In the course of this article, we address a fundamental and hotly discussed question amongst sports tipsters: Is it better to bet on high odds or low odds? Below, we present to you the benefits and disadvantages of the two opposing betting strategies. Spoiler alert: As is so often the case, the truth often lies somewhere in between. Bets on low odds as well as strategies revolving around high odds both have their own unique advantages.

Reading time: 3 min
Topics covered in this article:
  1. When do sports tipsters talk about bets on HIGH odds?
  2. When do sports tipsters talk about bets on LOW odds?
  3. What are the advantages of betting on HIGH odds?
  4. What are the benefits of betting on LOW odds?
  5. Our Conclusion: Place sports bets at high or low odds?

When do sports tipsters talk about bets on HIGH odds?

Before we go into depth about the advantages and disadvantages of betting strategies with high or low odds, we first need to clarify the dividing line. In the world of sports betting, when are the odds considered high and when are they considered low? Even here, minds differ. Within the scope of this article, we define high odds as those above 2.00. The reason for this is that odds of 2.00 mean the likelihood of a specific outcome is below 50%. Consequently, it is more probable that the outcome does not occur – and for this reason, these odds are considered high. After all, betting odds represent nothing more than the probability of a specific outcome and thus the likelihood of winning (odds = 100 / probability in %). The reason why this is not exactly 50% when we are given odds of 2.00 is explained by the profit margin which is calculated in by the bookmakers! On average, this is around 7%. This means the betting provider is reckoning with a payout rate of 93%, with 7% of all money wagered by their customers representing the bookmaker’s own profit. This is reflected in the odds and consequently in the bookmaker’s calculation of the probability of a given outcome:

  • Probability of a given outcome = 100 / (betting odds x 1.07)
  • = 100 / (2.00 x 1.07) = 46.72%

When do sports tipsters talk about bets on LOW odds?

It would be a logical conclusion, based on the above explanation, if all odds below 2.00 would be described as “low”. That said, most fans of sports betting would never refer to odds of 1.90 as low. In fact, it is only odds between 1.10 and 1.40 that are actually seen as such. The rule of thumb is as follows: The probability of a bet winning should be at least 2:3 (=67%) for it to be regarded as safe. If we then once again calculate in the bookmaker’s profit margin, the upper limit for low odds would be 1.40.

  • probability of a given outcome = 100 (1.40 x 1.07) = 66.76%

What are the advantages of betting on HIGH odds?

It is quite obvious: High wagers mean high winnings. A sports bet accompanied by high odds means that a single wager could potentially more than double your stake and/or budget! The advantage: A safe single bet suffices – you don’t have to resort to risky combo bets. Naturally, you always have to bear in mind: the higher the odds, the lower the chance of winning. If we have odds of 4.00, the predicted probability is 25%. In other words, from a statistical perspective the bet will be lost 3 out of 4 times. And because of that, it is important, when betting on high odds, not to get too greedy. Small wagers in the amount of 1 to 5 euros will be more than enough. Higher amounts at higher odds are simply not necessary. In comparison to bets at low odds, the amount of your bet is small, thus automatically reducing your risk. Which poses the question, of course: What betting strategies lend themselves to high odds? An exceptionally popular strategy involving very high odds is the so-called “results-bet strategy”. Here, you bet a small amount on the 5 “most realistic” results – in other words, those with the greatest probability of occurring. Generally, these will range between 7.00 and 12.00. It will suffice if one of your bets wins. Due to the high odds, the loss of your other wagers will automatically be made up for by the winning bet! Likewise, double-chance bets on clear underdogs at odds over 2.00 are always worth succumbing to, just as long as – as we have previously mentioned – the wager itself is on the low side. Also lending themselves to bets on high odds are “draw no bets” and Asian handicap bets, since these have an additional safety net: In the event of a tie, the amount of your stake will be returned to your betting account. Bets on goal scorers are likewise a popular betting strategy with high odds: Even for elite strikers, odds of over 2.00 are no rarity.

What are the benefits of betting on LOW odds?

With respect to low odds, sports tipsters are generally assuming that bets are safe, which might be a bit deceptive. The advantage of betting on the low odds is clear: The probability of winning the bet, based on the definition provided above, is 2:3 or higher. Low odds should be considered for bets if you wish to rely on winnings as well as pursue a slower, more defensive and more long-term strategy. Fast money involving sports bets at low odds simply doesn’t happen. Nonetheless, with a good betting strategy you do have the potential for high winnings in the long run. If you make one bet every day at odds of just 1.10, wagering between €1 and €10 each time, after just a few months – assuming you put some money aside from time to time and have a little bit of luck – you will accumulate a few hundred euros. The absolute sports-betting professionals generally wager on individual bets at low odds and come armed with lots of patience. The major windfall for betting providers: The majority of sports bets continue to be on 3-way bets in football according to the well-known principle 1X2 – but this is a sport in which relatively few goals scored. As a consequence, there are more surprising draws or victories by underdogs than in other sports where more points or goals are going to be scored. This would include basketball, volleyball and handball, for example. It has been shown statistically that, in the latter case, the favorites are more frequently going to come out on top than in football. Naturally, low odds on favorites in these sports are a logical consequence. Tennis should also be enjoyed with caution: A single injury to one player will be enough to ruin your bet. The two greatest dangers involving sports bets at low odds are clear: The cardinal mistake is to bet too much under the false assumption the bet is safe. The second major mistake is to bundle bets at low odds into a combo bet. The classic example of this would be a combo on wins by favorites: If you decided to place 4 bets at low odds of 1.25, 1.30, 1.35 and 1.40 in the form of a combo bet, your total odds would actually be 3.07. That said, your probability of winning would be a meager 32.57%. In other words, 2 out of 3 times you would lose your bet. So, your motto with respect to bets at low odds, if you wish to enjoy long-term winnings, should always be: Caution first!

Our Conclusion: Place sports bets at high or low odds?

Our experience indicates that most hobby tipsters tend to wager high amounts on what they view as safe bets quoted low odds, and much too frequently resort to combo bets. Generally, these involve 1X2 bets on football that can often go awry. Generally, it is better to wager small amounts of 1 to 2 euros at high odds, or, for a single sporting event, divide your betting budget into several individual bets. A sweeping answer as to whether bets at high odds or low odds are the better choice is, of course, impossible. Experience has shown, not surprisingly, that a mix of both strategies is the most profitable. Far more important than the level of betting odds is the question as to whether the odds are commensurate or whether you see VALUE in them – regardless of whether they are 1.35 or 2.40. The most important aspect of both strategies: When making sports bets at high odds, you should bet low amounts and place individual wagers in view of the high risk involved. If you decide to bet at low odds, your focus should also be on individual bets – even though you will not be looking at exceptionally large winnings. Naturally, combo bets are not forbidden, though they should definitely be the exception.

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