Value Betting in Sports Explained – Ultimate Guide

Looking for value in bets is the only viable betting strategy in the long term. If you are able to detect value in the odds offered by bookies consistently by comparing them to your own odds and probabilities, you will be able to beat the bookies over the course of multiple bets.

In this article, we will explain how to calculate the value in betting and discuss various strategies for detecting value betting.

 

 

Best Betting Sites We Recommend for Value Betting in 2020

RebelBetting Logo
RebelBetting
  • Get access to value bets automatically
  • 1 month profit guarantee!
  • Get daily arbitrage opportunities

Trademate Sports Logo
Trademate Sports
  • Compare all odds from various bookies
  • Get browser updates for value opportunities
  • 1 month free trial!

BFBotmanager Logo
BFBotmanager
  • Create your own bots for Betfair exchange, Matchbook and Betdaq
  • 1 month free trial!
  • Input bets from tipsters automatically

 

What is Value Betting?

 

bar chart showing an upwards curve

Finding value is essential to becoming a successful punter (Image: © Tumisu)

 

If you see something as more likely than what the bookies odds imply, you have perhaps identified a value bet.

First, let's look at some central concepts:

Implied Probability

A bookie’s odds always imply a certain probability. For example, odds of 2.1 imply a probability of 47.62%.

True Odds

Bookie’s odds are based on their models, statistics and more. They are usually good enough to make sure that they have a good income, but are not always perfect. Bookie’s odds are usually a good indication of the true odds of an event, but what the true odds really are can be hard to calculate. As part of your betting strategy, you need to estimate what you think the true odds of an event are and compare them to the bookie’s odds.

Value Bets

The value of a bet is the difference between your estimation of the odds and implied probability, and the bookie’s odds and probabilities. You can express it in terms of probability or in odds.

Expected Value (EV)

Expected value is your average value over the course of multiple bets. It shows you the edge you have on average over the bookmakers.

 

Value Betting Coin Toss Example

A coin toss has only two outcomes: heads or tail. In normal circumstances, the odds of the coin landing on head or tails is 50%. If you have a fair bet on either option, you will get odds of 2.00 or 1/1. Now imagine if someone offered you odds of 2.20 to bet on heads. While there is still a risk of losing your money, you would almost be crazy not to take the bet.

Of course, the ideal situation would be if you could bet on it multiple times. You would also have to manage your bankroll. Betting your whole wallet still has a risk, since you still have a 45.45% chance of losing. The ideal would be to bet a small portion of your bankroll multiple times. That way, you will ultimately win more money than you lose. The Kelly Criterion has a formula that suggests how much of your bankroll to bet, depending on your estimation of value.

 

What is Value in Sports Betting?

While our previous example is only hypothetical since, in it, the true odds are known, in sports betting it is impossible to know the true odds. You can only use various methods to estimate what the true odds of an event are. If you can find a better method of estimating what the odds are than the bookies, you have found a way to predict the value in betting.

Value Football Betting Example

Football is a highly complex sport, with many possible statistics to bet on. Bookies rely on data gathered from thousands of matches. That means their odds reflect average outcomes more than extreme ones. If a team is producing high numbers consistently for certain game statistics, such as corners or goals during a specific competition like the World Cup or Champions League, bookies odds often don’t reflect it.

Let’s look at an example:

  • Team A has gotten 14 corners or more during the past 3 matches.
  • The league average corners is just 10.87.
  • Bookies odds do not reflect Team A’s recent uptick in corners, and still has their corner over/under odds at 1.9 for over 12.5 corners.
  • This looks like a good opportunity for value. How exactly to quantify the value can be difficult, but if you estimate it very likely that team A will keep up their corner streak, you have a value bet.

Value Betting Horse Racing Example

Horse racing is another sport where looking for value is essential. Just like in any other sport, it is up to you to find where bookies are overestimating or underestimating the likelihood of any event.

