Betting KnowledgeFeaturedGambling 101Gambling GuidesSports Betting Knowledge

Sports Gambling For A Living

Sports Gambling as a Career: Sports Betting for a Living

Sports Gambling As A Career

We all want to achieve the “American Dream.” Okay, let’s be honest, we really just want to work for ourselves and become rich. We want to wake up without our alarms and not be stuck in a cubicle with that boss hounding us for those TPS reports. How can we make this dream a reality? By deciding to become a professional sports bettor of course!

It would be nice if it was that easy, but unfortunately, it's not. Like other professions, you can't just wake up one day and become successful at them. The life of a professional handicapper (like our founder Doc Greenfield) consists of a lot of time and effort spent to not only succeed but to thrive enough to sustain it. It’s totally possible to live this coveted lifestyle though – many people do. You just have to dedicate every minute of your life to it.

How To Build A Career Around Sports Gambling

This might be discouraging to some people, but being a professional sports bettor is still a full-time job. Becoming profitable at sports betting, in the long run, takes time and constant studying. There's some foundational knowledge that needs to be learned before you should start. You shouldn't just head to your book and start throwing money down on random games.

Putting In the Work

Most people that want to bet for a living don't realize how much time and effort goes into it. The reason why a lot of them fail is because they are impatient and take shortcuts. Every wager you make matters because your livelihood depends on it. Taking that extra hour to handicap a game is all the difference when trying to find value and a potential edge.

Start Out Slow While Building

Practice makes perfect, right? It definitely helps in sports betting. When you first start out, you might want to focus on your best skills. You could be really good at predicting the over and under and not so great at the spreads, and that's okay. The idea is to start with your strengths, betting low stakes while slowly beefing up your bankroll. As you begin to develop your skills, you can increase your betting size and increase profit.

Understanding Variance And The Edge


I am going to bore you for a moment, but bear with me. The scientific definition of variance is the number of degrees of freedom of a system. Variance is the reason why nobody wins a high percentage of their bets. Unless you are a friend of Tim Donaghy, there are always going to be outside factors that make any handicapper’s system not 100% accurate.

The Edge

Long-term, consistent success in sports gambling is obtained by finding a small edge and exploiting it. So what is an edge? An edge is a line the book sets that you think has more value than what the book has set for them. Take an NFL prop bet I made a couple of weeks ago.

Team to Make the Longest Field Goal

Jaguars -145

Dolphins +110

This stood out to me for a couple reasons. Earlier in the week, the Jaguars’ kicker was placed on IR and a rookie kicker would be starting. Not only was this great, but the Dolphins kicker was 100% from 45+ when kicking field goals so far this year. With that information and the positive odds, I couldn't pass it up. Yes, it cashed.

Winning Percentage

Most amateur bettors are winning under 50% of the time. Sometimes this percentage can be way south of 50%. On average, professionals are winning around 52-55% of the time. Believe it or not, consistently hitting at this rate is considered above average. Anyone that tells you they are hitting above this number is lying or doesn't actually keep track. The magic number to aim for is at least 52.4%. This is because you have to account for the vig, the percentage the casinos charge for booking your action.

Bankroll Management

To be successful in the long term, bankroll management is essential. To be able to make enough money to live off sports gambling as a career, you need a decent amount of capital to begin with. That's why it's so important to build a bankroll and to protect it. Without money to risk, you will not see anything in return. Let's take a look at the big picture of a bettor who plans on wagering $1 million worth of bets throughout the year. Remember, this is all based on winning at -110 odds. This scenario can change depending on the types of bets you are wagering.

If this person is able to win 55% of their bets, that equals out to $550,000 in wins. For the losses, that would be $450,000. You can't forget about the vig, that’s 10% added onto their losses, which would equal $45,000.

Betting $1 Million - Profit Breakdown

Money Risked: $1,000,000

Won: $550,000

Losses: $450,000 (Plus the vig $45,000)

Profit: $55,000

Having a large bankroll is just one part of the equation to overcome variance. The other part is how to size your individual bets. Most first-time bettors don't have a strategy and tend to bet random amounts based on emotion. There are a couple of ways to size your bets that help you become more profitable in the long run. Visit the article on bankroll management in our guide to learn all about them.

A Word Of Advice

You are not going to succeed in the long term by winning a big score. I am talking about hitting one of these life-changing bets that usually come in the form of a parlay or a futures bet. Although it would be nice to hit a “dollar and a dream” type bet, this is not a good strategy for long-term success. The chances are extremely low, and even if you do, Uncle Sam’s going to take a large chunk of it. While luck is important in some capacity to be successful, betting these long shots is not a sustainable way to have a career in sports gambling. You will just burn through your bankroll and end up back flipping burgers.

Analytics And Algorithms

Because professional sports gamblers need to be constantly checking lines and wagering bets, they can get burnt out. To help ease this burden, many professional handicappers use analytics to alert them of any possible scenarios that could exploit an edge against the bookie. More importantly, they turn to algorithms to analyze large amounts of data at once. An algorithm is a mathematical formula that uses past data to predict the most likely future outcome of an event. For example, if you thought a Jets over line was set too low and wanted to research old data, you might spend hours combing through every game they played. Not only would this take a long time, but you would be limited to certain parameters. The smart thing would be to import data from a source and have the algorithm run it automatically.

The number of professional handicappers using algorithms are on the rise because they save time and can offer statistical advantages otherwise missed. Here at The Odds Factory, we are developing our own algorithm called TomBox, which will be released shortly. In the meantime, if you want to try your hand at your own algorithm, take a look at our article on How to Create Your Own Sports Betting Algorithm.

What To Expect

Failure is a common theme you will experience as a professional sports gambler. At times, you might experience some bad beats and want to punch a brick wall. If you are serious about this lifestyle, keeping a clear head and not going on tilt is extremely important.

Besides, the medical bills for a fifth metacarpal fracture can be expensive, trust me.

Now that you know what to expect with your new career, check out our FREE advice and tips to help you find an edge to exploit.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *