This is arguably the most important part of betting (along with staking), yet the word value is so misunderstood. To the punters that don't truly know what value means, (don't be embarrassed if you don't as you are not alone), they associate it with a bet that probably won't win, but is big odds and they couldn't be more wrong.
Betting without value basically means you are doomed to be one of the 98% of punters that lose money long term. However, betting with value doesn't instantly assign you to the shrewd punters tent either, there's a lot more to it than that.
Let's try and make the novice gambler understand value, without going too deep.
Below we have a football fixture with no odds.
Man Utd v Stoke
Now my question to all you novices and people blind to value is this.
What price should the teams be based on current form, if they both put out their strongest teams say?
The stats show that Man Utd are unbeaten at home, scoring 17 goals and conceding only 3. Stoke are winless away, with only 2 draws and the rest losses, with a minus 15 goal total.
Perhaps something like Man Utd 1.16 Draw 6.00 Stoke 16.00?
Ok, so these are the average odds of all the bookmakers put together, just for example.
A Question of Value
1. Would you back Man Utd at 1.16? If not, why not? If yes, why?
If your answer is no, then what price would it take for you to back Man Utd?
1.20? 1.25? 1.40? higher?
There is always a degree of estimation and opinion, which has to come from yourself. It is something you learn and get a feel for over time. If you're not sure about how to go about this, then go read many posts on punterslounge.com and study what they say and how they think they have a better price, than they think the bet should be.
If your answer to the question is, yes I would back them at 1.16 because they are definitely going to beat Stoke, then you have made a bad decision.
No team is ever guaranteed to win, I learned this the hard way in my early days. However, let’s stick with that punter for a second, who thinks Man Utd are definitely going to win and is happy to take the profit, even at such short odds of 1.16.
I ask that punter, would you back Man Utd at 1.01?
I can almost guarantee the punter will be almost lost for words, as they know they wouldn't. Why all of a sudden the change of heart, after all they are guaranteed to win, so why not take the profit at 1.01?
Now you've got the punter thinking a little more. What price will you take and what price won't you take? Once you have a line of where you will and you won't is where the word value steps in.
Do not misunderstand that value is betting on bigger priced teams, horses or players, because that is simply not true.
If someone asked me what price I would consider value to the question above? I would probably say anything around 1.35 and higher would be something I would have to seriously consider, because the chances of a Man Utd victory are very high based on the stats. If I was offered 1.50, I would dance round my computer, because I know that if I backed that bet 100 times, I would win money long term, no doubt.
I've tried to make this as easy to understand as possible, as I do with everything I write.