Online Sports Promotions

352
September 18th, 2022
Back Online Sports Promotions

Broad Overview

Recently, I conducted a full analysis of a promotion for a US-facing (depends on the state you live in) online casino and sportsbook by which, if you made a Moneyline bet (for those who don’t know, a Moneyline bet is just a bet on a team to win the game, so the point spread is irrelevant, though the two are generally correlated) and your team led by ten, or more, and lost (or tied), then you were paid as though the result was a win anyway. 

I honestly don’t know if the offshore sportsbooks run similar promotions as using them would have been patently illegal for me to do prior to the overturning of PASPA (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act) by the United States Supreme Court, so while I would play on offshore online casinos, I never did anything with the offshore books at that time. 

There may or may not be a few offshore books that I look at now, but I haven’t seen any sort of similar promotion with this kind of advantage on just straight up betting with your sportsbook balance–perhaps I haven’t been looking in the right places. 

I should also mention that this promotion is for the National Football League, so it is possible that some sportsbooks from outside of the country don’t offer much in the way of promotions to begin with as the original, ‘Football,’ tends to be more popular worldwide. 

Immediately below, I will include the table, which can also be found on Wizard of Odds when that analysis gets published, (it’s pretty big, so this may take a few days, but I’ll link it in the comments when it goes live) as I looked into every single game assuming that either side could be bet, using this promotion, over five years. 

Year 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 Ties (ALL) Totals
Games 256 256 256 256 272 1296 1296
Games Betting Favorites 256 256 256 256 272 1296 1296
Games Betting Dogs 256 256 256 256 272 1296 1296
Promotion Swing % Favorites 3125% 4296875% 5078% 6641% 6.25% 0.0023% 5324%
Promotion Swing % Dogs 6.25% 8984375% 78125% 10156% 6618% 0% 7948%
Gain(Loss) Favorites ($1056.36) $360.33 $479.56 $2,642.68 $2,404.64 $524.85 $5,355.70
Gain (Loss) % Favorites -1651% 0.563% 0.749% 4129% 3536% X* 1653%
Gain Dogs $10,177.63 $17,450.10 $15,407.68 $20,885.10 $14,581.20 $0 $78,501.71
Gain % Dogs 15903% 27266% 24075% 32633% 21443% X 24229%
Gain Offsets $9,121.27 $17,810.43 $15,887.24 $23,527.78 $16,985.84 X* $83,857.41
Gain % Offsets 7126% 13914% 12412% 18381% 12.49% X* 12941%

 

Let’s dive into the numbers a little bit:

For the purpose of the table, we assumed that there were 1,296 games, and therefore, 1,296 favorites and 1,296 dogs. The reason that we made that assumption for the overall breakdown is counting someone as a dog despite them having a -XXX line would have been needlessly complicated. 

I guess I’d better get into Moneylines a bit for those who either might be used to them being expressed a different way, or alternatively, are not familiar with them at all.

Moneylines:

In the United States, the way that we would express a bet that you want to make on a team to win straight up is that one team is generally the favorite and the other is the underdog. For example, if you saw a line that said New England Patriots -120 @ Baltimore Ravens +106, then that means that the New England Patriots are the favorite as the Ravens are the underdog. 

The other thing to know is that our sports betting lines relate back to assumed bets of $100, which should make the math really easy for frequent bettors (or people who look at bets frequently) if you bet using multiples of $10. For example, if you wanted to win $100 betting on the Patriots, then you would have to bet $120 (because it is a minus line), so that is how much you would lose if the Patriots lost. In the case of the Ravens, if you bet $100, then you would win $106 if the Ravens prevailed in that game. 

The reason that it makes multiples of $10 really easy is because that necessarily means, on the Ravens for example, you could bet $10 and would win $10.60 if the Ravens won the game. If you wanted to bet $50, then you just multiply the $10.60 you’d win on a $10 bet by five and get $53. That’s something that many people could simply do mentally, but even if mental math isn’t your forte, as long as you know how to adjust to multiples of ten, then it is easy to whip out the old calculator and figure out how much you’d win. 

On the minus side (betting on the Patriots), it’s only slightly more complicated. The way that you would do it is that you’d want to bet $12 for every $10 that you want to win. For that reason, if you wanted to know how much to bet to win $200, you could just multiply $200 * 1.2 and get $240 to win $200. Some lines might be something like -137, so winning $10 for every $13.70 you bet might be tough mental math for some, but again, easy to do on a calculator as long as you get the basic concept. 

