For those who are unaware of what a value bet actually is, it is a bet where the probability of any given outcome is greater than the odds that have been supplied by the bookmakers. An outcome which offers punters something of a rather rare advantage.
Because when it comes to bookmakers, they will look to gain as much edge over you as possible and in doing so, they either want to minimise your winnings or perhaps more importantly, maximise your losses.
Which means now that you know what a value bet actually is, there is a question that needs to be asked: is value betting profitable? Something that we will now look to answer in the remainder of the article.
At Face Value
Although we offered up an example of a value bet above, it is perhaps better to offer up a working one instead. In doing so, we can offer you a better idea of what this concept actually is and to do this, we are going to rely on the flip of a coin.
With the flip of the coin being the fairest wager of all, if only because there can only ever be two outcomes of equal value. It means that the probability of either heads or tails subsequently landing is 50/50.
While if we simplify this into bookmaker’s odds, the probability would either be 2.00 or 50/50. If we take the former of these as the benchmark, we can now highlight just where possible value could be uncovered.
Because we know that the odds of either occurrence is 2.00, imagine if one bookmaker was to offer 2.05 on the coin landing on heads. This would mean there is a small element of value being offered to bettors.
Not a great amount but value all the same and at those odds, it would make perfect sense to place a wager. While if you could constantly uncover value of this kind, then it would go a long way to establishing an element of profitability.
Now of course, the coin toss example is one that is as old as time and unfortunately, no bookmakers are offering a market of this kind and if they were, they certainly would not be offering punters value such as this.
However, just because this example is a theoretical one, does not mean that such opportunities do not present themselves in the sporting world and they especially do when it comes to the wonderful world of football.
Because unlike the standard coin toss, football has far greater variables attached to it and with factors such as team news, form, weather, and the employment of a new manager all playing a part in the compilation of pre-match odds, this can open up value opportunities.
Take a Premier League clash between Tottenham and Arsenal – one that usually sees little difference when it comes to the 1×2 odds. If a bookmaker has offered odds of 2.50 for Spurs to beat their arch rivals, it means that Antonio Conte’s men have a 40% chance of winning the London derby.
However, if their actual chances of coming out on top are say 50% instead, it would mean these odds should be 2.00 and therefore, a considerable amount of value has been afforded to anyone looking to place a wager.
While this is also an example of a bet that is considerably profitable. Yes, Tottenham may not manage to get the better of the Gunners, as they may suffer either a draw or even a loss at full time. However, just because the outcome may not go your way, it does not make it a bad bet.
Because if we look at this on the flipside, we can highlight what a bad bet would be. Again, we will take the Tottenham versus Arsenal example and this time the bookmakers are offering 1.50 for a Spurs win, but the actual chances of them coming out on top are equal to odds of 2.00.
This would mean that the bet is not only considered a bad one, but it also not one that can be considered profitable. Tottenham may win after 90 frenetic minutes of Premier League action, but there is nothing in the way of value here.
Patience Is a Virtue
Above is just one bet in isolation and for any system to show any signs of being profitable, it must be tested with multiple bets. Not just 10 or 20, but hundreds if not thousands and only then, will you be able to get a true measure of its success.
While if you were to place a large number of value bets, it does stand to reason that profitability will eventually emerge. If only because, if you are always betting with an edge beforehand, you are starting in a stronger position than the bookmaker.
If you bet hundreds of bets where there was no value at all, you would have to win almost all of them to eventually come out on top and with there being nothing in the way of margin of error, the house will most likely win in the end.
However, if you have found the value to start with, it means that your winnings can absorb your losing bets far easily and therefore, you are not risking everything with every bet that you place. You may go on a streak of losses, but it does not necessarily mean the bankroll is emptied either.
For value betting to work, a considerable amount of research is required beforehand and like any other system, time is arguably the most important aspect of all. Then again, if you can consistently sniff out the value, this can be one of the most profitable betting methods to operate.