In the current sports betting world, it is not uncommon to hear experienced punters use the term ‘value’ or ‘value bet’ when talking about their wagers. You might hear one say, for example, that “Team A offers great value at X odds” or “Bookmaker A offers good value for Man United to win at X odds.” It’s time to see what they are referring to and how you can use value betting to gain the upper hand in your sports betting adventure.
What Exactly Is A Value Bet?
A value bet arises from when a punter places a bet in a value betting situation. A value betting situation is where, when looking at the betting odds offered by a bookmaker, the sharp punter can see a higher probability of a certain outcome happening than what the bookmaker believes. Therefore, the bookmaker will have offered odds that are higher than what the punter expects. A popular example to demonstrate this is the coin toss example. There are two possible outcomes when a coin is tossed, each with an equal (50%) probability. These outcomes are either HEADS or TAILS. Betting on the coin to land on either Heads or Tails represents an equal potential for success or failure.
An unbiased bookmaker would offer even odds for either outcome. That’s odds of 2.00 for any of the two. But sometimes, for various reasons, a certain bookmaker A might offer higher odds in a situation like this. Instead of 2.00, they might offer, say, 2.20 for either Heads. Another bookmaker B might offer, say, 1.80 for the same. Placing a bet with bookmaker A for Heads at odds of 2.20 is a good example of a value bet. That’s because the punter stands to gain more than what the probability for that outcome warrants. Placing a bet with bookmaker B, on the other hand, is the opposite of value betting.
Odds of 1.80 represent poor value based on the expected probability of the coin landing on Heads. With every serious punter looking for ways of cutting losses in sports betting while improving their profits, various rewarding sports betting strategies can be employed depending on the situation. Value betting is one such strategy.
Identifying (and capitalizing) On Value Betting Situations
Real-world betting, especially sports betting, is obviously much more complicated than wagering on a simple coin toss. Nonetheless, there are value betting opportunities that every sharp-eyed punter should be able to capitalize on with ease.
1) Value bet when new information enters the market
Using a soccer betting example, let’s say Manchester City are playing Chelsea at the Etihad, Manchester City’s home. Man City are considered to be the stronger of the two based on form or other reasons at that point. Let’s also keep in mind that in soccer, home teams normally have a significant advantage. Two or three days before, the bookmaker might release odds as follows:
|MANCHESTER CITY FC (1)MANCHESTER CITY FC (1)||DRAW (X)||CHELSEA (2)|
Now let’s say the organizer (in this case, the Premier League) suddenly changes the venue. The match is now scheduled to be played at Wembley, a neutral ground for the two teams. At the same time, let’s say Kevin De Bruyne, considered Man City’s most influential player, is injured and has to be dropped from the matchday squad. These two new factors can mean that Man City is no longer the favorite to win the game, but Chelsea are more probable.
A sharp bookie might quickly adjust their odds for the match to reflect this. They might change Man City to, say, 2.60 and Chelsea to 2.40. A second bookie might take longer to react and adjust. A third, even less sharp bookie might not adjust at all. Backing Chelsea to win with the second bookie with odds still at 4.60 is a prime example of a value betting opportunity. So too, is placing your bet with the third bookie!
2) Value bet when a bookmaker offers a promotion with higher-than-usual odds
This is commonly the case when a new bookie enters the market. As part of their marketing efforts, or trying to get punters to sign up, they will often offer tantalizingly higher odds for very probable outcomes. Sometimes it can also arise when an established bookie is trying to lure in new punters or prise punters away from competitor sports bookies. Their reasons, either way, are not important. The crucial thing is that their offerings are a fantastic opportunity for you to win out by placing a value bet!
In the example in 1) above, even though Man City are clear favorites to win, a new bookmaker might offer odds of up to 5.00 or 6.00. Placing a bet at those odds, even with a low stake, represents an exceptionally high-profit potential.