Bettors come from all types of educational backgrounds – some may have enjoyed school, some might have hated it and others might not have attended school. While there is no universal set of requirements or approach to betting that will guarantee consistent profits, some basic knowledge and willingness to learn is often seen as a prerequisite to success.
It’s one thing to gain this knowledge but the application of such knowledge is the most crucial part of making betting decisions.
One of our regular readers – David from Canada – recently got in contact and explained how he came across sports betting in his second year of university. Dave majored in Economics and felt his studies had given him an advantage in terms of his betting – not only did it make him think more logically and rationally, he was introduced to concepts that can be directly applied to betting.
Advanced fields of study can certainly help bettors find an edge and exploit value in the betting market. However, lessons can also be learned from the very start of school and then developed as we progress through the education system.
Starting school: The basics
Although gambling restrictions mean people cannot bet until they reach a certain age, we begin learning about betting related topics (albeit indirectly) from the early outset of education. From the age of five-years-old, children are taught the basics of maths – something that is essential to successful betting.
Knowledge of fractions and decimals will help with understanding what betting odds represent. Additionally, the notion of probability is introduced early on in education. Because odds are a representation of probability if bettors want to understand odds, they need to understand probability.
The aim of bettors is to assess the outcome probability (odds) provided by a bookmaker, produce their own outcome probability and bet when they find discrepancies that provide positive expected value – while most of that process requires advanced knowledge, it would be impossible without understanding the basics of probability.
The importance of the algebraic functions that are taught in the early years of education shouldn’t be overlooked. They require significant development to be of any real benefit in betting, but building on this basic knowledge will help bettors grasp more complex theories, how betting systems work and what it takes to build a predictive model.
Teenage years: Intermediate education
Moving through education, students begin to delve into probability theory and understand what randomness (and luck) really means when they reach their teenage years. The study of statistics also begins in high school (secondary school) and things like standard deviation and regression analysis are introduced to students.
Poisson distribution (calculating the probability of variable outcomes using mean averages) is commonly used by more advanced bettors as it can help predict the score in a soccer match (as well as other uses). Although it may appear to be a complicated concept, Poisson distribution is normally taught to students at around 15-16 years of age – it may not be in the context of betting but it’s still the same theory.
University courses: Find a career in betting
The next stage of education (if people choose to continue with school) is college or university. Students are expected to refine their field of study and focus on particular subjects. Although it is now possible to earn a degree in betting, these kinds of courses are relatively new and there are other degrees that can advance your betting knowledge.
Most degrees associated with Financial Trading are linked to betting. The connection here is obvious because these kinds of degrees require the skills you need when betting (assessing risk and buying odds at what you believe to be a good “price”). While most who have studied to become a Financial Trader would be suited to betting (it is essentially a different asset class), there are various courses with clear links to betting.
A Probability and Statistics degree would undoubtedly help anyone trying to make money from betting. This level of education will help bettors with building models to predict future events using past outcomes (the crux of betting) as well as test their level of skill.
How else can education help?
Maths is an essential part of betting, but it isn’t the be all and end all. Those that have studied psychology or specialised in things like computer programming or data science and also like to bet will know how useful education in these fields can be.
Loss aversion, gambler’s fallacy and heuristic techniques will resonate with people who have a Psychology degree, and they can also go a long way to help us learn more about betting. In this regard, Behavioural Economics (combining the study of psychology with economics) could be one of the most useful subjects to study when it comes to betting.
The connection with financial trading is obvious because it requires the skills you need when betting.
Sharp bettors will be aware of how useful information can be in betting. However, being able to analyse information and extract value from it is what really matters. Access to a wealth of data is a good starting point but only when bettors know how to process and use that data will they be able to truly benefit – this is why many believe R is driving the latest in sports betting innovation.
Application of this knowledge
It’s one thing to gain this knowledge but the application of such knowledge is the most crucial part of making betting decisions. There is a wide range of considerations that need to be made before placing a bet and a lot of the things bettors need to be mindful of aren’t taught in the classroom.
The above examples highlight how we could be learning a lot about betting without even knowing it during our education. It should also be noted that a lack of such education shouldn’t be seen as a disadvantage. Even if bettors understand the basics of maths, advanced statistics, probability theory, why psychology is important and how to gather an analyse data, they still need to be disciplined, committed and patient in order to succeed.