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Last Updated: Added friday 14th December 2012 @ 23:55pm

Value For Money Assessment Guidance VFM on Gambling


Don't Stake Value For Money When Gambling

OVER THE PAST few months in aSports Betting.com site, we've published a series of gambling help articles (or best odds) designed to help you bet upon a number of different sports.

In this betting advice, we thought it prudent to draw breath and take you back to gambling basics.

Value. It's one of the keys to winning money from gambling. But, although many of our gambling articles touch upon it, it's a topic a lot of punters probably still don't fully appreciate.

So, we've decided to devote a whole page to "The Value of Value". Quite simply, all successful punters, no matter what sport they bet upon, try to seek out value.

What’s Value Got To Do With It?

Any punter who doesn't pay attention to the topic of value will not win in the long term. That's an inescapable fact.

The problem is, many punters don't pay enough attention to value simply because they don't fully understand it.

What makes this worse is how much of the sporting press, especially those covering racing, do nothing to help them.

In fact, they often hinder punters through blabbing on and on about their idea of value without ever paying much attention to what value really means.

When it comes to gambling, value can only be described in one way: When the true odds of an event occurring are less than the gambling odds available, value exists.

A Rock Solid Deal

That's the basic, unarguable definition of value, and here's an example to prove it.

Supposing you meet a bookmaker who is holding a small bag. He shows you the contents of the bag which turn out to be two small pebbles, both exactly the same size and texture, with one being black and one white.

He wants to bet with you about what colour pebble you will draw out of the bag on each of a thousand attempts.

You must predict the colour of the pebble you will draw and bet £1 every time for the chance to do so.

However, he tells you he will pay you back £1.50 (plus your stake) every time you are correct in your prediction.

If you are a punter with any appreciation of value, you will bite off his arm to take the offer.

Why? Because the bookie is offering you odds of 6/4; about a true even money chance - naturally, we need to assume that neither you nor the bookie will be able to gain any unfair advantage prior to each attempt.

It's worth remembering that when the true odds of an event occurring are less than the gambling odds available, value exists.

Using the law of averages - after all, there's nothing else to go on - you can expect to correctly predict the colour of the pebble approximately 500 times out of the 1,000.

Each time you do, you'll receive £2.50 back (£1.50 winnings plus your £1 stake).

Each time you don't, you'll lose the £1. Thus, you'll lose £500 but receive back £750 (£2.50 x 500 is £750). Overall, that's a profit of £250.

That happy situation has come about because you obtained 6/4 about a 1/1 money shot. Of course, you are never likely to meet such a generous bookie, but such dreams won't cost you a penny!

Not as Straightforward

Unfortunately, real-life gambling is not as straightforward as this. This is because, apart from casino games, almost all gambling odds are subjective.

In other words, they are formed around people's opinions. The result is that value is much harder to judge.

To start with, however, we can refer back to the example of drawing pebbles from a bag. In that instance, 6/4 was fantastic value.

But, many punters never realise that value can, and sometimes does, exist in shorter prices as well as long ones. This is where the racing press and broadcasters are of no help.

They only ever want to bang on about the value in long-priced selections.

In many cases, a long price does not mean value. Yet, the media very rarely mention how, shall we say, a 2/1 shot is good value.

In many poor horse races at the lower grade tracks, 33/1 about some of the lesser-fancied runners is no value at all.

Horses like this win so rarely, and trying to find one that might is likely to take forever. Far better to concentrate on the horses that have much better chances of winning.

In particular, find one you fancy to win and compare the chance you think it has against the odds on offer. If the latter is greater than the former, you may well have found some value.

It is because punters are not encouraged to look for value in the shorter prices that the big bookmakers see such high turnovers on races with large fields.

To put it bluntly, the big handicaps where fields of 20 or more (like Grand National Racing) go to post are generally a bookie's dream.

OK, from time to time, a well backed runner does do the business in races of this type but they generally take a lot of sorting out.

If a race has, say, 20 runners and the favourite is 7/1, it makes no sense to support it when, for example, a six runner greyhound contest at Walthamstow might see the favourite at 3/1.

Quite simply, the greyhound race favourite is by far the better gambling proposition. Unfortunately, too many punters are seduced by the 7/1, believing that must be a value price because it seems quite long.

The latter is a mistake. Steer well clear of making uninformed decisions, and weigh up the prospects.

Vital to Remember

Another crucial thing to remember about longer priced runners is how they still have to win. Supposing a horse goes off at 16/1 but you feel it is really a 12/1 shot.

Yes, a bet at 16/1 is value but the beast will still have to win. And, believe it or not, there are more favourites go in than 12/1 shots.

It is vital to remember that any runners - be it horses, dogs or whatever that are offered at shorter prices will generally have the best form and thus the best chances of winning.

Looking for value is fine, providing it is done all the time. Using our example, if 16/1 can always be obtained about true 12/1 shots then a punter, providing they bet to level stakes, will always finish in front.

If 12 genuine 12/1 shots run back to back, the law of averages says one of them will win. Over a run of 24, the same law says two will win, and so on.

However, if you are obtaining odds of 16/l for each winner, every sequence of 12 will see you four units in front.

If, though, you play only one or two of these 12/l shots the chances are you'll land on a loser. Hence, the principle of value only becomes valid when it is applied to every bet.

Having said all that, there is clearly more chance of value existing in longer prices than shorter ones.

This is probably why the sporting press spends so much of its time trying to sort out the longer priced selections.

So, what should punters do? How should they approach the search for value? Well, here's our idea of the answer.

  • Trust Your Instincts
    Always remember the maxim 'When the true odds of an event occurring are less than the gambling odds available, value exists'. Although most odds are set as a reflection of other people's opinion, you can still compare the chances you feel your selection has of winning against the price on offer. When the latter is greater than the former, you may have found value.


  • Size lsn’t Everything
    Although there is more chance of there being value among the longer priced runners, it's important to remember they still have less chance of winning. The search for value in the shorter priced selections may be more difficult, but you'll have a better chance of finding the winner.


  • Be Persistent
    Looking for value will only payoff if you do it each and every bet. Then, the figures will work for you and that's exactly what value is all about.


  • Don't Follow The Crowd
    Outside of casino games, prices are subjective. They are a matter of opinion rather than mathematical fact. This is important to remember, because sometimes the opinion of the majority - and this generally dictates the price - can be completely wrong. Then, somewhere in the prices, value will almost certainly exist.


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