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Evan Van Luven
Written By: Evan Van Luven

I run the Sportsbook at Rivalry. Former professional poker player, DFS player, and all-around gaming and gambling enthusiast.

Jul 27, 2019

As a newcomer in the world of esports betting, it can feel difficult to keep up with all the potential questions. Unfortunately, there are many shady actors who would very much like to take advantage of this – and you – by using dodgy marketing moves to convince you to trust them. Don’t worry, we’re here to help: here’s the rundown as to why you should not pay people to tell you who to bet on.

Do not buy picks!

Have you ever been on a bit of a cold streak and couldn’t figure out how you could string so many losing bets together in a row? We’ve all been there. It feels like you may never win again. In a way, it’s understandable that you think the way out is to buy someone else’s betting picks. Ignore the urge: the only real guarantee they can offer is that you will lose money on the long run. DO NOT BUY PICKS.

Why? So many websites, influencers and social media gurus are out there selling their ‘’winning picks’’. You pay them money and they tell you who they think is going to win. To put it nicely, they’re spending their time and energy figuring out how to sell their picks to you instead of ensuring their accuracy. These people are experts – not at betting, but at marketing. It doesn’t make a difference to them who wins because they’ve already got your money in their pocket! 

The value is not there

Besides their intentions, the math also doesn’t work out in the long run. It is incredibly difficult to out-earn the price you’re paying for the picks! Let’s pretend that these pick sellers can guarantee they win their picks 55% of the time – that is actually a very strong long-term winrate for a professional bettor. Suppose you’re an average bettor and you normally break even with an average bet size of $25 and let’s calculate the expected value of buying three of these picks for $10. For simplicity’s sake, let’s assume that these are even-money matches for this example. 

Your EV – expected value – before you buy the picks is $0: because you’re a break-even bettor, you’ll win half the time and lose the other half.

Now instead, you win 60% of the time with these new-found magical picks you’ve bought. (Again, this is higher than what professional bettors can usually pull off! Here’s your updated EV:

Your EV = expected win/loss * likelihood of outcome – we add together the EV for every separate outcome.

EV of one match: 

Win ($25*1.91) - $25 = $22.75 * 55% = $12.51

Loss (-$25) = -$25 * 40% = -$10

Total EV for one match = $2.51

This means that your total EV over three matches is $7.53. That is nice, but don’t forget that you paid $10 for the picks! This means that you’re still losing money in the long run, even if there’s actually some merit to the picks you’ve bought – which is usually not the case.

Look at it this way: if these touts were so good at selling picks, don’t you think they would just bet them themselves and run up a huge bankroll and not share with anyone else? Stay aware. Besides, doing your own research and investing your time and effort into this makes it all the more fun – and all the more satisfying when you get it right!

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