I'm new to betting and I wanted to know what type of mathematics you use in sports betting. I found in google something about systems for betting but it didn't helped me a lot. I also tried to read books about this but google didn't showed me what I wanted and all I could find is a book called Getting the Best of It by David Sklansky. That's all I could find in the internet and to be honest I expected a lot more than 1 one book and a few systems... Is that all you need to succed in sports betting or do you need more?

  • Do you mean in making book, or simply in making bets? – Chenmunka Feb 10 at 18:23
  • @Chenmunka It's about making bets using mathematics(statistics,algebra) – wolly Feb 10 at 18:35
  • This is probably not exactly what you're looking for but you can find some resources in the Wikipedia articles Mathematics of bookmaking and Arbitrage betting. (There is also a post on arbitrage betting on this site.) – Martin Feb 11 at 6:28
  • In fixed-odds betting, determining whether an arbitrage opportunity exists reduces to deciding whether a given polytope defined by half-spaces is empty or not, which can be done via linear programming. If you are interested in prediction, or parimutuel betting, other mathematics would be of use. – Rodrigo de Azevedo Feb 11 at 15:25

Mathematical sports betting is already a huge thing

There is a lot of literature and research in the field of professional gambling and modelling of sporting fixtures. There are several dedicated firms, such as ATASS, Starlizard, and Sporting advantage are three examples. Also, several big hedge funds now recruit for sports researchers and traders. With all that being said, I think you were either googling the wrong things, or didn't know how to filter out the relevant results. As the field is highly mathematical and statistical, don't be surprised if you see things which seem highly scientific or numeric. Furthermore, all the low-hanging fruit has already been picked, and making money with a mathematical approach will require a high level of expertise and competence with statistics and likely programming too.

An example introductory paper

A nice paper to introduce someone to the ideas behind a mathematical approach to modelling sports is:

Modelling association football scores and inefficiencies in the football betting market
--- Dixon and Coles (1997)

This models a football team's performance by a Poisson process and produces a strategy for placing bets and proved highly profitable in their tests. Although, don't expect the bookmaker's odd


I don't really bet on sports but if I had to, I'd be using probability theory mostly bayesian inference, to establish a model and then try to maximize Expected long-term winnings within the model.

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