Updated: October 2019

How to Find Value Bets

26 April 2019

When coming up with a betting strategy which has the best chance of making you a consistent profit, one of the main points you need to make is finding value bets.

The only problem is that many punters don’t actually understand what a value bet is or how to find them. Of course, professional gamblers will have full knowledge of value bets and how to get the most out of them. Casual gamblers, especially those looking to win big on a single multi-selection accumulator, not so much.

Being able to identify value in sports betting is absolutely key to any chance the punter has of making a long term profit.

Here, we give a brief overview of what a value bet is and some tips on how to find them and hopefully make a regular profit from betting on them.

Value Bets Explained

Basically, a value bet is where the betting odds are higher than the punter thinks they should be. So to get the most out of value bets, the punter must learn to work out the probability of a certain outcome on a sports event and then calculate that probability into betting odds.

If the betting odds on offer from a bookmaker are greater than what the punter has worked out, this is a value bet. The reason for this is that the bookmaker has given the selection less chance of winning and therefore the punter is getting more value from their bet.

Betting on a selection they believe has a 75% chance of winning, at odds created by a bookmaker whose implied probability is 70%, will win the punter more than they expected to win. This is value.

Experienced and professional sports bettors will be able to recognise value, and anyone can if they know how.

Example of a Value Bet

To give you an example of what a value bet is, we will use a simple coin toss. Now, the coin has two sides and there is a 50% chance of it landing on either heads or tails.

In a fair betting market the odds for both heads and tails would be 2.00 decimal, indicating there is a 50% chance of each outcome. However, if a bookmaker offers odds of 1.70 for heads and 2.50 for tails, this gives us a value bet.

The implied probability the bookmaker has set their odds on is 58.8% for heads and only 40% for tails. We know that there’s a 50% chance for each outcome, so the value bet here is tails because the bookmakers odds are higher than they should be or what the probability says they should be.

Of course, we may bet on tails and the result is heads. However, consistently finding these value bets will enable us to make a long term profit. If you backed tails in the coin toss, natural probability says you should win 50% of the time. Therefore, you will make a profit because the bookie only believes you will win 40%.

How to Find Value Bets

The key to being able to identify value bets is understanding probability and being able to set your own odds.

To do this, you must carry out research and try to work out the implied probability of each selection in a given market.

For football matches, there is a pretty simple way of doing this. You look at the last ten or fifteen fixtures for each side, at home for the hosts and away for the visitors. Lets say we noted down the last ten and came up with:

Team A Last 10 at Home – W7 D2 L1

Team B Last 10 Away – W3 D3 L4

To work out our own odds, we simply add together Team A’s wins to Team B’s losses, the draws, and Team B’s wins to Team A’s losses. We then divide each number by twenty, the total matches, and multiply by 100 to get a percentage.

So, we have:

• 7 + 4 = 11 which leads to 11/20 x 100 = 55%
• 2 + 3 = 5 which leads to 5/20 x 100 = 25%
• 3 + 1 = 4 which leads to 4/20 x 100 = 20%

To get your decimal odds for each selection you must then divide 100 by the percentage of implied probability.

So, we would come out with odds of:

• Team A – 1.82
• Team B – 4.00
• Draw – 5.00

Lets say the actual odds given were:

• Team A – 1.70
• Team B – 3.80
• Draw – 4.00

This indicates the bookmaker believes there’s a 58.8% chance of Team A winning, a 26.3% chance of Team B winning, and a 25% chance of a draw. The value bet here, even though you believe it to be the least likely outcome, is the draw.

Betting on value doesn’t always mean betting on the outcome you believe most likely to happen. It’s about consistently betting on value to look for a long term profit.

Best Way to Find Value Bets

As well as being able to set your own odds and comparing them to the real odds on offer, there are a few other tips on how to make it easier to find value.

• Find Your Niche – Specialising in just one type of sport, a particular competition or type of event, is recommended when first starting out. Stick to what you know, only bet on say Premier League football or at least the English League. Look for value among your chosen specialist subject.
• Keep a Record – Record keeping is key to everyone who is hoping to make a long term profit from sports betting. Check your results, see if your method of pricing up matches is working and change it slightly if it isn’t. See if there are any particular selections that are always overpriced by the bookmaker and look for other trends which may help you when it comes to winning.
• Be Consistent and Don’t Give up – Of course, betting on the value bet may mean regularly betting on selections your mind tells you are least likely to happen, or that isn’t the popular choice. But, it is key that you don’t give up. Keep an analytical approach, ensure you do your research and price up every event with your own odds. Professional gamblers make regular profit from finding value bets and you could as well, as long as you stick to your strategy.

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