# Why 52.4% is the most important percentage in sports gambling.

Albert Einstein putatively claimed that compound interest was the most powerful force in the universe, declaring that: “He who understands it, earns it…He who doesn’t…pays for it.”

The simple mathematical logic supporting compound interest’s power to exponentially grow capital over time is irrefutable. Anyone in finance, or with a cursory understanding of bean-counting, knows that time *is *money. In a similar vain, the fact that sports gamblers must *win* or *cover* bets over *at least* 52.4% of the time is an inevitable hurdle all sports gamblers must clear to be profitable.

# What’s the deal with 52.4%?

The economics of sports gambling is constructed so that the *house *or *sportsbooks* typically require players to wager at least 1.10x to win x. Put another way, most bookmakers give 10 to 11 odds — forcing the gambler to risk $11 to win $10 contingent on the outcome of a binary event (e.g., win or lose, cover the spread or not). If your team wins or covers, you win $10 (in addition to your $11 depository wager); if not, the bookmaker keeps your $11. And if the outcome is a push (e.g. the margin of victory = the spread), no money is exchanged.

To better illustrate this concept and explain the derivation of 52.4%, let’s turn to an expected value formula [*see*…