What is a Value Bet in Sports Betting?

Do you find it confusing when discussing value bets in sports betting? If yes, you’re in the right place to learn all you need to know about this concept. We’ll explore the meaning of value bets, how they work, and how to avoid common pitfalls when using this strategy.

With this knowledge in mind, you can place informed wagers and improve your winnings chances. So, let’s find out about value bets!

🔑 Key Takeaways

  • Value bet strategy helps you find games with odds that are higher than the true probability of the outcome
  • You can use calculators to find the best value bets

Definition of a Value Bet

Being a winning bettor isn’t just picking winners. It’s about finding the bets where the odds don’t properly align with the actual probability of that outcome occurring. It could be an underdog getting inflated odds. Or a favorite that oddsmakers haven’t adequately accounted for. Value betting is where the real money is made.

The pros know that consistently playing value bets, regardless of whether it’s a popular pick or not, can help maintain profitability. It’s about properly analyzing the true chances reasonably and then pouncing when the books miss the mark on the lines. Experts say:

If you want to boost your odds of winning bets, find where the bookie might slip up and take advantage of it.

The Mathematics of Value Betting

Value betting in sports betting revolves around the concept of expected value (EV). EV is calculated by multiplying the potential payout of a bet by the probability of winning and subtracting the probability of winning from the cost of the bet. A positive EV indicates a value bet.

Let’s say the Boston Celtics are playing the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA. The bookmaker has the following odds:

Team to winOddsImplied Probability
Boston Celtics-12254.95%
Los Angeles Lakers+11047.62%

If you bet $100 on the -122 odds, your total payout would be $182. This means you’ve made an $82 profit. However, if the bet loses, you’ve lost the $100 wager.

Now, to find the EV on this bet, we use the formula:

  • EV = (Probability of winning x Potential payout) – (Probability of losing x Amount wagered)
  • EV = (0.5495 x $82) – (0.4762 x $100) = $45.06 – $47.62 = -$2.56

The calculated EV value is -$2.56, indicating that consistently betting on outcomes with such value would result in a long-term loss of $2.56 for every $100 wagered.

→ It’s advisable to avoid such bets if your goal is sustained profitability over time.

How to Identify Value Bets

Considering several tips can help you to identify value bets when wagering on diverse sports events.

One of the most essential things to do is to analyze the odds properly and use tools and insights from experts. Here’s a detailed explanation of how to identify value bets.

Analyzing Odds and Probabilities

The first step to identifying value bets is accurately calculating the real probabilities of each potential outcome. Study statistics, trends, matchups, and other relevant data influencing odds to make a top-notch analysis. Most experienced bettors recommend using statistical models and historical data to help you estimate these probabilities.

After arriving at your own conclusion, convert the bookmaker’s odds into an implied probability. If you get a higher outcome than the odds reflect, that’s a potential value bet. The bigger the gap between your numbers and the sportsbooks, the bigger the edge.

Utilizing a Value Bet Finder

Finding good value bets can be challenging. You have to analyze many numbers and data to spot bets where the odds don’t match the real chances of the event happening.

This is why having a reliable value bet calculator can make a huge difference. Instead of getting drowned down in stats and calculations, these tools do the job.

Value Betting Strategies

There are multiple betting strategies you can use to improve value significantly. It’s up to you to decide what approach works best for you.

Sports Specific Value Betting

Depending on the sports event or match you’re betting on, using specific strategies can assist you. Here are some techniques to find value bets in different sports:


To get the best value bet football, you must research the teams properly before betting on them. Here are some tips to consider:

  • Factor injuries: One way to make value bets in football is by considering team injuries. For instance, during a game involving two teams, the favorite was missing some star players due to injuries. The bookies didn’t account for this in their odds. I noticed and bet on the underdog at high odds. With key players out, the favorite struggled, and the underdog won. I got rewarded for spotting value and backing the underdog.
  • Consider matchup history: In football, some big teams have that one underdog team they often struggle against. Regardless, bookmakers always give the favorite team lower odds, and the underdog gets longer odds. If you do the right research and back the underdog’s long odds, you can cash out big if they win.


