There is an old saying about bookmaking and it is that it is a “licence to print money”. This is true but yet not true. The reason why it is true is because of the fact that large volumes of punters persevere in betting without any knowledge or any meaningful knowledge of the sport or game that they are betting on. At the end of the day the people that you are going up against are professionals but despite that they are also human and prone to making mistakes.

However in the betting industry then a “mistake” is not necessarily a mistake after all even if it works in your favour. Let us say for example that we are looking at the England football team and their chances of winning the 2010 World Cup.

After a very impressive qualifying campaign and having one of the best club managers in the world in charge then England were shorter than what they should have been to win the tournament. Bookmakers could safely offer incorrect odds because of the fact that a large percentage of the English betting public bet with their hearts instead of their minds.

Despite having a very poor history in major competitions then England had been as low as 8/1 and 10/1 with some firms. Clearly this is very poor value but it is also a wrong price that is on the bookies side. The advantage comes when you can get these prices on the betting exchanges because you can lay them instead of backing them.

Also bookmakers do not want to be out of line with every other betting firm and so it really takes good information and sources to significantly move a price. So if you see one betting firm reduce their odds from say 2/1 to 7/4 while another firm is still showing 2/1 then that could be an indication of value at 2/1. This would also be apparent if other firms were also lowering their prices from 2/1 also.

Carl Sampson is a full time poker pro at 888poker

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