The 1.8-2.2 Bookie Trap - Avoiding low value betting

Updated: 8251 Other

I have always been a big football fan and since I turned 18 ialways liked to have a pop at it, never with large stakes involvedas I do not have the guts to keep my cool under money pressure, butenough

The 1.8-2.2 Bookie Trap - Avoiding low value betting
Darren Brett Tipster Competition Manager

Horse Racing, greyhounds and snooker specialist with thirty years experience of writing about sport across multiple platforms. A QPR and Snooker fan

I have always been a big football betting fan and since I turned 18 i always liked to have a pop at it.

Never with large stakes involved as I do not have the guts to keep my cool under money pressure, which is a prerequisite for sensible and responsible gambling, however even with small stakes it keeps things interesting. 

That said as time went by I have gotten more and more frustrated at my inability to turn what I believe is my above-average knowledge into a sustainable profit. 

Avoiding low value betting


As an outright geek, I always kept a record of my bets and upon reviewing the results I identified a common denominating factor, which I've come to call, the  (1.8-to -2.2 Bookie Trap).

Implied probabilities

As most of you know, odds may be translated into implied probabilities through a simple mathematical formula. 

As a bettor, you need to be aware of implied probability and luckily on OLBG we have a host of helpful information and tables on implied probability.

Byways of an example, you can see below a match I bet on with odds and implied probability highlighted. 

Team Odds Implied Probability
Swansea 1.83 52.68%
Draw 3.75 27.31%
Sunderland 4.82 20.33%


If you are going to regularly back teams such as Swansea at odds of 1.83 for a regular £10 you would need to hit 6 out of 10 bets to generate profits. 

The 1.8-2.2 Bookie Trap

This takes me to the 1.8-2.2 Bookie Trap. In my view, bookmakers consistently prey on form,  good and bad, to present an altered view of reality.

Back to my above example, prior to the match, Swansea was in 16th place with 4 wins in 20 matches and Sunderland were in 18th place just 4 points behind. 

The odds on Swansea may look good because Swansea is historically a good home side to back and Sunderland had  dismal away form 

But and its a big but, would Swansea beat Sunderland 6 out of 10 times? 

Is it worth backing a side which has won 4 out of 20 matches? 

They have won 20% of their matches but these odd imply a probability of Swansea winning at over 50%.

Avoiding the trap

Avoiding the trap is not easy. I myself sometimes still get entangled in this conundrum.

 It happened to me last week when I backed Cardiff to beat Milton Keynes. 

Sustainable profit is all about finding value and value is mainly beating the implied probability. 

The most dangerous sides are those lingering in mid-table.

 These clubs are usually good enough to warrant a second look, but in reality, if they are in mid-table it usually is because they are unable to consistently win matches.

Therefore backing them regularly at odds between 1.8 and 2.2, which is a 45%-55% hit rate just to break-even is very dangerous territory.

Home advantage

These odds are usually built around the concept of home advantage. Yes, the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, and PSG are almost infallible at home, but what about mid-table clubs?

  • Sassuolo (8th place with 3 home wins in 12).

  • Everton (8th place with 4 home wins in 13).

  • Celta Vigo (7th place with 5 home wins in 12).

 Are they solid enough to be backed at an implied probability of around 50%?

What to do?

This is not to say that anything with these odds is not backable.

 On some occasions, there is merit to go for such bets. For example, Bastia in France are incredible at home but rarely pick up points away. 

They are a good example of a backable mid-table club. 

Similarly, complete opposite form or certain team news may be enough to create value at such odds. 

More so, in perspective, if the odds on one side are deemed to be significantly out of par then it follows that the odds on the other side have value. 

The reasoning used for my picks is simple; identify low-value odds and back the underdog. Interestingly enough out of 5 matches (the 6th was a goals pick), none of the underdogs lost. 

Again, this is not to say that one should back underdogs all the time and it is important to have an appropriate stake plan in mind.

However, conceptually I'd rather back say Chievo to beat Torino at 5.85 (15% implied odds probability) than back Torino, who have won 7 of 24, 1 less than Chievo at 1.64 (58% implied odds probability).

Happy betting and remember, always bet responsibly!!!

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