How to Find Good Value Bets on Football

Lee Jackson by Lee Jackson | Published: June 8, 2019

What are value bets? A Value Bet is when you think that a bookmaker has misjudged their valuation on the outcome in an event. As the name suggests it is a wager that is of particular value to you in terms of odds vs risk. However, it doesn’t mean that everyone would see that value the same way.

What is Value Betting?

One punter’s value bet then is not going to be another one’s. Value betting is all about personal perception and there are a couple of things needed to get that. Firstly you have to fully understand the odds that you are looking at.

You also need to be able to assess your own valuation too. That will be done through reading statistics and coming up with your own estimation of the outcome. To do that, you present your implied probability of an outcome and then convert it to odds.

Then you can compare your odds against what the bookmaker is offering and if the bookmaker has been a little too generous in your opinion, you have a Value Bet situation.

Example of Value Bets on Football Matches

There are a couple of ways to approach some basic Value Bets in football matches. One is to look for a decent favourite who the bookmaker hasn’t moved to an unappealing odds-on price. The second is to look for an underdog which you think has been well underrated.

If you are a new customer at Bet365, sign up using a bonus code listed here for free bet credits when value betting.

Favourite Value Bet

1) Make a selection

A soccer match of Norway v Romania is picked out. It’s not a random choice, as we have found some decisive factors:

So those two last results have knocked their form but were against stronger opposition than Romania. But that may be part of the reason why the bookmaker hasn’t gone odds-on with them.

Favorite Value Bet Example on Bet365 - How to Find Value Bets
Example of Value Betting at Bet365

Even money on Norway with those factors in place is a reasonable option then, we feel.

2) Convert odds to probability

What does an even money quote (1/1) that the bookmaker has on Norway mean in terms of probability? That’s a 50% implied probability. A 50% chance that Norway win this game.

3) Judge that probability

The stats and factors above seem to point to Norway having more than a 50% chance of winning this. You think (again Value Bets are your estimations) that Norway are worthy of having a 66% chance of winning the match. A 66% implied probability converted to odds gives a quote of 1/2.

4) Value Bet

So you think that the price on Norway winning should be shorter than what it is. You think that the bookmaker is going to be paying out out more than they would need to on the favourite if they win. That is your value bet.

Underdog Value Bet

1) Make a selection

Let’s reverse this and make Romania, who are the underdogs, a value bet.

So it actually hasn’t been bad form from Romania and their back to back away wins in competitive matches is notable. Given that Norway’s last two home wins have been 1-0 victories against weaker opposition, then Romania may have a decent chance.

2) Convert odds to probability

A 3/1 odds quote converts to a 25% implied probability of them winning.

3) Judge that probability

That’s a low rating of 25% on Romania winning this. They should be stronger in your opinion. Now we’re not going crazy in thinking that they have a 60% of winning this, but around a 40% chance seems plausible to you. A 42% chance would be 11/8 odds.

4) Value Bet

So you think that the bookies have badly underestimated Romania’s chances in this and that they should be a much shorter price. This is a value bet scenario for you. You could also use this information to back Romania in a Double Chance bet if you didn’t want to go all in on the underdog. A Romania – Double Chance bet would pay out if they win or draw.

Converting Odds to Probability

There’s a quick and easy way to convert the odds that a bookmaker is giving, to probability. Key tip here, use decimal odds as it’s quicker. Or use an online odds to probability calculator.

Decimal Odds to Implied Probability(1/ decimal odds) * 100 = implied probability
Example odds: 3.50(1/ 3.50) * 100  = 28.5%
Fractional Odds to Implied Probabilitydenominator / (denominator + numerator) * 100 = implied probability
Example odds 9/22 / (2 + 9) * 100 = 18.1%

Comparing odds on different bookmakers to find Value Bets

There is another direct way that you can look for Value Bets. This is by doing some odds comparison work. This is likely actually going to be a quicker and easier route to take, especially for beginners. What you are doing in odds comparison between different bookmakers is looking for which has the better value.

You are looking at which has the bigger odds being offered on your selection. Varying odds on the same markets happen a lot. There are a lot of bookmakers out there so it’s always worth signing up for more than one. This allows odds comparison to happen. Let’s say Brazil are listed at 6/4 with one bookmaker, 7/5 at another and 29/20 at another.

Those are varying odds, so which one offers the best value? You can just break out a bet calculator to quickly figure out which price would reward you with more.

  Bookie 1 Bookie 2 Bookie 3
£10 Stake at 6/4 7/5 29/20
Profit £15.00 £14.00 £14.50

In situations like this, you can see that the first bookmaker was offering the best bet. While those are small discrepancies between the odds on that particular outcome, think of this on a grander scale.

If you repeated that bet ten times over, that would be a whole £10 extra profit that you would have made with Bookmaker 1 than at Bookmaker 2. So there are long term gains that can really be earned when doing this kind of Value Betting. Especially when it comes to live in-play odds.

In-play odds are far more dynamic and this is an area in which you will likely see even bigger variance than in the match outright odds. This is about being ready with the bet that you want to make and comparing odds as quickly as you can, to strike your bet. It is a little trickier because how quickly the odds do change live in-play. Learn more about in-play betting.

That is where having a good working knowledge of how to read odds and immediately knowing which are the bigger ones, is a crucial part of sports betting. Go back to the example above, if you knew in your head through experience, that 6/4 is bigger than 7/5 instinctively, that allows the quicker play of in-play bets when comparing prices between bookmakers.

Summary

Football value bets are nothing more than you thinking that the bookmakers have gotten something a little bit wrong in their odds quote. By spending time trying to find value bets, in the long-term you help swing things in your favour. Want to learn more? Check out our popular beginner guides.

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How to Find Good Value Bets on Football
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How to Find Good Value Bets on Football
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A Value Bet is when you think that a bookmaker has misjudged the odds on an event. Here, we give examples of how to find value bets on football.
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Best Free Bets
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Article by Lee Jackson

Lee has built a vast working knowledge of different bet types, betting systems, probability and all-important experience. His experience within the betting industry extends to over a decade of researching and writing betting guides. Understanding the statistical and mathematical side of betting is something that fascinates Lee. The study of statistics and implied probability in odds are factors that he finds engaging and important to understanding the inner workings of the practice of betting.