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Saturday, May 02, 2009

Best odds

A few weeks ago I said I would be tracking the odds at other bookmakers using to see if I could get better returns on any of my bets.  The odds show are at the time I place my bets.  Here are the results.

Bet My Odds Best Odds Worst Odds
Tennis - Verdasco beat Lapentti 1.14 1.18 (Betfair) 1.11 (Bet365)
Tennis – Azarenka beat Navarro 1.33 1.33 (Sporting Bet, Bet Fred, 888, BlueSQ, Coral, William Hill, Betfair) 1.29 (Stan James, Boyle Sport)
Tennis – Dementieva beat Groenefeld 1.12 1.14 (Betfair) (1.07 Bet Fred)
Tennis – Safina beat Errani 1.14 1.24 (Betfair) 1.09 (Betdaq)
Ice Hockey – Czech Rep. beat Norway 1.04 1.05 (Expekt, Ladbrokes, Betfair) 1.02 (Boyle Sports, Paddy Power)
Ice Hockey – USA beat Austria 1.05 1.09 (Betfair) 1.03 (Sporting Bet)
Ice Hockey – Finland beat Denmark 1.04 1.07 (Betfair) 1.02 (Paddy Power)
Ice Hockey – Sweden beat Latvia 1.10 1.12 (Ladbrokes, Betfair) 1.05 (Boyle Sport)
Tennis – Murray beat Monaco 1.17 1.25 (Extrabet) 1.12 (Betdaq)
Tennis – Del Potri beat Troicki 1.17 1.22 (Betfair) Stan James (1.14)

So as you can see, there is quite a difference in the odds. About 20 bookmakers are compared and not every bookmaker will be taking bets on every event.  Most will offer very similar odds but there can be a fairly big difference between the best and worst odds offered.

Take the first bet as an example.  17 bookmakers had a market for the Verdasco V Lapentti tennis match when I checked. 8 were offering the same odds as I got, 1.14, another four were only 0.01 either side of this.  So while there is a difference of 7% return between the best and worst odds, nearly 50% were offering the same, and the majority were within 1% of this.

So if you use just one big name bookmaker, it probably doesn’t matter too much which one as their odds are all very similar.  That said, if you can make the extra 1-2% here and there, your overall return over a year can be significantly increased.  While at current interest rates I’m sure you would jump at a chance to get an extra 1-2% return, it perhaps depends on whether you feel the extra time needed to check the odds is worth the extra gain.

Moving on, the most obvious trend is that one particular bookmaker (and I use the term loosely for reasons that shall become apparent in this instance) consistently offers the best odds for events, Betfair.  Over the next few posts I’ll explain a bit more about Betfair, how it works and some of its pro’s and cons.

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