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
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
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
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