Sports Betting: What Is a Sucker Bet?

Published:3 September 2020


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Betting is a source of income for us; we take it very seriously! Yet this isn't how everybody sees betting, and we understand it fully. Some people bet only for recreation. I enjoy watching their favourite sports on TV and think it makes it much more fun to spend a little money on the table. The attraction of just betting for fun is definite.

Many who enjoy betting comfortably don't take the time to grasp all the complexities involved or attempt to learn other skills required to become a gambler of advantage. This is understandable, and it's one of the key reasons why we first wrote this post. It is intended to help casual bettors who want to concentrate on enjoying their betting while avoiding potentially being suckers.

We need to describe what sucker bets are and give some advice to stop them before we can help. Don't worry, and we don't try to ruin anybody's fun. By making some trivial changes to your betting habits, we want to show you how to win more money (or at least lose it yet).

A sucker bet is exactly what your name suggests. It is a wager that just a sucker would put in. Many people assume the term refers to any wager that has very little chance of winning, but that is not that simple. If the odds are correct, a longshot can be a good bet. On the other hand, if the odds are too short, a wager which will very likely win CAN be a sucker's bet.

The term is not related to how likely a wager is to win at all but to how much value a wager has. Amount refers to how competitive a bet will be in the long run, concerning the staked number.

Imagine putting a set of $10 wagers on a coin flip. You have a 50/50 chance of winning so even money would be fair odds. With those changes, every time you guessed correctly, you'd win $10. Every time you guessed wrong, you would lose $10 too. You should win approximately the same amount of times over enough coin tosses as you lose. That means the neutral value is the expectation.

Now suppose you have been offered odds where you've won $100 for a stake of $10. This would create positive expected value because, in the long run, you should be winning money. And now imagine you've been given odds that $100 has to be staked to win $10. That would create negative expected value, as it would seem impossible to lose money in the long run.

Any wager with negative expected value is essentially a bet by a sucker. However, the term is commonly used to refer to particular bet types where the value is particularly bad. When you put a wager at higher odds than you would have when you wagered a certain way, it would also be called a sucker's bet!

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