Okay, let’s get back to breaking down the figure in the above table.

BREAKDOWN OF RESULTS

There are a few things to note for the purposes of this table:

1.) We treated the table as if every game had an underdog and a favorite, but the betting does not always work that way. For example, when going through all of the individual games, (which you will see if you choose to read the full report when published) there were a few games in which both teams had to be treated as favorites. The reason why is because it was considered either a toss-up game (or something close to that), so both teams had a -xxx line. 

Commonly, if you have a game for which neither team is getting points on the spread, (expected to lose by x points) or laying points on the spread, (expected to win by x points) then you might see both teams with a Moneyline of -110, which as we determined above, means you must bet $110 to win $100 regardless of which team you want. 

In some individual games, though it is rare, (most games have a decisive enough favorite for one team to have a +xxx Moneyline) you might see a team considered a slight favorite, but not really enough to be laying any points, or perhaps a half point, and will sometimes see Moneylines of -115/-105 for that game. 

Anyway, our final assumption for the table was an equal number of favorites as underdogs, though we had, I think, one applicable game in which both teams had to be treated as favorites for the analysis. It might have been two. Either way, it makes the net results appear negligibly more beneficial to favorites than they actually were (it would be 1297 or 1298 actual favorites as opposed to 1296–makes almost zero difference) and makes underdogs negligibly not as good as they otherwise might have been. (It would be 1294 or 1295 actual underdogs as compared to 1296-makes almost zero difference).

2.) Again, you can read the full report when it comes out if you wish, so I will be brief in my explanation of the methodology:

Step 1: Go through all 1,296 box scores for every NFL game, mostly courtesy of The Football Database, and determine which games could have superficially been applicable. 

Step 2: Disqualify games that could not be applicable. For example, if the losing team failed to even score ten points to begin with, then they could not have possibly led by ten points. 

Step 3: Disqualify games that were not applicable upon a closer inspection of the box scores. For example, if you look at the game between Atlanta and Chicago, you will see that Chicago lost 23-17, but could they have ever led by ten? 

If you reverse engineer this one, then you will see that Atlanta took a 3-0 lead coming out of the first quarter, Chicago scored ten points in the second quarter, but even if they scored those before Atlanta scored (at all) in the second quarter, the game score would still have been 10-3, therefore, Chicago did not lead by ten. 

Because Chicago did not lead by ten at that time AND because Chicago’s final tally was seventeen points, as soon as Atlanta had a total of more than seven points, Chicago could not have ever led by ten at any point in the game. 

Anyway, that’s just to give an idea. That’s a pretty easy one as just glancing at the final score and the first half immediately eliminates it in your mind if you are one who pays attention to NFL, which I do. 

Step 4: For games that it would be possible that the losing team led by ten, at some point, but the box score does not make it obvious, we must look at the scoring summary for the game.

If you wish to go to that site and jump to Week 3 (Week 1 games are evident pretty quickly), then you can look at the game between Denver and Buffalo. We see that Buffalo won the game 26-16, but Denver led 3-0 coming out of the first quarter. Denver also scored ten points in the second quarter, so despite the fact that Buffalo scored 13 that quarter, we know that the Broncos could have led 10-0, 13-0 or 13-3 at some point in that quarter and would satisfy the conditions of being ahead by ten. 

At that point, I would usually go to Pro Football Reference, which is basically an encyclopedia of knowledge on NFL stats at your fingertips. Anyway, they have a nice compact scoring summary that is really easy on the eyes, so I just look at that and see Buffalo scored first in the second quarter, making the score 7-3 Buffalo, so because Denver only scored 16 points in the whole game they could never have led by ten. This game is not applicable. 

3.) Let me drop a link before I explain why ties have a separate column:

I posted about the WoV NFL Picks Game a few years back and I just want everyone to know that is still a going thing over there. If you want to play, just visit WizardofVegas, read the rules of the game and then submit your picks to me (Mission146) via PM by the time that Picks are due. If this article is published in time, then you can still play this season; if not, then I see no reason why the game won’t also take place next season. I throw a bunch of my own personal money into the prize pool, so even though the Entry Fee is $25 (which you pay to the winner at the end; I do not touch your money) it is positive expected value. 

