Value betting guide

What is value betting?

A value bet is a bet where the probability of a given outcome is greater than the bookmakers odds reflect. Simply put, when value betting you will be placing bets that have a larger chance of winning than implied by the bookmakers odds. This means you will have an edge over the bookmaker in the long run.

Value betting with the example of a coin toss

When tossing a coin there can only be two outcomes; Heads or Tails. (It may land on the rim, but this is highly unlikely, so for the ease of explaining, that outcome is excluded).

We know that the chances of the coin to land on either Heads or Tails are 50% each. This equals true odds of 2.00 for either outcome.

To calculate odds we use this formula: Odds= 1/probability in decimals.
In this case, this is 1/0,5= 2.00

Now imagine you were offered odds of 2.10 on Heads and odds of 2.00 on Tails from two different bookmakers. What would you bet on?

Since the actual probability of the two outcomes is the same you should of course bet on the highest odds. The odds of 2.10 on Heads differs from the true odds of 2.00. Meaning that 2.10 is higher than what the underlying probability suggests. That is how we know that the odds are incorrect. And this is the value situation that we should take advantage of. The bigger the difference, the more profitable the value bet will be.

Expected Value (EV) and Variance

It’s important to see value betting as a long term way to profit where the number of bets plays an important role. Variance will have a large impact on your results if you have a small sample size of bets. But with a large number of value bets, your results will always move towards it’s expected value over time.  Learn all about expected value and variance.

You have to be prepared for downswings since you only bet on a single odds. Meaning you can lose since you do not cover all the possible outcomes (like you do when arbitrage betting). But you will profit in the long run.

Value betting in sports

Finding value in sports is not as easy as detecting value as in the example of a coin toss. Unlike a coin toss, in sports, we do not know the exact probability for a given outcome.

So how do we detect value bets in sports? Some bookmakers are very good at determining odds that reflects the actual probability of an outcome to happen. Some bookmakers are better than others on certain sports as well. By evaluating the “sharp” bookmakers odds, taking betting bias and market efficiency into account, our servers can determine what the true odds are for any given match. This means that we also know when other bookmakers odds are off and where a positive expected value occurs.

Value betting situations in sports can occur when new information enters the market. For instance, if a key player gets injured right before the game starts, if the line-up changes, if the weather shifts etcetera. The sharpest bookmakers would automatically adjust the odds for that game according to this new information.

Other bookmakers will follow, but it could take minutes or even hours before they adjust their odds according to the market changes. These bookmakers will still show odds that doesn’t reflect the actual probability of the outcome. As a result of that, there will be inconsistency in the odds offered by the bookmakers. This means value betting situations for you to profit from.

How is the value bet percentage calculated?

In our earlier example with the coin toss, the value bet percentage is 5%. It’s calculated as:

(Odds / true odds) -1.

(2.10 / 2.0) – 1 = 0.05

Note that this is a trivial example, and our service also takes into account:

  • The bookmaker margin.
  • Betting bias. Most bookmakers don’t balance their odds perfectly, they adjust their odds to players betting bias.
  • Market efficiency. A newly open market can offer a lot of value, but the true odds are also more unreliable.
  • A proven staking strategy, the Kelly criterion.
  • Several sources for the probabilities (true odds), that are proven to be profitable.

Value betting compared to sports arbitrage betting

Value betting differs in a number of ways compared to sports arbitrage betting. Check out the differences between value betting and arbitrage betting.

The ValueBetting software

ValueBetting softwareThe ValueBetting servers gather and calculate millions of bookmakers odds at any given time and detect value bet situations. These value bets will be sent to the installed software at your computer. 

Here’s how it works when you bet on a value bet:

  1. ValueBetting opens up a betting window and automatically logs you into your bookmaker accounts, finds the correct match and sometimes even adds the bet to the betslip.
  2. You verify that the information is correct and place the wager.
  3. You log your bets in the ValueBetting log book to keep track of your profit (this is optional).

This procedure only takes around 20 seconds!

What do I need to start?

You only need a couple of things to get going:

  • You need to have a computer with an internet conection. ValueBetting is a Windows software but can also be run on Mac.
  • You have to have a ValueBetting subscription. Sign up here if you haven’t already.
  • Some capital to invest (you can start with as little as a few hundred Euros)
  • You have to sign up with a few bookmakers (you can start with just one, but more bookmakers mean more value bets). Check out our recommended bookmakers for value betting.

The first time you start the software you will create a ValueBetting user. The built-in Quick start guide will show you how the software works and help you get started easy and efficiently.

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