|Football Bettor's Survey|
Value Betting vs 'Back Winner, Not Losers'
The one difference between casino games and sports betting is that where simple laws of probability dictate the outcomes of baccarat, blackjack, poker or craps, in sports betting, it is impossible to quantify probabilities accurately. Each betting event (match, race) is a unique proposition with a multitude of attributing factors as compared to a roll of the dice.
Value betting in football, is about betting on a team that has a higher chance of winning than a bookie thinks it to be. Most serious punters nowadays subscribe to the Value Betting philosophy.
To value punters, 'winners cannot win all the time'. Hence, such punters would have no qualms betting on an underdog as long as they think there is 'value' in doing so.
Consider this example:
Arsenal to beat Wigan at the Emirates Stadium at 4/11
Wigan to beat Arsenal at 13/2.
If a value betting punter thought Arsenal had a 70% chance of winning while Wigan only had a 15% chance to beat Arsenal, he might still bet on Wigan despite thinking that Arsenal would likely win the match.
According to his estimations, the fair price for a homewin and an away win respectively would be 1.43 and 6.67.
If this punter is right, and the match could be replayed a hundred times, a bet on Wigan at 13/2 would return a profit of £12.50 profit from 100 £1 stakes. Conversely, 100 £1 stakes on Arsenal would give him a loss of £4.55. Hence, this punter would find it smarter to bet on Wigan even though the chances of Arsenal winning are high. This, then is basically how a value-searching punter thinks and bets.
Although the Value Betting School of Thought is adopted by most professional football punters, I find that there are holes for the philosophy in the real world:
Most punters would never have better resources than the major bookmakers who set the odds for matches. With professional handicappers and large teams of various research staff, top-level connections and such, bookmakers have an overwhelming edge in sussing out the true probabilities of match outcomes than can punters.
Value betting is a hypothetical proposition that is not very useful in reality when it's based on getting an edge of a few percentage points. For events (football matches) with outcomes where the actual probabilities cannot really be ascertained (because each event is unique), expecting the average punter to predict outcomes correct to a few percentage points is unrealistic.
A more realistic approach would simply be to predict if teams will win, lose (or even draw), perhaps even to win by a certain number of goals, etc -
Value betting is based on the premise of the long run, hence the assumption that the match between Arsenal and Wigan given in the example above could be played a hundred times or more under the same conditions - same players, same venue, same referee, same weather, etc.
Again, the factors in football is always changing for each match so even if you're betting on the same team a hundred times in a row playing the same opponent, it would still be a different proposition each time.
I say why worry about something that cannot happen?
Focus on that particular match. Is Arsenal going to win that match? If you are quite sure they would, bet on them, not on Wigan. If you're not sure Arsenal are going to win this one (because of some key player injury, wrong tactical approach or whatever), don't bet on them. Maybe the next one.
Or if Wigan had acquired a few footballing superstars into their squad and now stood a good chance of beating Arsenal, then bet on Wigan. Don't bet on Wigan even when you think they are probably going to lose.
This not only simplifies things but more importantly, corresponds to reality and is more achievable than trying to calculate the exact probability of a football match outcome, correct to 3 or 4 percentage points.
And they're not running charities either. All of us know they make regular laughing trips to the bank. How likely is it that with their resources and profit-making intentions that they release odds that are of real value to the punters?
I believe bookmakers use odds (especially in the case of Asian Handicaps) to influence punters to predict a certain outcome.
In the beginning, it was easy to figure out, if a bet looked like real value (for example, Arsenal giving -0.75 handicap to Wigan on home turf) it was probably a trap.
I'm not saying that bookmakers know exactly what football match scores will be at the end of 90 minutes but most times they have a pretty good idea. I've seen too many punters get burnt chasing the 'value' bet.
What I did then was always go the opposite way, the less 'value', the better.
As punters wisened up to the trick, more and more of them started betting in the same way - go with the bookies. The less value the odds, the more likely they'd place their bets. These days, the trap is ineffective with a good mix of punters who look for value and those who go with the bookies. Now, bookies regularly change their tactics to confuse the punters.
Essentially, it is quite redundant to study the odds nowadays which leads us back full circle to the fact that value betting could in fact be useful now, if you can correctly predict probabilites of match outcomes to the one percentage point.
So, Value Betting v Likely Winner?
I always bet to win. It's worked well over the past decade or so and Silver Circle members also seem to be profiting quite nicely from it.
Out of so many tipster services available out there, I have been very fortunate to have found yours and decided to try it out. It's not been too long since I have become a member but so far, I am truly impressed.
- Joseph Tullgren, Hässleholm, Sweden
"I notice prices get short on many of the teams you tip. Is this because your subscribers are plenty or are you betting heavily on your own picks yourself? Either way, keep up the great work!"
- Jeffrey Low, Singapore