The Complete Guide to Creating Sports Betting Models for Beginners

Betting on sports isn’t just an incredibly fun and interactive way to watch your favorite games — it can actually be incredibly profitable, too.

Gamblers can win thousands of dollars when placing bets, and as of 2018, sports betting is now legal in most US states, making it more popular than ever.

Of course, making consistent profits is easier said than done. It can also be quite dangerous for people who bet randomly or don’t use a sports betting strategy correctly.

Are you an aspiring sports bettor but need some help getting started? If so, check out this article for some tips on creating sports betting models for beginners. 

What Is a Betting Model? 

Believe it or not, most score projections, odds, and win probabilities are generated by simulating games between teams or players. Because of the legalization of sports betting in the US, predictive modeling has grown incredibly fast in the betting world.

A sports betting model is a system that can identify unbiased reference points that can help you predict the probability of an outcome for a specific game. Bookies use them to set odds and highly experienced bettors use them to exploit “holes” in sports markets.

A successful model should be able to highlight profitable betting opportunities, allowing you to make predictions even more accurately than a bookmaker. Using a model is a great way to help sports bettors take the emotions out of their choices and make better decisions that are based on numbers and facts.

Sound too good to be true? Well, you’re half right. Building a sports betting model can be very difficult and time-consuming to do. The best bookmakers in sports betting are experts at calculating probabilities and setting odds.

The thing is, all sportsbooks apply two factors to their odds — the projected (before they release odds) and actual (after they release odds) money placed. This means that they start with one calculation for a market, then move away from it to balance their books and guarantee a profit. 

That’s where a successful betting model comes in. It is basically a way to exploit opportunities that arise from this situation. If you can create one successfully, you can gain access to opportunities that the general public would never consider. 

Do Sports Betting Models Actually Work?

Yes! A well-designed sports betting model works because it finds profitable betting opportunities that other people can’t find. Sports betting is a relative competition against other bettors and bookmakers.

Most people don’t use any probability-based betting method. When you think of it like that, people that use a sports betting model have a huge advantage over those that don’t use numbers. 

The biggest mistake that most sports bettors make is making wagers based on emotions or intuition and gut feelings. Of course, those things can’t be measured and analyzed.

Sports betting models, on the other hand, rely on cold, hard, unbiased facts to create successful bets.

A well-produced sports betting model is just one of many expert strategies, like sure bets, that experts use to make consistent earnings through sports betting. 

Steps to Creating a Sports Betting Model

Although the steps to creating a sports betting model seem simple enough, it takes a ton of knowledge, experience, and persistence to get it right. Let’s go through an overview of how to create a successful system.

1. Start With a Betting Theory or Underlying Principle

The first and most important step is to start with an idea, theory, or underlying hypothesis. To do this, you need to have a lot of experience and knowledge about a particular sport or league.

To do this, you can ask questions like:

Does cold weather really affect how many points get scored in a game?

Do teams on the second night of a back-to-back play worse than normal?

After you decide on the question that serves as the basis for your theory, mine as much betting model data as possible to find the answer. By simply answering the question, “Does this make sense?” you can lead your theory to stronger predictions. 

Here’s an example of an underlying principle that can be used for a sports betting system. 

As an NBA fan, maybe you start to notice that players don’t play as well on Sunday morning or early afternoon games. Maybe you venture that players aren’t used to playing so early compared to other late-night games throughout the week. 

It could be wrong, but it’s a useful starting point for a sports betting model. The goal for you at this point is to find a trend that most other people and even bookmakers might miss.

Yes – if bookmakers are missing it, it means that they won’t be easy to find. They usually aren’t obvious or groundbreaking. If it were obvious, people would change their gambling habits to address it and bookies would address it in the odds. 

It won’t be easy to find an underlying principle. It will take constant trial, research, and failure. But keep in mind that finding one small successful theory could lead to a windfall of cash.

2. Add More Conditions

After you’ve tested and researched your underlying principle, you need to come up with other conditions that could affect the outcome that you’re aiming for. 

Let’s keep going with our NBA example to give you a clearer picture.

You decide to focus on the totals market based on the assumption that NBA players don’t play as well on early Sunday games. Here are a few other factors that could change the outcome of your theory, whether for the good or bad:

Injuries – If a high-powered offensive player or two is injured or suspended for a certain game, this would help your theory. However, the same can be said if a great defensive player is out of the game. 

Recent play – NBA players tend to be quite streaky. If a player is recently playing very well or not could affect the outcome of your underlying principle.

