How to Find Football Value Bets
Finding value is the one thing that all punters look for and the one thing that eludes most of them. It is vital to making a profit, picking bad value selections and backing them regularly will only lead you to the poor house. Of course, you need to back winners, but backing winners at the right price and betting at the right price will determine just how much profit you make and whether your betting is going in the right direction or not.
It goes without saying that picking winners is the most important thing about making a profit, without winners you will not make a profit. However, if you do not understand the basics of value and how to find it then you could back a lot of winners and find yourself with only a small profit. Understanding value and using it to help you when to back and when to leave alone will really improve your chances of making a serious profit, whatever your sport is. Even a selection that you strongly fancy can be left alone if the price offered does not represent value to you. The keys to being a good profitable gambler are two things. The first is finding winners and the second in understanding value and using it to your advantage.
When punters look for value they often misinterpret value for a big price. Just because something is a big price, it doesn’t mean that the selection represents value. Value is what you perceive to be the chances of a selection winning, and seeing if the price on offer gives you a better return than the value or whether it gives a worse return, meaning it is bad value. When talking about value many people will say that they will not back odds on chances, as they do not represent value. This is a massive misinterpretation of value and something a lot of punters fall foul of. I never make a judgement based on the price, I make a judgement for myself based on the chances a selection has of winning, and the odds offered by the bookmakers.
For example, let us look at an English football game. In the FA Cup, Manchester United are drawn at home to a non-league team and they are expected by everyone to with ease. I would expect them to be 1/100 to win the game, such is the gulf in class because they are very close to being certainties to win the game. If Manchester United were offered at 1/5 to win the game by some bookmakers then the majority of people would miss seeing this because they were odds on, and according to most punters, odds on means no value. However, Manchester United in this situation would represent huge value and would be worth a maximum bet at that price. The odds on offer and much greater than the actual probability of Manchester United winning that game, and it is in these situations where the punter has an advantage. Value has nothing to do with the actual odds that you are backing the selection at, the value aspect of your bet is when you consider what the actual chances are of the selection winning, compared to the odds.
To see how a price doesn’t matter in the same football game, let us look at the example below. This is where people confuse value with big prices, just in the same way that small prices don’t always mean bad value, big prices don’t always mean good value. To use the game above, the non-league team should be priced at around 100/1, maybe even longer, to win the game by the bookmakers. Now, let’s say for example the bookmakers price them up at 33/1 to win the game. Some people would look at that, see the big odds on offer and think that they are getting a value bet. What actually happens here is the bookmaker is giving you a shocking price because the team should be priced at far bigger than 33/1 to win the game. Despite being a nice return if the bet comes in, the
33/1 on offer for this football match represents bad value and is something all punters should stay well clear of.
In the two examples above, I have just spoken about how 1/5 can provide great value and how 33/1 can be very bad value for the punter. It is important when you are looking at value to make sure you understand the difference between backing at good value and backing at a good price. People who back those 33/1 shots will have a winner every so often, and that will give them a nice pay day, but backing at bad value will mean you lose more than you win. The person who seeks out value will always win in the end, they will seek out the tremendous value from the 1/5 shot and be on it. They may not always see a huge return from every bed, but they will know they are backing something at very good value, and eventually that will give them the best chance to ensure a profit.
The price you back at determines whether or not you receive value. However, do not think you have value because you have a big price that does not always work out.
When you are looking for value in sport, you need to find teams that have been underestimated by the bookmakers, and therefore are a wrong price to win their upcoming event. This can be for a whole variety of reasons, many of which I will use and each has a different degree of success.
The first method I use is to look for a team that has many new players coming into their side, capable of changing their fortunes. This may be at the start of a season or during a transfer window, but the same method works no matter when it takes place. You need to take a leap of faith into the unknown with the team, as we can’t say what will happen when the new players arrive. However, if things work out for the team then those new players are going to make a huge difference to their fortunes, making them a value price until the bookmakers catch up and realise what has happened. This is only a short-term method for finding value, and it involves the risk that the team will improve, but if they do, you will have a value bet for three or four games until the bookmaker catches up.
Similar to the method above, I like to look for clubs who have a lot of injuries, so many that their first team is depleted enough to make them struggle. When those injured players all return to the line-up, they could turn the clubs fortunes back around but will be priced up by the bookmakers on their recent losses. If a team goes on a losing streak because players have been injured, they are not a bad team, just an unlucky one at that moment. When the players return, the team should return to their previous standard, which would make them value if they are priced up as the team who have been struggling with injuries. Again, this will not last long and the window of opportunity will be small, but it does offer value to those who spot it.
The final method is to concentrate on teams what show much better form either at home or away. These teams will be priced up by the bookmakers based on their overall form and their chances of winning a particular game. However, if you look deeper into the stats, some teams will be better at home or away, making them attractive when they are playing with things in their favour. To show this, take a look at an average team in the league, who have a good record away from home and see what price they are to win away. They will be priced up on their overall average league form, meaning when they travel away they will normally represent value. Read the stats and see if you can find any teams that have the potential to offer value next time they are at home or away.
Don’t allow a price to dictate to you what value is. Value is a bet that you are getting a much better price on than you should, based on the likelihood of that team winning. A big price doesn’t mean you have definitely got good value, just the same as a short price doesn’t always mean bad value. Whether your next bet is an odds on chance or a long shot make sure you believe that you are getting value on that bet and eventually you will ensure you make a good profit from your gambling. Value, together with picking winners will lead you to success.
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