How do you find betting value? - The Think Tank
bettingexpert blog editor. Always taking the alternative route to finding the value.
There are a number of things a serious sports bettor needs to have a talent for to be successful longterm. Possibly the most important of these is the ability to consistently identify value in the betting marketplace. But how do we find betting value? In the first of a new regular feature here on the BettingExpert Blog entitled The Think Tank, we will be asking the sharpest of betting minds in the BE community how they find betting value, where they find it and what sort of betting they believe to offer the best value.
Where is the value?
One of my firmest beliefs in successful sports betting is having the ability to go against the public. Some of the ugliest bets on paper are often the most profitable. And many in our BE community of tipsters agree.
Our Ice Hockey expert LaKukaracha says” Finding value is about looking for good odds in games in which you have a good hunch and not playing those teams with slim odds where everybody considers them a sure bet. Say Manchester plays against Everton and the odds are 1.35 on Man United. No value in my opinion.”
Toni77 agrees and says “In my opinion, the underrated teams are all over the betting markets and the true betting value is in finding those teams.”
Our basketball expert Maradona1 also sees no value in betting on the big clubs of Europe. He says “We can almost always find value in matches involving the big names in European football such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, Man Utd, and especially this season in matches involving Chelsea, Bayern and Inter. They are always big favourites when playing at home against "small teams" and more often than most people would realise, they have trouble coming away with a win in these games.”
One of our best football tipsters Zeljko follows this up and suggests “The odds we see from bookies are not based on actual probability percentages but they are rather based on punter's bias toward a particular team. So in my opinion when the public is betting on one team and consider that team a huge favourite - take a deeper look at the statistics. That's where you'll find the value.”
Others believe that key to finding value is having quality information at hand. One of our most experienced tipsters Profitt says “We can find betting value when we possess some sensitive information, like for example when we find out that there may be a lack of unity within a particular team or that an important player may be missing due to injury.”
Our tipster Buffalo takes a statistical and analytical approach to finding value.”I always rate a match, race, event myself and do not rely on ratings from sites on the internet or newspapers. I love the statistical side of betting, even more so than the actual placing of a bet. I created a horse racing method which rates the horses in an upcoming race using past data, and I use the same kind of ratings for football and other sports.”
Meanwhile, Ahkel takes a situational approach to finding value. He says “Sports betting can at times be very situational. For me its about 30% statistical analysis and 70% situational analysis.”
What sports offer the best value?
Are there sports or leagues that provide better value in terms of betting? Our tipsters hold a range of perspectives on this question.
Toni77 says the best value is in football markets, you just have to seek them out. “I think that football matches can offer some nice betting value. I know that many don't agree with this but I believe that if you spend enough time searching for the right match, you will find great betting value.”
Buffalo likes the value in the lower leagues too and says “The bookies concentrate on the big leagues because that's where the most money is placed. The bookies and their experts tend to use all their resources in compiling the odds for the most well known sports and leagues. But what about lower league football, how much do the compliers know about Russian division 2 football or English tier 5 or 6 football? The list goes on and not just in football, but in tennis, darts, golf, in fact any sporting event that is a little obscure. There's very often value in these types of less fashionable events and a little research and faith in the stats can reap dividends.”
Profitt however raises a difficulty when it comes to betting on good value prospects in the more obscure competitions. “Lower leagues can be good value as bookmakers don't have enough information for these leagues, but the problem is that those betting markets typically have low limits. They're not for high rollers.”
LaKukaracha however has some concerns when it comes to betting on football, particularly at the lower levels of competition. ”To me football has the lowest value, probably because it's the most popular and we all see that ''strange results'' happen more often than in other less known sports, specially in those less known leagues.”
Meanwhile, Zeljko says the value is to be found in what you know best, whatever sport or league that might be. He says “Every sport offers value to people who can recognise the difference between fair odds (I.e the chances of a particular team winning) and the actual odds offered in that betting market. If someone is interested in curling and knows that sport in depth, then I have no problem in finding value bets there.”
What sort of bets offer the best value?
Anyone who has opened an account with an online bookmaker will have discovered the daunting range of betting options now available. Head to head, handicaps, totals, in-play and exotics, do any of them have hold greater potential profitability?
Buffalo isn't so sure about Overs and Under's and remarks “The over/under market for me is to unreliable, and not one of my favourites. If you notice my activity on BE you will see I invariably go with the 1x2. It's what I know and what my own rating method is geared towards.”
Ahkel prefers handicap betting. “Handicaps offer more flexibility. There can sometimes be an in-between eg -/+0.25 or -/+ 0.75. This is a slight advantage that can give you the edge when it comes to a tight game. And in the long term the difference is obvious.”
Profitt however suggests it's more about the value in the betting market than the actual bet type itself.” It's more a question of the percentage payout by bookies. The average is 92% return but it's possible to find 96% or better, and the value should be found right there, no matter what type of bets we are looking for. For example: it's very hard to find a value when we have odds 1.83 on both sides when we bet on 2-way head to head or handicap.”
Zeljko agrees with Profitt and adds that value can be found in more exotic bet types. “The more fashionable the bet – the lower the margin, so for some 1x2 or over/under you can find margins of only 2-3%, meaning 98% return. Then again, you can also find huge value on some 'fun' bets because betting houses may forget to factor in something that has a huge impact on those events.”
Maradona1 also suggests that a great way to bet is to take odds on one side of the action pre-game and bet against that side while the game is in-play, particularly in basketball point totals. He explains “If a game starts in my favour, then during the game I have the opportunity to close this bet by betting against the side I initially took. But with one big difference from head to head bets. How? Well, let's say I took Over 195 points in a particular game. If the game starts very well for me then the line could possibly move upward of 202 points. At that moment I take the Under for the same amount of money or less. Betting like this gives me a chance to make a profit not just for a sure win, but also the possibility to double my profit as I have taken the over 195 and the under 202 and the game could well end up with a total inbetween 195 and 202 points doubling my profit.”
Finding value is a tough task. Perhaps the toughest task for a sports bettor given the highly sophisticated methods employed by today's bookmakers. As our tipster Buffalo remarks “The bookies invariably have the upper hand in just about all the major sports. Let's face it, they have the best mathematical and betting intellects that money can buy working for them.” Indeed they do. Which means as sports bettors, we need to be just as sharp and just as consistent in our methods if we wish to come out on top in the long-term.
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Good stuff. I've always thought you need four crucial skills to be able to find value; 1. A good knowledge or memory for statistics. 2. A good understanding of mathematics and probability. 3. A passion for the sport you bet on. 4. The ability to apply the above to recognise a value bet. Any single bet requires use of that knowledge, the application of probability, the ability to trust your own opinion, a degree of intuition and a big heap of luck!
interesting article plus great conclusion
Interesting article. Good job to both tipsters and Andrew...