Gratuitous plug out of the way, the reason why ties are listed in a separate column is because my original understanding of the promotion was that it would only apply if your team led by 10+ and lost, but as it turns out, the team can also tie and you get paid as if a win.

The problem with that is that all of my net profit numbers had already accounted for the fact that, not only did you profit on your team leading by 10+ and losing, but you also did not lose the $250 that you otherwise would have. However, in the case of ties (which would normally push) you don’t lose the $250 anyway because it would normally be a push. 

For those reasons, it was easier just to give ties a separate column than to go back and include them in the individual year-by-year analyses. Besides, there were only five ties in that five-year span and only three of them applied anyway. 

4.) The profits come from an assumption that the player is betting $250 on every single game. The reason that assumption was made is because I’d originally started work on a MUCH smaller analysis as proof of concept for a friend of mine who had this promotion, but evidently, the website in question basis what you can bet on your online players club level, so some people were limited to betting less than that. Whether or not some people could bet more than that I don’t know, but I’d assume so, because I don’t think my friend is at the highest possible level. 

In any event, if you want the figures for if you could only bet $50 every game of the season, for example, then just divide the total cash results in any box by five. 

With that, let’s go ahead and reproduce just our totals column below:

Year TOTALS
Games 1296
Games Betting Favorites 1296
Games Betting Dogs 1296
Promotion Swing % Favorites 5324%
Promotion Swing % Dogs 7948%
Gain(Loss) Favorites $5,355.70
Gain (Loss) % Favorites 1653%
Gain Dogs $78,501.71
Gain % Dogs 24229%
Gain Offsets $83,857.41
Gain % Offsets 12941%

Okay, so we’ve already discussed why there were 1296 favorites and 1296 underdogs, even though that wasn’t strictly true, so let’s define the other terms that I used for this:

Promotion Swing Favorites–What I mean by this is that is the percentages of what would have been losses betting on favorites turned into wins. This figure also includes the three ties that would have turned into wins as I had already calculated the Gain by then. 

Promotion Swing Dogs–This is the percentage of dogs where a loss would have become a win. There were no ties for this included because, in the five years, the only team to ever lead by ten, and go on to tie, was the team favored to win. 

Gain Favorites–If you had bet favorites to win on every single game, betting $250 every single time, with this promotion, then you would have won $5,355.70.

Gain Percentage (Loss) Favorites–Favorites would have yielded a profit of 1.653% of all monies bet, under these conditions. The reason that it also says (loss) is because betting all favorites would have resulted in the player taking a net loss in 2017, (which was the only year) even with this promotion. There were only eight games that swung for favorites that season-by far the fewest. 

Gain Dogs: If you could bet $250 on every single underdog with this promotion, in five years, your profits would have been $78,501.71. That’s a nice little part-time job for something that would take about ten minutes per week, seventeen (now 18) weeks per year. 

Gain Percentage Dogs: Underdogs would have resulted in a player profit of 24.229% of all monies bet. In fact, I highly doubt that there would ever be a season in which underdogs failed to profit under these conditions. Even if Underdogs were treated as a push for the swing, rather than a win, they would still be profitable. 

Gain Offsets: If you had yourself and a confederate, with one betting favorite and one betting underdog, then you would gain a total of $83,857.41 over the five years. Of course, this is much worse than both people just betting underdog all the time. 

Gain Percentage Offsets: 12.941%. Honestly, I’d only started doing offsets because it didn’t immediately occur to me how great underdogs would consistently be for this promotion. Even in the season (2021) for which there was only one more underdog as compared to favorite, underdog profits still blew favorite out of the water. 

I’ll have a few other comments to make on this, but first, let me recreate my Questions page (in part) that will be on the full breakdown. 

1.) What do you mean when you say, “Offsets,” and why would anyone do that?

-Okay, so I wouldn’t exactly call myself an advocate of, “Offset betting,” and it is certainly usually done at a non-zero sacrifice (though not always a big sacrifice) to expected value.

That being said, offset betting is simply structuring your betting by betting in conjunction with another person, or making an opposite bet at a different sportsbook, such that you are effectively betting on opposite things to happen.

For example, and this is probably a terrible EV decision just because I’m firing off a quick example, let’s say that I had a 50% profit boost on the Moneyline for tonight’s (September 12, 2022) Monday Night Football game Denver @ Seattle.

