Monday, July 22, 2019


How do Bookmakers Make Money?

September 8, 2010 by  
Filed under Tips & Tricks

In general a bookmaker or “bookie” is someone who takes wagers on sporting events and who operates at a local or regional level. He is someone who is living in your neighborhood, or is at least close enough to be dealing with the same population group on a more or less consistent basis. He knows his customers fairly well, perhaps on a first name basis, and knows the betting patterns of the people he does business with.

In contrast to sportsbooks, bookies are typically not the ones who come up with all the betting lines. Bookies usually adopt betting lines that have been published by sportsbooks and then take bets using those odds. They do this because the creation of an entire set of betting lines is a task that is too sophisticated for the average bookie to handle. This doesn’t mean however that the bookie is not allowed to set his own betting lines. In fact bookies often depart from the sportsbooks odds significantly when they feel it can make them more money. But the odds published by Vegas sportsbooks or online sportsbooks are usually the starting point for the bookie.

Bet on NFL Football at Bodog Sportsbook

Bookies try to make their money the same way the sportsbooks do. They take action on both teams and make money on the standard (-110) wagering odds. But bookies are usually small operations compared to a sportsbook. That gives them the ability to adjust quickly to market conditions and to charge different customers different rates. And that’s where bookies can increase their income.

Many bookies will adjust the point spread in their favor based on their location. If located in or near a big city for example, a bookie can be reasonably sure that a lot of people are going to bet on the local team. They therefore change the point spread and make it more difficult for the home team to cover. This practice is sometimes known as “shaving points” and is very common.

Consider a bookie who lives in Chicago. He knows that during football season a lot of bets will be placed on the Chicago Bears when they host the Green Bay Packers because the Bears are a home town favorite. As an example let’s say that most online sportsbooks are listing the Bears as 3½ point favorites over the Packers, so the Bears might be shown as -3½ (-110) meaning that you risk $110 that the Bears will win by 4 or more points. A Chicago bookie however might push the point spread to 4½ points. And bookies will adjust the odds for all kinds of wagers, not just the point spread. If the money line were (-110) as in the above example, a Chicago bookie might push it to (-130) or (-150).

Bet the NFL Regular Season at Bodog Sportsbook

Dealing with a local bookie can have advantages as well as disadvantages. For one thing, bookies usually don’t require that you pay the money up front when you are placing a bet. That’s not a problem if you win, but it can create a situation where some people bet more than they have to spend, and if their bet loses the scene can be uncomfortable. Another thing about using a local bookie is that he may get to know your betting patterns. If you consistently bet on the favorites, your bookie may pick up on this and offer a deal that’s worse than you could find at any sportsbook.

On the positive side, getting to know a local bookie can also get you better deals than you might find at a sportsbook if you are a good customer. To keep your business the bookie may offer you slightly better odds than the usual betting lines. And since bookies have the flexibility to offer deals on a case by case basis, don’t be afraid to ask him which team he needs more bets to be placed on. If it turns out that he needs more bets on the team you want to wager on, he might very well give you better odds in order to close the deal.