

If you and a professional bettor both bet the same team and you push your bet, chances are the professional bettor will have won theirs just by shopping for a better number.

Simply put, most professional bettors are average handicappers, but active shoppers, which makes a huge difference in a bettor's bottom line.

On top of that, the professional bettor will practice solid money management techniques, which also adds to the bottom line, while the recreational bettor is more apt to make money management blunders, which will cost them money over the long haul.

Keeping You Off of Losers

We touched on this a bit in the article College Basketball and Public Betting, which is the concept that any system that keeps you off of losers is more valuable than one that puts you on winners due to the fact that you lose an extra 10 percent on losing wagers.

This time, we'll look at the difference between 55 percent and 50 percent winners, which in theory, is where bettors should be on the basis that point spread games are a 50-50 proposition.

If we bet $100 on 100 games and win half and lose half, we would be left with a net loss of $500, as we lose $110 each time we choose the wrong team.

If we can get that 50-50 record to 55-45 we will end up with a net profit of $550, as we win $5,500 and lose $4,950 on our losing wagers.

The difference between a $500 loss and a $550 profit is obviously $1,050, which is the difference between being a 50 percent handicapper and a 55 percent handicapper.

If we were going to bet 100 games we would need to have a winning percentage of 57.38 to show that same $1,050 profit.

That essentially makes the difference between hitting 50 percent and 55 percent greater than the five percentage points, as a bettor needs to win 52.38 percent of their bets to break even.

While a 55 percent winning mark may not sound all that impressive, it is. Such a performance would put you among the very best handicappers in the world and you'd be one of the rare bettors to show a profit over time.

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Your Citation
Moody, Allen. "The Magic of 55 Percent Winners." ThoughtCo, Oct. 21, 2015, Moody, Allen. (2015, October 21). The Magic of 55 Percent Winners. Retrieved from Moody, Allen. "The Magic of 55 Percent Winners." ThoughtCo. (accessed November 22, 2017).