We’re going to pretend I have this boost at two different books, but it can only be Moneyline bets. We will go with the VI consensus lines which are:

Denver -278 Seattle +225

Okay, so I would normally have to bet $278 on Denver to win $100 and would normally have to bet $100 on Seattle to win $225. The profit boost would double just the profits on this game, so my $278 bet on Denver would instead profit $150 and my $100 bet on Seattle would now profit $337.50.

With that, if I take Denver for $278 at one book and Seattle for $100 at a different book, then I can’t possibly fail to profit unless there is just a tie game. Here you go:

If Denver wins: $150 - $100 = $50

If Seattle wins: $337.50 - 278 = $59.50

There will sometimes be a wide disparity in the possible outcomes, so when that happens, you can sometimes adjust betting to make the two monetary outcomes as close as possible. (in this case, you would bet slightly more on Denver)

Anyway, I usually only loosely recommend (while always mentioning the EV sacrifice) offset betting if it absolutely assures profit on every event, or promotion, and therefore comes with a 0% probability of losing. The 0% probability of losing can sometimes also be important for those with a really low bankroll, so it’s just a way of guaranteeing some sort of profit if the person in question considers the guarantee of some kind of profit worth the EV sacrifice.

The reason that I wouldn’t recommend offsets for this promotion is twofold; I have already described it above, so I will be brief:

1.) Underdogs are just way too good.

2.) A confederate and yourself could bet opposite sides using this promotion in a way that results in the two of you losing money anyway. Namely, all it would take is for the favorite to win the game without the underdog ever leading by ten–-for me, that immediately defeats the purpose of offsetting.

So, the story of this promotion is, “Underdogs, all the time,” unless you feel like you have some tremendous insight into a small(ish) favorite either just stomping the other team or going up by ten in short order.

2.) Hey, weren’t (insert team) a one point dog in (insert game)? Why do you have them listed as a favorite?

-The listing of a team as a, “Favorite,” is based on the Moneyline. When you have a negative Moneyline, such as -104, that would mean that you have to bet $104 in order for your profits to be $100 if they win. That team might have actually gotten a half or full point in the game, but because you had to lay money, it is a favorite for the purposes of this study.

Yes, in effect, when you see a, “Pick’em,” type game on the spreads with both teams being -xxx on the Moneyline, they are effectively favoring both teams to win. (Not really, sometimes it might be -114/-104, and 50/50 is usually going to look like -110/-110).

Anyway, if they had a -xxx line, then they are considered a favorite, even if that technically makes both teams the favorite for the purpose of this study.

3.) What about games where both teams led by ten?

-Irrelevant. Both teams certainly didn’t lose the game, did they? The only result that this would theoretically change is a tie, and while a tie could do that, in theory, we did not actually have any ties that did. In fact, all three ties in this study that went from a push to some sort of win all involved favorites being profitable.

4.) But, wouldn’t both teams leading by ten make this result more likely?

-It would make the result certain, but it would still be irrelevant, absent tie football games. It doesn’t add anything to our percentages because one team still won and the other still lost; this promotion only changes anything if your bet would have otherwise lost. If your bet would have won because the team you selected won, then it’s a winning bet anyway. Again, it just so happened that we did not have any applicable ties in these five years.

5.) Why do underdogs have a higher swing frequency?

–One year, they almost didn’t. I suspect that it’s higher overall for the following reasons:

1.) Underdogs are simply more likely to lose the football game, which is why they are underdogs. Because they are more likely to lose the football game, they are also more likely to lead by 10+, at some point, then go on to lose the football game.

2.) You simply don’t expect that a favorite, especially a big favorite, is going to lead by 10+ and then go on to lose the game. Usually the favorites are at least pretty decent teams, and decent teams hold onto leads more often than not; they are also more likely than not to come back from sizable deficits.

3.) According to Sports Illustrated, home field teams are usually going to lay three more points, or get three fewer points (depending on where they would be analyzed against the other team as if on a neutral field) by the sportsbooks to account for home field advantage.

Naturally, any actual advantage, assuming one exists, would depend largely on the venue in question as well as the capacity of the crowd. I would also think that the climate would become something of a consideration for teams that have to go to cold weather stadiums that normally don’t play in one, so I imagine that is also given a little weighting.

