6 Ways Sports Gamblers Can Use Math to Win

Man in Suit Holding Money on a Field Math Equation on One Half

It’s not as straightforward as using math when you play blackjack or video poker, but smart sports gamblers use math every day to make profitable wagers. The secret is to learn how sports gambling math works and how to use the math in the most profitable way.

I’ve compiled six ways that you can use math when you bet on sports online. The first thing you need to do is learn how sportsbooks use math to make profits. Then, you’re going to learn how to use this information to help you make more money when you bet on sports.

Keep reading below to learn all about how you can use math to win at real money sports betting sites.

1 – How Sportsbooks Use Math to Make Money

Sportsbooks make money by charging a fee, called “vig,” on all bets they take. On all wagers that sportsbooks take that loss, the book keeps the extra fee.

Over time, this locks in profits for sportsbooks. In fact, a sportsbook that has proper funding and is run correctly is guaranteed a long-term profit.

The math can be shown using a simple example. A sportsbooks takes $11,000 on each side of a game, at the traditional 11 to 10 vig model. The side that wins gets back the $11,000 and $10,000 from the money on the other side. This leaves the sportsbook with a profit of $1,000 on the game.

Sportsbooks aren’t able to always balance the handle on each side of a game like this, but over the long haul, it equals out if the book sets good lines.

And this leads to one of the most important things you need to know as a sports gambler.

Sportsbooks set lines based on what they think will balance the wagers on both sides of a contest. They don’t set lines based on what they think the actual final score will be.

This means that if you do a good job handicapping events, you can find lines that offer a profit.

2 – The Sports Betting Math You Need to Beat

If you make most of your sports wagers on traditional line bets that have a point spread, you need to win more than 50% of your bets to break even. The exact percentage of bets you need to win to show a profit depends on the vig you pay.

The truth is that with a normal 10% vig, you have to win a little over 52% of your spread wagers to break even. But I like to keep things simple, so the number you should shoot for to make money is 53%.

Sports Betting Stations and Screens

Other types of bets have different profit points. When you use moneyline wagers, it depends on whether you’re betting on favorites or underdogs and how big the team you bet on is favored or predicted to lose.

Totals fit the traditional spread bet model with a straight vig. Until you learn how to win at least 53% of your wagers, you should focus on point spread bets and totals. And the truth is that at 53% you’re not going to be making much profit unless you have a huge bankroll and can make big bets.

3 – Underdog Math

Underdog math is simple. But you still have to do a good job handicapping games if you want to make a profit.

The reason why I say that underdog math is simple is because when you bet on a favorite team, the only way you can win is if the favorite wins by more points than you give up. Sometimes, the underdog wins. And when you bet on the underdog and they win, you win.

But you also win when you bet on the underdog and they lose but still cover the spread. This basically gives you two ways to win.

I understand if you choose not to look at it this way, but I’ve made far more money betting on underdogs over the years than betting on favorites.

This is also true when you bet the moneyline on underdogs. You have the chance to win more than you have to risk when betting a moneyline dog, so you don’t have to win as many wagers to make a long-term profit.

You need to handicap games and make wagers on whichever side the value is on. But I’m more inclined to bet on the underdogs that might have value than the favorites that might have value.

4 – Home-Field Advantage Math

It varies a little bit by sport, but teams that play at home have a better chance to win than when they play on the road. You can look at the standings for the league or leagues that you bet on and run the numbers to see what the exact percentage is.

This doesn’t mean that the best team in the league is likely to lose on the road to the worst team in the league, but the schedule has plenty of games where home-field or home-court advantage can be profitable to sports gamblers.

The key is to figure out just how much of an advantage the home team has. This isn’t easy to do because the sportsbooks are trying to figure out the same thing when they set the lines.

But there is a way that you can use home-field advantage without figuring out exactly how much of an advantage it gives. The way I use home-field advantage when evaluating games is to never bet on a road team unless my handicapping shows a clear value.

I look for underdogs that have value first and home teams that show value second. I rarely bet on favorites or road teams.

5 – Understanding Different Types of Lines

I touched on this in an earlier section, but you have to completely understand how different types of betting lines work if you want to make smart wager choices. This is why I recommend focusing on point spread wagers first.

Sports Betting Bar and Lounge

You can find value on moneylines and run lines and puck lines at times. But you also need to know that it’s easier to make a mistake when you’re betting on lines that you’re not used to using.

Run lines are used in baseball and puck lines are used in hockey. When you start making wagers on run and puck lines, it’s easy to get confused.

The best way to make sure you understand how every type of betting line works is to bet on paper for several games before you start making real money sports wagers.

Betting on paper is simply listing the bet you want to make on a piece of paper then checking the results after the games. You’re not risking any real money as you’re practicing this way.

Of course, you need to do research on how different lines work as well. The main reason why you need to be comfortable with every type of line is so you have more opportunities to find lines that offer profits.

6 – Math in Handicapping

The top skill you need to be a winning sports gambler is handicapping. You need to learn how to evaluate sporting events in a way that helps you identify lines that can make you money. And effective sports handicapping requires the use of math.

This starts with using statistics when you handicap sporting events. Every sport has a wide range of statistics available for handicapping use. The secret is figuring out what stats to use and which to ignore and how to use the important stats to get an edge.

You also need to learn what things the statistics won’t help you with. Stats can only do so much, though a smart use of stats can be profitable by itself. You have to learn how to look at things that aren’t shown in the stats like travel, weather, and other trends.

Start learning how to handicap sporting events by using the most popular statistics. Track all of your results, then add and subtract the stats you use until you can accurately predict the outcomes of games.


When you understand how sportsbooks use math to make money, you can use this information to help you handicap games and find good lines. The lines are a key to profitable sports gambling that most bettors fail to take advantage of.

The math behind betting on underdogs can be powerful if you learn how to use it the right way. And home field advantage math can also be valuable as a sports gambler.

The bottom line is that you need to use in everything that you do in handicapping. Without the math, you’re leaving everything up to chance, and this is a quick way to a losing sports gambling career.