Let’s look at an example:

A horse has odds of winning set at 10/1, or 11.00 in decimal odds. This gives you an implied probability of 9.09%. This may seem like an attractive bet, after all, betting £10 will give you £100 extra if you win. However, you believe that this horse is actually overvalued by the bookies, and actually has a much smaller chance to win. Therefore, there is no value in the bet, and you should stay away from it.

 

How to Calculate Expected Value(EV) in Betting

There is a formula to calculate the value of your bet. Of course, this calculation is only a reflection of your estimation of the true odds of the event. It is only as accurate as your own estimation.

Expected Value Betting Formula

You can easily calculate the value of your bet using the following formula:

 

Value = (Amount won per bet x probability of winning) – (Amount lost per bet x probability of losing)

 

Let's look back at our football example from above. Let's assume you bet £10 at the odds of 1.9. You give a conservative 60% chance that Team A will score more than 12.5 corners.

  • Amount won per bet: £10 x 1.9 = 19 (bet times odds)
  • Probability of winning: 60% or 0.6 (your estimated probability)
  • Amount lost per bet: £10 (your bet amount)
  • Probability of losing: 40% or 0.4

The Value of this bet is thus:(£19 x 60%) – (£10 x 40%) = £7.4

That means that you would win on average £7.4 for every £10 that you bet if you placed the same bet a multiple number of times. Of course, this is only if you if your analysis of the odds is correct. We chose to use an extreme example. In real life, you would usually have a much smaller margin.

Value Betting Calculator

Coming soon, so watch this space in the coming days!

Expected Value and Variance

It is very important to look at your own expected value over the course of a large number of bets. Volume is essential. Once you know how much your results vary from your expected value, you can calculate your own variance and average expected value. Over the course of hundreds or thousands of bets, your calculation will be more accurate. If you are a successful punter and place a large number of bets, you will gradually see your variance decreasing. This, of course, depends on your skills of predicting value bets.

 

Value Betting Software

If you are looking for a value betting app or value betting bot, there are several different software options that help you identify value bets. Here is a list of some of the best value betting software.

1. RebelBetting Review

In this mini-review, we will look at what RebelBetting has to offer to Punters. RebelBetting offers downloadable software as well as a value betting app and a product for detecting arbs (arbitrage betting).

RebelBetting Value Betting Review

Value Betting is the RebelBetting product for detecting value bets. The software shows you the day’s value bets, with an estimation of their value. You can simply click on the bet, and the software will direct you to the specific bookie. It has a bet tracker that can track your specific bets.

With the tracker, you can get a huge amount of data, which you would otherwise have to create endless Excel spreadsheets to track. That includes keeping track of all your bets in a single place and graphs of your winnings over time. You can see how much you have in each account in real-time.

How it Works

The software looks for overpriced odds as a way to beat the bookmakers. It does this by essentially comparing odds. The site has a proven yield on 2.5%, which is quite impressive and has had millions of bets placed. Of course, value bets do not stay around forever, since odds are constantly being updated, so you will have to log in regularly to check for the latest odds.

RebelBetting Sure Betting Review

Sure Betting is the RebelBetting solution for arbitrage betting. This works by compiling odds from thousands of bookmakers and odds from all over the internet. It automatically detects arbitrage options, allowing you to bet on all outcomes and still make a profit.

RebelBetting Pricing and Profit Guarantee

RebelBetting is moderately priced, at least for serious bettors with a decent bankroll. It costs £23 a month for the first three months or a total of £69. If you want the full package, RebelBetting Pro (including both betting products) costs £43 a month for the first 3 months.

Best of all is the profit guarantee. If you do not make a profit in the first month, you will get the next month free!

Check the (silent) video below to understand how to use it:

 

 

2.  Trademate Sports Review

Trademate Sports offers a valuable tool for detecting value bets. This is light and easy to use in browser software. A message will automatically pop up in your browser every time a value bet is detected. How Trademate detects these bets is a matter of secrecy. (We suppose if you have a good strategy for detecting value bets, you would not share it too easily either!) However, as you can see from the video below, a lot comes from comparing odds at various bookies.

