The concept of value betting is one of the most misunderstood when it comes to sports betting. In simple terms, value betting is looking at each individual game in terms of long range wins and losses. Experienced bettors will often place a wager on a team because it offers good value, although that doesn’t necessarily mean they believe the team they wager on will win the game or cover the point spread.
If a handicapper believes a baseball team will win a particular game 40% of the time, the true odds should be +150. If you wager $100 on a team at +150 and they win 40% of the time, you will break even. If 10 games were played, you would win four and lose six, so you would lose $100 six times for a total loss of $600, but you would win $150 four times for $600 in winnings.
If the odds on the team were +180, you would have a good value bet, even though the handicapper believes the team is going to lose six out of 10 times. In that scenario the handicapper losses $100 six times for a loss of $600. But because the odds are now +180, the handicapper will win $180 four times, making a gain of $720. After the $600 for the six losers is subtracted, the handicapper still has a profit of $120 to show for their efforts.
The concept of finding value can also pertain to point spread bets. If a handicapper believes a team should be a 5-point favorite and the point spread on the game is eight, the handicapper will believe there’s value on taking the underdog plus the eight points. The handicapper may not have a strong opinion on the game, but will take the underdog on the belief that if the game is played enough times, the underdog will cover the point spread enough times to make it a profitable long-term situation.
Likewise, if the point spread came out and the favorite was only favored by two points, the handicapper would find value in taking the favorite, under the belief that they will cover the point spread enough times to make them a profitable long-term wager.