Good Or Bad Promo? How Sportsbook Odds Boosts Can Fool Bettors

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Written By Eli Hershkovich | Last Updated
Odds Boost

Whether bettors are watching a sportsbook commercial or logging on to a sports betting app, they’ll immediately notice some reference towards an odds boost. For those unfamiliar with this term, it involves the sportsbook shifting odds in the customer’s favor — theoretically.

In essence, the the house is surrendering some or all of the vig for these specific bets. But how about when odds boosts aren’t authentic? Did you know some odds boosts aren’t boosted odds at all? Let’s investigate further.

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What is a +EV wager?

Most sports bettors have heard about the concept of expected value (+EV), but few recognize its true meaning. Even fewer utilize the strategy for their own wagers. Simply put, expected value in sports betting is a way to weigh the implied probability gap between a bettor’s mathematical expectations and the sportsbook’s.

As the odds increase, the likelihood of the bet winning decreases, and vice versa. This particular spells out that a +145 underdog (41.67% implied probability) is more likely to win than one that is priced at +180 (35.7% implied probability), according to the oddsmaker.

Those looking for expected value attempt to evaluate the odds — and the implied probability  — oddsmakers give to every game. For NFL betting, this process often takes place earlier on in the week in attempt to determine if line is overvalued or undervalued before the market really makes a dent and moves the line.

How does this strategy apply to an odds boost? Bettors should watch for small odds boosts, pertaining to any sport, that are +EV. If you bet them enough times over a large enough sample, like any other edge that you may discover in the market, there’s a higher probability of making a profit in the long run. Granted, operators tend to place limits on odds boosts of $100 or less.

Boosts with 7% or more expected value are generally thought to be the most advantageous, yet it also depends on your risk tolerance.

Related: Best 2023 NFL Survivor Pools Among Nationwide Sportsbooks

be careful of odds boosts

There are plenty of department stores with “SALE” signs throughout the floor. If you’ve come across it, you may have asked yourself something along the lines of, “Are these items low-priced, or were they manipulated to appear as such?” Unfortunately, sportsbooks have at times dipped their toes into this practice as well.

Let’s use Brewers at Dodgers from Thursday night’s MLB odds as a recent example. BetMGM Sportsbook displayed an odds boost for a same game parlay on Corbin Burnes to tally seven or more strikeouts and Milwaukee to win. As seen below, the operator noted the original price would have been +200. However, the sportsbook “boosted” it to +250.

For one, this odds boost showcases roughly -11.43% EV. At both Caesars and FanDuel Sportsbook, the exact same SGP could be had at +280 and +291, respectively.

The formula for determining that figure is constructed by taking:

(Boosted Odds − 0 Vig Odds) x Implied Probability Of “Winning Bet

End Of Story? Not So Fast

Following an unknown period of time, BetMGM subsequently changed the boost to +290. Even after taking the odds swap into account, it still doesn’t qualify as a boost — compared to what was readily available in the market. Plus, fair value on this boost lies in the +320 range after factoring in implied probability and projections.

As previously stated, bettors should target at least +7%, EV while juxtaposing the boost to the pricing at other sportsbooks. In a perfect world, you’re also analyzing it with your own mathematical projection.

Odds boost conclusion

Sportsbooks offer their fair share of +EV boosts, so this breakdown isn’t aiming to insinuate that there is a scheme transpiring across the industry. That said, bettors should always calculate whether an odds boost is “valuable” pre-flop — no matter the aftermath. If you’re an experienced bettor to some degree, you’re well aware of the phrase “process over results.”

A plethora of odds boosts will appear across your screens shortly, as NFL Week 1 odds are around the corner. Be prepared to diagnosis and separate the real ones from the department store sale items.

Watch: Beat The Closing Number

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