Sunday, 27 February 2011

Now For Some Sports Speculation Maths (OH NO NOT THE MATHS)

What was your reaction to that title?

If your reaction was indeed;”Oh no not the maths.” Then I believe it is vital to the health of your betting bank that you read the remainder of this post.

In my opinion a basic understanding of the mathematics of speculating is an absolute necessity.   I believe that if understanding the psychology of speculating is the number one tool in a speculators tool box then understanding the basic mathematics of speculation will be a close second.

The problem for most of us is that we were conditioned at school to ‘turn off’ by boring teachers, teaching a boring subject called mathematics. We were left with the mindset that Mathematics is boring, Complex and difficult. Once that kind of thought process is ingrained it is very difficult to change.

The truth is we all do mental maths every day, most of the time without realising.  For example a footballer about to take a free kick will be working out all sorts of complex angles, trajectories and speeds for the ball.  A racing car driver will be constantly calculating their cars speed and position in relation to other vehicles and potential objects on the road.

In both of the above examples complicated mathematics was being used but if you asked the footballer or car driver if they were good at mathematics they would probably say that they were not. If you also asked them if the calculations they do are boring, you can guess what their answers would be!

You may say that’s all well and good but how does that relate to speculation with all the numerical odds, money management and other mathematical factors that it encompasses. 
In my opinion the answer is straight forward.

All we need to learn to become proficient in the basic mathematics of sports speculation is: Adding, Subtracting, multiplying and dividing simple numbers.

As an example of what I mean, let’s look at converting the odds of an event occurring to the percentage chance of the event occurring (which on  the face of it would appear to be a fairly complex problem).

For example if the odds of a team winning a football match are four to one (written as 4/1) what would be the percentage chance of the team winning.

To work out the percentage chance of the team winning the match involves only three simple steps.

The first step will involve adding two simple numbers together.

The second step will involve dividing one simple number by another.

The third step will involve multiplying one simple number by another.

Step One
Add the Four and the One              = 4 + 1 = 5

Step Two
Divide the 5 into the one                = 1 / 5 =.20

Step Three
Multiply the answer by one hundred      = .20 * 100 = 20

The answer is the team would have a twenty percent (20%) chance of winning.

I want to stress that it is not important right now that we understand the calculations above, but it is important that we understand that it only consisted of three simple steps and if we can learn those steps we will be able to convert any odds to their corresponding percentage chance.

You may be saying that anything is easy to do if you know the steps to take, to which my answer would be a blunt one. If you’re serious about becoming a profitable sports speculator find a way to learn the steps.  I know that sounds harsh but I believe that it is vital that we understand the basic mathematics of sports speculation if we want to be profitable at it.

What I am trying to say is that simple mathematics is such a fundamental part of sports investing that we as dedicated sports speculators must do whatever it takes to learn as much as we can about it.

Indeed I also believe that sports speculators like myself who have the ambition to become a full time professional sports speculator, should immerse ourselves in the learning of the mathematics to such an extent that it becomes a second language to us and as natural as the calculations that a footballer does as he takes a free kick or as a car driver does as he drives his car.    

I hope you have enjoyed this post.
Wishing you good luck


  1. I think that the modern punter/speculator has become lazy when it comes to the maths, the whole mental arithmetic thing has been kicked for touch and replaced with all sorts of gadgets to make our minds even lazier. Try working out things in your head for a week and get that mental sharpness back because when making decisions in this game you need to 'do the math' quickly or else you miss out or get knocked down in the stampede.



  2. Hi C.C

    I agree we need to learn the basics, but I do believe that there is a place for certain types of calculators.

    Thanks for your comment.



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