Sports betting can be approached in many different ways. The joy for many punters is simply in placing a wager based on gut instinct, or perhaps watching a live event and getting a feel for what you think is likely to happen, but some punters prefer to rely on statistical betting when placing a wager.

It could well be that just having a keen interest in a sport is enough for you to select winning bets more often not and sniff out the occasional long shot which will earn you a bumper payday, but over time it is hard to beat the bookies on a consistent basis. Sports traders are experts in their field in addition to being fans. It is their job to analyse data and they will have a mine of statistical information at their fingertips. The odds can then be set at the right price – just good enough to attract interest whilst ensuring that, statistically, the bookies are likely to win more often than not.

Relevant Data

If you want to take a statistical approach to betting, a lot will depend on which sport you want to scrutinise, and then perhaps the most important starting point is sorting out what data is relevant and what isn’t. It is possible to access so much information that a degree of common sense first needs to be used to differentiate between what is important and what is not.

Historical statistics from several years ago, for example, are not usually relevant. If Novak Djokovic lost to a player twice right at the start of his career when he was still a teenager and has not played him since, but is now ranked No.1 in the world and the other man is close to retirement and ranked 256th, those previous defeats are not relevant. Likewise, in 2008 there was a view among some football pundits that Spain could not win the European Championship because they had not won a major trophy in 44 years, but as that particular group of players had only just come together, it was a statistic which had little or no bearing on how they would perform in the future. Spain went on to win Euro 2008, the World Cup two years later and then defend their European Championship in 2012.

However, just like it is probably not worth looking too far back in most cases, you should not focus on very recent form alone. If a cricketer has made two low scores in their last match, it does not mean they will fail next time – it may be that they had previously been playing very well and received a bad decision in the most recent game. It is best to start with a medium-term assessment, such as form over the past few months, before then taking into account more recent trends.

You can then start delving down into more relevant information, which will again depend on the sport. Whether a team is at home or away can make a huge difference in many sports, as can the type of surface in tennis, whether the ground is soft or firm in horse racing, the weather conditions in Formula 1 or even the strength of the wind in cycling. It may be that a football team is not the same when their star man is injured, or a golfer struggles on a certain course, and all these features can be analysed before a bet is made.

It may be, for example, that during your research a statistic jumps off the page as being quite eye-catching, perhaps that the rugby team which makes the most tackles during a particular weekend goes on to lose 75 percent of the time the following week. From this statistic, you can monitor events over the next few weeks to see if it is relevant. It could be that it is always the same team making the most tackles and they are near the bottom of the league, but it might also be an interesting pattern which does help to predict future results.

Keeping a Record

By recording as many of the relevant statistics as possible, you are increasing your chances of betting successfully. You will be able to see over time which stats are the best indicators of future performance, which will help you keep charts and develop your own systems. Take a look at the page on value bets to find out more about wagers that represent an opportunity to pick up a profit.

It is also a good idea to consider statistics along with your money management strategy. Having a note of which bets you are winning and which ones you are losing will help you to see where you have been effective and what you should avoid.

While there is no need to use statistics, as sports betting is an activity which is best treated as a fun hobby, it can be well worth looking into if you are serious about improving your success rate when it comes to wagering.