What is value betting ?

Value betting is the art of strictly mathematic betting.

When you bet on value, you don’t pay attention to criteria like league table, form, history, injuries, etc. The “normal” way of betting is first finding an object you believe in, then check if the odds is allright. Valuebetting requires another way of thinking. In fact, valuebetting is the opposite of conventional betting. It’s not about picking objects, but picking odds !! This means that you don’t nescessarily have to believe in the team you put your money on. As long as the odds presented are better than the strictly mathematical chance your team has of winning the game, it’s a valuebet.

Finding the value.

Is an object with value typically an object with odds more than 3.5 or so ? No, an object can be a valuebet with odds of just 1.30, or 1.20. It all depends on what you think is the objects chance of winning the game. If you think a team has got 50 % chance of winning the game, odds above 2.0 represents value. If you think the team has only got a 40% chance, it’s no longer a valuebet (with odds =2.0).

Objects with good value are objects which will give you a positive payoff over time.

So if Sheff. Wed has got 10.0 for a win at Old Trafford, it is a valuebet if you think Wednesday will win more than 1 out of 10 similar games.

The formula for finding an objects value is:

ODDS * Percentage
--------------------- >= 1.0

Percentage is your subjective opinion on the object’s chance of winning the event.

If the result of the above calculation is a number greater than 1.0 the bet is a value bet. If it’s below 1.0 it’s not a valuebet, but it can ofcourse still be a good bet.

Useful info about valuebetting:

  • Big favourites are rarely good objects for valuebets, due to the bookies’ fear for large payouts if the favourites should win. Big names like Man Utd, Juventus, Inter, Milan, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, are rarely given good prices by the bookies, because the bookies know that the common punter bet on the big names (as they often seem to win their games, and they have a huge following).
  • As a result of the above, real value is often found in the form of underdogs. The bookies know that punters are more likely to bet on favourites, and therefore prices are generally higher on underdogs.
  • Patience is the key to success when betting on value. Do not alter your strategy if you loose several times in a row. The point is that when you win, your net winnings will outweigh your total losses.
  • Valuebetting could be a good strategy in the beginning and the end of a season. Results are often more unpredictable in the first and last quarter of the season, and punters should perhaps make use of this “fact” by adopting to the valuebetting strategy during early authumn and late spring.
  • Stake determination

Once you’ve found a good valuebet, you need to determine how much of your funds you should bet on this object. There are several criterias who can help you to determine your stake, and to help you place your bets in a certain system. More about this under the “Money Management”-section.

John L. Kelly is a famous name within the gambling business.

His theory and formula will find an optimal stake for your bet if you can determine a correct as possible probability for the outcome of an event.

The formula looks like this:

A = P - (1-P)
odds - 1

A = Advantage (this represents the % of your betting fund to place on the event)
P = Probability (in decimals) for an outcome (your subjective opinion)

If you have found an object with odds 2.0, and you find the probability for a given outcome of this event to be 55%, Kelly’s formula can optimize your stake on this event.

Looking to the formula above, P in this example equals 0.55. The result of the calculation gives A= 0.1.

This means that you should bet on this object with a 10% stake of your total funds. Nothing more and nothing less.

If you are too optimistic in your probability analysis (e.g you think the object has got a 60% chance, when the correct probability should be 55%), you will loose money !!

This is due to the fact that Kelly’s formula creates an optimized stake if you know your own predicting accurracy. If you are too optimistic you will loose money. If you are too pessimistic in your probability determination, you will win money, but not as much money as you would if you where betting with flat stakes (you will get a reduced payoff, but still win money).

The conclusion is: Being pessimistic when determining subjective probabilities for an outcome is much better than being too optimistic.