How to make money with value bets

Why has the bookmaker business been successful for hundreds of years? It’s quite clear: while most gamblers accept rules dictated by bookmakers (even considering the fact that each coefficient already bears the margin, and specialists calculate the probable outcome), professional gamblers architect their own unique methods for systematic gaining through betting. One of them is value bets strategy — following it, they bet only on outcomes with overvalued coefficients, or make value bets.

What a value bet is

So, a beginner gambler cannot always understand which coefficient has the true value and which one does not. Speaking shortly, an overvalued coefficient exceeds the most probable outcome of an event.

For example, let’s look into a Taipei WTA match: V. Golubich vs L. Kumkhum. A bookmaker accepts bets for Viktoria at 1.56, and at 2.9 for Luksika. Therefore, Golubich’s win expectation comes to 64.1%, and Kumkhum’s win expectation to 35%. If a gambler expects the Thai tennis player to show more effective game and win over the Swiss, then the coefficient of 2.9 will be overvalued, so there will be a value bet.

Please note! What a bookmaker expects regarding a sports event is calculated by the formula: Cbk/100, where Cbk stands for a bookmaker’s coefficient.

But how to recognize that bookmaker’s analysts are wrong, and the suggested coefficient is not real? Experienced gamblers have already developed their own tools for finding value bets; besides, we must always keep professional feelings and intuition in mind. A novice can make use of tracking sports events, as well as good knowledge at sports he is going to bet at. However, it doesn’t work all the right time.

Distinguishing overvalued and real coefficients

De facto, overvalued coefficients do occur quite often. However, one will not be able to distinguish them from real without enough experience and deep knowledge at sports.

Let us consider the hockey match between second Russian’s team and French team in 2012. Shortly before the game, it was announced that Alexey Kruchinin (Russian Forward) would not participate in the game. This news shifted coefficients toward the win of the French, and the gamblers that missed the announcement could perceive the new value of 1.6 could be seen as a cue for appearance of an undervalued coefficient.

This means that gamblers should watch for probability of changing coefficients caused by apparent reasons — for instance, absence of a player in a team-sport game.

But the thing totally changes for single sports. Look at the example with Russian biathlete Alexander Loginov and his performance in Ramsau. His trauma was unveiled long before assembling the national team. Then, when the admission issue arose, coefficients dropped almost at once. Bookmakers (as well as most gamblers) expected a mediocre action, so they accepted bets at 2.4 — expectation of his victory accounted for 40%. However, the biathlete surprised everyone and brought good loot for those who had placed a bet on him.

Actually, this case conflicts with the value bets strategy, but it can illustratively demonstrate the general trend of gambling. Never a one strategy can ensure that a gambler will always overplay bookmakers. That’s why one should engage math to estimate viability of a bet.

Let us say, a gambler stably works at 1.6 placing a bet of €4 during 100 matches. The following formula is used for calculating ROI at this sprint:

ROI = V * (Cbk - 1) * B - (1 - V) * B,

where ROI stands for the expected margin;

V – the probability of bet win, expressed as 100/percentage (100/1.6=0.625)

Cbk –  the coefficient set by a bookmaker

B – the bet amount.


0.625 * (1.6 - 1) * 4 - (1 – 0.625) * 4 = 0

As we can see, placing bets on the same coefficient, a gambler will lose. Why lose with 0? Bookmakers always reserve a certain interest for their profits, so they will always gain the part of the bet amount.

Please note! There can be any coefficient or bet amount, different from those shown in the example. Anyway, it will have no impact on the results.

This means that value bets are bets made on overvalued outcomes that will correspond to the following formula:

Cbk * Cp > 1, where

Cbk stands for the outcome expected by a bookmaker, Cp - for the most probable outcome. If the value is higher than 1, the bet will win, and the coefficient will be considered overvalued. If not, the gambler mistakes the event probability.

