Looking for value in bets is the only viable betting strategy in the long term. When you consistently identify value in bookies' odds by comparing them with your own calculated probabilities, you significantly boost your chances of beating the bookies over a series of bets. In this article, we will explain how to calculate and detect value betting.

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MAIN FEATURES
UK Gambling Commission
Live Stream
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Cash Out
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Support 24/7
Native App
Cryptocurrency
Established in 1886
MAIN FEATURES
UK Gambling Commission
Live Stream
VIP Programme
Cash Out
Bet Builder
Support 24/7
Native App
Cryptocurrency
Established in 1886
18+ New UK+ ROI Customers only. Deposit & Bet min £5 as first bet at minimum odds 1/2 to qualify for 1x £20 Free Bet. Certain deposit methods and bet types excluded. Free bet valid for 7 days, stake not returned. Restrictions apply. Full T&Cs apply. Bet Responsibly. BeGambleAware.org #ad

Looking for a value betting app or bot? There are several software options that help you identify value bets, as listed below:

RebelBetting Review

RebelBetting offers downloadable software as well as a value betting app and a product for detecting arbitrage bets.

The software not only shows the day’s value bets but also provides an estimation of their value, giving you the edge in your betting endeavours.

The tracker serves as a treasure trove of data, sparing you the hassle of creating endless Excel spreadsheets to track the data yourself. It consolidates all your bets in one single location, complete with graphs illustrating your winnings over time. Moreover, you can keep a real-time tab on your account balances, making it the ultimate betting companion!

How does it work?

Simply click on the bet and the software will direct you to the specific bookie. It has a bet tracker that tracks your specific bets. The video below explains how to use it:

RebelBetting (2023) Make Money with Sports Betting | The Ultimate Beginner guide for Smart bettors

The software looks for overpriced odds as a way to beat the bookmakers. It does this by essentially comparing odds and automatically detects arbitrage options, allowing you to bet on all outcomes and still make a profit.

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 Pricing & 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 three months.

Best of all, they have a profit guarantee, meaning if you do not make a profit in the first month, you will get the next month free!

Trademate Sports Review

Trademate Sports provides a valuable, user-friendly tool for detecting value bets.

How does it work?

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 had 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.

Trademate Free Trial

The best thing about Trademate is its one-month free trial, allowing you to identify bets and use the software to your advantage! We recommend it to both novice and seasoned punters.

Smarkets Review

Screenshot of a settled bet on Smarkets.
(Source: Smarkets)

While it certainly isn’t your typical bookmaker, Smarkets has established itself as one of the world’s leading betting exchanges since its emergence in 2008.

How does it work?

Smarkets operates like any other betting exchange, although its 2% commission fees have widely been lauded as one of the lowest around. This bookie allows you to place back and lay bets. In the former, you're betting on an outcome to happen, while in the latter, you’re essentially betting on the outcome not happening.

Coral Review

Screenshot of Coral's new customer offer: Get a £20 Free Bet when you bet £5 on sports.
(Source: Coral)

There’s nothing particularly outstanding about Coral, but this bookmaker does everything well. It’s regarded as an industry behemoth, and it’s no surprise that you can take advantage of a varied sportsbook with competitive odds.

How does it work?

While the bookie doesn’t offer any particular tips or hacks in regard to value betting, it boasts supremely generous odds and a wide range of markets. While reviewing the bookie, I realised that there’s no overlooking Coral’s particularly generous football odds — they're among the very best around. I found this out by using the odds overround to calculate the consistency of their odds on football matches.

Moreover, new customers can take advantage of their excellent welcome offer. What’s not to like about Coral?

Betfred Review

Screenshot of the Price Boost offer on Betfred.
(Source: Betfred)

With over 50 years of tradition, Betfred is one of the UK’s oldest bookmakers. Like Coral, it nails the basics and is fundamentally sound. As a result, its sportsbook is broad, while you can access a litany of sportsbook promotions which cover an array of sports. I must also commend Betfred’s blog, which is superbly detailed and certainly worth checking out.

How does it work?

Betfred is another premier bookmaker that doesn’t offer anything in particular, but it features great odds and excellent promotions. What stands out in particular is the number of daily offers you can take advantage of. For major events, Betfred will almost always offer price boost — especially on big football matches, which means you can back teams that are often likely to win at a higher price.

If you see something as more likely than what the bookie's odds imply, you have perhaps identified a value bet. The following concepts will help you to determine this.

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.

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.

A coin toss has only two outcomes: heads or tails.

In normal circumstances, the odds of the coin landing on heads 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 comes with 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.

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TIP:

The Kelly Criterion has a formula that suggests how much of your bankroll to bet, depending on your estimation of value. To ease the maths, we created an online Kelly Criterion Calculator, which is free and easy to use!

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

As with any sport, football is full of variables and it’s incredibly hard to predict outcomes. As a result, prop/statistics bets have become increasingly popular with bookies offering an array of such markets.

Bookies rely on data gathered from thousands of matches, which 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.

Example

There are an average of 13.2 corners in Manchester United Premier League matches this season, but the league’s average per game is just 10.71. So, if the bookie’s odds do not reflect the average corner collection in United matches. For instance, if a bookmaker offers over/under corner odds of 1.9 for over 12.5 corners, this would a good opportunity for value. How exactly to quantify the value can be difficult, but if you estimate it very likely that United 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.

Example

A horse has odds of winning set at 10/1, or 11.00 in decimal odds, giving you an implied probability of 9.09%. This may seem like an attractive bet — after all, betting £10 awards 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.

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 and 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.

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    Amount won per bet: £10 x 1.9 = 19 (bet times odds)

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    Probability of winning: 60% or 0.6 (your estimated probability)

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    Amount lost per bet: £10 (your bet amount)

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    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 your analysis of the odds is correct. While we chose to use an extreme example, in real life, you would usually have a much smaller margin.

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.

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. The following are the most popular:

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 and normal distribution to calculate how likely an event is. Needless to say, 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.

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TIP:

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.

Example

In MMA, 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 fighter A who is rocked, wobbled, possibly hurt, and for some reason is still a hot favourite. This is a good time to bet on fighter B.

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

Finding value is the most important part of sports betting as you need to ensure 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, and such 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 are likely 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.

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.

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.

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.

Simply put, a value bet is one where the likelihood of a given outcome is higher than the odds offered by the bookmaker reflect.

While there’s no guarantee of winning every supposed ‘value bet’, you’re more likely to earn a profit in the long haul by placing such bets.

Value bets are much more common and less time consuming than arbitrage bets. These ‘sure bets’ supposedly guarantee success, even if the profits are small, while value bets don’t guarantee profits.

It’s always worth comparing the odds of bookmakers to see which feature the best odds for particular events / markets. It’s also worth using Trademate and RebelBetting to identify value bets.

WRITTEN BY James Cormack View all posts by James Cormack

Big sports fan specialising in football. Experienced the lows of Vlad Chiriches and Tim Sherwood as a Spurs fan along with the more recent ‘success’ under Pochettino. My following of the New England Patriots since 2012 somewhat makes up for the lack of silverware produced by Spurs in my lifetime.

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