Value Bets

For Intermediate

It is definitely possible that you may have heard the term value being thrown around by punters, if you are new to the world of betting, you might be a little confused as to what they are talking about. The premise is quite straightforward. Value betting is basically when the bookmaker’s odds are actually less than the actual probability of the team winning.It is essential to keep in mind that no betting provider in their right mind would offer you this sort of advantage. This will occur for a few different reasons; the most likely cause would have to be due to an error. Bookies have to focus on thousands and thousands of bets and not just this one. This is a mistake that, should any bettors be paying close attention, can take advantage of. 

Value betting can be done when betting on sports, however, it can also be achieved when betting on poker, but for the purpose of this article we will just focus on the sports betting aspect. 

Facts to focus on when planning a value bet

  • Identifying an edge over the bookies
  • Sometimes bookies make mistakes you can use
  • Finding odds which are much better than you see the probability for

Identifying an edge over the bookies

This is exactly what you are looking for when seeking a value bet. This will vary depending on which bookies you are using. For this article we are going to use football as an example as it is simple to understand and explain. 

won the ball

When a bookie makes a mistake when it comes to the odds attached to a certain result, most fans will be able to make a calculated guess as to whether or not these odds are either higher than they should be or lower than they should be. This is where you'll find your advantage over the bookmaker. In order to be successful, punters should be able to identify these odds and bet on them regardless of what the theoretical outcome is meant to be.

Value bets rely heavily on probability. The bookies job is basically exactly what your, the bettor’s, job is - making an informed and calculated decision as to how likely a certain outcome is to happen. Most new punters will think that betting on your favourite is a sure-fire way to a value bet, when in actual fact, this is not the case. The favourites, even though they are most likely to win the match will not provide punters with the best odds. The odds on them will undoubtedly be extremely low, therefore we can assume that this is not a good value bet. 

The best example of value bet would have to be a coin toss. When tossing a coin there is a 50% chance that it will land on heads and a 50% chance that it will land on tails, so they have an equal probability of happening. To break this down even further for you, this is how the formula would look for predicting the odds. Let us just say you place a $10 bet and the odds of landing on tails is 2.15.

Amount won x probability of winning - amount lost x probability of losing.

                                             (11.50 x 0.5) - (10 x 0.5) = 0.75

This basically shows you, after you have calculated the odds, that you can expect a 0.75 value, which as you can is higher than the 0.50 chance you had initially into a $0.75 profit for every bet made. This is what it means to make a value bet. 

How to make sure you're going about value betting the right way

Value betting may seem like the simple, easy option, but it is actually more of a science than an art. Even though there are sites which will help you calculate the odds of probability, it is advisable to do so yourself as well. This will ensure that when you notice that a bookie’s odds are off, you can immediately take advantage of their blunder.

Sports betting odds and bets

Bookmakers are not the same thing as a betting exchange. Let us take a look at what makes them different. Bet exchanges are actually more like a stock exchange than a bookie. The bookie forces you to take their odds, while the betting exchange will allow you to change these odds. This is achieved by the fact that you are betting against another punter and not the bookies. If you feel that your team is more likely to win than the odds provided, you are able to request a bigger pot by making a bigger bet. The opponent will either think the same or they may think your odds are wrong. This way you can win larger amounts when employing a value betting strategy.

The mere fact that you are able to both back and lay the outcome is certainly what makes betting exchanges that much more exciting than their bookmaker counterpart. 

There is a plethora of sportsbook apps available that will offer value betting options. Remember that value bets are not necessarily a betting type, it is instead a bet made where the probability of an outcome is not portrayed correctly by the odds offered. The fact that this will always be harder than you might think cannot be stated enough. It takes more than a bit of time and it requires an analytical mind to find discrepancies which could be miniscule.

Conclusion: When to put what you've learnt into practice

Soccer player ready

Now that you have learnt that value betting is more about calculating the probability of an outcome with more accuracy than the bookmakers in order to maximise your chances of creating a successful bet, we can only hope that your next value bet will yield winning results. To summarise what we have learnt, favourites even though they are more likely to win, do not always count as a value bet. If you have calculated the odds yourself and notice a difference between your assumed results and the bookmaker’s, that is when you place a value bet. These bets are not massive pay-outs at, however, they will accumulate over a period of time. So, even though you are not winning life changing sums of money, you can be sure that you are more likely to string together multiple wins which is just as good for your morale, betting account, and future profits.