One of the most important things to look for when betting is value. Finding value is vital if you want to make a profit and anything you back that doesn’t offer good value is a bad bet to place, regardless of what price it is. When you are back a favourite it is even more important to find value due to the short odds and small returns on your bet. If you are backing a favourite that offers no value and you are backing it at a short price, for just a small return then you are not going to make any profit from your gambling. Regardless of the sport, poor value favourites will exist and the best gamblers are the ones who can find them and avoid them, because of their lack of value.
There are many different reasons why a favourite could offer poor value and you will read about those reasons below. The majority of the work is actually things you will know already, but often things people forget about. While betting it is often very easy to forget the common sense approach because you are too involved in working out what will win the event. Selections that are going to be well backed for a reason other than form, or selections the bookmakers will want to lose for reasons other than form are examples of poor value favourites. Sentiment will play a big part in those two examples, alongside other things and these are all the reasons you probably will have backed a selection in the past.
The selections offer no value at all because they are over backed and to find the value you will need to look elsewhere. This may mean not having a bet if you still want the selection to win, and from a betting point of view, the best option with these types of selections is to stay away. Although if you do want a bet then just remember that if the bookmakers have one selection much shorter than it should be, they will have to have something bigger to compensate and even out the book.
Very often you will find that a favourite will have more bets placed on it to win than normal because it has another reason for being popular. This will happen in every sport, and these favourites will be much shorter than they should be. This is either because a lot of money has already been placed, or because the bookies are expecting a lot of money to be placed on them. This means you will always get a much lower price than the actual chances of that selection winning the event and that means you will not get value. We may be cheering these selections to win, but from a betting point of view, these selections are not the sort of selections you want to be backing if you want to make an overall profit on your betting.
In horse racing, you will see many horses that are priced much shorter than they should be, due to outside influences causing people to back them. For example, the horse may have a popular name, a connection to it or another sentimental reason why people want it to win. This happens more in the big races that are on TV and does not have the same effect on a midweek race that isn’t televised, but it is something you should look out for in every race you bet in.
Should you see a horse in a big race with a common name, or a name that will make people back it, you will find that horse is a much shorter price that it should be, and if they are favourite they are sure to offer poor value. People’s names, family connections and other things like sporting teams, TV
shows, and drink names are other examples of things that will force a horse to be a shorter price than it should be.
One other reason that may not strike you at first, but is easy to spot if you know what you are looking for is a horse backed because of the connections that own it. The most obvious example of this is a horse that is owned by The Queen. Should she have a horse running at Royal Ascot, the meeting she attends, that horse is sure to be well supported and will go off a much shorter price than its actual chance says it should. The horse may be good enough to win, but from the perspective of someone looking for good and bad value in a race, that horse is sure to offer very bad value. Of course, we would all love to see The Queen have a winner at Royal Ascot, but backing that horse is not the way to make money from your gambling.
The above examples are much easier to spot in the big races and will always offer bad value in those races. For example, should The Queen have a horse running on a Monday afternoon at a small track, fewer people will back that because they would not know it was running. This may mean that horse would offer value, but if the horse was running at a major meeting on TV then it is sure to offer bad value.
One race that will always throw up many different poor value horses in the Grand National. Things like Grey horses, female jockeys and names are all very well backed by those punters who bet once a year on that race. While these people don’t put a lot of money on, they still heavily influence the market and cause those horses to be very bad value. A Grey horse with a female jockey on board would be the perfect example of a very poor value favourite in a race like the Grand National.
Previous winners of an event are another good example of selections being poor value favourites. If these events are annual or perhaps even further apart, then the selection will arrive in much different form than what they did 12 months earlier. While they do know how to win the event, for me the form line is too old to use and makes them poor value. This can affect any sport, a horse, a tennis player, a golfer, anything you bet on. Just because someone won the event last year they will always be priced up shorter for the upcoming event. I do not think judging someone on the form they showed 12 months ago is the right way forward and for that, I always find these to be poor value favourites.
Home Nations / Players
I may come across as being quite unpatriotic here, but this is one of the things you have to do if you want to avoid poor value favourites. You have to separate who your heart wants to see win, with who you feel offers good value in the betting market to win the event. If you look at an event with no sentiment attached to it then the chances are that the home nations teams and players will over very poor value if they are favourites. This is because they are either heavily backed by the country to win the event, or because bookmakers are making them a lower price because they know their liabilities are going to be huge if that selection wins.
A good example of this would be Andy Murray to win Wimbledon. Murray will be shorter than his form says he should be, simply because the bookmakers know that people will head out and back him to win the tournament. Their liabilities will be huge with a win, so they shorten him before a bet
is placed. The same would work in Spain with Rafael Nadal, they would shorten him in their markets, it all depends on who the homegrown player is.
When it comes to betting on football, you will always get a poor price on an English club to win a European competition and much lower than what you would if you were to place your bet in Spain for example. This also applies to the English national team, who regardless of their form will always be well backed before a major tournament.
We all want these teams to do well, but when it comes to a betting perspective these teams will always offer you very poor value. If you want to be patriotic and cheer the teams on then great, and we all hope that they win. However, purely from a betting point of view, they are not always your best option.
Bookmakers are very good at reading the nation and reading how we are going to react and who we want to win. They will always ensure our favourites are much shorter than they should be, to protect their liabilities and it is up to you to have the discipline to avoid these poor value favourites.