Whether you are betting on Rivalry for a fun treat or experimenting and learning about esports betting, we can all agree that winning and profitability makes the whole thing a hell of a lot more fun. In this article we’re going to take a look at a key metric in identifying what a profitable bet looks like before you make it, the breakeven point.
A couple components of the breakeven point that must first be understood are implied probability and true win rates.
Implied probabilities are the odds converted into percentages, which include the bookmaker margin. Simply divide 1 by the decimal odds and then multiply by 100.
True win rates are how often each team playing in a match will actually win the match, If two teams played 1000 times how often would each team win? If each team played 1,000,000 times how often would each team win?
For example, if two perfectly evenly matched teams are playing against each other, their true win rates will each be 50%. If a team of professional LoL players played against a team of people who had never played the game before, the pro’s true win rate would likely be 100%. These are the extreme examples and small to large favorites will fall anywhere in between.
With how much inherent luck is involved in the outcome of a given match, we must make every bet with the intent of showing a profit in the long run, not a small sample of just a match or two. The breakeven point is the minimum true win rate required on the side you are betting on in order to win back the amount of your bet. If the true win rate is greater than the breakeven point you will earn a return on your bet greater than 0. If the true win rate is lower your bet will show a negative return.
Since some bets will pay out more than even money, you have to win less often than 50% of the time to break even. On the flip side, bets that pay less than even money will require winning more often than 50% to get your money back.
Let’s look at an example. Vitality has listed decimal odds of 10:1 in their match against Misfits, if you recall from our Understanding Odds article decimal odds give the total payout: profit plus original wager. So a $10 bet would payout $100 if Vitality win, let’s check out the breakeven point:
10/(90+10) = 10/100 = 10%.
Therefore, if Vitality win 10% of the time you will break even on your $10 bet. Since we only care about the long run, if Vitality’s true win rate is 10% you will break even. If their true win rate is above 10%, you will profit!
Another way to apply the breakeven point is by doing this calculation in reverse. You've done your research and have determined that TSM’s true win rate against Immortals is 62%. And then of course Immortals true win rate against TSM would be 38%.
Let’s figure out what the required odds would be for you to be able to make a profitable bet on each side.
62% = 1 ÷ Total Payout
0.62x = 1
X = 1.613
38% = 1 ÷ Total Payout
0.38x = 1
X = 2.632
Since decimal odds give the total payout, solving for X gives us what the minimum decimal odds would be required to break even. If the odds available to you on Rivalry are above that, you have opportunity to make a profitable bet. Does this mean you're always going to win? Of course not. But you're tipping the scales ever so slightly in your favor. If you're skillful with calculating your own true win rate independently, then you can absolutely become a profitable bettor.