From what I read, I don’t think the home field bias is quite as strong as it once was, which could be why we have seen favorites and dogs close the frequency gap in the last two years of this study, but it could also be that our samples are limited anyway. In my opinion, which is totally unqualified, I don’t think that they swing the lines a blanket three points to, ‘Account for,’ home field advantage in every game; it would be silly to do so as an absolute and very antithetical to what coming up with good lines is about, all in my opinion.

However, I do believe that the point spread swing is non-zero, so to that extent, you’re sometimes going to simply have underdogs that probably should be a pick ‘em, or perhaps even a very small favorite. Moneylines largely do what spreads do, just on the + or - basis instead, so it gets translated over to Moneylines somewhat.

6.) Hey, I saw this promotion, except it is if your team leads by seven points; is that a good promotion?

-If it is good for ten, then it is automatically good for seven. If you want a full analysis of how good, then you will either have to contact me for rates or do it yourself. Underdogs are still going to be the way to go; I can tell you that immediately.

7.) Hey, I saw this promotion, except it is if your team leads by (some number greater than ten) points, is that a good promotion?

-I have no idea. I don’t mean to be flippant, but I truly don’t. You will have to determine what games are applicable the same way that I did. I can say that many of these teams did NOT lead by more than ten points throughout the game.

Aside from that, you’re just going to have to do it yourself, or I might entertain an offer if you want me to do it. Either way, if you are fine with only basing it on five years, then you can use everything about it as a cheat sheet to find what games could be applicable. I probably would have made a point to list, “Highest lead,” somewhere, but I didn’t think about that until just now. Sorry.

8.) How long do you think this promotion will be offered?

-I have no idea. If nothing else, if sportsbooks did get away from this one, then I wouldn’t be surprised to see it replaced with, “If your team loses, but led by ten or more, your bet will be refunded,” sort of thing. If that happened, I can confidently say that betting underdogs would still be profitable, just not insanely so.

I’m not so sure when it comes to favorites, but I doubt it. Over the course of these five years analyzed, favorites would still lose you money if you only got your bet returned under these conditions.

That said, over this sample, favorites still lost less than 1% of all monies bet even if the stipulation was only for the return of your bet, so that’s still going to make a massive difference to people who bet sports a lot. It’s possible that favorites would be anywhere from a small loser to a small gainer if the stipulation was only return of the bet, but that would require 2017 to have been an extremely low year for this and for 2020 and 2021 not to have been much higher than usual.

With that, my answer is that I doubt favorites would have an expected profit if the stipulation was just that 10+ and lose just gets your money back. Even if it would be profitable, it certainly wouldn’t be by very much.

In the case of underdogs, they would have been profitable simply by virtue of having losing bets returned every single year of this sample. It is not my expectation, but rather my conclusion, that underdogs would still have an expected profit even with the modification.

9.) I looked at a few of these games, and many times, the lead the losing team had was in the first half; why is that?

-Think of it this way–the other team is ahead by ten points with two seconds left in the game, so the probability of your team winning that game is 0%, right?

It’s not that teams perceived as inferior are more likely to jump out to early leads as opposed to leading by 10+ late; it’s that ALL teams are more likely to overcome a 10+ point deficit the more time there is on the clock.

10.) Why are underdogs so strong?

-The reason for that is more money gets thrown your way on this promotion if your underdog leads by 10+ points and loses. We had one game for which a $250 bet resulted in a swing of more than $2,000 on what would have otherwise been a $250 loss without the promotion.

-Furthermore, I maintain that some underdogs, especially away underdogs on very tight point spreads, shouldn’t be underdogs at all, but the real value in this promotion does come from the big hits on what would otherwise be losses.

-There’s also so much variance in one game of football that taking a ten point lead early in the game isn’t particularly unusual, even for a drastically inferior team compared to its opponent. The Giants seemed to do so quite a few times in this sample.

11.) What is the best underdog line for this promotion?

-I have no idea and the sample size would only be 103 underdog results that actually resulted in a swing. That’s not even enough to start figuring that one out. I guess you could rank underdogs something like:

+100 to +200

+201 to +300

+301 to +400

+401 to +500

+501 or more

And then you would have to get all of the other 1,193 Moneylines where this did not come into play and figure it out that way. Have fun with that. You couldn’t offer me enough money. Either way, here’s some free game data on the underdogs who did pull it off and their corresponding lines. You’re welcome.

12.) What is the best favorite line for this promotion?

-Betting on the underdog instead.

