What is a Sports Betting Model? How to Build and Use a Sports Betting Model

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Ray BelkoraJune 1, 2022, 04:09 PM

Hopefully by now you have figured out that sports betting is a lot more than having hunches about a specific team that is going to have a “big night”. 

In fact if that is how you are sports betting the books probably love having you as a customer. There is nothing wrong with betting like this; especially if your aim is to just have some fun and maybe hit a lottery ticket pick.

However, if your aim is to make money over a period of time, you need to be using a sports betting model to identify the most profitable betting opportunities, not just those that you want to bet on.

What is a Sports Betting Model?

A sports betting model is a system that can identify unbiased probabilities so you can determine the most likely outcomes in a game.

In other words it takes the bias out of your picks and boils them down to numbers. It doesn’t care that you KNOW the Chiefs are gonna win this year because of a dynastic mission.

The model is based only on the data that has been input into it and cross-referenced with other lines.

How To Make a Betting Model

Building a sports model can be and, frankly, is a complicated endeavor. However, after you put in the work the sports betting model will pay dividends and you will thank yourself for putting in the work.

Let’s boil this down into 7 simple steps:

  1. Choose Goal
  2. Select Metrics
  3. Collect Data
  4. Choose Model Type
  5. Build Model
  6. Test Model
  7. Win $$

Step 1: Specify the Goal of your Model

This seems obvious but the goal cannot be something as broad as “make me more money”. The goal has to be based around numbers and have a narrow focus. Consider the questions like:

  • What sport is this model for?
  • What advantages am I looking for?
  • What is my tracking time for this model? (a week, a month, a year? etc.)

Starting with a specific focus is already putting you on the right track to creating a successful sports betting model.

Step 2: Select Your Metric(s)

This simply means choose the metric or metrics that you are going to use in your betting model. Some examples of metrics you could use are:

As in everything, some metrics are going to be better than others. If everyone knew a “magic metric” that guaranteed profit, sports betting wouldn’t exist. There is no magic bullet.

Step 3: Collect and Modify Data

Now you have decided what the goal of your model is and what metric(s) you are going to use in your betting model. The next step is to gather the data! 

There are two ways to go about doing this:

Collect It Yourself

If you have the time and drive you can take a look at all of the lines across books and compare them to each other, calculate whatever metric you have decided to go by, and input it into an excel spreadsheet. 

There is absolutely nothing wrong with this and, honestly, more power to you if this is the route you choose to go!

Use Data Available Online

If that sounds like a daunting task to you there is also the option to use data available online! 

Some data will be available for free such as scores and odds offering of the lines of every book, their movement, historical data on the teams, and percent of the public on each side of a bet. 

Other data is available publicly but has to be paid for. An example of this would be OddsJams Industry plan! This plan gives access to arbitrage bets with alerts, +EV bets with alerts, middle opportunities with alerts, AND a pre-computed perfect line to compare the book lines to.  

The plan costs $199/mo ($165/mo if subscribed yearly). However, with all of the data the OddsJam programs provide you can make back all of that and much more by using that data in a sports betting model. 

Step 4: Choose the Type of Model You Want to Use

Now it is up to you to decide what type of model you want to use. Sports betting models can be incredibly complex or surprisingly simple. In the end it is really all about what works for you as long as it DOES work. 

Here are some examples of types of betting models:

Regression Analysis 

Regression analysis attempts to determine the important factors that can determine the outcome of an event. There are actually a couple famous examples of using regression analysis.

The NFL itself conducted a type of regression analysis on its own games. The league came to the conclusion that the variable that had the highest effect on the outcome of the game was passing efficiency. 

This data seems to also be true since over 75% of past superbowl champions have had passing efficiency of more than a yard per attempt. 

The most popular example of a regression analysis was put on display in the popular baseball movie Moneyball. Regression analysis gave Billy Bean a very popular name in the MLB and gave Brad Pitt yet another leading role. 

Martingale & D’alembert

These systems involve progressively betting more if your bets lose. Martingale deals with actual dollar amounts and D’alembert deals with increasing the percentage of your bankroll you are betting.

For example: 

BetOddsW/L and PayoutTotal PayoutProfit/Loss
$120-120L   $0                  -$120-$120
$240-120W    $440$440$200

By doubling the bet then putting it back on the -120 odds line if the bet wins you still come out positive! The danger in this strategy is it is possible to hit a rough patch and the amounts you have to start betting start to get high quickly. It is most important to have a large bankroll for these strategies. 

Insurance

This strategy is the opposite of the above strategies. If your bet loses you progressively scale down your bets to limit the amount of “chasing” you may be tempted to do in your overall betting.

Paroli

The Paroli strategy is pretty simple. After a winning bet, double the bet and go again! If your bets hit 3 times in a row then scale back to the original bet amount you started with. 

Statistical Anomalies

Statistical anomalies can be a tricky one because sports are played by humans. Since this is the case it is impossible to ALWAYS predict the anomalies in an event. 

These can include injuries, playing as the home team or away team, weather, schedule, and a whole lot more.

Closing Thoughts on Models

These are just a sampling of the different models out there. Some may work better or worse in different sports markets and we will cover this information in future articles. 

Many of these models can be combined, and I always suggest combining one of the “how much do I bet” models with one of the “statistical” models. The only guaranteed thing is you are going to lose some bets. The point of the model is to give you a statistical edge on the books as well as ensure you are betting amounts that add up to profit over time.

It is nearly impossible to turn a profit if your bet amounts change drastically, so make sure you do your research on the models you like, apply them, and stick to them.

Step 5: Build the Model

There are a variety of ways to build your sports betting model. The most important part of the model is to keep track of your bets. To do this you can use an excel or google spreadsheet which are both available for free. 

You can also use a pre-made program. My personal favorite is the OddsJam Bet Tracker (it’s also free!). It allows you to keep track of all the bets, amounts, which book, the line, type of bet, and closing line value all in one place! It works great for my sports betting model, and since I use the OddsJam platinum plan it just makes sense.

The most important things to remember when building your model are

  • Track your bets and return on investment (so you know if the model works)
  • Track the metrics you are judging your model by
  • Know your strategy for how much you are going to bet in each bet

Step 6: Test the Model/Monitor the Results

As stated above you want to know if the model works! Test your model out for a week to a month and see if you are generating profit. If not you may need to re-evaluate your model.

It could be something as big as your metrics are not good metrics to use or something as simple as your bets are inconsistent and unfortunately those bigger bets are the ones that are not hitting. 

Step 7: Win $$$$

The biggest edge over the books you can give yourself is having a plan in place. That plan is your sports betting model. 

By operating using a sports betting model you are already separating yourself from the amateur sports bettors doing it for fun and putting yourself closer to becoming one of the sharp bettors.

Want to expedite the process? Sign up for our OddsJam Industry and Arbitrage plans! We are so confident in our product that we will even give you an entire week FREE to try. 

So what are you waiting for? Head on over to our betting tools and start making that money.