Value Bets (Value Betting)

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Value Bets are bets in favour of an outcome which chances of happening are higher than what the odds offered suggest.

This means that if you are searching for high or misadjusted odds, then it has value.

Does that mean that you should always bet on the more probable outcome?

Betting on something that is considered to have value is rarely a bet on the most likely outcome or the favourite. In most cases, we bet on the “underdogs” (least favourites) or in some odds that we see as being too generous.

1st Example:

You see a horse with 6.00 odds and you still estimate that he has a chance of winning of 33% (fair price should be 3.00).

  1. Assuming you are correct on your valuation, there is still 67% chance that horse LOSES!
  2. IN THE LONG TERM, if you are right, then for every 3 times you find this situation, you can expect 1 win (which gives you a profit 5x your stake) and 2 losses (each time costing you 1x your stake), which would ensue a profit of 3x your stake.

2nd Example: Any horse can have value:

The short priced favourites can have value. If the odds offered for a certain horse are 1.25, these odds are fair if that horse has 80% chance of winning. However, if you think that this particular horse has a winning chance of 90% then that 1.25 odd has value, despite being short.

Examples of Value Bets

Many value bets are based on predicting a return to good form in football teams, racing horses, greyhounds or even other. There has to be a more valid reason for their return to form in order to consider these value bets, a mere assumption isn’t enough

In football a team can return to good form because a key player got back from suspension/injury or because they just got out of a streak of tough games where they might have lost, which leads us to the conclusion that they are in bad shape. However, if they play against an easier opponent, their good fortune might return and they can be able to win.

A horse can be favoured in a determined track or terrain, and may have run on unfavourable conditions for him several races in a row. In his return to favourable conditions, the odds will reflect his momentum, which is not great. However, it can be expected that he improves on this return to ideal conditions, so the higher odds on him will probably be a good value bet.

There can also be some value in going against big reputation names, whether it is on Football, Horse Racing or any other sport. In 2007, on the flat racing season, Coral Eclipse at Sandown had 3 favourites: Authorized, George Washington e Notnowcato.

Authorized had 1.57 odds despite not having any notable performances on the higher level and on distances over 10 furlongs. George Washington had 5.00 odds, despite never having competed in any race with a distance over 10 furlongs.

Lastly, Notnowcato had already won 2, one of which in the same track and terrain as this race. His odds were 8.00 and he won comfortably, which gave good profit for those who had bet on him, even if it was only on him to place in the race.

Each-Way Value Betting

Value bets don’t always have to win in order to be profitable, since there’s also several good opportunities on Each-Way bets. Some horses with big disadvantages in races where the first 4 spots are placed, they have a decent chance to place, but a very low chance to actually win.

Betting on them Each-Way can many times result in a winning bet, despite your bet being made knowing there’s a higher chance for the horse to place, rather than for him to actually win. Sometimes, a horse can have odds so high that this paid place can be very profitable.


You can bet on a horse with 34 odds on a race with 16 horses, not because you think he will win but because you think he has a good shot at the paid places.

Another way of choosing may be an each-way bet with value in races where there is a very short-priced favourite.

This will make every other horse have high odds which make Each-Way bets profitable, since all you have to do is follow the favourite in order to get profit. Bookmakers usually call these bets “Bad Each-Ways” and while they put restrictions on some of this cases, it isn’t so hard to find one of these situations.

What you need to do to find a Value Bet

To find a good value bet, first you will need to have good knowledge about the sport you are about to bet on, in order to be capable of determining what are the factors that favour your bet and that makes the odds appear to be higher than they were supposed to.

One of the best techniques in order to find value bets is coming up with the odds for a certain outcome yourself and then comparing them to the real odds offered by the bookmakers.

This way, when comparing the two prices, you can search for differences between the way you read the event and the way the bookmakers have. The selections which have much higher odds on the bookmakers than in your own odds, are the so-called value bets in this case. The bigger the difference is, bigger the value.

Laying (Betting against)

Finding value bets can also be used to make some Lay bets on betting exchanges. Once again, we advise you to set your own prices/odds before checking the odds offered, in order to judge the event better, without being affected by the bookmakers’ opinion.

Any outcome that you find that has lower odds on the bookmakers than your own prices, you should consider laying them, since they are overvalued according to your analysis. The lower the price is, the more value this lay has.


You can think that a certain horse has a decent chance to win, but do you think that that chance is correctly priced at even money (if you bet and you win, your stake is doubled). However, the bookmakers offer you an odd of 1.50. This should be a value lay here.

Advantages of value bets

Theoretically, most of the bets you make should be value bets. It is correct to place bets in something that you don’t think has an high chance of winning. But you should never bet on something that you think has low value.

When betting, in the long term, we need to constantly make profitable decisions, since one decisions, since a single decision probably won’t make that huge of a difference.

Disadvantages of value betting

Value bets can sometimes be difficult to find, especially if you don’t have a strong knowledge of what you’re betting on. It is necessary to “waste” many time defining the events’ odds before you check the bookmaker. If you don’t do this carefully it can lead to mistakes when selecting if a bet has value or not.

Betting on value longshots instead of more likely winners should result in long term profit, but you need to be prepared to lose some bets on the short term.

Discipline is necessary not to go into tilt mode in order to recover this losses at short term, and you should try not to give up when facing a big losing streak, because, if you’re confident that your bets have value, then it is just a matter of time before you start winning bets again, and you’re back in profit.

Wrong Value Bets

Here are some of the typical misconceptions:

  1. Low odds have no value
    What matters, as it is described in the example above, is how “your odds” (i.e. the chances of a certain outcome occurring, according to your judgement) compare to the odds offered by the bookmakers. The actual odds themselves don’t really matter, only the difference between the odds and the actual chances.
  2. The higher the odds, the more value it has
    As stated above, huge odds can have terrible value, if a selection has odds lower than their chances of actually happening. Odds of 3.0 on something that has a 25% chance of happening has worse value than something with the same odds but with a 50% chance of happening.
  3. If odds are low, throw it into an accumulator, to gain more value

If something has low odds, then it can have value or not, depending on the likelihood of it to happen or not. Combining that selection with another selection doesn’t change the value of either of them, each bet has its own value.


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