In all seriousness, my general advice is simply that you would want to be laying as little as possible because your actual profits will be greater if a game did unfold this way. More than that, one necessarily expects that the bookies have some idea of what they are doing, so more closely matched teams are going to have it more likely that the underdog wins, in general.

I guess you could rank favorites something like this:

-101 to -200

-201 to -300

-301 to -400

-401 to -500

-501 or more

And then you would have to get all of the other 1,227 Moneylines where this did not come into play and figure it out that way. Have fun with that. You couldn’t offer me enough money. Either way, here’s some game data on the favorites who did have this happen and their corresponding lines. You’re welcome.

13.) Don’t both sides win when this promotion comes into play and the stipulation happens for one team or the other?

Yes. The only exception would be a tie in which neither team led by 10+ or only one team led by 10+, in which event, one team or both would simply push as normal.

ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS

Hey, as I sit here and write this, my full analysis went live, feel free to check it out!

I can’t emphasize enough how strong underdogs are compared to favorites for this promotion. When I said that someone would, “Have to have tremendous insight,” into a game to prefer the favorite with this promotion; I meant it. Over the course of the five-year analysis, the overall advantage Underdogs had compared to favorites is greater than a 22% difference, so betting on a favorite would effectively be the same thing as trying to beat a line where you’re expected to lose 22% of any monies bet, in comparison.

Further study, largely using what I have already done, might reveal certain situations where the edge on the favorite seems to be better, compared to normal and where, perhaps, the average edge on taking the underdog does not seem to be as high. I say, ‘Seem,’ because this study is already a limited sample size, so your sample size becomes even more limited when you’re only micro-analyzing for particular situations. 

In any event, there may be some lines where that gap closes, and if it does, then there might be some favorites that you would want to bet if you have some reason to believe that the combination of: A.) The favorite just winning. And B.) The favorite leading by ten, or more, and losing, is enough to overcome the greater than 5% edge that would fundamentally be assumed on a generic favorites bet.

Of course, that part is fine. There is a House Edge, called the, ‘Vig,’ (short for vigorish) in sports betting parlance that is assumed to be inherent to every bet. In other words, anytime that you bet thinking you have a better insight than the bookmaker’s line, you are (under normal circumstances) considered to be expected to lose. 

With that, let’s look into some other sports betting promotions that you might find:

Odds Boosts:

Here are the rules for a three-leg same game parlay for a Thursday Night Football game coming up that I will quote, but not attribute, since this article is not meant to promote any particular online casino:

How it works:

Scroll down to opt-in below

Place a 3+ Leg Same Game Parlay wager with cash on Thursday Night Football on 9/15

If your bet loses, get a refund in free bets. There is a limit of one eligible wager per person

The final price of your wager must be +400 or Longer (IE +450, +500 would qualify)

Refund will be credited within 72 hours of the end of the Promotion Period

Refund will be issued as non-withdrawable free bets that expire 7 days after receipt

Payouts from free bets only include winnings and do not include initial stake

Relevantly, you would want your total odds to be +400, or more, and on down it says that the maximum you can bet for this promotion is $100. When it comes to a +400 line, that would mean that you are betting $100 to win $400, as we discussed before. 

Okay, so they like to toss the word, ‘Refund,’ around, even though that is completely untrue. What is actually happening is that, if your bet loses, then you will get a $100 site credit that you can use to make one other bet. Obviously, if you just got your $100 back and that was the end of it, then this offer would be phenomenal. 

One game is Los Angeles Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs, so here are the basic lines:

Los Angeles Chargers: +4.5 (-114), +176 (Moneyline), Over 54.5 Points (Both Teams) +105

Kansas City Chiefs: -4.5 (-106), -210 (Moneyline), Under 54.5 Points -115

An example of one parlay we could do is taking the Chargers on the Moneyline (outright win) because we want +Odds somewhere and then making bets that might also correlate to them winning, right? 

One thing that some people might think to do is to have the Chargers lead after the first half, or not be too far behind, since we want them to win anyway, and, by itself, that would have a -120 line. 

In other words, we would have to bet $120 to win $100 if we wanted JUST that by itself, but it turns our $100 parlay bet into $201.88 if those things happen together. 

Are we getting any value out of this? What we can do is pretend that we are making separate $50 bets on each result; the Chargers winning outright would pay $88 in profits, whereas the Chargers +3.5 in the first half would pay $41.67 profits on a $50 bet. 

