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What Percentage of Sports Bettors Actually End Up Ahead?

Scott Morris | April 2, 2022
what percentage of bettors win long term?

The sports betting market in the U.S. continues to grow. The market doubled in size in 2021 as Americans wagered almost $53 billion. The increase comes mainly as a result of 11 more states legalizing some form of sports betting. There are now 30+ of 50 states with some type of legal sports betting and a few more states are close to passing new legislation to do the same.

As the number of sports bettors increases – studies showed that almost 20 percent of adults 21 and older placed at least one bet per month – the question that comes to mind is, “How many of these bettors win?” If you think about it, how many sports bettors – whether they bet once a month or more – end up the year in the black?


Professional Sports Bettors

There are those in the market that bet for a living. These are your “sharp” bettors and smart bettors often watch what the sharps are doing. While you might think professional bettors win 65 or even 70 percent of the time, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Most professional sports bettors in the long-term have winning percentages closer to 55 percent. Oftentimes, these long-term numbers are even 53 to 54 percent.  Those that say they are winning 65 or 70 percent of the time are sadly mistaken. It’s just not sustainable.

Now, there are some bettors that have gone on ridiculous runs and may have ended a particular season or even a year between 60 and 65 percent. Sustaining such high numbers over longer periods of time is a real anomaly. That’s why sportsbooks are still in business and will not be closing their doors anytime soon. 

what percentage of sports bettors actually win?


The Average Bettor

There isn’t a ton of data available about the average bettor and that’s probably a good thing. The magic number, of course, is to win 52.4 percent of the time assuming odds of -110. Bettors must win 52.4 percent of bets when wagering $11 to win $10 just to break even. 

Considering professional bettors – the best in the business – typically have winning percentages of 55 to 60 percent, it’s probably safe to say that the average sports bettor does not end a year on a positive note. The same could be said over the long run. Winning more than 55 percent of your bets in a year doesn’t happen often, if at all, for the average sports bettor.


Numbers to Keep in Mind

In a two-year study of online casino gamblers, 11 percent ended up in with a profit. The average winnings? Less than $150.

Eighty percent of the online casino’s revenue came from 10.7 percent of the gamblers. The bottom 10 percent – those who placed the fewest wagers – had the highest winning percentage. Seventeen percent were winners. One player played an average of three days per week. The player made 1000 wagers per day at an average of $9 per bet. He won 16 percent of the days he placed wagers. Over the two years, he lost $110,000.

Sports betting is like anything else. When done in moderation, it is a fun, exciting activity that anyone can enjoy if they do it responsibly. While you might not end up ahead at the end of the year, you can still enjoy the thrill of placing wagers on your favorite games.

However, it should be noted that winning at sports betting in a lifetime is not an impossible task. SBA has seen the backend at prominent sportsbooks and there are players who consistently win year after year. Recently, we saw figures for a guy who withdrew $25K. When asked about that player, the sportsbook operator said “yeah, he’s a regular withdrawer.”

ALSO SEE: What Percentage of Americans Approve of Sports Betting?


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