Across the UK and Ireland, people are gambling online more than ever. While sports betting is now worth a staggering £200 million a month in the UK alone, lottery games remain the bread and butter of the gambling market, with more than £8 billion spent last year.
On the surface of things, this might seem totally logical. After all, the prizes from a lottery win, which can easily reach millions or even hundreds of millions of pounds, dwarf even the top prizes from a successful sports wager. Meanwhile, the price of a lottery ticket is fixed, with the top prize being the same no matter what.
Compare this to sports wagers, where the amount you stand to win is directly based on how much of your own cash you have wagered. However, there is one crucial factor in favour of sports betting – odds. Let’s take a closer look at how sports and lottery odds differ from one another.
How lottery odds work
So, how are the odds for the lottery actually calculated? Well, it depends on the game you play. Let’s say you’re playing a standard 6-number lotto game, with five standard numbers and a bonus number. The draw comes from a pool of 59 numbers.
The numbers are drawn from a ball, meaning that they are completely random. As such, no external factor can influence which numbers are drawn. This means that your odds of winning a top prize are based on the odds of drawing the exact six numbers you have picked from the pool of 59 numbers.
At first, this might seem relatively easy, since six goes into 59 less than 10 times. However, your odds of winning are much, much lower than this. You would first need to divide six by 59, which gives you a 0.101% shot.
However, you then need to repeat this process for each individual draw. As such, your odds of winning the Lotto top prize with six numbers come to 1 in 45,057,473. Yet, the odds of winning any prize are as low as 9.3 to 1.
How sports betting odds work
Now, let’s look at sports betting odds. As you can see from the latest football odds at this Sports Book, your odds are given as fractions such as 9/4 odds of FC Bragantino winning an upcoming fixture in the Brasileiro Serie A-League.
This comes out as around a 1 in 3 chance of placing a winning bet, which is a lot higher than anything you will find on the lottery. However, that’s not all there is to it. The appeal of sports betting for many is that you can be strategic about your pick.
The outcome of each game is not random, since factors such as player skill, track record, and even pitch conditions will affect the chance of success. With the right knowledge at your disposal, you can pick your bets based on which team you think has the best shot at winning.
Conversely, it is worth noting that it always pays to bet on the underdog, since odds are higher for those deemed less likely to win, meaning that your potential payout will be higher if you choose them. Whichever way you slice it, your chances of placing a winning sports bet are much, much higher than ever winning the lottery.
The lottery and sports betting each have their own appeal. Some love the total randomness of the lottery, as well as the sky-high prizes for winners. Meanwhile, sports bettors enjoy the element of strategy, as well as the opportunity to support their favourite teams. It all comes down to what you value in a real money game.