“What is value betting and how does it work?” is one of the first questions you should be asking if you are serious about betting. That’s because value betting is one of the most profitable long-term betting strategies you can use when betting on football or any other sport.
Our guide will tell you everything there is to know about value betting and how it works. Moreover, we will tell you how to determine whether a bet is valuable before placing it to help you beat bookies.
Six Quick Facts About Value in Football Betting
- Value betting is the most efficient long-term betting strategy.
- Higher odds mean bigger potential payout, but not necessarily better value.
- You should avoid bets with a negative expected value.
- You can use value betting at the racetrack or when betting on any other sport.
- You can calculate the expected value and implied probability using math equations.
- The easiest way to find value bets is to shop for the best odds across multiple bookmakers.
Value in Football Betting
It goes without saying that you should always look for the most valuable odds and selections to bet on whenever you are betting. However, one of the biggest mistakes many punters make is thinking that higher odds translate to better value, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Namely, while better odds mean more potential profit, they also generally mean more risk.
What is value betting, and how to find it? Simply put, a value bet is the one that has good odds and is more likely to happen.
Granted, while upsets do happen in sports, and you can win a bet here and there by betting on underdogs, you are unlikely to make a profit in the long run. Instead, you should always look for value bets.
Value in Sports Betting
The easiest way to understand the concept of a value bet and how it works is with a coin toss example. As we all know, a coin toss has two possible outcomes — heads or tails. At any point, there is always a 50% chance for either heads or tails to land. If you translate that 50% into odds, the fairest odds based on the probability of either outcome happening would be 2.0 or 1/1.
You can learn how to work out value bets by simply imagining someone offered you the odds of 2.10 to bet on tails? Should you take the bet? The answer is — yes, you should, every single time. The chances for tails to land didn’t change, but betting on tails is now more valuable than betting on heads.
An important thing to note is that finding value bets doesn’t spell instant profit. Ergo, you are not guaranteed to win a bet every single time just because a particular selection has more value. Remember, the chances for either side of the coin to land are still 50%, and you will lose a bet here and there by betting on tails.
However, since betting on tails has more value statistically speaking, you will make a profit in the long run, which is precisely what value betting is.
How to Find Value in Betting
There are several ways to find value, and the easiest one that doesn’t require any advanced knowledge about betting is to compare the odds across multiple bookmakers. In today’s time, where virtually every reputable bookmaker has a football betting app, finding the most valuable odds is easier than ever, and you can even do it on the go. In fact, there is no excuse not to do it, and we will even show you why you should.
Let’s say that one bookmaker gives Arsenal the odds of 2.2 to win against Liverpool and another bookmaker the odds of 2.4 for the same selection. It is only natural that you bet at the bookmaker that provides better odds.
When it comes to finding value in sports betting, the difference in odds of 0.2 doesn’t seem extremely high to the uninitiated. However, it quickly adds up when you repeatedly place the same bet with bad odds. Moreover, the more you stake, the more it increases. If you bet £10, you would win £22 at one bookmaker and £24 at the other, but what if you bet £50 instead?
Additionally, what if the difference between the odds was even greater than 0.2? Suddenly, you could be looking at a difference of hundreds of pounds of potential profit that you missed out on. For that reason, make sure to learn how to find value bets across multiple bookmakers before actually placing a wager.
To help you get started, we have prepared a list of the best betting sites online. All you have to do is compare the odds. To make things even better, you can use websites like Oddschecker that can significantly speed up the process.
How to Calculate Value in Betting
Apart from looking out for value by comparing the odds, you can also calculate the value of your bets. To do that, you can use your football knowledge and a little bit of math. First, you will have to calculate the implied probability, which can be done by using the following formula:
( 1 / Decimal Odds ) x 100%
The reason implied probability is important is that it can help us discover the expected value in betting. If we use the odds of 2.4 on Arsenal from before and the formula we just provided, we can calculate that Arsenal has 41.6% chances to win the game, according to the bookmaker.
However, an important thing to know is that analysts and seasoned punters provide the odds at bookmakers, so they are correct 100% of the time. If you believe that Arsenal has much greater chances than 41.6% to win the match, this indicates that you found a value bet.
Once you learn how to work out value bets based on the implied probability, you can also calculate the expected value of a bet, representing the amount you can either win or lose by repeatedly betting on the same selection. If a bet has a positive expected value (+EV), you should profit over time by betting on the same selection, while a negative EV implies a loss over time. To calculate EV, you can use this formula:
( Amount won per bet x probability of winning ) – ( Amount lost per bet x probability of losing )
To find the expected value in betting on a particular outcome and solve the equation, you will need to put your sports knowledge to the test and work out the teams’ probability of winning. Let’s say you decide that Arsenal has 60% chances to win against Liverpool, which also means that the likelihood of losing is 40%.
Additionally, you decide to bet £10, which represents the amount lost per bet. Finally, the amount won per bet represents the stake of £10 at the odds of 2.4, which is 24.
By following the formula we provided, the equation would look like this:
( 24 x 60% ) – ( 10 x 40% ) = 14.4 – 4 = £10.4
As you can see, formulas like these are excellent for finding value in sports betting. However, an important thing to note is that the expected value of a bet can drastically change if you cannot correctly assess Arsenal’s chances of winning.
Remember, we predicted that Arsenal has 60% chances of winning, but the equation would look completely different if Arsenal’s actual odds to win the match were 20%. In that scenario, the EV of a bet would be negative (-£4).
For that reason, make sure to use as much information as possible when trying to correctly evaluate a team’s chances of winning and calculate the expected value.
Value Betting Strategy
Once you know how to find value, you will easily come across the most valuable bets. Of course, you will first have to learn how different betting markets work so that you can have more options to explore. You can also exploit the difference in odds between two bookmakers or a bookmaker and a betting exchange and use football value betting systems like arbitrage betting or matched betting.
While the expected value in matched betting isn’t necessarily high, the strategy itself allows you to make guaranteed profit no matter the outcome. It is most certainly a lot better than losing money.
One of the most efficient value betting strategies is to combine value betting with in-play betting. After you find a selection with good value, you can follow the game closely and take advantage of changes in the game before they reflect on the odds.
For example, you can bet on the underdog if you notice they are pressuring the other team and are about to score a goal, especially if there is not enough time for the other team to tie the game.
The Bottom Line
Even though you can easily calculate the value in football betting, the precise value of a bet is not quantifiable. To calculate the exact value, you would need to know the precise chances for a team to win, which is impossible to obtain.
In other words, the value itself is only an opinion, and essentially, you are betting that the bookmaker’s interpretation — which is displayed in odds — of an outcome is incorrect, and that there is a lot more value in that particular bet.
Hopefully, our quick guide helped answer the “What is value betting?” question and showed you how to calculate and understand the value of each bet. Granted, while knowing the expected value of a bet won’t help you win it, it will tell you whether you should bet on a particular selection or avoid it, which can help you make a profit in the long run.