What is Expected Value in Sports Betting?

what is ev betting?

If you’re unfamiliar with the term Expected Value in sports betting, you might be wondering how it works. It’s understandable if you haven’t explored this concept, especially if you’re just a casual bettor looking for some entertainment. However, íf you are actually looking to make consistent profit, it becomes more important for you to understand what EV betting is and how it can benefit you.

Simply put, EV betting refers to the difference in expected probability between the bettor and the sportsbook. Sportsbooks determine odds and spreads for sporting events based on various factors. These factors are considered by other sportsbooks as well, which is why you’ll often find similar odds and spreads across different sites. However, those who use the concept of expected value look for minor differences in expected probability.

Even the slightest difference in expected probability between the bettor and the sportsbook can lead to a valuable bet. It may not be the most flashy or entertaining way to bet, but it’s certainly the most strategic approach to developing a winning betting strategy. The challenge lies in knowing when to look for expected value bets and recognizing the value in the odds and spreads. While it may seem difficult, many professional bettors use this technique successfully every day. With practice, guidelines, and good instincts, you can learn to identify overvalued or undervalued odds and make profitable bets.

So you want to finally make some money from sports betting, do you? You’ve come to the right place. We’ve provided you the introduction to Expected Value (EV) in sports betting. The key to long term success is making bets that have positive expected value. You have no idea how to calculate expected value or EV? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll walk you through the simple math behind calculating expected value for any sports bet. By the end, you’ll know exactly which bets are +EV and which are -EV. You’ll have an edge over the average sports bettor and be well on your way to padding your wallet with winnings. Ready to get started?.

how expected value in sports betting work?

To successfully bet on sports, you need to understand expected value. EV refers to the average amount of money you can expect to win or lose on a bet over the long run. If the EV is positive, that means the bet will be profitable in the long run. If it’s negative, the bet will lose you money over time.

Now, you might be wondering if EV betting is suitable for you. If you’re new to online sports betting and only place occasional bets for fun, you don’t necessarily need to delve into expected value betting. However, if you consider yourself an intermediate or experienced bettor, expected value betting is something you should definitely explore. It’s a betting technique that can lead to long-term profits. By putting in the effort, whether by using an arbitrage finder or not, bettors will likely see an increase in their overall success over time. While there are never any guarantees in betting, even with expected value, it’s worth considering if you want steady growth in your sports betting endeavors. The key is to manage the variables of the matches and use them to your advantage.

How to Calculate Expected value for Any Bet

To calculate EV, you need to determine the probability of each outcome and the payout for that outcome, then multiply the probability by the payout. Add up the results for all outcomes, and that’s your EV. For example, say you want to bet $100 on a coin flip at even odds. There are two possible outcomes: heads or tails. The probability of each outcome is 50%. If it lands on heads, you win $100. If tails, you lose $100.

(0.5 * $100) + (0.5 * -$100) =  0 – Over many bets, you can expect to break even.

Now let’s look at a sports example. Say an MLB matchup between the Brewers and the Phillies. The odds for Brewers to win are:

Brewers: 2.75 – Implied probability 36.4%

Value bet is found when EV is >1. By playing 2.75 odds, the Fair value is (0,368*2,75) 1.001 so there is minimal positive EV. But what if another bookie offers you let’s say 2,90 odds on the same match: (0,368*2,9) – you end up having 1.067 +EV which means every 100 dollars you bet, you end up winning $6,7.

The same applies when the is a mismatch between the bookmakers odds Implied Probability and your approximation of True Probability. Let’s say you have gathered all the data and ended up with True Probability of Brewers winning at 39.6%. This translates to 1.089 EV with 2.75 odds and 1.148 with the 2.9 odds on another bookie. We aim to find betting opportunities with +EV of >1.05, anything below that we avoid due to risk tolerance and variance.

