How to Find Value in Football Betting Markets

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How to Find Value in Football Betting Markets

Football is the world’s favorite sport and it is no surprise to find that it dominates the global sports betting industry. At any moment, football fans are able to wager on everything from the World Cup to lower league competitions in minor nations, thanks to the intense competition in the football betting sector.

Whether you are looking for the latest Euro betting odds or checking out the latest betting news, there is a wealth of information out there for the keen football bettor. But one thing that you won’t find so easily is value. So, why should you care about value?

What is Value in Football Betting?

Although most football bettors are only loosely familiar with the concept of value, it is, theoretically at least, the most important consideration in all of sports betting.

Value, whether you are consciously aware of it or not, is what will determine the long-term profitability of every sports bettor, and every professional football bettor will understand the concept.

Essentially, you find value in a football betting market when the odds you take about a particular bet are larger than the ‘true odds’ on that outcome. For example, if you were betting on a coin toss, assuming that the coin and the toss were fair, the true probabilities and odds would be:

  •         Heads   0.50  Evens
  •         Tails 0.50  Evens

If you were able to bet on either of these outcomes at odds greater than Evens, then you would have found value, as the probability of winning would be higher than the probability implied by the odds.

Of course, the complicating factor with sports betting is that you have no way of knowing what the ‘true odds’ are, and in the case of a football match, there are hundreds of factors that influence the probability of any outcome. You will only know whether you have found value in the long term, based on whether you are making a profit or a loss, over a sufficiently large sample.

Finding Football Betting Value

As you might have guessed by this point, finding value in football betting is not easy. In fact, it is the elusive phenomenon that determines whether you are going to be successful, and there is no guaranteed road map that will take you to value as a football bettor!

You can, however, increase your chances of finding football betting value by starting your search in the right places. Here are some methods to boost your value-finding search:

Be Smarter

In the movie Margin Call, Jeremy Irons plays the CEO of a major investment bank and he outlines the keys to success in the world of trading and finance:

“There are three ways to make a living in this business: be first, be smarter or cheat.”

Cheating isn’t an option for the football punter, on moral and practical grounds, but it is just about possible to be smarter. Not smarter than the bookmaker, smarter than your fellow punters. Knowing all there is to know about every team, every player, every competition, every coach, and being confident in your knowledge can give you a solid start in the search for value, though it requires a major commitment.

Be First

If all that sounds like hard work, you could take the first option from Jeremy Irons’ speech and try to be first. What does this mean?

Being first simply means that you are the first to act on a piece of information that has significance for the market you are betting in. Again, it is unlikely that you will beat the bookmaker in this race, but if you can beat your fellow punters, you will have an advantage.

In this case, the value window is often open for only a short time, so you need to have the ability to move quickly and decisively to capitalise on being first.

Look for the Hidden Bomb

By the time a football match starts, the market will represent an accurate processing of all the available data. To beat the market, however, you can look for hidden factors that are big enough to overturn the market consensus. Examples could be:

  •         Niche knowledge about the nature of a particular pitch
  •         Knowing that a certain defender will be playing as a striker
  •         Tactical match-ups, which are often underrated in football betting
  •         Spotting that a key player is carrying an injury

You have to look hard to find these factors, but they can prove to be extremely profitable, particularly at a time when high-level number crunching is increasingly shaping the football betting markets.