Last Updated on 09/09/2022
Fact checked by: Simon Briffa
There’s a sense of mystery behind the doors of sports betting. There are so many factors that we as the bettors don’t know too much about, and are thirsting to know more. The most interesting facet of that is odds.
We plan to give you a full guide on what an oddsmaker explained is, and the critical role oddsmakers play in providing competitive odds to sportsbooks. As well as our oddsmaker definition, we’ll cover how odds are calculated, the importance of an oddsmaker in the sports betting world, and the advantages and disadvantages of oddsmakers in sports betting.
We know some sports bettors out there are looking to expand their knowledge of sports betting. You may have already read many of our articles, like our sportsbook betting lines article, and have a general idea of how odds play into sports betting as a whole.
But, if you want to learn everything you need to know about odds, you’ve come to the right place. It may seem trivial, but it’s very beneficial for bettors to have a full scope of an oddsmaker explained and how odds are created. We have a saying here at TheGruelingTruth.com – knowledge is power.
It’s great knowing every aspect of betting because being able to put that knowledge to use will be critical in your sports betting journey. It’s also vital that you know how to use that knowledge.
You need to put it into practice as soon as possible, otherwise what we write about here will be forgotten quickly. Oddsmakers are an interesting topic to get into, and we believe that this will give you the best scope of how the whole sports betting framework comes together.
An oddsmaker is someone who sets the betting lines for sportsbooks. The role of an oddsmaker is to essentially set the odds to a level that can draw interest from both the sportsbook and the bettor.
There are several different factors that an oddsmaker goes through to price the market, but the most important thing they do is consider every single aspect when calculating odds.
They will use the recent form of the player/fighter, availability, injuries, home advantage and motivations, and even the weather are all factors that go into the calculation of odds.
Oddsmakers are searching for all these and more when deciding the odds, as they’re looking to produce the best competitive odds to sell to their sportsbooks. In today’s world, oddsmakers are made up of people from largely different fields.
Mathematicians and analysts are what play a huge role in deciding odds because a good understanding of both data and trends is just as important as technical analysis of the sports you are covering.
As we said in our sportsbook guide, bookmakers are going to purchase the odds that are the most competitive in comparison to their competitors. So, the x-factor most sportsbooks are searching for from their oddsmakers is often the trends of the time or the motivations of the team.
That’s where most oddsmakers’ odds will differ because the perceptions of different trends in a sport are completely different from a player’s performance.
Let’s take an example in this oddsmaker review. UFC 272 sees a huge grudge main event between Colby ‘Chaos’ Covington and Jorge Masvidal in a welterweight bout. The stats show a clear favorite in this one: Covington.
He’s been the top contender for the Welterweight title for well over a year now, and in his bouts with champion Kamaru Usman, he has pushed Usman more than any other challenger has.
However, the key trend (X factor) in this bout is personal motivations. The story of this fight is that they’re former friends, from humble beginnings as best friends who have grown apart and became bitter rivals as they became successful in the UFC.
While Covington is still the favorite, people might point to Masvidal as the winner due to him knowing Covington better than anyone, and the personal motivation to exact revenge on a perceived betrayal.
That’s where an oddsmaker can change up their odds. Some oddsmakers might have Masvidal as an underdog, but others might lean the odds in his favor so he’s slightly less of an underdog. It’s how the oddsmakers perceive this unique trend in this fight, and ultimately, the sportsbook is going to purchase the odds that are the most competitive and interesting to the player.
You may be surprised that we’re talking about oddsmakers as a separate entity from bookmakers. To be honest, it wasn’t too long ago that they were the same. Many bookmakers are still their oddsmakers.
They calculate their odds in-house, with their experts and analysts, and produce their odds for bettors to play with. But, with changing times, the need to outsource odds has become prevalent.
Most bookmakers do outsource odds from the individual oddsmaker, simply for the cost and the time of it all. Oddsmaking is a difficult job, and it’s very time-consuming. Most large-scale sportsbooks simply don’t have the time to invest in creating their odds.
Companies that offer quick and accurate odds to sportsbooks are much more appealing, as the cost of buying odds is far cheaper than the creation of odds. An oddsmaker explained how they dictate their prices too, so they are in control of the market and hold the balance between a sportsbook and a player in their hands in many regards.
The mathematical calculation of odds isn’t as complicated as you might think. There’s a formula that’s followed every time, and in most cases, the sportsbooks’ potential profit is always taken into account.
This is called the margin, and the standard margin is usually 5%. Also called the vig, or the overground, this is usually subtracted from the real odds to account for the sportsbook’s profit. So, if the odds of a game are 2/1, the sportsbook will take their 5% so that the sportsbook’s odds come to 19/10.