By consistently betting on positive EV wagers, you’ll be profitable in the long run. Finding positive EV can be challenging, since the Bookmakers use ton of data and algorithms to keep their edge and provide best odds possible for the house. This is also why dividing your bankroll to multiple bookmakers is the way to go since the odds might vary greatly. Having your bankroll spread across different bookies helps you to find +EV bets or even arbitrage situations where you are guaranteed to make a buck

Smart bettors will be able to spot opportunities especially on events several days out. There are constantly many instances where the underdog ends up offered a considerable +EV, as the odds tank when more information and more money flows backing up the underdog. For example UCL qualification rounds are from time to time favourable for underdogs with asian handicaps +1,5 or +2,5 as the favourite is expected to win heavily. Just remember, often times bookmakers will offer odds lower than their actual estimation of them is. Meaning the implied probability being more than the real probability. Just like in the Brewers vs Phillies example, the Implied Probability totals 68% + 36,4 = 104,4% which gives them a higher profit margin, also called as house edge or Vigorish. Aim to play at bookies that have low Vigorish

The formula for expected value = (implied probability of winning) x (amount of profit) – (implied probability of losing) x (amount of lost bet).

Step 1: Calculate the probability of each outcome

First, figure out all the possible outcomes of your bet and the likelihood of each outcome happening. For example, if you’re betting on a coin flip, there are two possible outcomes: heads or tails. Each has a 50% chance of happening.

Step 2: Determine the payout for each outcome

Next, determine how much you stand to win (or lose) for each outcome. Let’s stick with the coin flip example. Say you bet $10 on heads. If you win, you get your $10 bet back plus another $10. So your payout is $10 profit. If tails wins, you lose your $10 bet, so your payout is -$10.

Step 3: Multiply the probabilities and payouts

Now multiply the probability of each outcome by its payout. For the heads bet, that’s:

0.5 (50% chance of heads) x $10 profit = $5

For tails:

0.5 (50% chance of tails) x -$10 payout = -$5

Step 4: Add up the results

Finally, add up the results for all the outcomes. In our example, $10 + -$10 is $0.

So the EV of betting $10 on heads in a coin flip is $0. Over many bets, you can expect to average a profit of $0 per bet. If the EV is greater than $0, the bet is potentially profitable. If it’s less than $0, the bet will likely lose you money over time. Make sure any bet you make has a positive EV if you want to win!

Finding Positive EV Bets: The Key to Long Term Profit

Finding positive expected value (EV) bets is the key to long term profit in sports betting. EV refers to the average amount of money you can expect to win (or lose) on a bet. When the EV is positive, you’ll win money in the long run.

Look for bets where the odds don’t properly reflect the likelihood of an outcome. Maybe a sportsbook sets the odds for an underdog too high. Or they underestimate the chance of something like a first half total going over. You want to spot these value bets.

Some tips for finding positive EV bets:

  • Focus on underdogs, especially home underdogs. Public bias often inflates favorites’ odds.
  • Consider props and live betting. Oddsmakers have a harder time setting accurate odds for these.
  • Shop at multiple books. Compare odds to find the best prices. Even small differences add up over time.
  • Do your research. The more information you have, the better you can determine a bet’s true probability. Look at stats, matchups, injuries, interviews and trends.
  • Start with smaller bets as you learn. It takes time to get good at finding an edge, so bet responsibly while you improve your skills.
  • Bet boosts. Many bookmakers offer bet boosts from time to time. These are always good opportunities to find +EV

With practice, finding positive expected value bets can become second nature. Be patient and disciplined, focus on value, and the long term profits will follow.


So there you have it, the math behind making winning sports bets. Now you’re armed with the tools to calculate expected value and make smarter wagers. Sure, there’s always an element of luck, but over time, making high EV bets will lead to profits. Start small, pick your spots, do your research, crunch the numbers, and have some fun with it. Who knows, you might just end up beating the odds and coming out ahead. At the very least, you’ll have a new appreciation for the complexity behind the scores and stats. Math is the secret weapon of sports betting, so use it to your advantage and bet smart. Your bankroll will thank you. We at Tips For Today naturally always aim to provide tips on events that we consider +EV

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