In other words, if both things fail to happen, we lose $100 either way. Ignoring that this has to become a three-leg parlay, if both things did happen, we win $201.88 in profits with the parlay and would win $129.67 in profits betting $50 on each separately. 

Of course, we notice that if the Chargers end the first half down by four, or more, points, then we would still make money overall with the separate bets as long as they win the game, so part of this disparity in what we would be making is priced into this parlay already. We would assume that it also prices in the loose correlation between the Chargers being ahead (or not losing by a lot) at the end of the first half with them winning the game overall. 

Finally, we are going to need to take a little bit of a shot to get this parlay to +400, or more, in Odds. It remains so that we want something that correlates with the Chargers winning the game. For example, why would we want to add Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs quarterback) to throw four touchdowns in the game? So, Mahomes puts up 24 points through the air on his own and the Chargers STILL win? Not likely. 

I might look to total points to round this thing out. If the line is Kansas City -4.5 on point spread, then Kansas City is expected to win by four, or five, points. We also know that the expected game total, according to the books, is 54.5. With that, we might think that the books are expecting a score that looks something like 31-27 KC, 28-24 KC, 27-24 KC, or anything within that general range that would include fairly common scores. 

The thing to understand is that lines are about average expectation. The lines certainly do not expect Kansas City to win by EXACTLY half a point, because scoring half a point is not possible. 

One thing that we can look at is Player Passing Props: For example, Justin Herbert gets a line of +136 to throw for 300, or more, yards in this game. Justin Herbert having an amazing game would generally correlate with the Chargers winning, which is something that we want. It also moves our parlay to +643, so we would bet $100 to win $643 if it hits. 

With that in mind, we will look at betting $33.33 on the three events separately. We don’t really need to dive into it to know that all three events hitting would pay far less, again, because they can hit independently of one another and, for the parlay, we NEED all of these things to happen. 

We can use this calculator to turn sports betting odds into implied probabilities. 

Immediately, our +643 line equates to a probability of 13.46% for these events to happen, so let’s see how well that jives with the probability of these events happening individually. 

Half: 54.55%, Game: 36.23%, Herbert 300+ 42.37%

Personally, I don’t think the probability of Herbert throwing for 300+ is necessarily as high as the line would imply. As it turns out, Herbert has played in 34 games and has done this 17 times, so that’s 50% of the time. Naturally, the matchup against the defense and the guys he has around him compared to previous years is going to swing this probability somewhat, so that’s going to be something that someone actually intending to bet this parlay will need to dive into; I am just using it as an example. Generically, he has played KC four times in his career and thrown for more than 300 yards twice. 

Okay, so we multiply these probabilities together:

.5455 * .3623 * .4237 = 0.0837378012 or 8.3738%

In other words, the parlay assumed probability that we are getting of 13.46%, based on the +643 line, is probably higher than what the assumed probability actually should be. In essence, we are being punished a little bit for doing this as a parlay; probably because the system calculating the parlay odds recognizes that we are trying to correlate things a bit. 

Basically, the system is saying, if x happens, then y and z are more likely to have happened, which is exactly what we are doing. 

With that, we will calculate our expected outcome based on the lower probability of occurrence:

(.083738 * 643) - (.9162621988 * 100) = -37.78268588

In other words, making the worst assumptions for ourselves that we can, we would expect that this parlay, taken alone, would lose us $37.78.

Now, if we want to assume our best probability scenario, then we would assume that the 13.46% that the line assumes is fair and ignores that we are correlating, which is certainly not the case, but just for illustration:

(.1346 * 643) - (100 * .8654) = 0.0078

Which would be almost dead even, so it doesn’t factor in the vig. 

I like going with the expected loss of $37.78 here, but remember, we get a $100 bet if this parlay loses, so we need to know the value of that.**

***IMPORTANT NOTE: Many of these promotions are worded in such a way that you only get the refund if ⅔ of your parlay legs win, which has much lower value. In fact, it might not even be positive overall. 

Generically, if you make a $100 bet on a -110 line (assumed to be 50/50) here is what can happen:

Win: (100/110) * 50 = $45.45

Losing would obviously have a value of zero, so our value is $45.45 if we end up getting the free bet. Because the value of the free bet (by the way, a -110 line would not be the best thing to use it on) exceeds the expected loss of the initial bet, this is good. 