 

 

Free Trial

The best thing about Trademate is that you get a one-month free trial. You can use the software to detect free bets and start using it to the best of your advantage! We recommend this to both beginner and professional punters.

3. BFBotmanager Review

Using a bot to place your bets for you is frowned on by many bookies, and can even get you banned. However, several bookies, such as Betfair, have absolutely no issue. Trading Bots like BFBotmanager let you automate your bets for Betfair, Betdaq and Matchbook betting exchanges. You can have bets loaded automatically from tipsters, and choose to bet only if certain odds are met.

Betfair

Betfair actually allows you to create your own bot on the exchange, which is supported by the website. It has similar features to BFBotmanager, though slightly fewer options.

 

Other Strategies to Find Value in Betting

Of course, compiling and comparing bookie odds, which is what the two of the software above do is only one of the many ways to find value in betting. Below is a list of popular methods to find value in betting.

Developing your own statistical model

Bookies rely on all sorts of statistics, such as league averages, player averages and team averages to create statistical models. They use methods like Poisson distribution, normal distribution, and more to calculate how likely an event is. Of course, nothing is to stop you from coming up with your own models.

Ratings Systems

Ratings systems are used for seeding in tournaments, such as chess, tennis and football. Elo ratings, in particular, are some of the most commonly used. Feel free to use available rating systems, or create your own to calculate the relative strength of a team or player.

Tipsters

Tipsters are often retired punters who are banned by the bookies for winning too much. They now sell their knowledge to anyone who is willing to pay. Of course, you need to know the difference between tipsters and fraudsters. The best way to do this is to look at their history of bets, and see if they can prove an ROI based on their tips.

Comparing Odds

This is the easiest and most obvious strategy. If you have an account at multiple bookies, and one bookie offers better odds than another does, you have proven value for a bet. We suggest comparing odds to get the best deal.

In-play Value Betting

In-play betting has a huge opportunity for value. A team or player could be getting beat for a while before it is reflected in the odds.

Finding value is all about timing. Let us look at an MMA betting example:

Before the fight, fighter A is a heavy favourite at 1.38, Fighter B is the underdog at 3.25.

In the first minute of the fight, Fighter B scores a knockdown. The odds will change in almost real-time. However, fighter B will still be an underdog, now perhaps at 2.80. You now have a fighter (fighter A) who is rocked, wobbled, possibly hurt, and for some reason still a hot favourite. This is a good time to bet on fighter B.

As you can see, this is a valuable strategy for finding value and you can apply it to almost any sport, like boxing, tennis, football, etc. Another advantage is that you can bet against yourself or cash out your bet if things are not going your way.

 

FAQs

How do I calculate my bet value?

You can easily calculate the value of your bet using the following formula:

Value = (Amount won per bet x probability of winning) – (Amount lost per bet x probability of losing)

This calculation depends on your estimation of the probability of winning and offers no guarantees of course.

How does a winning team determine odds?

Odds let you know how likely a team is to win – they carry implied probability. For example, odds of 3.0 or 2/1 offer an implied probability of 33.3%. That means the odds of winning are 1 in 3.

How do I win a bet every time?

To win a bet every time, you need to use arbitrage betting. Arbs are a way to bet against yourself and still win. If two bookies see the same team as an underdog and a favourite respectively, you can bet with both and still make a profit. RebelBetting (see above) offers arbing software, which detects arbitrage bets from online bookies across the world.

 

ThePuntersPage Final Say: Why Value is the Most Important Concept in Sports Betting

Finding value is the most important part of sports betting. You need to be sure that you are making money over the course of thousands of bets. There is no guarantee you will win every bet unless you use arbitrage betting. Of course, arbitrage betting opportunities are few and far between. Value bets are your best choice. As long as you are able to identify value in bets consistently, whatever your strategy for doing that is, you will be able to beat the bookies. Keep in mind that you will need to place smaller bets, usually less than 5% of your bankroll. If you can get an ROI of 2.5% or more, you are on your way to becoming a professional punter.