From the Desk of Andrew David – Back “Value” NOT Winners!

Many have struggled with the meaning of the word ‘Value’: in particular how to spot value in various markets.

So let’s look at some practical comparisons that may help you to fully understand and spot it more easily. Many have their own take on it but here’s mine;

In a non-betting setting, we all know value is about getting ‘best price’ for the same product/service than is offered elsewhere. In my eyes though it can only be seen as ‘Value’ if you wanted it in the first place.

A practical example being the Mrs (AKA the receipt collector) who recently purchased yet another kitchen gizmo (you know the ones that, after a single use, are confined to the back of the cupboard with the smoothie machine, homemade pasta maker and Jamie Oliver’s latest Aubergine slicer company).

I mean does anyone out there actually use these gadgets more than once? Answers on a postcard please!

Well this gizmo (she tells me) has all the latest ‘add ons’ included. She had seen it on offer some £27 cheaper than anywhere else. So having conducted some online research she concluded it has ‘value’ from a price point of view and what it could do in comparison to other less reliable brands. So, in her eyes the price was ‘value’ for that product at that point in time.

Now back to betting. The only way we can evaluate value is by comparison in my book.

Let’s say we specialise in backing horses that come from within the first ‘3’ in the betting forecast and we do this day in day out.

From these ‘3’ on our short list we see a selection that has the following;

  1. Won previously at the same course and over same distance as its running on the day (Known as a Course & Distance winner denoted by the abbreviation ‘CD’ next to its name).
  2. Running on the same going as when winning previously. 
  3. Running against similar or inferior opposition as when winning last time
  4. Stable is in form. 

Now in our day to day experience of evaluating the top ‘3’ in the betting we have come to learn that bookmaker’s price up a selection with the above form credentials around the 2/1 mark (3.0 decimal) in 9 out of 10 races.

On Course Profits free Horse Racing magazine

Now in our day to day experience of evaluating the top ‘3’ in the betting we have come to learn that bookmaker’s price up a selection with the above form credentials around the 2/1 mark (3.0 decimal) in 9 out of 10 races.

Now let’s say the next day we again see a selection with identical form as above only this time its priced up at 4/1 (5.0 Decimal). A clear ‘2’ betting points higher than selections with the same form that are usually priced at 2/1.

There in a nutshell we have our ‘Value’, and that is getting 4/1 about a selection that by comparison with others selections of identical form are usually priced at 2/1. Continue to get value like this and you can’t help but make a profit in the long run.

As sure as night follows day others too will spot this value and snap up all prices above 2/1.

On the flip side, backing the selection below its true odds of 2/1 and you are en-route to the poor house. The difference can be huge as you will see below. For simplicity we are using Bookmakers with no commission.

  • Win strike rate 33%
  • Backing at 2/1 (3.0 decimal)

Stakes out: = 100 x 1 point level stakes = 100 points
Returns (Incl stakes): = 33 x 2/1 = 99 points

So after 100 bets with a win strike rate of 33% and backing at 2/1 would see us ‘1’ point off breaking even at 99 points returned.

Now let’s see what happens when we get a bit of value at 3/1 with the same 33% win strike rate.

Stakes out: = 100 x 1 points level stakes = 100 points.
Returns (Incl stakes): = 33 x 3/1 = 132

As you can see by obtaining the ‘value’ by getting just an extra ‘1’ betting point brings about a huge swing with +32 points profit!

So What Do We Take From All this?

The message is clear, value is NOT about backing winners, it’s about what price you back the winners at?

The best way to ‘spot value’ is to specialise in one or two niche betting areas. We as punters can’t be experts in all areas, so our strength lies in finding a betting niche you have most knowledge about and/or enjoy researching most.

The great advantage we have over bookies is the option to focus on certain markets and immerse ourselves on the contenders within it until we know them inside out. This familiarity will bring about the ability to spot value and bookmaker pricing errors.
Bookmakers and their odds compilers on the other hand have to price up every market available. The sheer amount of events now offered have led some bookies to use outside agencies especially in the more obscure sporting markets.

You could start for example with the team you support or favourite Tennis/Snooker player who you feel you know more about than any others.

I know one chap who to this day is making a small fortune betting against his own football team by getting to know them inside out, especially their psychological approach to various games.

His team were renowned for beating the top teams in their division only to lose or draw against all the mid to bottom teams. He knew after they had achieved a giant killing and were playing lesser opposition in their next game they would bomb, not always, but more than enough to swell his betting account! Yes, he was backing against his team but when it came to money, he would never let his heart rule his betting head.

So that’s one place to start. Try it and go with what you know about your team or favourite player, their playing patterns, strengths and weaknesses etc. Only you know best if you watch them week in week out. You may be surprised by the results!

Featured Image: Bookmakers betting ring at Musselburgh Racecourse | From the… | Flickr

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