The concept of value in sports betting

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Some years ago, there was a classic book written by Mark Coton on value betting. The word “value” tends to mean prices with regards to sporting events that the punter or gambler perceive to be wrong and can be used in their favour. There are two clear trains of thought here, there are those who believe that a bet is value if it wins and that is the case whatever the price.

They argue that if you place a bet at 1.05 and it wins then that bet was value simply because it won. The argument is that it is better to back a very short priced winner than a far longer priced loser. I can see where these people are coming from but the problem that I have with this is that how can you possibly know that these selections are going to win and also if they are value at the shorter prices.

Not knowing if they are going to win or not casts doubt on the whole process. I am sure that there will be people who think that backing 1.01 shots on the betting exchanges will be a route to making money. If you think that this is the case and a string of bets at those prices leads to success after success then don’t get carried away.

You will need to have that kind of success and a lot more besides because backing at those sorts of prices means that you will need an almost 100% strike rate of winners over losers. Only yesterday I was talking to a colleague who had laid a horse that went 1.01 in running and then lost. He was in the process of writing the bet down in his diary as a loser at the time.

Tennis players have lost matches after being 1.01 in running and this has led to many punters losing their shirts in Tennis betting in the past, and who can ever forget the AC Milan versus Liverpool 2005 Champions League Final. But value is a somewhat grey area because what one person sees as value, someone else can see as something else. In the very past I lost a sizable bet recently backing Nikolai Valuev (If you don’t know who that is, it is the 7ft tall Russian heavyweight boxer) against David Haye for the world title.

I thought that anything at even money or greater for a world champion who had never been knocked out and who had won all his fights bar one was good value and I managed to get 2.15. The fact that he lost on points didn’t deter me from feeling that I still had a good bet. But yet you can often deceive yourself here into believing that there is value when there isn’t.

After you have taken the loss, you then start to doubt yourself that the value that you thought was there was even there at all. If you think that a price is value then you must also accept the flip side of that situation in that the betting firm or the online sports betting odds has made a mistake. Seeing as these guys are professionals and construct prices for a living then your enemy is a very formidable one indeed. Someone has to have made a mistake for your value bet to be value at all.