Finding value in sports betting

Morten
3 July 2023
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In sports betting, value refers to the relationship between the odds of an event occurring and the probability of that event happening.

If the odds offered by the bookmaker are higher than the actual probability of the event occurring, then the bet has value. Or in other words, if the bookmaker has underestimated the likelihood of an outcome happening.

For example, if the bookmaker offers odds of 2.5 on a team winning a football match, but your analysis suggests that the team has a 50% chance of winning (which translates to odds of 2.0), then there is value in the bet.

In this scenario, the bookmaker offers odds that are higher than the probability of the outcome happening, and a bet on the team to win has a positive expected value in the long run.

Finding value in sports betting is important because it can lead to long-term profitability. However, it requires a deep understanding of the sports, statistical analysis, and knowledge of the markets to identify value bets. This guide to finding value in sports betting will make it significantly easier to understand and identify value.

6 Keys To Identifying Value In Odds Betting

1. Understand the concept of value

As already mentioned, the concept of value in sports betting refers to the relationship between the odds of an event and the probability of that event occurring. A bet has value if the odds offered by the bookmaker are higher than the true probability of the event occurring. The formula to calculate value is Value = (Odds x Probability) – 1

2. Use statistical analysis

To find value in sports betting, it’s important to use statistical analysis to assess the probability of an event occurring. This can involve analysing past performances, player and team statistics, weather conditions, and other relevant factors. Sources such as team websites, sports news websites, and data providers like Sportradar or Stats Perform can provide valuable information. If you are mostly interested in analysing statistics for football, we can recommend SoccerStats.com.

Pro Tip

If you are an experienced user in Google Sheets with significant knowledge about using formulas, you can use variations of this formula to import data from soccerstats.com into google sheets and do your calculations from there: =IMPORTHTML(“https://www.soccerstats.com/trends.asp?league=england”,”table”,9,false) PS! The placement of the table may change from time to time. Simply try switching the “9” in the formula with numbers close to it, such as 7, 8, 10 , 11 to make it import the correct table.

Compare odds from multiple bookmakers

To find the best value, it’s important to compare odds from multiple bookmakers. This can be done manually by checking the odds at different bookmakers’ websites or using an odds comparison tool or betting exchange platform. Some popular odds comparison tools include OddsChecker, OddsPortal, and BetBrain.

Focus on niche markets

Bookmakers often focus more on popular sports and events, which means there may be more opportunities to find value in niche markets. For example, lower-tier leagues or lesser-known sports may offer more value because the bookmakers’ odds may not be as accurate.

Use bankroll management strategies

To maximise your profits and minimise your losses, it’s important to use bankroll management strategies. This involves setting a budget for your betting activities, establishing a betting plan, and sticking to your strategy. One popular strategy is the Kelly Criterion, which consists in calculating the optimal bet size based on the perceived value and your bankroll.

Keep track of your results

To evaluate the effectiveness of your betting strategy, it’s essential to keep track of your results. This involves recording your bets, the odds, and the outcomes. By analysing your results, you can identify areas of strength and weakness in your strategy and make adjustments accordingly.

Factors That Affect The Odds And The Value Of A Bet

Factors that affect the odds and the value of a bet can come from various sources, including team and player injuries, home-field advantage, weather conditions, recent form and momentum, historical head-to-head matchups, coaching and tactics, and public perception and sentiment. Understanding these factors and their impact on the odds is crucial for finding value in sports betting.

Team and player injuries

Team and player injuries can significantly impact the outcome of a game and, consequently, the odds offered by the bookmaker. If a key player or players are injured, the bookmaker may adjust the odds to reflect this, making it more difficult to find value bets. However, there are situations where the bookmaker overreacts to an injury and offers odds that are too high, presenting a valuable opportunity for the astute bettor. SportsGambler.com is particularly good at keeping track of injuries in leagues around the world.

Home-field advantage

Home-field advantage is another factor that can affect the odds of a game. Some teams perform significantly better when playing at home than when playing away, which can be reflected in the odds. However, home-field advantage can also be overrated, leading to odds that are different from the actual probability of the outcome.

Weather conditions

Weather conditions can also impact the outcome of a game, particularly in outdoor sports such as american football or baseball. For example, windy or rainy conditions can make passing and catching more difficult, favouring teams that rely more on the running game. The bookmaker may adjust the odds based on weather conditions, and it is important to factor this in when analysing the value of a bet.

