One of the most common questions I get is surrounding the logic of placing bets that are + money, meaning have odds that are +100 or higher. The questions are generally along the lines of “why would I place a bet that is unlikely to hit?”
It is a great question, that I understand from a psychological level. It is tough to wrap your head around placing bets that have a win % of below 50%, which means more often than not those bets will lose. But, with that said, it is actually more profitable to place bets that are + money… Let me explain.
Profitable Sports Betting
The first thing to understand is that the goal of sports betting is to make money, not to win the highest % of your bets. That sounds simplistic, but it is true. If you wanted to win the majority of your bets, then you would just bet heavy, heavy favorites that have odds such as -500 or even lower.
The problem is, if you consistently placed bets that are -500 odds, you would need to win over 83% of your bets to only breakeven. That is an extremely tough ask, as we all know that upsets happen all the time, even upsets over teams that are -500 favorites.
Risking $100 on a bet that is -500 odds, means you would only profit $20 if your bet wins. Same logic here, with payouts that low, it is extremely difficult to actually make money betting on sports.
Now, let’s flip those odds to something a little more reasonable, say +118, and use the screenshot below to talk through a profitable betting opportunity.
+118 odds means that you would need to win roughly 45.87% of the time to breakeven, and any number above that 45.87% means you are profiting. That is a lot more reasonable ask!
Aside from the odds, look at the rest of the sportsbooks and where they price this play, including Pinnacle sportsbook at the far right, which is the sharpest sportsbook in the world. Every other sporsbook prices this play between +107 and -101 odds, showing you that the +118 offered is an outlier compared to the rest of the betting markets.
This represents a profitable betting opportunity, and a perfect example of a + money bet that should absolutely be hit. Yes, this bet has a win% that is below 50%, but it only needs to hit 46%, or higher, of the time in order to actually profit. And as we can see from the rest of the betting market, including Pinnacle, this bet is more likely to hit than the +118 odds we are getting from FanDuel.