The Difference Between Planned Value and Default Value

In this, the second part of our series on value in sports betting, we are focusing on the difference between planned and default value. If you haven’t had a chance to read the first part then I suggest that you do by going here first.

Planned and default value are not official terms, they are something that I have made up to explain the two main types of profitable bettors.

Planned Value Bettors

These bettors are normally highly mathematical. The focus of their betting is to determine an odds line and then base all of their betting on this. The calculation of an accurate odds line is in itself a very difficult thing to achieve.

Most accurate odds lines are created using advanced mathematical models and the variety of techniques to do this is very large. Some of them you may have heard of, such as Multiple Regression, Bayes, Machine Learning and Neural Networks. Others you may not have, such as Support Vector Machine, Gene Expression Programming and Decision Tree Forests.

The complex nature of these techniques understandably, puts a lot of punters off. What do these punters actually do?

We know that the probabilities the general betting public creates are very accurate. This however, does not mean that they can’t be more accurate!

The job of a planned value bettor is to make their probabilities for a horse winning the race more accurate than the general betting public. This allows them to see where the general betting public have gone wrong as often as possible. When they find the general betting public have gone wrong, they will then bet.

The bets made are also often scaled based on how wrong the general betting public are. The bigger the mistake the more that is bet!

Default Value Bettors

This is much more common amongst profitable bettors. This is a group made up of form readers, system builders and strategy developers. The usual method that these punters use to find their selections is based on the profit that a particular system or strategy makes.

What they are actually doing is finding horses that the general betting public often assess the probability of winning wrong. They are in fact looking for value odds but are doing so without realising.

By focusing on finding types of horses that make a profit in specific race conditions, they are singling out those runners that are providing value to them.

Often these punters don’t fully understand the concepts of value but, if you sat down with their results then you would be able to prove, beyond a doubt that this is exactly what they are finding. More on that in next weeks post.

To summarise, a planned value bettor is…

‘A punter that purposefully strives to make an accurate odds line and bets when he knows the general betting public have made a mistake.’

A default value bettor is…

‘A punter that finds selections using a method built from finding types of horses that make a profit in specific races.’

Post a comment below and I shall look forward to reading them.

Michael Wilding

Michael started the Race Advisor in 2009 to help bettors become long-term profitable. After writing hundreds of articles I started to build software that contained my personal ratings. The Race Advisor has more factors for UK horse racing than any other site, and we pride ourselves on creating tools and strategies that are unique, and allow you to make a long-term profit without the need for tipsters. You can also check out my personal blog or my personal Instagram account.


  1. Again, another good read Michael. I class myself in the first group as a “Planned Value Bettor”.

    I think a common problem amongst punters is that when they hit a losing streak, they just give up and try something else! If when you place your bets the odds are bigger than the SP then if you stick with it you will make money as the you have obviously found value.

    Everything you have written is true but in the next article maybe you could mention the discipline and patience that is required to stick with it in order to prosper in the long run!

    Keep up the good work in helping people make money in this game.



  2. I too find that interesting, I also agree with Ed, More on the Discipline side as no system or method is going to work with out Discipline and that can be very hard for some people.
    Long term is one thing but sustainalble long term is better as we can wait for the Pot at the end of the rainbow for a long time and never get there if we do not apply discipline.

  3. Maybe it might be a difficult subject to cover properly but I would really like to know more about creating my own accurate odds lines. I actually bet more in Football than racing but I assume prinipals remain the same whenever odds lines are created.

    1. The principles are essentially the same (with some tweaks). What usually puts people off is that it is very heavily math based and it can take a lot of time to come up with an odds line of any use. It is of course the ultimate in betting and so we shall take a look at it in more detail. I will need to think carefully about the best way to approach the subject first and then we can dig in 🙂

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