Successful sports betting is completely based on winning, right?
For the sports bettors who turn the biggest profits via their wagering, it’s not about how often they win, it’s about how much they win when they do win.
This is known in the sports betting industry as maximizing the value of your bets.
What Is Value Betting?
Let us explain the value betting with the following example. Think of it in terms of golf or tennis. There are wins on both tours that hold more value than others. A victory in one of golf’s majors – The Masters, PGA, US or British Opens – will make you a golfing icon forever. One victory in any of these tournaments holds more value in a golfer’s career than three Pensacola Open titles would.
Likewise, on the tennis court, capture one of the Grand Slam events – Wimbledon or the Australian, US or French Opens – and you serve and volley with legends for the remainder of your career. Win the Rogers Cup and while it’ll make for a tidy payday, you won’t add much to your tennis legacy, because a victory there doesn’t hold the same value in the sport.
Okay, then allow us to further explain examples of this methodology.
Sometimes, Less Adds Up To More
For argument’s sake, we’ll take a typical Sunday on the NFL schedule, and two football bettors looking to make a wagering score.
Let’s say Bettor A placed four separate $100 NFL wagers. He takes the favorite in each of the four games at odds of -110:
- Kansas City Chiefs -110 over Oakland Raiders
- Los Angeles Chargers -110 over Denver Broncos
- Dallas Cowboys -110 over Washington Redskins
- Los Angeles Rams -110 over Arizona Cardinals
Well, it turns out to be a good Sunday for this bettor. He hits on all four games, winning $91 on each game and turning an overall profit of $364 on his $400 in wagers.
His wife is also a big NFL fan and an NFL bettor, albeit one with a bit more flare when it comes to risk management.
She chooses to wager on just three games, taking two favorites:
- Philadelphia Eagles -110 over New York Giants
- New Orleans Saints -110 over Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- But she also opts to play an underdog:
- Miami Dolphins +260 over New England Patriots
Both the Eagles and Saints win as expected, and don’t you know it, the Dolphins come through with a shocker and take down Tom Brady and the Pats.
She wins $91 on each of her favorite plays, and cops and impressive $260 profit on her underdog win. In total, her profit adds up to $442.
She risked $100 less of her bankroll and won $78 more than her husband. Not only did she get more bang for less bucks, the value return on her outlay of risk was significantly greater.
She maximized the value of her bets.
Maximizing Value While Betting on Favorites
Now we don’t want you to think that you have to wager on underdogs in order to maximize the value of the winnings on your bets. Far from it.
If you’re someone who prefers to play it safe and go with favorites, there are methods to increase your winnings and also maximize the value of your bets.
Watch the early odds. If the price on a favorite seems high, lock it in. As money is wagered, it’s likely those odds will grew less favorable.
Sportsbooks don’t move the odds based on which team they think is going to win. They do so in order to balance the books. They seek to get as much money wagered on both teams each game, so that no matter who wins, the book makes money.
When a sportsbook establishes the odds on a game, they are working with the theory of implied probability. For instance, if a team’s odds in the moneyline are set at +400, that means the sportsbook is basically giving that team a one-in-five chance of winning.
In other words, they are saying if these two teams that are facing each other in this particular game played five games against each other, the team with the +400 odds would win once. That’s why the odds are higher, because the sportsbook feels there’s much less chance of this team winning.
But suppose you know a specific detail about the two teams in this matchup. Perhaps one of the teams doesn’t perform well at the stadium of the other club. This will impact outcomes and that +400 price might work to your benefit if the favorite is a poor performer at the underdog’s stadium.
Value Betting? Specialization Is Key!
The number of sports and markets available for wagering can prove overwhelming, so the best way to unearth value bets is to narrow your focus to one sport, or even one league. This gives you ample opportunity to learn the nuances of that league, spot trends and gain the knowledge and ability to act quickly when a value bet pops up.
The sport where it’s most likely that you can maximize the value of your bets is the NFL, simply because they only play one game a week. And because of that, you can occasionally get better prices, if you act fast.
In Week 1 of the 2019 NFL regular season, the Green Bay Packers are at Chicago to play the Bears in an NFL North rivalry game. The Bears are defending division champs and are -170 favorites on home turf at Soldier Field.
The Packers, though, have a new head coach in Matt LaFleur and still have Aaron Rodgers at quarterback. At +150, they might be a good value bet.
On the other hand, if you like the Bears, you might want to wait. There could be a lot of early money laid on Green Bay, which would impact Chicago’s odds in your favor, thus increasing the value of the bet.
In the other major North American sports – the NHL, NBA, and MLB – there isn’t that length of time between games to allow such fluctuation in the odds to take place.
Keep Your Ears Open For Value Bets
Information is always king, and that’s especially true in the sports betting world. The Seattle Seahawks face the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 1 of the 2019 NFL season and are overwhelming -440 favorites.
The price on the Seahawks shot up when Bengals All-Pro wide receiver AJ Green suffered an ankle injury in training camp and was ruled out of the opener. Had you been on top of the news that day, you might have been able to get a bet down on the Seahawks before the odds skyrocketed.
Line Shop For Value
In instances like the Green injury, some sportsbooks will be quicker to adjust their betting lines than others. That’s why it’s vital to line shop and get the best value for your wager. But that always applies when betting.
BetAmerica offers +150 odds on the Packers against the Bears in Week 1. FanDuel list the Packers at +156. William Hill has Green Bay at +160.
If you played a $100 wager on the Packers, you’d win $150 at BetAmerica, $156 at FanDuel, and $160 at William Hill. That’s a $10 swing, and who couldn’t use an extra 10 bucks?
Future Books Offer Great Value
An area of sports betting where value can be maximized if you’re the patient sort is in future book wagering.
Let’s look at the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year odds. Not so long ago, you could’ve got $1350 odds on Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Devin Bush Jr winning the award.
Then Bush went out and made 10 tackles in his NFL preseason debut, and his odds to be NFL DROY plummeted to +600. Had you bet $100 on him at +1350, that’s a $1350 profit. At +600, you’ll get $600 along with your stake. Not a bad payday but less than half of what it could’ve been.
Value Over Victory
When wagering on sports, always remember that it’s not the winning that matters. It’s the value you find in those victories that ultimately determine your success as a bettor.