What Does EV Mean in Sports Betting

Have you looked at the odds placed on the markets on a sporting event and tried to find value from there?

If you love value bets, then this article is meant to reveal to you what EV expected value means, its relevance in sports betting, and how a bettor can leverage such information to make the best picks.

Weighing up expected values in sports betting is of importance, as it is one of the very few advantages you’d have against a sportsbook. Let us get down to understanding expected values, and how they work in sports betting.

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding EV and its formula.
  • Find out what is expected value in sports betting, how to calculate EV, and the best tools to do so.
  • Strategies for finding positive value and common mistakes to avoid.

Understanding EV Meaning in Sports Betting

So, what does EV mean in sports betting? Simply put, expected value is the measurement of the probability of difference between a punter’s expectations and that of the sportsbook.

When one tries to measure the gap between the bookie’s set odds and how he thinks the game will pan out, some possible betting angles could evolve and most often, these angles are of value.

Thus, calculating the expected value in sports betting is important as it opens up some hidden, even chunkier odds for the bettor to explore in making his picks.

Once you can deduce these differences between the bookmaker’s odds and your own judgments, the only thing left for you to do is pick the best possible market in between these. Then, you would have a bigger probability of finding a winner.

The Expected Value Formula

The expected value formula in sports betting is depicted as follows:

Sports Betting EV Formula = (fair win probability) x (profit if win) – (fair loss probability) x (stake)

Let’s take a look at what these for calculating expected value in sports betting entail.

  • Fair win probability: It refers to the possibility of an event occurring when the sportsbook’s vig is removed. The vig is a percentage the bookmakers add to the odds on each market to make them less favorable than the true possibilities.
  • Profit if win: It’s the potential turnover if the punt comes through. This is the true payout the sportsbook is expected to make to the winner.
  • Fair loss probability: This refers to the chances of losing the bet.
  • Stake: It’s the amount of money the punter had placed on the bet he made.

Most often, sportsbooks in the US make use of the American odds with positive figures (+50, +100) for the underdogs, and negative figures (-100, -200) for the favorites:

  • If a punter sees a value of over 50% in backing the favorites, they will usually assign a positive expected value (+EV)
  • If the punter believes they have less than 50% chance of winning, the bookmaker would assign a negative expected value (-EV).

How to Calculate EV in Sports Betting

If you’re a newbie or have limited knowledge of numbers on a betting line, you could get caught up as often, bookies give out these numbers without a clear explanation of what they stand for. But if you learn how to calculate the expected value in sports betting, these numbers wouldn’t be a problem to deduce.

NumberTeamsMoneylineSpreads or HandicapTotal Points
120Baltimore Ravens+250+10Over 55
121Dallas Cowboys-270-10Under 55

Example: Let’s use the above line for example to explain these numbers.

  • Moneylines: The +250 and -270 are money lines which are used in moneyline bets. Money lines are usually on the outright winner of the event.
    • Say if you put $100 on Cowboys to come out victorious, you receive a total payout of $370 if that bet comes through.
  • Spreads: The +10 and -10 are the point spreads which are used in a spread bet. Point spread betting, or handicap betting is a bet on score differences between the opposition. For instance, you could choose to tip that:
    • The Cowboys will win by 11 or more points or,
    • The Ravens will lose by 9 or less points.
  • Totals: The over 55 and under 55 are the total points which are used in the total bet. They refer to the total number of points scored in the game by both teams combined, including points scored in the overtime.
    • You can choose to back and Over number of points if you feel the game between the two sides will bring a lot of points, and vice-versa.

Tools and Calculators for Expected Value

Tools and Calculators are virtual equipment used by bettors to solidify their tips and make it foolproof. Therefore, they come in handy. To help you calculate the expected value during your next sports betting session, you can count on our EV calculator.

Personally, I use an EV calculator all the time to make sure my decision is the most informed I can make. The best part? Our EV calculator is free. So you just have to head on to our page to unlock the most profitable value bets!

The Importance of Positive EV in Sports Betting

A positive EV strategy in sports betting refers to a situation where the expected value of a bet is favorable. Thus, a positive EV is important to a punter who is looking to make a profit over time due to placing bets on overpriced odds.

