Betting for beginners

Markets that offer value

Betting on value is a subject on its own, but in short it's about identifying a bet where the bookmakers are offering better odds than you believe they should be offering.

If you bet on these odds and win more often than the bookmakers odds say you should, you're winning on value. It's possible that every single betting market out there is priced up incorrectly from time to time, but it's much harder to determine that on some than it is with others.

Loosely prices markets

Some markets are loosely priced because they aren't popular and liquid markets anyway, but we don't know for sure how to identify value in them. Using major markets like the 1X2 or 12 match winner markets, the totals markets (over/under) and asian handicap or point spreads, we know there are a number of research methods that can help highlight value, including strong mathematical methods. For that reason coupled with the ability to bet bigger amounts on a stable price and also our realistic ability to win at bigger odds, these markets may be seen as good value.

What markets offer best value

  • Asian handicap/Point spread
  • Totals markets (over/under)
  • 1X2 markets (Match winner)
  • Double chance
  • Both teams to score

Finding the best value betting markets

There are a number of different reasons why a market may be good value (value for money).

  • Liquidity allows you to place bigger bets
  • Odds of 2.00 to 5.00+ exist and can be exploited
  • There are strong analytical methods to find betting value
  • Lack of trader knowledge is present

One factor that makes a market good value is you know it has good liquidity. Basically, you can stick a load of money on it and the odds won't be affected by your bet alone. This is important because you want to be able to rely on getting good odds for your preferred market. There's no point focusing on a market where small amounts of money can destroy the best odds, because you may have already lost your edge.

The other problem with such markets is how do you know you even have an edge in the first place? The great thing about the above markets is there are a number of ways to analyse and win on them. The amount of statistics surrounding match outcomes, goals/points, player and team performance are endless these days, and there are some very good mathematical ways to analyse them. Poisson distribution and expected goals are two increasingly popular methods that are worth learning about.

Searching for value in other markets

It's worth noting that there are some markets that don't offer the same but can still be good value. A market like both teams to score, for example, can be exploited. Whilst you'd expect a trader to be on top of the Premier League games, for example, there's no guarantee they'll know enough about Major League Soccer to price the market correctly. Finding one specific market and scouring many leagues and countries for value is also important.

And if your aim is to beat the bookmakers by beating them on value you're going to rely on getting some juicy odds over 2.00. Asian handicap and point spread betting does allow for a strike rate above 50% which can help you beat the bookmakers, but perhaps only marginally unless you are an exceptional bettor. The 1X2 match market can feature odds of 2.00, 3.00, 4.00 and even higher on certain underdogs in tennis, football, rugby, and US sports to name a few. It is winning at good odds that makes beating the bookmakers through value possible, so the match market and even the totals markets can be very important markets.

The biggest reason this is important is that whilst a good bet and value can actually be found on any single market, and perhaps sometimes more so on lesser watched markets, the odds don't hold up well.

Weaker markets

Some markets are so weak that just a couple of hundred pounds bet by punters can wipe out the best odds. Markets like cards or corners in football can often seem mispriced, but it only takes a few bets on them to beginning moving the odds. You also have to consider there's no great method of measuring true value for such markets.

There are many ways of analysing value in totals, match markets and handicaps/point spreads, and it's also known that these are very strong and liquid markets. This means best odds may stick around for a while and you'll have no problem placing decided sized bets. It is also much easier to keep finding value and keep placing bets on these markets in the long run.

Ready to learn more? Why not get to know the different betting terminology used by the sports betting community.

Your guide to betting terminology

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