Responsible Gaming: The Importance of Odds Shopping Across Sportsbooks and Ignoring Sportsbook Loyalty
Boston Globe/Getty. Pictured: Encore Casino.
With sportsbooks' ever-increasing efforts to ensure long-term profitability and sustained success, it is more important than ever to understand the utility of odds shopping.
Sportsbooks are increasingly adjusting their listed odds to improve their chance of profitability and limit what bettors can earn. They are businesses, after all. As such, odds shopping is a crucial factor in being a more successful bettor in the online sports betting era.
If you're not familiar with odds shopping, it's essentially the practice of looking at odds for the same market across a number of different sportsbooks.
Over the long term, only an extremely small percentage of people will be profitable through betting on sports. There are a number of factors that go into this, but one of the primary ones "juice,"which is officially called vigorish.
This is the (-110) that you see after a spread, and it's the reason you win $9.10 on a standard $10 spread wager.
However, those numbers in the parentheses and even the spread numbers themselves (as well as other lines, such as money lines and totals) can vary from sportsbook to sportsbook, making it imperative that you explore all of the options available to you in order to maximize your long-term profitability.
After all, you'd rather win more money betting on sports than less money when your bets are successful, and this is crucial for that effort.
For example, let's examine the Baylor vs. Texas college basketball game that was set to be played on Jan. 30.
At 11:35 a.m. ET, different sportsbooks had the spread on the game at a full point different. At DraftKings, Texas was a -3.5 (-115) favorite, while it was a -4.5 (-105) favorite at BetMGM.
As you can see, bettors have the option of taking either side with different odds and juice — but if you had to take Texas -4.5, the importance of odds shopping becomes even clearer.
While BetMGM has listed Texas -4.5 at -105, DraftKings has the same line at +100. If you wanted Baylor at +4.5, the price on the Bears is also significantly worse at DraftKings.
You may think that this is a marginal difference, but over the long term, this is significant. For example, take the following chart of winnings for a $100 bettor over a 400-game sample size in which the bettor won just over 50% of their bets.
Chart taken from, "9 Common Sports Betting Mistakes to Avoid."
As you can see, an average price differential of -115 versus +100 creates a $2,739 difference in winnings.
Many sports bettors are loyal to certain sportsbooks for a few reasons. These include but are not limited to:
- Downloading one sportsbook first.
- Enjoying the user experience of a certain sportsbook over another.
- Seeking to gain rewards or VIP status at a certain sportsbook
While these reasons are understandable, being loyal to sportsbooks and failing to utilize odds shopping can hinder your long-term success with sports betting.
Again, though sports betting is a recreational activity for a vast majority of bettors, when money gets involved it's still better to be smarter with regard to your funds than reckless.
Odds shopping and limiting your sportsbook loyalty is a great way to maximize your outcomes.