Every bettor should use a live odds screen. Unfortunately, a lack of available information results in many never realising the merits of live odds software. With multiple free options now available, this article will serve as an introduction to using a live odds screen to help you better understand betting markets.
What are the different types of live odds screens?
There are two main types of “screens” in the industry, corporate and utility.
A corporate odds screen is often referred to as an odds comparison website.
The main difference between corporate and utility is speed
These websites display a ton of information on a single page and allow bettors to navigate through different markets quickly to see all prices from all bookmakers.
Utility odds screens often come in the form of stand-alone pieces of software that users can download onto their computer or tablet.
Updating regularly, utility odds screens offer a wide range of customisation options.
The main difference between corporate and utility is speed.
Corporate websites earn revenue through affiliate links and despite offering a lot of information, the data is all on a delay.
As a result, utility software costs significantly more, but updates immediately with live API feeds from bookmakers.
The more up to date information is, the bigger advantage a player will have. But the quicker the feed, the higher the cost.
How to select your books
Whether using corporate or utility, the first thing bettors should do when opening an odds screen is select the bookmakers.
Most screens will have an “opener” column or allow for the input of a market starting price per event.
Since low margin bookmakers tend to cater to professional bettors, changes in odds will often have a ripple effect through the market
I always use Pinnacle as the opener on my screen as for all betting markets because Pinnacle most frequently offers the lowest margin price with the highest limit. This serves as an anchor to compare current prices to and gauge market movement.
I organise my screen from left to right from low margin to high margin bookmakers.
Since low margin bookmakers tend to cater to professional bettors, changes in odds will often have a ripple effect through the market. I tend to value odds moves at low margin bookmakers more than I do high margin bookmakers.
With dozens of events displayed on the odds screen, organising books by margin from left to right allows me to identify low margin moves by indicator colors moving from left to right on the screen, and high margin moves by indicator colors moving from right to left.
How to use time stamps on live odds screens
All odds screens have time stamp history which documents all odds movement. All bettors must sleep at some time and missing the occasional odds movement is certain to happen.
Time stamps allow anyone using an odds screen to go back and track line movement.
I like to use time stamps to determine the initial time of a change in odds.
I then click book by book to see the difference in time to determine how quickly the move occurred throughout the market.
Time stamps can tell a big story about bettors in a market.
The shorter the duration of time between movements at multiple bookmakers the more influential the move, especially if the initial move occurs at a low margin bookmaker.
Why it’s important to monitor any low/high margin divide
A low/high margin divide refers to a game where the price is different between the low margin and high margin bookmakers.
Because bookmakers cater to different clientele from different locations and manage risk in different ways, differences in prices on the same game frequently occur.
A divide refers to a situation where low and high margin bookmakers are stuck on different prices for an extended period of time.
These situations are important to monitor as they suggest a considerable difference between influential and recreational betting opinion.
I monitor these spots frequently by looking for a better price on the right side (high margin) of the screen than the left side (low margin).
Why experience is valuable
My suggestion to all bettors looking to improve is put in as much time as possible looking at the odds screen.
By organising the screen as suggested above, one can very quickly get a feel for which bookmakers control the market and how quickly prices move.
Live odds screens can at first appear like a chaotic mess of colours and flashes, but if set up correctly they will become an essential tool in day to day betting.
The more experience you have watching the screen, the easier predicting movement and reading the betting market will be.