If you are new to sports betting you might have heard a pro bettor say “there is no value in the games today…” or “That bet looks good but it has no value.” So what do they mean when they talk about value?
Isn´t the high possibility of winning a bet enough “value”? No it isn´t.
A Value Bet  is a bet that offers a nice risk/reward ratio in terms of investment vs return. A pro value bettor will filter out from a large selection of possible bets only those that he is in accordance with the result and the profit is worth taking the risk.
Many value bettors won´t take a bet if it doesn´t return a 1 to 1 ratio, others won´t take a bet if it doesn´t return more 2 to 1 or more.
The risk management aspect from this philosophy is that “you can lose more bets than you win and still be in profit by only taking bets with a reward vs risk ratio of 2 to 1 (win twice of what you stake)”. This is a smart way of managing your bankroll.
In the Euro Cup it might be tempting to bet on Germany to win the Euro Cup, they are the recent World Cup winners after all. But staking 100 euros to win 5 euros, that is risking too much. Although many pro In Play bettors know a way around this, which will be explained later on.
A Little History of Value Betting
Value Betting began to be used in Horse Racing back in the 1800´s. Horse Racing has been the sport to develop complex handicapping systems in order to rate and rank betting opportunities, and decide which bet is the best value bet of all.
Serious horse racing handicappers all have a handicapping matrix were they rate the speed, stamina, pedigree and many more aspects of a horse. For each variable they assign a point, and after adding all the points a horse the handicapper compares the score to all the other contenders.
The handicapper might find the best horse in the lot or a group of horses that he likes. He will then look at the sportsbook´s odds and decide which of his favorite horses pays the most for the same stake. In many occasions the stronger horse will have the worst pay, so the handicapper might go for the next best with the highest pay. The favorite normally wins 40% of the time, so by taking the value bet the handicapper won big sums of money with his well selected horses.
Value Bettors vs Punters
It is said that a value bettor is different from a punter in football betting. While value bettor focus on how much they can lose vs how much they can win, punters go with their gut and knowledge of the game to select a trade regardless of the financial results.
This is why in many occasions a punter can be great in making winning picks, but his final profit return is not that impressive. Well thought bets can make the difference between loosing and winning a lot of money.
There has to be some financial background behind every sports bet.
The Best Value Bets in the UEFA Euro Cup
To select the best value best in the UEFA Cup the key is to find “false odds” made by a sportsbook or incorrect assumptions.
Here is a great example during the World Cup to better understand this concept of “False Odds”:
At the very beginning of the World Cup of 2014 Spain was the big favorite. They had won the previous World Cup and two Euro Cups, they were at least sure bet semi-finalist. But Spain was easily wiped in the group stage by lesser national teams.
The paying odds of going against Spain were high, but how to predict that a super power in football can fail so huge?
This is the skill of a Value Bettor, he looks into details the common punter isn´t. Most will follow recent historical statistics, a common and recommended practice. Spain wins most of the time against non-football super powers, bet for Spain. But a value bettor will look in deeply into player condition and what is going on in their league clubs.
Spain´s national team relied mostly on the skill from Barcelona FC. The Barcelona squad had gone through a tuff competitive season playing 3 tournaments at a time with La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League. All in which they advanced to the final stages playing more games than any other player in the world, and most of these games were intense.
From all these games Barcelona had lost the Champions League final to Bayern Munich very recently, days away from the opening game of the World Cup.
Physical and mental weariness had to be weight hard on the Barcelona players playing or Spain, that included Iker Casillas their star goalkeeper. It is worth of note that they had ended a major tournament in a loss, which mentally means closure and time to rest. The World Cup was too soon for the players to recover their focus, and Iker Casillas suffered goal after goal after goal.
On the other hand, to support this analysis, Muller was playing for Germany. Muller and other Bayern Munich players had also played countless hours of games, including the final of the Champions League which they won. The Bayern players in the World Cup must be as weary as the Spanish players, but instead they performed to their max. This is because they had won the Champions League and mentally they felt like winners that needed to defend their supremacy.
There is a lot of analysis to be made for if someone is to become the best value bettor. Financial, psychological, game theory and statistics all make part of a well valued bet.
How to Value Bet on the Euro Cup
- Expect losses in Value Betting, most punters say the only bet to win, and win only. But if your system is based more in value bets than game predictions you will sometimes place bets that seem to go against reason. That´s because the ones you win will be valuable enough to offset the losses.
Manage your bankroll properly. Investors spread their risk in a portfolio of investments. If one fails then others could cover the loss with winnings. You never know what is going o happen, so even up our bets and define the amount to stake on a daily or weekly basis.
Take your whole account´s worth and decide what percentage per bet you can take. 2% to 3% is the suggested amount.
- Do not chase your losses! If you lose take it like something to be expected, but for god sake do not double-up your next bet to recover.
- Only enter a bet when you have thoroughly analyzed the value in a bet. And “value” shouldn´t be an intrinsic preposition, make your value a number. Define the most important variables to rate during a game, those that are determinant to winning or losing a bet.
- Assign valued to each of those variable and then assign points to every team or player according to your own system. The final number will help you asses if that number is above or below of what you have defined as value.
- The process to define a value bet should take no more than 90 minutes. It should shorten with repetition, but hey, this could be your full time job one day. Become the best at what you do!
- In every value bet the payout should be at least equal to the stake or 2 times its initial value.
- Do not take the bet if your instincts tell you it’s a sure-bet, trusts your system.
- Emotions are your worst enemy, keep them at bay. The best way to do this is by closing your computer and let it be. You can watch the games but we doubt you can watch all of them. Keep the enjoyment of watching the Euro Cup and your wagers apart.
- When analyzing a bet always ask yourself what are all the reasons why you shouldn´t take this bet. This will help filter out bets that are not what they seem.
Where to Learn Value Betting
A great resource page to get more in depth pointers to learn Value Betting is TheSoccerWidow.com. The Soccer Widow is not much into sports betting herself, but all into math and portfolio analysis. There is no one better online to know how to distinguish a value bet. Her husband used to bet all the time and after seeing him fail again and again, even when he almost always got the final score right, she decided to develop a system for him.
She got so good that after she began to publish her ideas and results online Betfair hired her as their official punter for the German version of the sportsbook.
Those interested in learning to Value Bet during the Euro Cup should purchase her e-book on the subject. It includes betting techniques based on statistical analysis. The format is very mathematical, but with sufficient examples and case studies to walk you through.
Learn Value Betting
These were just a few pointers on how to become a real pro in sports betting, if you want to move forward we suggest you get in touch with the soccer widow and read some of her online courses. Her book “Football Betting Odds Calculation Course” is a very complete guide with examples that will turn the novice into a real pro.
 soccerwidow.com, What Is Value Betting, 2015