As an example, let us review the baseball game between Houston Astros and New York Yankees in MLB semi-finals. A certain bookmaker offers 2.4 (41.6%) for the win of Astros. However, a gambler evaluated chances of Houston baseball players for 52.6% (1.9). Let us substitute the value to the formula:


As the value is higher than 1, the coefficient set by the bookmaker works for the value bets strategy.

Searching Value Bets

Searching and finding value bets is not that difficult as it may seem to a novice gambler. The main thing is to use appropriate tools, namely:

First things first, let’s look into the scanner-assisted automated search of value bets. They accumulate data collecting it from as many bookmakers as possible. As a result, the algorithm faces a set of coefficients given by bookmakers for the same outcome of a sports event. Based on data acquired the arithmetic value is calculated and considered main. Then, the service determines the highest for both “sides” of the surebet — this will be the result of scanning.

Here’s another example: a soccer match within the intercontinental Play-Off of World Cup 2018 between teams of New Zealand and Peru. One bookmaker gives 1.9 for “Peru to score over 2”, and the second bookmaker sets 1.6 for “both teams to score”. Other bookmakers and Better evaluated 1.4 for 2:0 (most probable). The gambler evaluated chances of over 2 goals hit by Peru for 75%.

Using formula to verify coefficients:


The coefficient is overvalued, which is confirmed both by the scanner and the calculation. Scanner searches the highest value for the second “side” of the surebet, which enables the gambler to stay in profit, regardless of the win or lose of the either team.

Please note! Bookmakers consider using surebets as professional gambling, so various charges may apply to surebet gamblers.

Special scanners for finding overvalued coefficients do the same thing, but they don’t calculate the second “side” of a surebet. Manual search for value bets is also real, but provided that a gambler has a sport forecast for the upcoming match. Here, one will have to evaluate coefficients manually, but it will be simpler and even more exciting for most gamblers. Also, data of a specialized analytical service can be used as probable outcome information, to be further compared with coefficients offered by bookmakers.

Yet, a gambler will need to master fast counting when manually searching overvalued coefficients. From the other hand, such forecasts may ensure a grave advantage in live-bets. Here are the reasons:

  • These forecasts enable to evaluate prospects of the forecast and therefore the bet;
  • These forecasts can ensure far greater profit because of the higher coefficient.

Determining the max bet amount

Gambling using value bets requires precise working with bet amounts and the overall stash. Initially, one should operate small amounts, increasing them in proportion to experience advancement. However, even after years of successful working, a gambler should use the formula to calculate the bet. Applying it, they will manage to minimize losses in case of a bad bet. Here’s the formula:

Pb = ((Cbk * Cp – 1) / (Cbk – 1)) * Cb * 100,


Pb – the share of the overall deposit (determines the bet amount),

Cbk – the outcome expected by a bookmaker

Cp – outcome expected by a gambler

Cb – the coefficient of the deposit amount, that may vary from 0 to 1, showing the risk grade (0.1 for the lowest risk, 0.9 for the highest risk).

Let us assume the overall deposit accounts for €140, and a gambler is going to bet 20%.

Soccer. Australian A-League, Brisbane Roar FC vs Melbourne City. Cbk for draw is 3.2. A gambler has the sports forecast for 80%. Calculating, we get the following result:

 ((3.2 * 0.8 – 1)) / (3.2 – 1)) * 0.2 * 100 = 14.18%

So, having placed a bet of €19.8 on draw, a gambler will get €65 profit, which will increase their bank by 45%.

Please note! This is an abstract example that did not deal with the real outcome of the match.

An important thing must be considered when determining the bet amount: most often, a gambler can betray themselves when betting an odd amount. If the calculation result is €19.8, one should round it off to €20.

As an afterword I will note that value bets strategy is very worthwhile but truly difficult betting algorithm. A professional approach and precise risk estimation provide for making good money on sports events. This strategy works only for long-term betting, and cannot be used as basic for short-term betting. Besides, a gambler should always stay alert as the coefficient given by a bookmaker can be not overvalued in all cases.