The Economics around betting – does it exist? What are your chances of making cash? What is your chance of winning big, winning small and even getting that little bit of pocket cash.

In recent years there has been a substantial global increase in interest in the study of betting. To some extent this has had some adverse effects on the changes in the way that betting and gambling/games markets worldwide are taxed and regulated. So let’s start first, with the big tickets, the big wins, first things first, the National Lottery.

Given that the chances of winning the UK National Lottery is based on a series of numbers, it used to be 6 numbers are drawn at random from the set of integers between 1 and 49, however the game isn’t as easy as you’d like to think. The major change is an increase in the number of balls from 49 to 59. A new Millionaire Raffle will guarantee at least one millionaire per draw – but not major win. Since increasing the odds of the lottery from 49 to 59 it’s now three times harder to win the jackpot because the chance of matching all six balls has decreased from one in 14m to one in 45m.

So is there a way to increase your odds? Play numbers over 31. Studies show that most people play numbers based on special days of the month such as birthdays and anniversaries. Therefore, by picking numbers over 31 or using random Quick Picks, you’ll decrease your chances of splitting a big prize. Consider setting up a lottery syndicate with a group of friends or colleagues. By each of you contributing a small amount each week, you can multiply your chances of grabbing a jackpot and perhaps grow closer to your mates in the process.

The top seven numbers to pop up since the National Lottery launched in 1994 have been 23, 40, 44, 38, 30 and 33 – however this is chance, not exactly statistics. These tips have been supplied by a recent economics graduate, economics is the study of statistics, chance and politics.  Economics is the type of degree tends to appeal to students who hold a strong grasp of mathematics, and even those who are also fascinated by the social sciences.

So what about football? With the football betting market generating \$700bn to \$1tn per year, it’s globally a sensational market, but what are people betting on and what are you odds? A good way to determine if you have managed to achieve a value bet is to look at the closing prices in the Betfair Match Odds market. The Betfair prices gain accuracy from the volume of bets placed in the exchange, in mathematical and statistical terms this is often referred to as the ‘wisdom of crowds’. One thing you shouldn’t change though is your maximum liability, set this to something you are comfortable working with. You often find that sides with exceptional home form, such as Real Madrid and Barcelona, will often be over-backed initially (because backers think they are buying money) and then when the liquidity builds up and they settle back to their true price there is often an opportunity.

The first rule of football betting is a golden rule, you must shop around for the best value. Open accounts with as many online bookmakers as possible, they nearly all offer free bets to entice you to open accounts with them. Stick to singles or doubles. It is hard enough predicting the outcome of one match let alone five, then obviously choose which markets you bet on carefully. Stick to what you know and don’t bet on leagues you haven’t been following.

There are 22 players including in a match along with officials and managerial changes so you’ll find that there are so many outcomes that can affect the match. But, as our economics graduates point out, that there are ways to research, push your odds in your favour and have a higher chance of achieving a higher likelihood of your bet coming in. Studying the likelihood of your odds and what can happen is a part of edging your best and learning more.

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