The calculation of the odds themselves is always taking this factor into account. The oddsmaker will do what we discussed previously – do their technical analysis of the players, the stats, and the games.
But, ultimately, the sportsbook is the one who has the final say about how the probability of the odds is decided. The best way to think about it is that the odds aren’t decided based on the actual probability of either side winning, but more so about how likely it is for the player to wager on each outcome.
Let’s go back to Covington vs Masvidal at UFC 272. This is a dream wagering scenario for most sportsbooks, as it’s such a personally driven rivalry that bettors are bound to choose sides, and wager on who they agree with. We’d imagine the popular sportsbook would set the margins very low on this fight because the fight is so popular and potential outcomes are fairly straightforward.
However, a sportsbook would be making a profit due to the number of bets placed on both sides, especially on Masvidal as the underdog, because the books can be balanced quickly on such a high-profile fight.
That brings us to another critical point: that the bookmaker will almost always favor the underdog in these situations.
The odds on the favorites are usually terrible because betting on the underdog will always see the profit for the bookmaker. If Masvidal was to win, a sportsbook would love it, because there will be far fewer people to payout to than if Covington was to win.
Sure, the odds will be higher on Masvidal so there are high funds to take into account, but the sheer quantity of bets on Covington will overshadow any high payouts made to Masvidal bettors.
The only downside (or upside for you!) is when a sportsbook prices an underdog at a ridiculous price, which could backfire badly on the bookmaker.
This happened once when Leicester won the Premier League. Most sportsbooks gave Leicester 5000/1 odds that they would win the Premier League in 2016. So, it cost the betting industry millions upon millions when Leicester managed to pull it off.
This is an example of bad oddsmaking because even if Leicester were one of the biggest underdogs in the leagues, giving inflated odds like that was bound to cause disaster. All you’d have to do is place $10 down on Leicester and you’d have $50,000 in winnings.
An oddsmaker that provides odds for a variety of sportsbooks will be doing a great service for the sports betting industry.
Just like every other business, competition is needed for the business to thrive. The odds business certainly thrives when there are so many great bookmakers out there competing to see who has the best odds.
We often say here at TheGruelingTruth.com that the best way to see if a sportsbook is worth signing up for is the odds. Consistently competitive odds across the board are always a deciding factor.
Because even if the bookie doesn’t offer much in the way of fancy features or bonus offers, you can at least be sure that you’re getting good value for your bets with a reliable oddsmaker. Our advice for choosing the best odds that suit you is to choose a sportsbook that suits your style.
We know it can be difficult to determine if a certain set of odds suit your ‘betting style’ but look at which odds appeal to you. Maybe, you’re a football fan. Find the sportsbook that delivers great odds on the NFL season, and even better odds on the Super Bowl. Or, maybe you’re a fight fan?
There are plenty of bookmakers out there that have up-to-date UFC, Bellator, and Eagle FC odds, with enhanced odds on every fight card you could bet on. It depends on the sport you wish to bet on because many oddsmakers are in business to focus on one individual sport.
We have several different reviews of bookmakers here at TheGruelingTruth.com that features some of the best online odds you’ll find anywhere. The best sportsbook lines come from platforms like Fanduel, DraftKings, BetMGM, Bet Victor, and Wynn Bet, among many more.
We’d recommend any of these sportsbooks to you to play with, but at the end of the day, it’s a personal preference on what bookmaker you choose to go with.
The one piece of advice we’d give you here is not to put all your eggs in one bag. Test and try out different sportsbooks, and see what odds are available from platform to platform. The best way to find out for yourself is through practice.
We hope now you have a better idea of how important oddsmakers are to the entire makeup of a sportsbook and their business. Having an understanding of how odds are calculated gives you an insight that’s very difficult to get otherwise.
It’s also important that you understand the difference between a bookmaker and an oddsmaker because nowadays, many bookmakers outsource their odds to third-party organizations. Competition is what fuels sports betting, and sports betting is fueled by competitive odds. Oddsmakers are the reason we have competitive odds, and for that, we’re grateful.
There’s a variety of great betting strategies out there for a sports bettor. Our advice is that the simpler it is in practice, the easier it is to win with the bet. To find out about a personal favorite of ours, take a look at our over under betting strategy article.
That depends. Many different factors can affect your betting strategy, which is why it’s important you choose the right strategy that suits your betting habits. You should read up on all our reviews explaining the separate betting types, and start with our multiple bet explained article.
That’s a difficult question to answer. There are so many great bookmakers out there right now with some top-notch odds, and all of them are well worth testing out. You must learn how to play with the sportsbook before you do anything else, though. Check out our how to bet on sportsbook article to find out what you need to know.