Expected Value: How to Find Value Bets

If you’re into sports betting, you’ve probably heard the term “expected value” (EV) thrown around. But what exactly does it mean, and how can you use it to your advantage when placing bets? In this guide, we’ll break down the concept of expected value and show you how to identify value bets in sports betting.

What is Expected Value?

Expected value is a fundamental concept in probability and statistics. In sports betting, it represents the potential profit or loss you can expect from a bet over the long run. To put it simply, it’s a way to determine whether a bet is worth making.

To calculate the expected value, you need to consider two key factors: the probability of winning (or losing) a bet and the potential payout. Here’s the basic formula:

  • Expected Value (EV) = (Probability of Winning × Potential Profit) – (Probability of Losing × Bet Amount)

Let’s break it down:

  • Probability of Winning: This is your estimated chance of winning the bet. For example, if a team has a 60% chance of winning, the probability of winning is 0.60.
  • Potential Profit: The profit you can make if your bet is successful. This includes your initial stake and any potential winnings.
  • Probability of Losing: The chance of losing the bet. It’s the opposite of the probability of winning. In this case, it would be 0.40 (1 – 0.60).
  • Bet Amount: The amount of money you’re willing to wager on the bet.

How to Identify Value Bets?

The goal in sports betting is to find bets with a positive expected value. In other words, you want to place bets where the potential profit outweighs the risk. Here’s how to do it:

1. Research and Analysis

To calculate the probability of winning, you’ll need to do thorough research and analysis. This involves looking at team statistics, player performance, historical data, and any other relevant information.

2. Compare Odds

Different sportsbooks offer varying odds for the same event. Shop around and compare the odds to find the best possible value.

3. Calculate Expected Value

Once you have the odds and the probability of winning, use the formula to calculate the expected value for each bet. If the result is positive (EV > 0), it’s a potential value bet.

4. Bankroll Management

Even if a bet has positive expected value, it’s essential to manage your bankroll wisely. Don’t put all your money on a single bet. Diversify and allocate a portion of your bankroll to different value bets.

5. Continuous Improvement

Keep refining your methods and strategies. The more accurate your probability estimates are, the better your value bets will be.

6. Risks and Considerations

While expected value is a valuable tool in sports betting, it’s not a guaranteed way to win. There are risks and uncertainties involved, and even value bets can lose. It’s essential to have realistic expectations and only wager what you can afford to lose.


In conclusion, understanding expected value is a crucial skill for any sports bettor. It helps you make informed decisions and find bets that offer long-term profitability.

Remember that successful sports betting requires patience, discipline, and a continuous effort to improve your skills. By consistently seeking out value bets, you can increase your chances of coming out ahead in the world of sports betting.

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