What is the Best Approach to Betting on Virtual Sports?

Written By Ian John on September 12, 2018

One of the most unusual things about Virtual Sports is that it sits in a unique position when it comes to gambling or betting in general. On the one hand, the way Virtual Sports is set up makes it feel and play like you are betting on a real-life sport. The way you place your bets (by clicking on the odds and adding them to your bet slip) is the same as you would place a sports bet.

Yet in other ways, Virtual Sports are very much more like a slot game. Each Virtual Sports event only takes a short period to resolve (usually between 3 and 5 minutes from start to finish, depending on the company you bet with) and there is also a random number generator at the heart of each Virtual Sport, the same as you would find if you took a look at the engine of what drives all online slot games today.

So, in the end, you are left with something of a dichotomy. On the one hand, you have how Virtual Sports looks and plays as a replica of real sports betting and yet underneath that veneer of the game, the actual mechanics of the game mean it is far more like a slot game than it is a real-life sport.

This is more than simply a quirk of Virtual Sports that you can smile at and ignore. It does have repercussions when it comes to how you should approach betting on Virtual Sports. Can you bet on them as you would a sporting event, or should you take an approach that would be more customary when playing on a slot game? Or is there a middle-ground between the two where you can use aspects of both forms of betting to your benefit in Virtual Sports?

There’s also the fact to consider that people will bet on things in their own style and with amounts of money that they are comfortable with. So, while what is outlined in the rest of this article may be pertinent to some or even the majority of punters, there will always be the exception to this rule for a number of reasons.

To answer this question, we need to consider a number of key questions and answer these in full to understand the best way to approach betting on Virtual Sports.

  1. How do I want to bet?

By this question, we are looking at the type of betting that the person in question tends to enjoy. Are you a punter who tends to place one single large bet every so often with confidence that your bet will win (perhaps on the lower odds selections), or are you a punter who tends to bet a much smaller amount and either makes lots of smaller value bets, or makes a small bet with very high odds in the hope of turning a small initial stake, into a large profit?

What is abundantly clear is that given the volatile nature of Virtual Sports compared to real life sports, where the punter can use any number of indicators and factors to help inform their bet, punters that place a single, large bet are going to be hugely at risk of losing their money in Virtual Sports. The games, with that random element involved, are just too volatile for this particular form of betting to be profitable over the longer term, even if you get lucky and land a winner now and then.

So for me, if you are someone who likes to place their one £50 bet each week on a single selection, then Virtual Sports is not something you should try to bet on in a similar manner.

However, if you are a punter that likes to place a larger number of smaller bets, particularly those for smaller or even micro-stakes, then this particular method of betting is one that does translate well onto Virtual Sports.

These types of bets, especially on bets such as accumulator or other long-odds multiple selection bets, are very tough to hit on a regular basis, which is why punters tend to bet smaller amounts. Given the volatility of Virtual Sports, this is a sensible approach to take as it means that when you do lose, you will only lose a small amount.

Of course, with Virtual Sports, you can complete a number of different types of bets (including accumulators, as well as forecast and tricast bets on some sports) and these bets in particular offer the smaller odds punters a chance to stake small and win big, if they can select the right combination of winners on their coupon.

It is also worth noting that if you like accumulator bets in particular, these can be attempted on all Virtual Sports games, but if you like forecast or tricast bets, then you are best focusing on the racing-based Virtual Sports offerings, such as horseracing, greyhounds, speedway and cycling as these will offer you a chance to enjoy this form of bet, whereas game-based sports, such as Virtual Football, will not.

However, Virtual Football does offer you a chance to bet on football-related markets and some of these bets can be longer odds options too, so it is worth checking out, especially if football betting is your favourite form of betting activity.

  1. What mindset should I have when betting on Virtual Sports?

If you are coming at Virtual Sports from the position of a slot player, then you will be fine playing Virtual Sports if you adopt a similar view to your bets as you do your spins on the slots. Sure winning is nice, but you realise that you won’t win on every spin and that you may need to speculate in order to land a winner.

If you are a punter that comes to Virtual Sports from a background of having a generally successful time of it when sports betting, then you may need to adjust your mindset somewhat to more of that of a slot gamer. In real life sports, form, the ability of players, weather conditions, officials, managers or indeed any number of other factors can influence a game or race and in many cases, you can use your knowledge of this to inform your bets and allow you to make better decisions on who to back.

None of this is possible in Virtual Sports betting as it is simply based on a handicap system and then random number generation to decide the results. As you cannot predict something that is genuinely random (no matter what the so-called experts say with their systems and other such nonsense), then you need to move from expecting to win, towards hoping to win and accepting that there will be more losses.

Once you realise this, then you quickly begin to understand why people who bet smaller amounts more often, tend to enjoy Virtual Sports betting far more than those that bet higher amounts less frequently.

  1. Longer Odds or Shorter Odds selections, or a mix of both?

Some punters like to back the favourites in events, others prefer the thrill of backing a rank outsider and potentially changing a small stake into a sizeable win. Others like to mix up their betting, backing the favourites and mid-range selections in the main, but having the occasional punt on a longer odds selection when you feel the time and conditions are right.

Given that there is a large random element in Virtual Sports, you would assume that a mix of both forms of betting would be a wise move and to a degree this is the case. But it is also a fact that Virtual Sports competitors, be they football teams, horses, dogs, motor cars or whatever form of sport you elect to bet on, are handicapped in some way against each other.

It is this handicap which allows for the different odds for each selection and gives the sport a more realistic feel. You do not get a real-life horse race with 10 runners where every selection is a 9/1 chance.

So, while betting on a variety of odds of selections is a sensible policy, the handicap system in Virtual Sports means that you are more likely to see shorter odds winners of most events, than you are longer odds. If longer odds selections won the majority of events, nobody would ever back a short-priced selection.

As such, I think a sensible strategy to employ here is to make the majority of your bets on the shorter priced options, but when the time is right (maybe if there has been a number of events without a longer odds winner), make a side bet on those big-priced selections from time to time.

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Ian John

Ian John is an expert across many realms of online gambling, both in US and international markets. Based in the UK, Ian covers sports betting, poker, and the regulated online casino and esports betting markets for a wide number of industry-focused publications.

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