How to find value odds

How to be a profitable punter? Anyone who made at least a few bets in his life asked this question to himself. The answer is pretty simple: you need to beat a bookmaker. And to do it, you have to be sharper than bookie. Or in short, you have to be a better bookmaker than bookmaker himself. It sounds strange, but it is what it is.

Betting is about probabilities. If you assess the probability of some event more accurate than a house, then you will get and an edge calling value. So, it all comes to finding or assessing the value odds.

What are value odds

Value odds in betting occurs when the probability of wager winning is greater than the odds suggests. To put it simply, it’s a situation when a bookmaker underestimates the chance of something to happen.

We’ll use a textbook example to help you understand what is value in betting. First of all, you need to learn how to convert odds to probabilities. It’s not rocket science. Here is a formula:

1/odds * 100%. So, 2.0 (in decimal) is equal to a 50% probability, 3.0 = 33,33% and so on.

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So here we go. Imagine the bookmaker offers you to bet on who will kick-off the ball at the start of a football match. As you know, it’s decided by a coin toss. According to probability theory, two sides of the coin (heads and tails) have an equal chance (50,0%) on every toss. So basically, the odds for both sides should be at 2.0. And now imagine the bookmaker puts a 3.0 (33,33%) on heads. This is a clear underestimation and… value odds. So, you just bet on it. You may lose one, two, even five bets in a row. But if you keep betting on heads at 3.0, you’ll eventually end up with a profit.

How to find value odds

Sports are not about a coin toss, and you can’t rely just on probability theory here. Here is our checklist, which helps you to find value odds:

  • Focus on some specific league, team, sportsman and become an expert in it. Bear in mind, that oddsmakers work with a load of markets, teams, and leagues. By focusing on one or a few things, you’ll get an edge when it comes to details. Thus, you can be better at analyzing and assessing.

  • Dig in in deeper leagues and small markets. Bookmakers are usually very sharp on big markets like EPL, ATP, UCL, NBA. But no so much in stuff like Danish U21 league. That’s why the margin for odds is usually higher on low tier events. Do your research on small markets, and you’ll find a margin sooner or later.

  • Don’t ignore very big or very low odds. The value may hide in 1.02 as well as in 100.0. So, there is no reason to limit yourself.

  • Create own system of estimation of probabilities or use some public one. The ELO in both tennis and soccer is a good example. You can build your own model with different parameters.

  • Use odds comparing services. There are few big websites, where you can compare odds from like 100 bookmakers. So just by picking the best available offer, you will get the mathematical edge.

There is also a good approach called blind betting. The essence of this method is to ignore the odds and estimate the probabilities without any info from the bookmaker. You can use statistics, news feeds or any other information bar betting odds. You are going to walk in bookmaker’s shoes with this one. And if you are really good at analysis, then you will find the value.

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