Surely, such organizations as sports betting firms employ highly qualified forecasters, analysts, traders, cappers, etc., but they are still humans. And a human factor has never been eliminated. Add to this system issues, and you’ll observe a fairly large number of errors both in the pre-match and live betting lines.
What might it look like? Let’s turn to online football betting and take the Barcelona vs. Levante matchup as an example. Legendary Catalans host modest Valencians, and a bookmaker offers 6.06 for the former and 1.25 – for the latter! This is an obvious mistake – the markets were mixed up. It could be either a technical error or a human one.
However, among the most common bookies’ mistakes are not inadvertent mix-ups but mathematical miscalculations and lack of reaction to the developments in the match.
Wrong pre-match odds setting is often caused by the fact that analysts don’t take into account changes in teams’ lineups or some secondary factors that may affect outcomes (like weather conditions in outdoor sports or venues). This usually happens at the beginning of the season – the club changes the coach, he changes tactics, or the team loses a strong player, and the new one doesn’t have enough time to blend into the team…
In the first rounds of championships, you can come across the wrong estimations of teams’ strengths – low odds on favorites who are leaders only ‘on paper’. For example, in England, the top clubs don’t take cup tournaments seriously and often send farm teams to play, but a bookmaker does not take this fact into account and sets coefficients in their favor.
Also, in volleyball and basketball, you can frequently spot high odds in the final stages of the games, when they are no longer relevant. An incorrect line can be offered for low-rated matches, ‘exotic’ events, and unpopular sports.
Bookies’ mistakes in the live line expressed by wrong odds occur due to late or incorrect reactions to penalties, player suspensions, substitutions of leading athletes, etc. It should be noted that the less popular a tournament is, the more likely it is that there will be a delay in the line. This is an opportunity to make a profitable bet or even bet on an arbitration situation.
You must be wondering whether it’s worth capitalizing on bookies’ blunders. The terms and conditions of any sportsbook always contain a clause about errors, and it usually states that an operator is not responsible for any mix-ups and their consequences, as well as for the actions taken by players in connection with such circumstances. Which is to say, a bookmaker can easily cancel a bet and charge a refund. So, there is no sense in relying on obvious mistakes. What’s more, an operator may keep track of bettors who intentionally look for “wrong” odds to bet on and block their accounts without assigning any reasons. However, when it comes to miscalculations of probabilities and slow reactions to changes in play, here, you may sometimes get opportunities to derive benefit. If you win this competition of probability estimation, then it can’t be understood as cheating!