Recent form and momentum

Recent form and momentum are also important factors to consider when analysing the value of a bet. Teams that are on a winning streak or have been playing well recently may be overvalued by the bookmaker, making it more difficult to find value bets. Conversely, teams that have been struggling or on a losing streak may be undervalued by the bookmaker, presenting value opportunities.

Historical head-to-head matchups

Historical head-to-head matchups between teams can also provide insights into the potential outcome of a game. For example, if one team has a strong record against another team, this may be reflected in the odds offered by the bookmaker. However, it’s important to remember that the history between two teams or players may only sometimes be relevant to a current matchup, and other factors, such as recent form and injuries, can make a significant impact.

Coaching and Tactics

Some coaches and teams have a specific style of play that can be more effective against opponents or in certain situations. For example, a team that plays fast-paced, high-scoring basketball may struggle against a slow, defensive-minded game. Understanding the coaching and tactical nuances of a sport can help identify value opportunities in the odds offered by the bookmaker.

Public perception and sentiment

Public perception and sentiment can also play a role in the odds offered by the bookmaker. For example, a popular team or athlete may be overvalued by the bookmaker due to the public’s bias towards them, making it difficult to find value bets. Conversely, an underdog team or athlete may be undervalued by the betting site due to the public’s lack of confidence in them, presenting value opportunities.

Overall, understanding the various factors that can affect a bet’s odds and value is crucial for successful sports betting. By carefully analysing these factors and identifying value opportunities, bettors can improve their chances of long-term profitability in sports betting.

Identifying And Avoiding Common Pitfalls

Identifying and avoiding common pitfalls that can decrease the value of a bet is just as important as understanding the factors that affect the odds. Falling prey to these pitfalls can quickly erode any potential gains from finding value bets.

Betting based on emotions or biases

Betting based on emotions or biases is a common mistake many bettors make. It is crucial to approach sports betting with a clear and rational mindset, free from any emotional attachment or prejudices towards a particular team or athlete. Making bets based on personal feelings or biases can cloud judgment and lead to poor decision-making.

Chasing losses or doubling down on losing bets

Chasing losses or doubling down on losing bets is another common pitfall that can decrease the value of a bet. It is important to stick to a disciplined betting strategy and not allow emotions to influence your decisions. Chasing losses can lead to reckless betting behaviour and can quickly deplete a bettor’s bankroll.

Overconfidence or underestimating the bookmaker

Overconfidence or underestimating the bookmaker is another common mistake that can decrease the value of a bet. Overconfidence can lead to overvaluing a particular bet, while underestimating the bookmaker can lead to the opposite. It is important to approach sports betting with a healthy respect for the bookmaker and to carefully consider the odds being offered.

Falling for “trap” games or sucker bets

Falling for “trap” games or sucker bets is another common pitfall that can minimise the value of a bet. Some bets may seem too good to be true, and if you feel that way – they often are. It is important to carefully evaluate the odds being offered and not be swayed by the potential payout alone. Research and analysis should always inform betting decisions.

Focusing too much on short-term results

Focusing too much on short-term results instead of long-term profitability is another common mistake that can decrease the value of a bet. It is important to approach sports betting as a long-term investment and not get caught up in short-term fluctuations in performance. A disciplined and consistent betting strategy, based on analysis and evaluation of the odds, is critical to long-term profitability.

In conclusion, identifying and avoiding common pitfalls that can decrease the value of a bet is just as important as understanding the factors that affect the odds. By avoiding emotional biases, sticking to a disciplined betting strategy, respecting the bookmaker, carefully evaluating the odds, and focusing on long-term profitability, bettors can maximise the value of their bets and improve their chances of long-term success in sports betting.

Using advanced statistical models and data analysis tools

One of the most effective ways to identify value opportunities in sports betting is by utilising advanced statistical models and data analysis tools. These tools can provide a deeper understanding of the underlying factors that affect the odds and can help to identify patterns and trends that may not be immediately obvious.

Machine learning and predictive modelling

Machine learning and predictive modelling are two powerful tools that can be used to identify value opportunities. Machine learning algorithms can be trained to analyse vast amounts of data, identify patterns, and make predictions about future events. These predictions can then be used in making informed betting decisions and identifying value opportunities.

