Value Betting versus Gut Feeling


Value Betting Concept

A bet should be placed solely because the odds for the chosen outcome include what is known as ‘value’ or, in other words, ‘mathematical advantage’ or, ‘edge’.

In its simplest terms the word ‘value’ means something that is useful, worthwhile or important.

Therefore, a ‘value bet’ can be considered to be especially ‘valuable’, as it achieves the optimum combination of worthwhile odds and probability of success relative to the historically experienced statistical frequency of that same outcome.

Bookmakers measure statistical frequencies of events when formulating their odds.

When they underestimate the likelihood of a particular result, their odds tend to be higher than is warranted for that result.

This is a ‘value’ bet situation for backing an outcome and even small odds such as 1.06 can represent value.

Value Bet Example

Perhaps Barcelona are playing a cup match at the Nou Camp against a lower league team which sadly has virtually no chance of winning.

Statistically speaking, Barcelona’s likelihood to win the match would correspond to 100% – Even if this match were repeated and played 100 times in a row, Barcelona would probably win every time.

The strict odds for such an event would be 1.00 (1/100% probability).

This represents no value for the bettor whatsoever as placing a bet on Barcelona to win returns only the stake and no reward should they win the match as expected.

In this situation, even if a bookmaker offered a relatively low price on Barcelona to win the game, say, 1.06, then an element of ‘value’ is present when backing Barcelona to win.

Value Bet Formula for Back Bets

Although the Barcelona example is is a very simplified explanation, in summary a back bet can always be identified as containing ‘value’ when satisfying the following formula:

1/Odds < Statistical likelihood of the result

Most sport bettors fail because, regrettably, they have no concept of ‘value’ when placing their bets.

Statistics are Essential

Appraising the bookmakers’ odds for a match outcome is made easier with the vast resource of statistics now available online.

Using statistics in a controlled manner will enable you to identify where the market odds are higher, or lower, than they should be.

Characteristics of a Successful Sports Bettor:


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Last Update: 4 February 2014

Categories:Betting Guidance Betting Terminology



3 Responses to “Value Betting versus Gut Feeling”

  1. Onur
    17 February 2016 at 4:34 pm #

    I wonder if Antonio still has his success in betting in ante post markets without value. In last year I tried everything possible to create a sure-fire way to make money in betting, however the only way IS value betting. The question is how one can find the value.

  2. Antonio
    3 December 2012 at 5:03 am #

    I have to tell you that in fact you can be successful in ante post markets WITHOUT betting value!!!

    Now I know that not only will you not believe me but you will think I’m an idiot for saying so.

    What I will ask you to do,however,is to try to work out how that could be true.

    Because I assure you that it is!

    (And yes I do mean you can make long-term profits from ante post markets without ANY of your bets being value!)

  3. Antonio
    3 December 2012 at 4:54 am #

    “the reliability of results is better the more professional a league is”!?

    Im not quite sure what this means exactly but if it means what I think it means wouldn’t it be easier for bookies to accurately price up such markets?

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