Some might be wondering if we could offset these bets simply by taking Kansas City to win AND Kansas City to be ahead by 4+ at halftime as separate bets. We could, but remember, we would end up losing ALL bets if KC won, led by 4+ at halftime AND Justin Herbert also threw for 300+ yards, though that is unlikely. 

Also, it’s going to be tough to want to cover both of these things, because then they also must cover themselves. In other words, it’s difficult to create a scenario by which if KC leads at halftime by 4+ and loses, or doesn’t lead at halftime by 4+ and wins, that you bring in enough (along with the free bet) to cover everything. Here is the closest I can come:

Kansas City to lead 4+ at Halftime: +100

Kansas City to win outright: -210

What ends up happening with that is that, if one happen but the other doesn’t, we ultimately lose money regardless of how we structure it because our parlay has lost, so we only get the value from that. The worst thing that could happen for us is if KC led at halftime, but ultimately lost the game. 

Also, making more bets adds more vig…and I am sure that there are combinations better than this, but I just wanted to give an example. 

Either way, that demonstrates that these things are valuable–probably much more valuable than this example simply because I just semi-randomly picked something, so there are likely much better combinations to do and you would do well to look for more information if you want to get into that. 

PROFIT BOOSTS

I’ve discussed profit boosts elsewhere on this site, so I will be brief. 

Basically, all that happens is that the casino will add some percentage to your winnings if your profit boosted selection is a winner. Generally speaking, you will want this to be applied to +Odds type things because it increases the cash value, and overall expected value, more substantially. 

However, I am going to use something from above as an example and say that we are getting a 20% profit boost on it. 

If we go back to the Chargers getting +176 on the Moneyline, but added 20% to that, then they would effectively be getting 211.2 on the Moneyline to win us $211.20 on a $100 bet. 

Again, you do sacrifice some value by betting on things without a promotion, or by betting more than you absolutely have to, but let’s say I found a site with a favorable favorites line (compared to others) on the Chiefs. The best one I see right now is -200 on the Chiefs if you want to bet them to win straight up. 

Okay, so now if I make the $100 bet with the profit boost to win on the one site and then bet $200 on the Chiefs to win on the other, I can’t possibly lose money. 

If the Chargers win: $211.20 - 200 = $11.20

If the Chiefs win: 100 - 100 = 0

This might not seem that great, but remember, with online sportsbooks, some of the offers that you will get in the future are based on your average bet and your total bets that you make in your time on the site, so there is something of a backend to doing these kinds of things when you can’t possibly lose as long as you are able to make decent sized bets. 

If the Chargers are about 35% to win the game, based on the line, then we have an expected profit of $3.92, but we have put a total of $300 in action between two sites in a way that we can’t possibly lose. 

Naturally, our value would be better with just taking the profit boost because we are not betting the $200 on the Chiefs into a vig:

(211.20 * .35) - (100 * .65) = $8.92

Therefore, our immediate value is better making the straight up bet. What is better overall? It depends on how many of these you can do and what you are getting on the backend, in terms of offers, for the action that you have given each site. Again, the first promotion that I analyzed for this had your bet amount limited based on your standing with that particular online casino. 

That said, maybe you have something of a low bankroll and would put a greater priority on it being impossible to lose money on a particular proposition, while still having a positive expected value, if that’s true for you, then these sorts of offsets might have a better value for you to whatever extent you want to factor that in. 

Obviously, if someone has a bankroll of $100,000, then losing $100 on a position for which you had the advantage means nothing to you. If your bankroll is $1,000, then losing that $100 might sting a little bit, so perhaps you don’t mind chipping away small profits when things go your way and not losing anything at all when they don’t. 

Just make sure you do the math if you’re ever going to do this sort of thing. Do NOT put any bets in until you have. Some of these profit boosts are on, ‘Minor,’ sports that don’t get as much action, so those sports tend to have much bigger gaps between one event and its opposite such that, if you bet both sides even using a profit boost, you could only lose money. 

CONCLUSION

That’s going to do it for now, but if you have any more specific questions, then we may have a follow-up article along these lines and I will send you the answer, as best I can, privately before that article goes live. I really hesitate to analyze every single little thing because I don’t know how much interest there would be and sports betting is really not my strong point…despite my in-depth analysis of the first promotion listed. I’m just a big NFL guy, so that was fun for me anyway. 

I’d like to thank everyone for reading if you’ve made it this far. Happy betting!

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