Team strategy – Different teams deploy different strategies and personalities that fit their players best. If two slow, defensive-minded teams play each other, it would result in fewer possessions, working in your favor.

There are several other factors that would affect the NBA totals market. Most betting sites will have already considered and worked these factors in their odds as well, so you need to do it too. 

Go through every step to prepare your underlying principles as much as possible. 

Want to see a real sports betting model spreadsheet for the NFL? Check one out here.

3. Collecting Data

Your model needs data so you can integrate it into your algorithm. There are two ways to collect data: get it by yourself or use online published data.

The good news is there is a ton of data available on the internet. Some are free, while others are provided through paid services.

4. Build Your Sports Betting Model

Now you need to actually build out your model. There are several tools to choose from, including online calculators, Java, MatLab, Excel, R programming, or VBA. 

You don’t need to be a programming expert to build a sports betting model, but the more you understand how the tool functions, the better you will be at testing and analyzing data.

5. Test Your Model

After you’ve put together all of your conditions to go along with your underlying principle, it’s time to test it. It’s important to thoroughly test your sports betting model before you invest any real money into it. 

There are three stages that can help you test your theory successfully: backtesting, testing on paper, and finally real testing.


Backtesting is the process in which you test your idea on data from previous events. By doing this, you can see how your model would have done in the past.

Although it is a solid way to test your concept, don’t spend an excessive amount of time here. If you spend all your time adjusting your model based on past events, you could be wasting time on something that won’t work in the future.

Test your model on some events. If it works out and shows promise, move on to the next step.

Test on Paper

The next step is to use your sports betting model for future events. Simulate what you would normally do when putting a bet down by using real odds from bookmakers that you would use. 

This way, you can see if your system produces winning bets without any risk of losing your investment. 

Don’t cheat yourself, though. It can be tempting to skew the results without having any of the real pressure of betting with risk. 

Real Testing with Wagers

Finally, once you think you have a winner, it’s time to start placing real bets. Start out small and keep testing it out.

It’s important to note that you need a large sample size before you can really tell if your sports betting model is a winner. You’ll need to make a few hundred wagers before you can even begin to see real trends and results.

After seeing consistent wins, you can finally start to use your brand new sports betting model as a system.

More Tips for Creating Sports Betting Models

A successful sports betting model is always a work in progress. Keep building your system to create more accurate results. Here are some more tips for creating a successful sports betting model.

Consistency, Consistency, Consistency

When building a sports betting model, the most important thing to follow is consistency. 

One common mistake that people make when it comes to building a betting system is finding a trend that has a high win rate and ROI but doesn’t actually win consistently.  

Stay Disciplined

Sports are naturally an emotional roller-coaster that leads us to make decisions with our hearts rather than our minds. 

When you’re testing and using your sports betting model, it’s critical that you stay disciplined and take all subjectivity out of your selection. Make a set of clear conditions that creates betting suggestions. ONLY make a bet if it meets the criteria for your underlying principle and additional conditions.

Don’t make any exceptions to the rules that you create. This includes making bets based on emotions or a “hunch” that you might have a winner. The only way to measure the success of your system is to objectively follow the criteria you create.

Only Use the Best Betting Sites

It’s true that the legal sports betting marketplace is pretty crowded nowadays, but it’s important to not mess around with lower-tier betting sites. By using only the best betting sites, you can ensure that you’re getting the most rewarding conditions available.

Some factors to take into consideration when choosing which sportsbooks are right for you include:

  • How early the lines are released
  • Which ones have the best odds
  • Which sites offer a break on juice
  • Loyalty programs
  • Bonuses and promotions

Some of the most popular US sports betting apps nowadays include DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, Caesars, and PointsBet. Do proper research to find the best ones for you.

Shop Around for the Best Lines and Odds

Diversify your sportsbooks. If you only use one, you’re not getting the best lines possible. Join a few different sportsbooks so you can always find the highest odds and best lines.

Always Look to Improve Your System

All models can be continuously improved with a few tweaks. Make sure to keep testing and experimenting to make your system even more accurate.

Key Takeaways

Creating sports betting models is not an easy task to do. Only the most knowledgeable and persistent bettors will be able to build a successful system. But if you have the determination to create one, you’ll be able to reap the rewards for years to come.

Stay patient and don’t get discouraged if you aren’t able to achieve what you’re looking for the first few times. With enough data, research, and testing, you can find and perfect your sports betting model. 


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