Obtaining value is the key to making long term profits when betting on sports. With this in mind, If I was asked to give just one piece of advice, it would be to only get involved in a market when the price is in your favour.
If you’re a professional sports bettor, that means you always need to be on the lookout for value. The bookies have odds compilers whose job it is to price up a market and build in the “over-round” – the percentage profit that the bookmaker expects to make on each market.
Generally they do a decent job but they can’t get it right every time. As professionals, we need to work on spotting when they get it wrong, and it’s then and only then when we get our money down. In betting terms, a “value bet” is an opportunity to bet on an outcome where the odds available are greater than the outcome’s true probability of occurring.
A simple example would be the toss of a coin. The true probability of this occurring is 50% which, when represented as decimal betting odds, is 2.0. If you could find a bookmaker who is offering odds of greater than 2.0 on this event, then this would be considered a value bet.
Obviously this is a simplified example. Firstly, of course nobody runs a book on the toss of a coin, and secondly as this is an easy market for the bookmaker to price up, it is highly unlikely that he would make such an error. However, it does provide a simplistic illustration of the concept being discussed.
By only betting when the odds are in our favour, we effectively turn the tables on the bookies. With the value on our side, the law of probability states that we will have a positive profit margin. We will not win every bet, but over time we will make a profit.
Where many people go wrong when betting is that they are often too lazy to search out the best odds. Too many times, people just accept the price that their regular bookie offers them because they can’t be bothered to open an account with one of their competitors.
These days there really is no excuse for this. I mean – would you pay £1000 for a TV if you could get exactly the same make and model for £800 just by walking to the next shop? Of course you wouldn’t – but by failing to shop around for the best odds when you place a bet you’re effectively doing exactly that, and throwing your money away.
Online betting allows us to maintain accounts with as many bookies as we want, all funded from the same card. When you have accounts with all the main bookies, you know that you’ll always be able to shop around and get the best price.
It’s often a fine line between success and failure for bookies and punters alike, and getting the best available price is what can make the difference between success and failure in the long term.
If you’re serious about making money from betting then you need to take the time to open accounts with as many bookies as you can. A free bets website is a great tool to help you with this, because they not only list all the major online bookmakers, they also allow you to get a free bet with each one which is great for building up a betting bank when you first get started.