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Learn to find the best betting odds



To make a success of sports betting, there are many aspects to get to grips with, but one of the most important is to understand how odds work and how you can turn them to your advantage. The odds on a bet will tell you how much you will win if your bet is successful, but odds are also an expression of probability. Knowing this about betting odds will help you to find value bets and to get the best possible odds. So what exactly is a value bet?

Value betting – what is it?

There are many employed by sports bettors but whatever strategy you use, you can’t afford to ignore value.

You are already familiar with the principles of value. Anyone who has ever shopped around for a car or a computer or even a bag of potatoes will be used to the idea of weighing up which purchase gives you the best deal. Value is also a common principle used by investors and and similar principles apply in betting.

To put it simply, a value bet is one where the odds of the better are higher than they should be. In other words, you think that the team in question has a better chance of winning than the odds the bookmaker has quoted on them suggest. Instead of concentrating on how many winners you can find, the value betting approach focuses on looking for value, because if you are finding value on every bet, you are guaranteed to make a long term profit.

How to calculate value bets

Calculating a value bet is simple in theory. To take an easy example, consider a coin toss. If the coin is fair, the probability of it landing on heads is 50%. Converting this probability into odds you would get Evens or 2.0, depending on whether you are using fractional odds or decimal odds. If you were offered odds of 2.0 on a coin toss, it would not be a value bet as the odds are the same as the true probability. In the long term you would only break even. But if you were offered odds of 2.5 on a coin toss – a probability of 40% – you would be getting value as the odds available are higher than the true probability suggests they should be.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, it is far harder to establish true probability in sports betting than with a coin toss. Take a typical football game. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of factors that can have an influence on the outcome of the match and it is not possible to know the true probabilities with absolute certainty. Fortunately, you don’t need absolute certainty. You only need to be closer to the truth more often than the bookmakers. Experienced sports bettors are able to weigh up a sports betting event and put a price on each outcome with a high degree of accuracy.

Value bets – how to find and identify them?

So how do you go about finding value? There is no short cut. To find value, you must become skilled at putting a probability next to each outcome. That is something that takes time to master, but can be achieved in a variety of ways. Some sports bettors use ratings, while others watch thousands of hours of their chosen sport and develop an in-depth understanding of every player or team. Whatever method you choose, you will find that the more you know, and the more you practice putting a price next to every outcome, the better you will be at spotting when the bookmakers have got their odds wrong, and hence, at finding value.

Once you think you’ve found a value bet, there is one more step before you put your money on. To maximise your value, you should always make sure you are taking the best available price on your selection. Check out the markets across the bookmaking industry, or use an odds comparison service. You can never be sure that you have made a value bet, but by making a habit of always taking the best available price, you can tip the odds a little further in your favour and such small margins can often make the difference in the long term.


Sports betting is all about value and knowing how odds work is a key part of that. By developing the ability to estimate the true probabilities of an event, you will be in a strong position to spot value bets and to pounce when the odds are wrong.