The Concept Of Value

Value in terms of betting is a term you may have heard a lot about. It has caused hours of debate with people on either side of the argument holding very strong views.

What people mean when they talk about value in terms of betting is the price, or odds, that they want to back or lay a selection at in relation to what that selection’s chances of winning actually are. Basically, you should only be backing when the price is too high and only laying when the price is too short. The people who support the value argument say that it is the only way to make a profit in the long term while people who don’t support the argument say that the price is irrelevant as long as you make more winning selections that losing ones.

In a simple example, when tossing a coin there are two possible outcomes, heads or tails. The odds on the toss being tails is 1/1 (2) and the odds on the toss being heads is 1/1 (2). However, if a bookmaker was offering odds on the toss being tales as 10/11 (1.91) and 11/10 (2.1) it being heads then you would back heads every time. You would not win all the time, in fact you should win 50% of the time, but because you are getting better odds when heads win then in the long term you will make a profit.

When you go shopping for a pint of milk, you know how much that milk should cost and you would not pay a price that is a lot more than you expect. Therefore, the argument with value betting is that you know what price your selection should be and you should not back it if the odds are lower than you think they should be. See the section on odds and probability for further information on odds and how they relate to the chance a selections has of winning.

The problem when it comes to sports betting is that it is totally subjective, everyone has their own opinion on whether a selection will win and what the odds should be. The way to apply value betting is to have a clear idea of what you believe a selection’s chances of winning are and to trust your judgment and do not back the selection if the price is too low. Or if you believe that the price is too low you could lay the selection on the exchange rather than backing it.

Value betting doesn’t mean not backing selections just because they are a short price. For example, in a football match, Chelsea may be priced at 1/4 (1.25) to beat a team in a home match. If the team they are playing is Manchester United then this would not be a fair price and you would not back them but if the team was Grimsby then you may consider the price value and back them. It comes down to your assessment of the chances of winning.