The Pursuit of Value

The Pursuit of Value is without a doubt the most important thing when betting

Guest article written by Robert Carmoody from

To fully understand this you will need to apply Basic Mathematics to all of your betting. The Maths we are talking about is basic schoolroom stuff.

Quite often those who bet will fail to see the connection between fractional odds and percentages.

For example-

The odds of 4/1 represent a 20% chance of winning

Therefore if a bet is offered with odds of 4/1 what we are really being told is that in the Opinion of the Odds Compiler, Bookmaker or Betting Market is that this selection is reckoned to have a 20% chance of winning.

However all bets have a flipside

So if the bettor accepts the offered odds of 4/1 or 20%. Then the other party known as the Layer or Bookmaker must be taking the odds or risk. These are known as opposing odds of 1/4 or 80% .

The chance of winning

The party who accepts odds of 1/4 will have an 80% chance of winning and the opposing party who has odds of 4/1 has a 20% chance of winning. Providing the Compilers Opinion is correct!

Now Re-write the rule book

This is where we need to throw the rule book out of the window and think a little outside of the box.

We need to re evaluate what we are being told.

We need to make up our own tissue or credible prices according to our own opinions based on pre-conceived chances of winning.

In order to do this we need to ask ourselves the following questions…

  • Do we agree with the prices
  • Does the selection have a greater or smaller chance than is offered in the odds available
  • Is the favourite really the best selection based on the form available for assessment

If the answer to any of these question is ‘no’ or ‘not sure’ then there is a very good chance that some Value can be obtained.

Creating a price tissue

Basically to create tissue prices we need to assess the number of selections in the market, for example- a horse race with 8 runners would obviously have 8 selections to choose from.

But how many actually have a realistic chance of winning?

Let us assume that our opinion is that 3 horses have a realistic chance of success

Therefore each of these should at this stage have a 100/30 or 1 in 3 chance of winning.

If one of the 3 horses, offer odds which are more than 100/30 you may be able to gain some value from that selection.

This can be tweaked so that one of the top 3 horses is viewed to be the favourite and therefore will have the shortest odds on offer.

Each price for the remaining horses increase in the order of where you predict they will finish the race.

The total percentages of all 8 selections should add up to 100% plus the over round. This is known as the “Book”.


Finding Value

Let us assume that the odds of 4/1 or 20% are being offered on a certain betting outcome,

and we actually think the real chance of that selection winning is 3/1 or 25% then the odds offered seem to offer some value because we are able to take advantage of a better price

This works in an opposite manner if you are being offered 4/1 when the realistic price should be higher a bet would usually not be offering any value in the price.

And finally, if the favourite does not really appear to be a true favourite based on all the information available then all the prices on all other outcomes must in theory offer some value

The best approach to finding value is to see it from the eyes of the bookmaker or the odds compiler.

Robert Carmoody has been betting and following horse racing for the past 20 years, he is the founder and co ordinator of a betting club called betclubuk which is a friendly club that welcomes bettors and horse racing fanatics from beginner to professional. Their aim is to always offer top quality advice and support to members and non members alike.

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.
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