Rugby fanatic - but so much more
Rugby fanatic - but so much more
If you are a newcomer to the world of sports betting, you may have come across the term ‘value betting’ - and been a bit baffled by the concept too. It is another of those phrases that seem only to mean something to people who have been enveloped in the world of betting for a while.
In actual fact, value betting is a good way for punters to get one over on the bookies and make some decent profits. It does require a bit of planning, some time, and plenty of thinking, though. So, let's get down to how value bets actually work.
So what actually is a value bet? Once you have a value bet explained to you it really is quite simple. It might not seem like it at first, however, so pay close attention. Value betting is a concept that borrows quite heavily from financial investment in the stock market. It centres on an event’s probability of occurring. If a bookie has determined that an event’s probability of occurring is less than it is in reality, then that is where the ‘value’ lies. This is the key to having a value bet explained.
A successful bettor will be able to spot when a bookie has set the odds for a particular event at too high a level. This is why expert sporting knowledge is so vital to a successful value bet strategy. Specialist knowledge massively improves your chances of being able to spot those markets where there is a discrepancy between what is likely to happen and the odds that the bookies have given it. We’ll look at some ways you can assess probability next.
In this section of the article, we’ll explore some specific things that you can do to shape a successful value bet strategy. When you have the workings of a value bet explained to you, the whole concept will become much clearer.
One thing it is really important to state before we go any further is that value betting does require expert sporting knowledge. You should only really attempt to apply this concept when you are betting on sports that you know very well. The reasons for this will become clearer as we go on, but you should not attempt to use your value bet strategy on sports about which you know nothing.
At its most basic, a good value bet strategy will give you an edge over the bookmaker. Let’s see how you can maximise that edge now. We’ll start by defining what a value bet actually is.
The key to any value bet strategy is the ability to accurately assess probability. Once you have had a value bet explained to you this becomes very clear. This is why sporting knowledge is so important because it is only by being an expert on a sport that you can hope to assess probability accurately.
If we use the example of tossing a coin, we can illuminate the process of assessing probability for you. When you toss a coin there are two possible outcomes – heads or tails. This gives a probability of 50% for each outcome. If we use decimal odds, then the likelihood of each outcome is one divided by 0.5, which gives us decimal odds of 2.00, or if you prefer British style fractional odds, 1/1 or evens.
This means that if you saw a bookie offering odds of 2/1 on the coin landing as a head you would jump at the chance to bet on it. Now you have had this very simple type of value bet explained you should be able to grasp the fundamentals of a good value bet strategy.
Obviously, now that you have had a value bet explained to you, you will hopefully understand that you need to be able to read bookies’ odds properly. Without being able to understand odds, you have no hope of being able to accurately assess relative probabilities and enjoy success.
In the UK and the Republic of Ireland, the traditional way of writing odds is as a fraction. You will have seen odds written like 2/1 or 5/3. This expresses the likelihood that the bookie has given to an event taking place. The bigger the first number, the less likely the event is to happen. As a result, these odds can appear confusing to newcomers to betting, but you will find that they soon make sense when you get used to them.
The other way you may see odds written is as decimal odds. This is the method used in continental European countries such as Germany and France. Many people who have a value bet strategy prefer to use decimal odds, due to the fact that they can be easier to understand. They also make it simpler to calculate what your winnings from a bet will be.
Of course, having a value bet explained to you is useless unless you know about different types of bet. Many people might think betting on a football match is simply a case of picking the winner. As you will know if you have scanned the typical range of markets for a soccer game, though, there are hundreds of different bets that you can place. All of them potentially have a place in your value bet strategy.
Being able to use different types of bet is vital to being successful at value betting. The more types of bet you understand, the more likely you are to be able to find those weak spots that the bookie has left when calculating their odds. While they are unlikely to have made a mistake on the 1X2 market for football, where you just pick the winner, they may have made a few slip-ups when it comes to the correct score markets, where the range of options is larger.
Once you have had a value bet explained to you, you should have realised immediately just how useful live betting can be as part of a value bet strategy. You do to be able to think quickly to spot the value on offer, though. Live markets are updated very quickly, and the potential for bookie oversight or error is much greater than for more traditional markets.
Now that you have had a value bet explained to you, you should be able to grasp the fundamentals of using this type of betting. A good value bet strategy is all about identifying where the bookies have made a mistake. As we have said repeatedly, this is where your sporting expertise is needed. But you also need patience and the willingness to spend some time checking bookmakers for their odds.
This means that you really need to have accounts with several different bookmakers if you want your value bet strategy to work. Limiting your research to just one bookie will cut down your options. Anyone who has had a value bet explained will realise that the odds comparison is a huge part of being successful. Comparing odds from just one or two bookmakers will not give you sufficient opportunity to find the value you need.
Bookies do not very often make mistakes when it comes to assessing probability and protecting their profits with the odds they assign. The chances of just one bookie making enough errors of this kind to make your value bet strategy work are small, to say the least. You should aim to have accounts with as many bookies as possible if you want your value bet strategy to be successful.
Now that you have had a value bet explained, you should be able to understand just how much sporting expertise, betting knowledge and patience is needed for a successful value bet strategy. You need excellent sporting knowledge to be able to spot where the bookies have got things wrong. Without this, you have no hope of value betting successfully. The 'value' in value betting is found when bookies make a mistake, and there is no way that you can tell this without a good understanding of the sport on which you are betting.
To complement that sporting knowledge, you also need to be able to understand how betting works. A big part of this is to know the difference between different bet types and being able to use things like live betting as part of your arsenal of tactics. Once you have had a value bet explained then you should be able to see how the fast pace of live betting can help you be successful. If you don’t understand the differences between bet types then you will struggle to formulate a proper value bet strategy.
Patience is key to combing through the odds on offer from various bookies as you look for value. Patience is also required when you research stats and prior form ahead of placing bets. All of these processes take time and you need to understand this if you want to formulate a good value bet strategy.
But if you are prepared to put in some time, and paid attention when you had a value bet explained to you, then you are well on the way to coming up with a successful value bet strategy.
Now that you have had what makes a good value bet explained to you, you might be interested in some of Betting.co.uk’s other betting guides. You can also read our guides to matched betting, 1.01 betting, and over/under betting (amongst others), while horse racing fans should find our pick three betting strategy guide useful also. Don't forget about the best horse betting strategies in general too!
If you enjoy a passion for football betting, then check out our guide on how to use a derby betting strategy. There are plenty of other articles to dig into, as well as betting tips for key matches each week. We look forward to seeing you here regularly.