Can I become a pro while betting on sports?

Sports betting is both exciting and entertaining. It provides the opportunity not only to see if your favourite team will win but also to place a bet on the outcome for a potential good outcome. While the sports betting sector has seen a rise in active members over the last few years, the regulations and restrictions are also increasing at a rate of knots.

The top question we often see asked is whether betting can be a responsible activity that leads me to become a profi punter. In other words, can sports betting turn me a pro in time? The short answer is yes. However, there are a few specific factors to take into consideration.

To this end, we’re going to take a look at whether or not sports betting ought to be considered a passive or active activity. We’ll also analyse if anyone has become a pro through this gambling system, and what methods they used. Finally, we’ll provide an outline of the qualities that a sports punter needs, as well as some valuable gambling tips for responsible betting.

Gamble ResponsiblyDisclaimer: We cannot guarantee in any way that our readers can become pro gamblers. In this article we simply mention professional punters and the tactics they use. If a strategy works for them that won't necessarily mean it will work for others as well. Read our article as an entertaining piece of content and not as clear-cut guidelines.

Sports betting as a passive or active activity

A few people misunderstand passive and active systems due to the nature of the words employed. While ‘passive’ implies sitting back and waiting for something to happen on its own, ‘active’ gives the impression that the method requires some work or effort. This reasoning is correct to some degree, but it’s also not wholly accurate.

When it comes to sports betting, most gamblers view it as a passive activity. Sure, there’s some work involved. You need to sit and search for the best markets and place your bets. However, calling sports betting an active passtime, simply because you need to participate, is erroneous.

The correct perspective of an active happenings is different. It requires hours of daily work with critical objectives. Therefore, active dividents is one that you receive from running a business or due to permanent employment.

Viewed in this light, you can hardly regard sports betting as an active passtime. Instead, it’s an investment in a bid for the potential of receiving some returns. Once you place that bet, you can sit back and wait for it to mature or fall away. There’s no further active participation on your end, besides waiting to see the result of your bet.

The top pro gamblers

Don’t let anyone fool you into believing that you can’t be responsible in sports betting and still make it big. There are some profi punters in the world who would argue otherwise. These select few have proven that sports betting can be worth it by using specific strategies or by exploiting markets in sportsbooks.

We’re going to briefly highlight five of the most responsible punters in the world before going into the details of which strategies they used.

Tony Bloom: Starlizard

Our UK readers should recognise the name provided above. Bloom runs a betting consultancy firm called Starlizard. The betting syndicate is the largest one in Great Britain.

Matthew Benham

Benham is known for running two football clubs, namely English Brentford FC as well as Danish Midtjylland FC. However, his accumulation of skills and expertise started when he worked as a trader on sportsbook PremierBet for Tony Bloom in 2001. Benham soon stepped out of Bloom’s shadow, adapting his mentor’s strategy into a new system.

Haralabos Voulgaris

Inheriting his father’s love for gambling, Voulgaris hit the jackpot on the NBA Championship in the year 2000. He suffered massive losses in 2004 after a few wrong bets. Instead of giving up, though, he developed a new strategy that made him one of the most relentless gamblers in the world.

Bill Benter

One of the few gamblers to bet on horse racing, Benter is currently an American sports betting sensation. He started in 1980, achieving success in the 30 years since his first major breakthrough. Benter now owns the Benter Foundation that supports charities involved with the arts, health, and education.

Zeljko Ranogajec

Ranogajec is an Australian gambler that also hit it big on horse racing. While starting in blackjack, he walked a rocky path with sports betting before he developed a system that worked. He’s known as ‘The Joker’ in betting circles.

Sports betting strategies used by the pro punters

sports betting strategies
Value Bets

Tony Bloom studied Mathematics at university in Manchester. It was during this time that he sought to develop a sports betting strategy that was low-risk and more responsible. However, it would be years later, as an options trader, that he would discover the worth of value bets.

A value bets system refers to finding an edge in a bookmaker’s odds. By exploiting inaccurate sports betting lines or bookie margins, players can benefit from this edge while betting responsibly. However, this strategy requires the utmost diligence in understanding markets and sportsbook margins.


Although Matthew Benham obtained a degree in physics, he started his career in the finance industry. Eventually, he would work for Bloom as an options trader in the gambling industry. Benham left Bloom, due to differences, and then adapted his value bet system into the SmartOdds strategy.

Benham now offers the SmartOdds system to gamblers all over the world. It relies on statistics while taking advantage of bookmaker margins and inaccurate betting lines. He now owns Matchbook, one of the largest betting exchanges online.

Exploiting inaccurate odds

Haralabos Voulgaris also developed a system for exploiting odds, but for basketball. It all started when he discovered a flaw during an NBA match for the Total Points sports betting markets. He watched coaches and players, quickly learning their strategies and how to take advantage of this edge.

