Despite what many may believe, making good money in sports betting isn’t always a matter of luck. Realistically, being able to find value in odds (finding the best odds) is the best way (and some may argue it is the only way) to make a decent return on your stake on a regular, consistent basis.
If you don’t choose your bets on value and instead opt to choose them based on something else—your favourite player in a team, for example—then your chances of long-term success are minimal at best. It is as simple as that.
Many punters don’t realise this, though. Instead of looking for the best odds and choosing to stake a bet based on value, they tend to stake a bet based on what they think is most likely to happen. Although this seems like a logical approach, it is fairly flawed. And although you may sometimes or regularly win by betting on a likely outcome, you won’t necessarily make a decent overall profit.
Defining Success in Betting—What is Value?
Successful betting is not about winning as many bets as you can. Rather, it is finding a situation where the odds are mostly in your favour. To do this, it is important to understand the concept of ‘value’ in sports betting.
Value, in the context of betting, can be either positive or negative.
A positive value exists when the probability of a wager winning is greater than the probability reflected in the odds. In other words, when it is more likely to win than the odds may suggest. A negative value exists when a bet is less likely to win than the odds suggest. Therefore, you must find a positive value bet in order to make money.
In the long-term, bets with a positive value should (but are not always) profitable. This is why it is important to understand value; you must be able to identify bets and wagers that have a positive value because it is these that will make you money. Though they are not guaranteed wins, the odds are in your favour and consistently betting where the odds are in your favour should result in an overall profit.
Tips for Finding Value in Sports Betting
Unfortunately, we cannot teach you how to identify value in sports betting. There are far too many variables, including your own knowledge, at play. However, we can give you some top tips.
1. Bet on what you know
You have a much better chance of finding value when you are knowledgeable about something and genuinely understand it. It is far easier to make accurate assessments of probability in football, for example, when you know teams and players inside-out.
2. Consider a range of factors
Account for all factors that you know will affect the outcome of an event. If you don’t, your value assessments will not be as accurate as they can be and thus you are far less likely to make money from betting.
3. Shop around different betting sites
One of the easiest ways to find value is to shop around; the odds available at different betting sites and bookies typically vary, so it pays off in the long run to try out a range of different sites for each bet you place. There are plenty of odds comparison sites you can use to make this job easier.
Assessing Value and Deciding on the Best Odds is Simple
At the most basic level, the concept of value in sports betting, and betting in general, is very simple. That being said, you should never underestimate its importance.
Although being able to find value consistently in the betting market can pose quite the challenge, it can quite easily be done. If you put in enough time and effort into improving your ability to make probability assessments (part of this involves becoming familiar with a specific sport) you are guaranteed to start seeing better results.
However, be mindful that betting for value does not guarantee anything. Whilst it is more likely to bring you success more consistently in the long term, this is not set in stone and anything can happen.