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Sports are Inherently Unpredictable

Casinos and sportsbooks leverage this fact to make money.

However, if someone was better than the casinos at assigning outcome probabilities, over time they could beat the house by placing bets on events that they knew were more likely than the odds implied.

Statisticians like Nate Silver and Ken Pomeroy publish their predicted outcome probabilities for different sports events. Is it possible that some geeks have an edge on the bookies?

Bills Prediction Fail

The Mechanics of the Moneyline

The moneyline represents the payout when a certain event happens.

A positive moneyline is the payout when $100 is wagered and the bet hits. A negative moneyline is the amount needed to wager in order to win $100.

Every moneyline can be translated into a break even proportion. In order for a bet to be profitable in the long run, the event must occur with a frequency greater than the break even proportion.

Moneyline Example

Pitting the Geeks Versus the Bookies

If the Geeks have an edge on the bookies, betting on events that they give a greater chance of happening than the corresponding break even proportion from the moneyline should be profitable.

The below bet has a positive expected value if the Giants have a greater than 36.5% chance to win the game.