In 2004, when he started losing, he knew he had to change his strategy. This plan of action included placing smaller stakes over an extended timeframe. He named the new model ‘Ewing’. While considering several match statistics, it’s an algorithm simulating basketball games between opponents to determine the best outcome.

Studying statistics and variables

Bill Benter is a mathematician that got into trouble with casinos for counting cards. Several land-based operators eventually banned him from betting in their establishments. Struggling to accept his fate, Benter decided to try his hand at horse racing.

While Benter started with buying as many horse racing cards as possible, it allowed him to study several statistics and variables. Even the smallest variables were necessary, such as what food the horses ate beforehand. He would eventually develop an algorithm that calculated hundreds of variables at a time to give him the best advantage in horse race betting.

In this way, he had the edge over bookies. If the bookmaker stated that a horse’s odds were 4.30, and his system said it was 3.20, then he would wager on the advantage.

Gambling Rebates

Zeljko Ranogajec was also banned from every Australian casino for card-counting in blackjack. After using the same methods in Las Vegas, he struggled to return his winnings to Australia. Eventually, Vegas casinos caught on and also prohibited him from betting in their establishments.

When he returned to Australia, he decided to switch to horse racing. Not long after that, an entertainment group called Tabcorp noticed that he was a high volume punter. They offered him rebates of between eight and ten per cent if he wagered through them.

It was a win-win situation. Tabcorp would make it big on his enormous bets, and Ranogajec would pay less than the average punter for wagers.

While the rebate system still makes him successful, Ranogajec’s success now lies in his strategic approach to sports betting margins and in his advanced betting systems. He has over 300 spotters, bettors and analysts working for him to find the best horse racing markets.

Qualities needed for sports betting

We’re aware that not every gambler can obtain a university degree or develop algorithms. The pro punters mentioned above were exceptional in creating strategies toward financial success in sports betting. While we don’t expect you to do the same, there are some chief qualities that can be adopted by the average bettor who wants to turn pro.

Grasping the concept of value
Where many gamblers go wrong is misunderstanding the value of sports markets. They see ‘value’ as the physical representation of the number. For instance, they view odds of 1.30 as the probability that the favoured team will win and then consider this ‘good value’.

If you can grasp that this concept isn’t the actual value of markets, then you’re one step closer to becoming a sports betting expert. Real sports market worth is when odds are either under – or overvalued by a bookmaker. It’s the primary step in finding better opportunities than the bookie predicts.

Spotting value in sports markets is difficult. If it were effortless, we’d have a few more professional punters in the world. Nonetheless, understanding market value can assist you in deciding which bets to walk away from, and on which high-risk odds to wager.

Mathematically minded
While you don’t need to be a mathematical genius to become pro at sports betting, understanding the fundamental concepts of maths and statistics is essential. You may have heard of the phrase ‘gambling is a number’s game’. That’s because you need to understand outcome probabilities, odds calculations for various possibilities as well as how to determine bookie margins.

Finance management
We shouldn’t have to tell you that sports betting requires some basic knowledge of finance management. After all, wagering is all about spending. Yet, you’d be surprised how many gamblers believe that they can punt without worrying about managing their budget correctly.

It starts with determining what budget you can afford to lose. Not just in the short term, but also in the long run. You may start by getting some bets correct and somehow lose your entire bankroll a few months later.

Finance management and responsible gambling go hand in hand. It’s best to set limits to how much you can afford to lose per month. In the end, sound accounting practices help you calculate whether you genuinely can make pro bets or not.

The intrepid researcher
You shouldn’t fear the prospect of performing substantial research. In all of our examples of the most professional sports punters, all of them used statistics and data to aid them. They were able to beat bookmakers’ odds and predictions by studying numerous sources of information for matches.

Of course, you don’t have to create algorithms and spreadsheets. While signing up to newsletters and blogs is the first step, ensure that you also research several betting tips for the sports in which you wager. Studying the past performance of teams as well as players will also help you in betting like a pro.

Developing your strategy
The final quality that you need is the ability to develop your strategy. Let’s be like Benham. While one approach may work well for one gambler, it may not do so well for you. Determine the strategies that give you the best opportunities at wagering and adapt them in such a way that improves your long-term bets.

Final Words

Yes, with time and effort you can become a pro while sports betting. The examples above prove that it’s been done before, and you can find many more instances on the internet. It should be undeniable that you can obtain pro skills and expertise through sports betting after reading our article.

However, bear in mind that you’ll need certain qualities and strategies to aid you in this goal. Furthermore, there’s always the risk of losing your bankroll, no matter what approach you use. Be cautious with your funds and gamble responsibly.