Advanced statistics and analytics

Advanced statistics and analytics can also be used to identify value opportunities in sports betting. These tools can be used to analyse player and team performance, identify trends and patterns, and make predictions about future outcomes.

Data visualisation and exploration tools

Data visualisation and exploration tools can also help identify value opportunities. These tools can be used to visualise and explore large data sets, making it easier to identify patterns and trends that may not be immediately obvious. By using these tools to analyse data in new and innovative ways, bettors can gain new insights and identify value opportunities that may have been missed using traditional analysis methods.

Social media sentiment analysis

Social media sentiment analysis is another tool that can be used to identify value opportunities in sports betting. By analysing social media data, including sentiment analysis of posts related to sports events, it is possible to gain a deeper understanding of public perception and sentiment towards different teams and athletes. This can be used to inform betting decisions and identify value opportunities. Hotsuite is a popular analytics tool you can use for this.

In conclusion, utilising advanced statistical models and data analysis tools is an effective way to identify value opportunities in sports betting. Machine learning and predictive modelling, advanced statistics and analytics, data visualisation and exploration tools, and social media sentiment analysis are all powerful tools that can be used to gain a deeper understanding of the underlying factors that affect the odds and to identify patterns and trends that may not be immediately obvious. By using these tools to inform betting decisions, bettors can increase their chances of success and maximise the value of their bets.

Exploring different betting strategies and systems

Exploring different betting strategies and systems is another way to maximise the value of your bets in sports betting. Here are a few examples:

Flat betting vs progressive betting

Flat betting means betting the same amount on each wager, while progressive betting involves adjusting your bet size based on your previous wins or losses. While progressive betting can seem attractive, it can also lead to more significant losses if you go on a losing streak. Flat betting can be a more conservative approach, and it can help you manage your bankroll more effectively.

Betting based on Kelly Criterion

The Kelly Criterion is a formula that helps bettors determine how much they should bet based on the odds of a wager winning and the size of their bankroll. By using this formula, bettors can optimise their bet size to maximise their long-term profitability.

Arbitrage betting

Arbitrage betting involves placing bets on all possible outcomes of a sports event to guarantee a profit, regardless of the outcome. This can be a complex strategy, and it requires careful analysis of the odds and careful management of your bets. It’s also important to note that most bookies forbid this strategy, and you risk losing all your funds.

Hedging and risk management strategies

Hedging involves placing bets on multiple outcomes to reduce your risk of loss. For example, you might bet on both teams in a game to ensure a profit, regardless of the outcome. Other risk management strategies include setting stop-loss limits and using bankroll management techniques to ensure you don’t bet more than you can afford to lose.

Overall, exploring different betting strategies and systems can help you maximise the value of your bets in sports betting. Flat betting vs progressive betting, betting based on the Kelly Criterion, arbitrage betting, and hedging and risk management strategies are just a few examples of the many approaches bettors can use to optimise their betting strategies and improve their long-term profitability.

It’s important to remember, however, that no single strategy is foolproof and that success in sports betting ultimately requires a combination of skill, knowledge, and discipline.

Why Is It Important To Identify Value?

It is important to find value before betting because it is the key to long-term profitability in sports betting. By identifying value bets, you are finding instances where the bookmaker has set the odds too high relative to the actual probability of an event occurring.

This means that you have the edge over the bookmaker, and if you consistently bet on such value opportunities, you will have a positive expected value over the long run.

In contrast, betting on low-value opportunities or without identifying value is a sure way to lose money over time. This is because bookmakers set their odds to generate a profit for themselves, which means that their odds are generally based on the actual probability of an event occurring minus their profit margin.

If you consistently bet on low-value opportunities, you will be effectively paying the bookmaker’s profit margin, which will eat away at your bankroll over time.

Identifying value before betting requires a deep understanding of the sports, statistical analysis, and knowledge of the markets. However, the rewards can be significant for those who are willing to put in the effort and have the discipline to stick to a consistent betting strategy based on value.

Author Morten

After being a recreational gambler for over 10 years, my professional gambling career started at LeoVegas in January 2019. I am now Head of SEO & Content at Casinogrounds, responsible for what you read on UKCasino.com, Casinogrounds.com, and Casinoscores.com.