What Percentage of Sports Bettors Win? Become a Winner!

By Andrew D

June 30, 2022

Close to 50% of all adults in the USA have placed bets on a sporting event at least once in their life.

That’s quite a staggering fact when you think about it.

77% of them said they had placed a bet on football! (the real kind where people actually run into each other rather than rolling around pretending that somebody touched them)

There is clearly something inherent in around half of us that leads us to want to take risks if there is a chance of greater rewards.

It’s the reward that varies. Thrillseekers are nothing new, it’s just that we’re all wired a little differently. One member of the team here would sacrifice almost anything to be able to ride an insanely powerful motorcycle or strum a 1950 Fender Broadcaster.
Another would rather stroll through a paddock ‘appreciating’ racehorses. Whatever.

Horses for courses as they say…

Either way, it’s a virtual certainty that the vast majority of those people who did put their money where their mouths were, did so for a short-term thrill and not as part of some intricate betting strategy.

Betting is no longer confined to the limits of Las Vegas and the phenomenon looks set to grow and grow.

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There are college football and March Madness enthusiasts who go mad once a year. They place bets that have about as much chance of coming off as there being an announcement that flights to the moon are now free with cans of cola.

Most people can enjoy a casual relationship with betting sports.

It enhances their experience in some way. They are not risking life-changing amounts and will pretty rapidly move on when they lose.

Then there are those who regularly place enough bets to represent a significant financial outlay. They fail to break even (more of that later) and pour more bets on top to desperately try and recoup the money that they risked but couldn’t afford to lose. Pretty soon they find themselves in the doldrums or on Skid Row (18 and life. What a tune)

It is amazingly difficult to reach a point where you have an edge over the bookmakers on a regular enough basis to be in profit. The system is designed to work against you.

Do you think sportsbooks are in it for their love of the craft like luthiers or lexicographers?

Come on

So – it’s not worth bothering then? Might as well give up now?

Not so fast. We said it was difficult, not impossible.


In order to become a professional sports bettor, it is not enough to simply win more bets than you lose.

There’s that pesky little matter of the “juice” or “vig” (the vigorish) that the no good, down and dirty bookmaker will charge you just for the privilege of handing over your sweet, sweet moolah and adding it to his own bank account.

This is typically 4.55% of the total amount you wager.

Of course, this extra fee pushes your break-even point higher than it would naturally be.


So, even if you can find enough of an edge to ensure 53% of your picks are translated into winning bets then you are beating the sportsbooks.


We’re about to explain why the tactic is not to beat them by a huge amount but by hundreds and hundreds of smaller amounts.

Think of it as the “Death of a thousand cuts”.

Well, that’s kinda gruesome so you don’t have to think of it that way.

But it is a useful analogy…

You might be forgiven for thinking that pro bettors are winning 60% or even more of their bets.


Professional sports or “sharp” bettors can very seldom sustain a long-term winning percentage higher than 55 percent.


Statistically, it’s almost impossible. It’s often as low as 53 or 54 percent.

We’ll spare you the mathematical equation but just take it from us:

The chances of any individual having a win rate of 70% in the long run (the study uses 1,000 games as its example) is:

Less than one in a trillion

Read that again.

Your chances are better of making it to play in the NBA yourself.

People find this hard to believe. It can’t be that low. They’re experts.

They have studied the form and know the game inside out.

And they do

But all that does is give them an edge. It’s never going to be enough to drive their winning percentage much higher than that.

Professional sports bettors are in it for the long run.

They don’t sweat their mistakes or lost bets.

Accepting them as part of a bigger picture and continuing to move forwards is key.

They don’t stay loyal to one betting site if another can hook them up with better odds.

Fans-turned-sports-bettors might be in a no-win situation because they cannot help but allow emotion to bias their decisions.

And that might be where the real truth of the matter lies.

Professional gamblers are focused on one thing and one thing only.

If you can’t guess what that is then this business really isn’t for you…

They might not even be interested in basketball. It’s a job. A hook. An edge.

A profitable sports bettor needs little more than a betting model that works for them (see our article ‘How to build an NBA betting model‘) and the will to see it through. How they crunch numbers will vary wildly between any two bettors.

But they will share one common goal and one way to achieve that goal.

Putting money on the lines and games that their betting system leads them to believe will collectively return more money than they lose.


The Jump Hub is not only about the NBA. Here, we review some of The Best NCAA Basketball Teams.