Betting on basketball games is a different ball game. Here are things to consider:

  • Make Your Point Spreads: An excellent way to find value basketball bets is to set your own point spreads before looking at the bookies’ odds. Go through the upcoming games and decide what the fair spreads should be. Once you have your spreads, compare them to the bookies’ lines. The games where your spreads disagree with the bookies’ are likely your best-value bets.
  • Follow NBA Betting Tipsters: Find the best NBA tipsters and follow them for the best value bet definition in basketball. These experts can help you find values in matches you may miss.

Managing Your Bankroll for Value Betting

One of the best practices when using the value bet strategy is properly managing your bankroll. It’s essential to set a budget for wagering on games. The following tips can help you manage your bankroll for value betting:

Know When to Avoid Betting

Sometimes, the wise choice is not to bet until you’re convinced of the proper value. You can keep your money safe by carefully studying each bet instead of rushing into all of them.

Learning when to hold back is an important skill needed to win over a long period.

Use a Consistent Strategy

Having a consistent betting system and sticking to it is crucial. The specific approach you take boils down to your tastes and betting style.

Most experts recommend betting 1%, 2.5%, or at most 5% of your bankroll on each bet, depending on the odds and your perceived probability.

Bet on familiar markets

Stick to betting on games and events you truly understand. Going for unfamiliar sports or games increases the risk of missing something essential and losing cash.

Risks and Considerations in Value Betting

While value betting can significantly improve your wagers, some risks could arise. Hence, it is essential to note what issues and pitfalls could spring up and how to avoid them.

Let’s explore some drawbacks and things to consider when using the value betting strategy.

Common Pitfalls in Value Betting

There are some common mistakes bettors make when using the value betting concept. Noting and avoiding them will significantly improve your decision-making and strategy.

Here are some potential pitfalls to avoid:

  • Failure to react to changes: Value bets can quickly become bad if situations change. Things like injuries or lineup changes in sports can rapidly shift the real odds. If you don’t adjust to new info, your previously good bet could get worse.
  • Making assumptions from broad statistics: Don’t mindlessly bet off general stats. Averages could be misleading for specific matchups. For instance, the general assumption is that any Premier League home team wins 46.2% of games. That overall stat means nothing if Sheffield United is playing at home against Manchester City, one of the best teams in the league—City would be heavy favorites. Evaluate each game individually using all relevant factors, not one-size-fits-all averages that don’t show the whole picture.
  • Excessive dependence on current form: Betting too heavily based on recent form is risky. Many bettors make picks mainly by analyzing the statistics they find online. But it’s just one factor considered into odds. Most experts warn that focusing only on form misses other crucial elements like team morale, injuries, and weather that impact results. For consistent long-term profits, take a comprehensive approach, considering multiple angles.

Ethical and Legal Considerations

Online sports betting has legal rules that vary between countries and states. Most U.S. states now allow internet betting, but some still ban it due to concerns like underage gambling or criminal activity tied to certain online gaming operations. Legal experts stress knowing and following the laws where you live to avoid penalties.

It’s critical to only use betting tools and strategies like value betting that are legal and ethical where you live. Only use tools that promote responsible gambling practices and wager within your means.

Ultimately, the best policy is always to verify how sports betting and gambling work in your area first. If unsure, consult a lawyer or someone knowledgeable about the specific laws. This way, you’ll place your wagers and use betting tools without issues.

So, Will You Place a Value Bet Tonight?

Now that we’ve explored value bet meaning and how it works, you can implement the strategy in your bets. Analyze games, team performance, historical matchups, and other key factors we’ve discussed to make more informed wagers.

Do you want to improve your betting strategies and make informed wagers? Check our Sports Betting Education section, you will love it for sure.