In simple terms, variance in sports betting asks how much a situation varies from its average.
Let’s use coin tossing as an example, you might throw a coin 10 times and call tails every time, but it repeatedly lands on heads. Some might call it bad luck; however, this is just variance.
Although the coin is supposed to land on tails 50 per cent of the time that’s not how it works in practice. In the short-term, variance usually wins over pure probability.
Sticking with coins, if you tossed the same coin 10,000 times, you would expect to have an even spread of heads and tails (50/50) and your betting bank would be roughly the same.
Let’s replace the coin with the tipster your following.
Your tipster gives you 10 losing bets at 11/10 for the coin to land on heads, your ready to dump them, but wait a minute, they are in fact good bets, but how can losing bets be good bets?
Because the odds for the bet should be evens and after placing a thousand bets at 11/10 you would end up in profit.
Your tipster is not betting on which side the coin will fall on, in the short-term they have no idea, they are betting on the value the odds offer.
If you want to be a profitable bettor, you need to cope with these swings and view gambling as a long-term proposition.
Due in part to a large number of variables that are out of your control the variance is predominantly high in sporting events.
For example, you can’t foresee a referee inexplicably awarding a contentious penalty in the 95th minute that allows the underdogs to equalize with their first shot on target. We have all been there!
The reality is you aren’t going to predict the correct result every time, and if the truth is told, you should expect to be unlucky sometimes. We would even encourage you to embrace variance because if you like it or not it’s going to affect you.
Successful bettor’s study the form, find value bets, use the correct staking strategy and understand that variance will even itself out, meaning, they profit in the long run.
Is variance in sports betting for the long or short run?
For no apparent reason, even the best and most disciplined bettors experience losing runs.
If you enjoy backing horses in the big handicaps or even trying to pick the winner in the latest European Tour golf event, it is inevitable you’ll endure lengthy losing streaks.
Your rationale is finding an occasional big-priced winner to cover previous stakes and a couple of juicy-priced winners on the bounce will put you well ahead.
It’s easy to start questioning your ability when you back a number of losers and you can’t seem to catch a lucky break. If you can’t stomach long losing runs, it could be a case that you’re better off backing shorter prices to try to land more winners.
Due to the unpredictable impact of variance and the inevitable losing runs mean it’s imperative to separate betting money from the cash you’ve set aside for household bills.
Not doing this puts more pressure on finding those elusive winners and this could lead to you placing rash and ill-judged bets or even chasing losses.
Although they feel fantastic, winning streaks also need to be handled correctly.
When you’re backing winners for fun, you’ll find you’re sticking bets on sporting events you haven’t researched or markets you don’t fully understand. There is every chance that your purple patch was influenced by luck or variance, which we know, will eventually even itself out.
In the betting world, it takes a great deal of mental strength to stay consistently in the black and this is why it’s important to remember that winning and losing streaks are simply an inevitable aspect of betting.
Keep records and analyse all your bets and sometimes it can pay dividends to take a holiday and return rested with a clear and focused mind.
To summarise, being able to deal with the upswings and downswings linked with variance is key to becoming a successful and profitable bettor.