Gambling Classroom

How Often do you Need to Win to be Profitable?

If you consistently bet spreads, just winning at least 51% of the time is not good enough to be profitable. As we have mentioned in previous lesson, each spread has juice. The juice on spreads will typically be between -100 and -120. Let’s show this in an example.

Let’s say you make 4 NFL bets in one day. Your units are $100, so you are betting to win $100 for each bet. The results of each bet are shown below.

Cowboys +3 (-110) WIN +$100
Patriots -6.5 (110) LOSS -$110
Colts +7 (-110) WIN +$100
Packers -3.5 (-105) LOSS -$105

From this example you went 2-2 (50%) on the day. That doesn’t mean you broke even. If you sum the values you won/lost on each bet, you actually lost $15 on the day.

Break-Even Percentages

There is a formula that you can use to calculate the percentages that you need to win at to at least break even.

Break Even Percentage = Risk/(Risk + Win)

The average juice on spreads is -110. Let’s use that to calculate the average break even percentage for spreads.

Spread Break Even Percentage = 110/(110+100)
Spread Break Even Percentage = 52.4%

So, to be profitable from betting spreads, you need to win at least at a 52.4% clip.

That same formula also works if you consistently bet underdog money lines, or parlays at a similar money line. For example, if you typically make parlays that pay out +150, the break even percentage is 100/(100+150), which is 40%.

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