What is Value Betting | Value Betting
The vast majority of bettors end up losing money on sports betting, mainly because they have no concept of what a ‘value bet’ is. Value betting is easy to describe but extremely difficult to quantify as you need to have knowledge of the sport in question and experience in the world of betting. Simply put, value betting is the process of choosing the teams/individuals that are available at odds which are above their true chances of victory. Here is a simple example of value betting in action:
In tennis, you have Roger Federer versus Rafael Nadal on a grass court. The bookmakers find it hard to split them but Nadal is favourite at 1.66 while Federer is out at 2.22. You may have information which suggests that Nadal is carrying a slight injury so believe Federer is more than 45% likely (100/2.22) to win the match and you bet accordingly.
Obviously, the bookmaker such as bet365, much like the casino ‘house’, always has an edge. He has to; otherwise he would be bankrupt pretty quickly! A bookmaker will always offer odds slightly below what is value. For example, in basketball ‘spread betting’, you will see that the spread is set at a certain number of points but instead of getting even odds (2.00), you will find odds of 1.91 or thereabouts. This is a quick example of the bookmaker’s edge. So if the bookmaker receives £100 on each team to beat the spread, he gets £200 and only pays out £191. If one team is more favoured than the other, he will simply change the odds to keep his advantage.
Example Of Value Betting
We’ll use football for this example. You will discover that value betting often involves betting on the team least likely to win because they offer the best value. The top European teams such as Manchester United, Liverpool, Barcelona and Bayern Munich will always have very short odds to win at home. For example, you may find Liverpool at 1.33 to beat Aston Villa at Anfield while Villa is 8.00 to win. As an avid football fan, you know that Liverpool are vulnerable and there is no value in betting on them at 1.33 because they are less than 75% (100/1.33) likely to win. In contrast, Villa are value at 8.00 because they have a better than 12.5% (100/8) chance of victory. So despite the fact that you only rate Villa’s chances at 25% to win, the current odds available represent real value.
Finding Value Bets
This is difficult and requires a certain level of knowledge of any given sport plus a dedication to finding out updates about the teams in question. For instance, you may find that Coventry is 1.80 to beat Tranmere at home which represents a 55% chance of victory. Coventry is in good form but you find out that they are missing several key players. Suddenly, Tranmere’s 3.50 odds look good so you need to bet on them before the bookmaker finds out and cuts their odds.
Quick Tip: Scour the lower leagues of European football leagues for information as this will give you a decided edge over the bookmaker.
Yes, even bookmakers make mistakes sometimes! One of the most famous examples occurred during the ski jumping 2002/2003 World Cup where William Hill offered odds of 200/1 (201.00) on Primoz Peterka, an in-form jumper, to win an event in Finland even though he was a former 2-time world champion. Almost every other book had Peterka at 10/1 (11.00) and he duly obliged by winning! William Hill was badly stung and has not offered ski jumping odds since! Obviously, such terrible errors are rare but if you come across them, be willing to bet big if you wish to take full advantage.
Remember, odds are simply probabilities and your goal is always to beat the bookmaker. You could have a winning percentage of 70% and still be losing because you did not find value bets. If you do some research, your winning percentage could be 20-25% yet you come out on top because your wins offered real value. Once you find the value, the winners will come along in time.