How to recognize a value bet?

by FMP50 on Feb 28, 2023 8:49 am

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This is a question that most amateur bettors struggle with! Value bets aren’t just bets where you have a good level of confidence on the outcome, because you did your homework in assessing the chances of each side. Value bets are bets where the potential winnings offered by the bookmaker are higher than the risks of financial loss associated with the event.

The key to spot a value bet is thus to compare your own assessment of an odds, with the value returned by the bookmaker for that market. To achieve this, you should follow the following steps:

  • Understanding the odds . Either American, decimal or fractional, it’s important to be able to convert odds provided into probabilities, so you can attach an event to its probability. For instance, decimal odds of 2.5 means an event probability is 40%.

  • Develop your own odds. For a given event, the next step is to do your research on the match to come up with your own estimation of that event probability. That implies analyzing thoroughly the teams or players' recent form, statistics, rankings, etc.

  • Compare odds. It’s now time to compare the odds provided by the bookmaker with your own odds. If the bookmaker provides a 40% chance for an event, but your own assessment makes that event at 50%, then you are in the presence of a value bet.

Note that some bettors prefer to do the exercise in the other direction, starting with their own percentage (let's say 50%), which is then turned into an odd (1 / 0.5 = 2). In that case, you can then compare your odds of 2 with the bookmaker offer of 2.5. It’s apparent that the bookmaker provides a better pay for that same event, therefore that it is a valuable bet to place your wager on.

a golden balance scale beside a laptop

In all cases, a crucial factor is to be able to estimate odds in an accurate manner, to challenge the appreciation made by the bookmaker on that same market. You must therefore spend a good amount of time on analyzing the bets. Value bets don’t come easy! But they will reward wise bettors who do their due diligence to develop their own assessment of each side's chances.

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