How To Find Value Bets

Best Strategies for Betting

When it comes to your wager, are you a careful strategist, or do you prefer to make your selections on a completely random basis? You may have a favourite number (that didn’t work out too well for risk taker Nick Leeson), or pick based on names you like the sound of, or which have some kind of personal significance for you.

A certain amount has to do with luck of course, but there’s no doubt that for serious gamblers, a system is needed, and making money isn’t all about the backing the right “horse”, it’s also about making choices based on the odds. To optimise your chances of making the most money – or at least to put your mind at rest that you at least did all you could along the way – here’s how to find the best value bets.

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What is a Value Bet?

To find a value bet – rather than just one you think is going to win, you must choose a wager where the likelihood of your chosen outcome is greater than the odds on offer would suggest. Football is arguably the most popular sport for betting, but for those new to it, it can appear intimidating working out what’s what.

Try and wager without any understanding of the way the figures work and you’re likely to wind up significantly worse off. So you can forget just throwing money at your favourite team, finding the favourite, or getting a good tip off. This must all line up against those all important odds. This might seem a bit confusing, after all, how do you know that this is even the case? Now’s the time to make like the serious bettors and turn to maths, to get you off the ground.

Time for Some Sums

Think you left fractions and decimals behind at high school? Think again. Probably no one told you that the real reason you’d need them in adult life is for getting your head around bookies’ odds.  So whether you love or loathe maths and whether you’re a number cruncher or a number avoider, getting to grips with them is going to play a vital role in ensuring you’re smart your bankroll and bring home the most moolah you can. Fortunately there’s a tried and tested formula that can be brought, quite literally, into play here. To calculate the value of a bet, use this simple equation:

Decimal odds (probability) – 1 = value. If the value is greater than 0, then this is a value bet.

For example: 2.1 – 1 = 1.1. So this is a value bet.

However, take it a step further and you can break that down into implied probability, enabling you to analyse those odds.

1 divided by the odds = the implied probability.

So this time divide the number 1 by the odds, in this case 2.1, resulting in 0.47. This shows that a bet with odds of 2.1 does not have as equal an outcome as it might appear, indicating which way the value bettor should lean.

Take it another step further and you can even start working out your own probability, rather than leaving it in the hands of the bookies, making you far more clued up and able to compare against their figures, to get the best possible deal. Markets overreact to certain events, groupthink can influence projected outcomes and one off scenarios can impact the following week’s odds.

So the more you can evaluate these factors, the better off you’ll be. This may all seem a little intimidating at first, but after you’ve been practicing this a while, you’ll be surprised how intuitive these calculations become and you’ll start to recognise the implied probability – and equate that to value – much quicker.

Good Timing and Shopping Around

Not all wagers are created equal, and bookies will often have special offers and deals at certain times (particularly look out for opportunities on the day of an event, or at times of peak publicity). Of course that doesn’t necessarily mean a good deal, so pick and choose, but do play the market and keep and eye on any changes to make sure you’re getting as much bang for your buck as you can. Then you can compare the decimal odds from various brands and calculate the value according to the formula provided. That’s if you don’t mind a bit of admin and the hassle of memorising more than one login and password, because you’ll have to keep at least two different online accounts, or use various high street bookies to play the game fully. It’s shopping around, gambling style and can be one of the best ways to keep your bankroll in bloom.

Knowing the world of online betting is about knowing yourself. If you like things simple, don’t make it complicated; if you’re a free spirit, don’t tie yourself down to something too rigid. But if you’re willing to work for your reward, put in the time and calculate those value bets, the hard work will all be worth it.

On our pages you will find information about the best online bookmakersbetting tipsmatch previews, a glossary, etc. More than 50 sports betting strategies will help you to find your own betting style. We offer our own live football results service for online betting, where all current football matches can be followed online.