When a punter spots these betting outcomes with overpriced odds or hyped betting lines, they appear intentional, but most times, they are merely mistakes from the sportsbooks.

If a punter plays around these odds boost, having picked them out using bet finders and software programs, then getting value bets becomes easier.

Samuel Kovacs, a pro bettor and analyst explained:

I’ve been practicing smart betting strategies since 2013, so I had the time to get enough experience and speak with excellent and intelligent people about betting systems.

During these years, I learned how to spot positive EV betting opportunities comparing slow/soft bookmakers to sharp bookies and including the betting sites that have many mistakes and value bets.

By using this important strategy, you won’t know how to predict a straight win, but the more bets you can place, the faster you will beat the variance. Using more bookies means more positive EV bets are placed.

Samuel Kovacs

Strategies for Finding Positive EV Bets

To get a sports betting edge and make the most of positive EV, consider these tips:

  • Check the Lines Early: Look for value bets as soon as lines are posted. +EV bettors know that lines often change once the public starts placing bets. Getting in early can secure better odds.
  • Limit Emotions: Avoid betting on your favorite team just because you support them. Wise bettors detach emotions from their wagers, focusing on logic and data.
  • Evaluate the Opposition: Don’t always go with the crowd favorites. Sometimes, betting against popular picks can offer better value. For instance, when making MLB picks or NBA picks, consider the underdog’s potential.
  • Explore Lesser-Known Leagues: As Bill Grinstead once said, the best EV might be in leagues that aren’t as popular. Don’t hesitate to look beyond the mainstream for value bets.

By using an odds converter, understanding implied odds, and keeping the house edge in mind, you can make smarter decisions when you place a bet. Remember, the goal is to find value and maintain a sports betting edge.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using EV

Using Expected Value (EV) can be a powerful tool, but even seasoned bettors make mistakes. Here are some pitfalls to watch out for:

  • Avoid Chasing Losses: Chasing losses can lead to financial disaster. Increasing your stakes to recover previous losses often worsens your situation. Stick to your initial budget and practice disciplined bankroll management.
  • Beware of Overconfidence: Overconfidence can be disastrous. Thinking you’re always right can make you ignore potential risks. It’s crucial to remain objective and assess each bet carefully.
  • Only Bet What You Can Afford to Lose: Remember Mark Bradshaw, who said his life “spiraled and crashed” after excessive gambling cost him his job, relationships, and over £5 million. Avoid falling into the same trap by sticking to what you can comfortably lose.

Using bonus bets wisely, understanding decimal odds, and maintaining a balanced approach can help you keep an edge in sports betting. If you ever feel overwhelmed, seek help to address a gambling problem.

Real-Life Examples of EV in Sports Betting

What’s better than real-life examples to fully understand a topic? Here are two situations where using EV in sports betting where came in handy!

Example 1:

One lucky punter, Josh Goodman had recently turned £10 to a whopping £2,860 placing bets on futures! Futures is a kind of bet where a bettor calls the winner of a championship. Usually at the start of the season, sportsbooks give odds to participating teams on who will win the championship.

In the past season, Bayer Leverkusen, (prized 25/1) and Portsmouth (at 10/1) carted home the German Bundesliga and the English League 1 titles respectively. Oddsbible picked up the betting success story in one of their posts on X, and you can take a look at it if you click here.

Example 2:

I also turned $14 to $176 during the past season, when I tipped Chelsea’s free-scoring attacker Cole Palmer to get a treble against Everton in an English Premier League game. Given his exploits in front of goal leading up to the game, I deciphered it was a punt worth it.

Chelsea ran out 5-0 winners on the night, with Palmer helping himself to three of the goals. You can see a screenshot of my bet slip if you click here.

→ These two examples highlight the importance of looking out for value in betting.

So, Will You Calculate the Expected Value Tonight?

Now you know why calculating the expected value in sports betting is essential to make the best judgments and gambling decisions. Remember to always apply these guidelines you’ve learned in your picks for positive EV sports betting whenever you’re at it.

To continue improving your future bets, why not visit our Sports Betting 101 section! You’ll find various helpful tips, strategies & recommendations.