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Explaining Value

What Is A Value Bet?

You may have heard a football gambler say something like, “That’s a great value bet.” Or “I’m staying clear of that one, it’s terrible value.”

So what does value mean? Surely any bet that wins is great value isn’t it? Well yes, ultimately a winning bet is the best value of all because you’ve had a return greater than the amount of money you put in.

But seeing as nobody’s built a time machine capable of jumping forwards a couple of hours so that you can check out what the final score’s are and then back again, (please hurry up with that invention!) we have to try and work out what bets represent good value and what represents bad, I’ve put some examples below.

East Fife 1/3 DRAW 9/4 Alloa 11/8

If East Fife have won their last three games and are unbeaten in five, whilst Alloa haven’t won in five you might say that these odds are reflective of what’s likely to happen.

However when we look closer at the stats, we find that East Fife have been winning by the odd goal and Alloa have drawn three of their last five and don’t concede many on the road, we also see that their league positions are not separated by a great amount of points, add to that that this is the Scottish Second Division and East Fife begin to look terrible value at 1/3, because if they do win it will probably be by one goal and a one goal lead can always be cancelled out by a single piece of luck.

In other words you’ll have to put a large amount of money to get back a decent return and you’ll be sitting there sweating buckets, even if you do win the chances are you would have drunk your profits whilst waiting nervously for the bet to come in.

Alloa are also bad value, because they haven’t won in five and they’re away, their true odds should be closer to 2/1 say something like 9/5 or 17/10.

The draw is the best value with this bet (though draws are usually priced up at just over 2/1), but of course this does not mean that the game will be a draw, it just means that you get the chance to more than triple your stake and are getting better value than backing either team to win and given the records a draw isn’t that unlikely so you’re in a lose small win big situation, that’s value!

Republic Of Ireland 1/3 draw 5/2 Saudi Arabia 6/1

In this example you might think the Republic Of Ireland are terrible value, after all they’re no Brazil, however these represented the actual odds in a 2002 World Cup Finals group stage game. It was the third game and Ireland needed a win to get through to the knockout stages, whilst Saudi Arabia had been thrashed 8-0 in the first game and then managed to restore pride in the second by only losing 1-0, they were out of the tournament and playing for nothing.

In this case even though you have to lay out a big amount and your return is only 25% bigger than your stake, it is or rather was like printing money, for me it was like printing up a £50 note! (By the way Ireland won 3-1, but not before making me sweat for a while).

So in summary value is all about how likely something is versus the odds the bookmaker gives you, to work out value do your research or of course, let LFG do it for you!

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