SureBet Professional betting

Middles

Updated 03 February, 2012 23:30

This section contains general information about another strategy that gives players an advantage over bookmakers – bookmaker middles.

What is a middle?

A middle is something in between a surebet and a regular bet (sometimes even a valuebet).

The similarity to surebets surebets lies in that it is also a combination of two opposite bets placed on the same event. The difference from a surebet is that a middle must always consist of two such bets that can win under certain conditions. In addition, a middle does not guarantee a profit for any outcome.

Let’s take a look at two opposite overlapping bets on a certain event: a match total over 4.5 and a match total under 5.5. If the match total is under 4, only the second bet wins, and the first one loses. If the match total is over 6, the first bet wins and the second loses. No matter the outcome, the loss from one of the bets is compensated by the profit from the other one, thus bringing overall losses to a minimum. However, a total of exactly 5 is a situation that makes looking for middles worth the while – both bets win! It’s called hitting a middle (when both bets in a middle win) and the outcomes that result in it are called middle outcomes.

As a rule, your profit is 60%+ of the total bet amount and your loss never exceeds 15% (within an average bookmaker’s margin). Therefore, a middle is a set of bets on an event that minimizes possible losses and makes it possible to win a lot more than you bet.

The relationship of the possible winning amount when hitting a middle to the possible loss when missing it is called the middle odd.

K = Winning / Loss

This makes middles very similar to regular bets – the player may lose a certain percent of the total bet amount to hit a middle and increase the bet amount by a bonus amount (multiplied by a certain odd) that the player is willing to risk.

How to find middles?

To find a middle, you need to find two bets meeting the following criteria:

  • no matter the outcome, either of the bets wins
  • the bets have an overlapping range of outcomes that cause both bets to win (or at least cause one bet to win partially and the other one to be returned)
  • the value of the odds allows you to distribute the bet amount in a way that allows the player to lose the same small amount for any outcome outside the middle.

To locate such a set of bets, you need to collect the lines from as many bookmakers as possible and go through a maximum of bet combinations to check if they meet the conditions above.

Not only is this hard, meticulous and calculation-intensive work, but the search must be as fast as possible since you want to work with the most up-to-date data.

What types of middles are there?

Middles are differentiated by the following characteristics:

  • types of bets involved
  • bet behavior in a middle
  • middle value

The main types of middles (by the types of bets involved) are Total – Total and Handicap – Handicap. For example:

Over(3.5) – Under(4.5)
H1H2

Equivalent bets allow you to make more complex middles:

H1 (1.5) – 2
1X – X2
1X – H2 (0.5)

etc.

The following types of middles can be distinguished by the behavior of bets in a middle:

  • both bets win: H1 (0.5) – H2 (0.5); both bets win in case of a draw
  • only one bet wins, the other bet is fully returned: H1 (0) – H2 (0.5); in case of a draw, the first bet is returned, the second one wins
  • both bets partially win: H1 (0.25) – H2 (0.25); in case of a draw, both bets win 50%.
  • one bet partially wins and the other one is returned in full: H1 (0) – H2 (0.25); in case of a draw, the first bet is returned completely, while only a half of the other bet is returned. The other half wins.

There are also middle surebets with guaranteed wins. In these cases, losses are negative, i.e. they always win. These surebets have a guaranteed profit around a couple of percent and a profit of 50% or more when a middle is hit.

Middle evaluation

If we look at middles as bets that make the player risk a certain amount to win with a certain odd, we will probably want to ask the following question: is this odd worth risking your money?
To answer this question, we must first assess the chance of hitting a middle. If the multiplication of this value by the middle odd is higher than 1, this middle is worth trying. Such middles are called overestimated middles. This approach makes working with middles similar to using valuebets.
To assess the chance of hitting a middle, you have to sum up the chances of each outcome comprising the middle and subtract 100% from the resulting amount.
Underestimated middles occur quite often even within the same bookmaker. The underestimation value is nearly equal to the bookmaker’s margin. It means that playing all the middles you can find is like betting blindly. This is a losing strategy from a long-term perspective. Playing overestimated middles, on the other hand, is a winning strategy in the long run. That is why middles require a very careful evaluation of your chances of hitting them.

During an automated search, our system assesses the chances of hitting middles and filters out the obviously underestimated ones. This process is identical to that for valuebets.

Pros and cons of playing middles

Middles combine the advantages and drawbacks of surebets and valuebets.

Pros

  • The player risks a little to win a lot.
  • Regular middles occur a lot more often than surebets.
  • Betting on overestimated middles gives you an advantage over the bookmaker.
  • Betting on surebet middles guarantees profit in any case and considerable profit when hitting a middle.
  • Playing middles raises less suspicion with bookmarkers than surebetting because of the more natural behavior of players.

Cons

  • No guaranteed winning when playing on regular middles.
  • Overestimated middles are hard to find.
  • Prior to placing your bets, you have to check all middle shoulders for validity and compliance with set limits.

What are the potential problems?

It’s harder to identify a player who’s using middles than to identify a surebetter, for instance. However, you should be aware of the same potential problems as when betting on surebets.
In the long run, you will be winning only when betting on overestimated middles, since regular middles give no guarantee of consistent winning.