Value betting guide

Combined with a financial strategy and a staking plan, value betting is an essential skill for every bettor. However, finding a value bet is a matter of subjectivity and that's where the line between winners and losers is drawn.

Since it's a matter of subjective opinion, nobody knows the true probability of the outcome of a sporting event, unlike the probability of a coin toss.

Odds are not reflecting the true image of the outcome probabilities of a sporting event.

Bookmakers set odds based on their own statistics and assumptions. A value bettor will always try to find the odds he believes are incorrect.

Most of the bookmakers are now using their own platforms for setting up the odds. They are correcting the odds with their own margins, so beating the bookies and finding their mistakes is getting tougher.

Odds correction screenshot
Screenshot from our dropping odds tool. Bookmakers are correcting their odds.

It's no mystery that their odds tend to be unfair, so it's not surprising that as many as 98% of the bettors do lose money over the long-term.

Even so, sports are not mathematically measurable, in the sense like all casino games are. Casinos are a different story, as probabilities are governing the outcomes.

It gets more complicated with sports. That's why finding the real probability of a sporting event remains real science.

Those who are able to correctly identify the outcomes of events where the probability is higher than what's implied by bookmaker's odds, combined with a staking plan, they will win in the long run.

Bookmakers are still making mistakes

This is something a bettor can understand only with a lot of time invested, by acquiring knowledge & experience in the sport, and by checking the odds in different bookmakers.

As we said, bookmakers are very good at setting the odds correctly for sporting events, but still, they do mistakes - sometimes even big ones that the experienced bettor won't hesitate a moment to take. But...

Every bookmaker now has its own rules and they will void bets on "obvious errors" defending themselves from mistakes which might be a result of "technical error" as well.

We consider now by their mistakes, the occasions when they fail to react fast and correct the odds accordingly to the new information regarding player statuses, suspensions, injuries etc.

How to find a value bet?

Simply, a value bet is found when a probability of an outcome is bigger than the probability implied by odds given in a sportsbook.

Punters are using various methods to find value bets:

  • Stick with a mathematical approach using formulas and rating systems based on past performances.
  • Spend time looking at websites to collect information about the event, including news about the weather, form, team's injuries or players' morale.
  • Watch frequently sports events and have a subjective feel for the event outcome.
There is no right or wrong approach in seek of a value bet, as long as it returns a profit.

One of the good ways to find a value bet would be to look at the differences in bookmakers odds. When different bookmakers disagree about the odds implied, a value is surely standing at least within one of those bookmakers.

Odds comparison screenshot
Screenshot from famous odds comparison site Betbrain.com

Many punters fail to appreciate the importance of value betting in the long run. Actually, most prefer to chase the winners without thinking much about the real probability of an outcome.

Betting on Liverpool to beat Hull at 1/5 might sound good and will probably be a winner, but everyone should really seek for an answer:

"Would Liverpool really defeat them in six out of seven consecutive matches?"

If no, the answer is that there is no value at all.

A good bettor will not chase winning on favourite teams. It's not about winning the bet, but winning on the LONG-TERM. Backing the underdog with value can bring profit in the long run.

Conclusion

Since the odds represent probabilities, finding value bets would be a good way to 'beat' the bookie.

Have in mind that only some of the bettors will win in the long run, and check these pieces of advice:

  • Favourite teams & low odds will not grant you anything.
  • Compare the odds between bookmakers.
  • Notice the odds movement.
  • Watch a lot of events and have a personal feel for the outcome.
  • Have a proper staking plan.
  • Understand that betting is a marathon.

You will not win every time, neither that should be the target, but with the value found, the winners will make sure to bring you more joy in the long run!