Date Joined: 15 Nov 06
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Knowledge and inside information is power
SORRY it's been such a while, followers, but my shrapnel wound was playing up so badly I had to cut off my own leg. That wouldn't have been so bad, but the blood made an awful mess on the Axminster. Mrs69 wasn't too HP at all and if it hadn't been for the quick thinking on the part of my latest butler, Kevin 'The Gerbil' Klijsters, who recommended a thick foam of six parts Vanish to one part water, I fear my marriage might have been over. He applied the solution while I applied the tourniquet & Mrs69 went off in the huff.

I digress.

O is for Odds
Odds are the chances you have of winning, according to the bookmaker, i.e. the person or organisation ‘laying’ the bet. Yes, there’s a fair chance you already know this, but like any skill you need to have a solid understanding of the fundamentals.
For example, an outsider might be quoted at 15/1 or 16.0 (‘high’ odds) depending on whether you prefer fractional or decimal. In this instance, you’d put a quid on and get £16 back, including your original stake of £1. Alternatively, the odds may 1/5 or 0.2 (‘low’ odds/ ‘odds on’) depending on whether you prefer fractional or decimal (put a quid on and get £1.20 back, including your original stake).
In a nutshell, the bigger the odds i.e. 15/1 is fifteen times ‘bigger’ than evens (1/1 or 2.0 decimal), the lower your probability is of winning, and vice versa.
Nearly all online bookmakers these days offer odds in both formats, so you can’t go wrong - unless of course you’re a bit of a chump/mug punter. Below is a hypothetical example of how odds are presented in different ways and what they actually mean.

Example: Blackpool v Yeovil Town (football)

    Decimal    Fractional
1 (home): Blackpool    1.40    2/5
X (draw)    3.75    11/4
2 (away): Yeovil Town    5.00    4/1

Here are some calculations made with the two odds formats, made with a hypothetical stake of £20 on Blackpool to win.

It is important to distinguish between the total payout, which is added to your betting account after a win, and your profit, which is the payout minus your original stake.

Example A: Blackpool to beat Yeovil Town (home win)

Home:      Stake x odds
£20 x 1.40 or 2/5      Payout of £28 inc original stake (profit of £8) 

Example B: The draw

Draw:      Stake x odds
£20 x 3.75 or 11/4    Payout of £75 inc original stake (profit of £55) 

Example C: Yeovil Town to beat Blackpool (away win)

Away:      Stake x odds
£20 x 5.0 or 4/1    Payout of £100 inc original stake (profit of £80) 

Never let the odds influence your bet. By all means take the best odds available to you once you’ve chosen your market by a quick reference check on or similar, but never place a bet just because the odds look tasty. This is one of the fastest ways you can part with your cash, for it never to be seen again. By betting purely because the odds look substantial, you’ll have to trust to luck time and time again. Better betters make their own luck. Practise makes perfect. Look before you leap, in other words. Remember, with everything else in life, if the odds look too good to be true, they probably are. Find out why the selection you were looking at has such high odds – it might be because the bet is an in-running bet and the team/player is already losing or possibly the team you’d selected might be only picking a half-strength side or even the team isn’t the team you thought it was! Some of the foreign football leagues are absolute murder for having similar-sounding team names. Seems such an obvious point to make, but it’s true. Every other team in Turkey seems to end in ‘spor’ for example.

O is also for Online Betting
The one and only drawback about betting online is that your computer doesn’t have a cash dispenser, so that any profits you withdraw have to hang around in cyberspace for a few days before they magically appear in your bank account. The opposite applies to deposits. Once you click that ‘confirm’ button, your money leaves your bank account quicker than a Jamaican sprinter.
Other than that, betting online or via your mobile phone is an absolute joy compared to betting anywhere else. You’re in complete control, you can see each and every market updated live and you don’t have to suffer anyone smelling of booze, plop and B.O. trying to tell you that you ‘should have done the forecast’ (go into any high street bookmakers and there’s a fair chance some scruffy loser will be on hand to offer you his advice.

Not only are there many and varied online bookmakers offering appealing free money match bets, there are also plenty of websites happy to help you with your punting and offering free tips. These are not necessarily worth following, but can help you make an informed choice of what to back, lay or leave well alone. There is a list of some of the best online bookmakers elsewhere in the book, but one essential addition to your favourites list is the site – a handy area for price comparisons on just about every event worth looking at, easily navigable and equipped with useful additions such as a Dutching Calculator, Hedging Calculator and Bet Settler. More on these later. You’ll often get to the point where you’re ready to make your bet, but need to know where the best odds are. Oddschecker tells you this in an instant. Very handy. There’s no point in staying loyal to one particular online bookmaker as odds vary between each site and each event. They can be compared with supermarkets in this respect. Although it’s nice and easy to do all your shopping in one supermarket, can you really put your hand on heart and say that not one single item could have been bought cheaper elsewhere? Unlike supermarket shopping, however, you don’t have to traipse around carrying your bags. Your next bet is never more than a click away!
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