12 November 2013

Introduction To Value Wagering

By Buffalo66
Buffalo, NY

Whenever I get a chance to talk sports betting in person, my conversations never seem to get to value betting.  Almost every bar stool pundit I meet just wants to know which side I'm on and how many points.  Truth be told, I used to be like that.  But learning to find value in my wagering was the very important  "A-ha" moment in my chosen career path.

So just what is value wagering?   Poker players define a value bet as a bet placed with the intention of being called by a lesser hand.  In other words, it's getting your money in with the best of it.  As punters, we want to put our money in a good spot.  That's the goal of a value wager.

Defining value in a sports bet is not an easy task.  If we have a Cowboys/Giants pick 'em game at -110 on both sides, it appears there may be no value to be found.  But this assumes the game is a 50/50 coin flip, based on the odds you were given.  If your research on the game finds one team as a strong favorite (say 70% to win), then getting -110 on that team is a superior value.  The odds pay out WAY more than they should.  That's getting your money in a good spot.

Let's look at another example from a different view point.  If the Yankees/Red Sox game is a true coin flip, both teams have an equal 50% chance of winning.  Yet if the Yankees are priced at -105 while the Sox are +120, you would take the Boston side every time.  It pays better.  It's a better value.

You can find value in games that appear to be huge mismatches.  Sometimes there is value in playing a -300 money line favorite.  A dog you think has a 35% chance of winning can be a good value bet if the odds pay enough.

One area I personally found good value is the NHL puck line.  First off, NHL odds rarely move.  Heavy favorites often pay well over +200 if they win by 2 goals.  At those odds you only need to win 33% of your bets to be profitable.  It sounds simple enough, with just one caveat:  Most punters can't handle the psychological kick in the nuts of losing 67% of the time.

I still beat myself up when I lose several wagers in a row.  It's definitely frustrating.  Now, I could stick to betting money line in NHL.  But while I would win more bets, I would also be less profitable.   Being able to realize winning less would equal more money was a HUGE step forward in my betting lifestyle.

There are other important betting concepts to learn, such as line shopping or beating a closing line.  But before you make your next sports wager, ask yourself, "What's the best value on the board tonight?"  You might be handsomely rewarded.

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