Understanding Value in Betting

Your closest friends are all raving over their successes as sports bettors. They are just casual bettors, but they are picking winners on NFL games, college football games, NHL, NBA, and more.

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You ask them more and find out they are simply betting on teams to win. Sounds easy enough and they seem to win more than they lose, but do they really know what they are doing?

There is actually much more to sports betting than simply picking winners. Players who are savvy enough to find real value bets are those who achieve consistent success.

What is value?

Understanding what value is in relation to sports betting is the key to making money when laying down wagers. In its simplest terms, a value bet is one in which the payout is greater than the sportsbooks’ odds reflect. Think of it this way. The winner of a bet is paid out at a better rate than it should.

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To understand value, think of yourself and your skills. You can command a rate of $25 per hour for whatever skills you possess. A prospective customer asks you to do a job that will take four hours. It pays $100.

When you complete the job, you will be paid exactly what your hourly rate is – $25 per hour X 4 hours = $100.

Now, imagine another customer comes along and offers a similar job. The pay remains $100, but the task will take just two hours. You will be paid an effective rate of $50 per hour, more than expected. That is the extra value in this case.

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Finding Value Bets

Trying to find real value in the sports betting market is not easy. In sporting events, we will never know the exact probability of a certain outcome. Many top online sportsbooks are better than others at determining odds. Those “sharps,” as they are known, can help in finding value. Where other bookmakers’ odds are off, bettors can find value bets.

Value situations occur when some new information enters the market. For example, an NFL team’s starting quarterback will miss Sunday’s game and an untested backup will replace him. 

Sharps will adjust odds almost immediately, but other bookmakers may be slow to follow. There is where you find a great chance to win more than expected. 

In baseball, a simple batting order lineup change could have a great impact on the run-scoring in a certain game. Again, sharps are all over this new information and adjust their odds accordingly. Others will follow but not as quickly creating a situation where bettors can earn greater payouts than expected.These inconsistencies in betting odds offer value to those bettors savvy enough to find them.

When to Avoid Value Bets

In sportsbetting, we love underdogs, but sometimes we love them too much. It’s the same with favorites. Sometimes, odds show a significant favorite or a significant underdog. You may be able to calculate a value bet, but that doesn’t mean you have to make it. 

Imagine the current UFC heavyweight champion fighting a 10-year-old. Sure, it would never happen in the first place, but what if you had some information that made your projected odds -9000 instead of -15000?

There’s some value there, but should you take it? Absolutely not. Those are situations one should avoid when searching for value bets.