Different studies have reached conflicting results over the years but it is generally accepted that somewhere between 3-5% of all sports bettors are profitable in the long run.

That doesn’t tell us how much profit they made. Some of them can become very successful gamblers, while some only take home modest winnings each year.

Most of these gamblers with profitable winning percentages have dedicated years of their lives perfecting systems that work for them.

It takes a particular kind of mentality to pull it off and even then there are no guarantees. Except that it will take a lot of time, energy, and trial and error.


Before you go any further, check out our article – ‘How to manage your bankroll in sports betting

It’s not an exaggeration to say that we believe this holds more importance than anything else. How you protect and utilize your bankroll is critical to your success.

We have met and talked to a good few professional sports bettors in our time.

Lots of them are cagey and reticent to discuss their methods and models.

But all of them were happy to agree that if you don’t have a sensible strategy for managing your bankroll then it is all over before you even begin.


Generally speaking, non-professional gamblers make the disastrous mistake of risking too high a percentage of their total bankroll on individual bets.

The trick is to spread the risk thinly over a large enough number of bets. It is the easiest way to spot a non-professional gambler as they will often lay fewer than 10 bets a week and risk a lot more than 2% on each one.


Let’s look at a hypothetical situation and talk about how a professional gambler might behave.

After scouring the data and statistics and poring over every article and news update she can find, our profitable bettor spots a pattern. In this scenario, the home team starts the same lineup on returning home after losing 2 games on the road. Looking back at 7 years of their records, this situation has resulted in them winning their next home game 59% of the time.

From that nugget of information comes the seeds of a new betting strategy. Find upcoming games that exactly mirror those of the model and bet on them.

Does she immediately jump in and start throwing money at the idea?


That would be amateurish. Much more statistical analysis is required.

It may turn out to be an anomaly that only this team displays. That’s fine – she can make note of it and place bets every time they repeat that situation. But it is hardly likely to happen many times in a regular season.

Now, if it turns out that the finding can be relied upon 59% of the time for all teams?


Now she’s got something genuinely noteworthy.

This is one reason why pro sports bettors tend to keep obsessively detailed records of their bets. If you’re in the habit of analyzing every piece of information that you can get your hands on then your own moments of success and failure are critical to the wider picture.

We regularly review the latest odds for the NBA futures markets, including the coveted NBA Sixth Man Award Betting market.


It is a fact that, even without the buffer of added vigorish, sports books have way too much data at their disposal to be taken down by gamblers who are merely going off fan loyalty or gut feelings.

Almost any modern sports gambler will have their own statistics and even algorithms that they use to their advantage. The numbers don’t lie. So if you base your system on those instead of any feeling that might be warped by emotion, you are getting closer to the way you’re going to beat them.

Developing a system is not a new concept. Our team of aging hacks here at The Jump Hub each has their own ludicrously outdated and inefficient version.

But if you can get a grip on the modern technology and programs that can give you an even more statistically sound base level then so much the better.


If you’re the kind of betting enthusiast who loves to spice up a game with a bit of skin in the game then that’s great. We always advocate that sports betting should first and foremost be done for entertainment purposes.

It just means that turning your enthusiasm for risking some dollars on your chosen sporting event is probably never going to bring you fame and fortune.

But that’s ok.


  1. Sports betting makes up 30-40% of the global betting market.

  2. Around 1/3 of the gross sports betting wins in the whole world come from Asia.

  3. The global sports betting industry reached a market size of $203 billion in 2020. It employs around 200 thousand people across over 230 thousand businesses.

  4. NFL is the most-watched sport in the USA with 30% of the population tuning in. The NBA is 2nd with 24%. Horse racing is 3rd with 20%

  5. A belief that betting at high odds will bring the most profit is the most common misconception about sports betting. As we have discussed, it simply isn’t so.

  6. The hardest mainstream US sport to bet on is baseball. It is largely unpredictable and has long seasons with performance-related issues.


As far as we’re concerned here at The Jump Hub, if you truly believe that you can earn a decent living picking winners with enough accuracy that your winning percentage is consistently around 55%, we wish you the best of luck.


But the rest of us are more likely to meet the Queen of England.

When the fun stops, stop

Stick to the golden rules

  • Never bet more than you can afford to lose

  • When the fun stops, stop

Do your best to treat it like a fun hobby. If it becomes more serious than that then you’d better start treating it seriously or prepare yourself for heartache.

You have been warned

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