VALUE BETTING: Knowing When The Odds Are On Your Side!

Everybody talks about value betting being the only way to make a long-term profit.

If you’re not sure what value betting is, this article will clear it up.

So you’ve found your selections, but how do you now know if the odds on your selection are you on your side and offering betting value?

There are a lot of different ways you can determine whether you’re value betting, what follows is one method that I use which is quick and easy and you implement today.


Our process of value betting starts by finding the selections. that we’re going to want to place a bet on.

So it’s only right that we start by considering the process we went through to find our selection.

Let’s break this down into two the major types of selection finding.


When you use form reading to find selections you’ll have an understanding of the competition and ability of the horse in the race.

This understanding of both the competition and ability of the horse means that you already know whether the odds are offering value.

You may not realise it because odds can feel complicated, but you already have the knowledge that you’re looking for.

What we’re going to do now is releasing the knowledge from your brain that you didn’t know was there!

That starts by remembering that:

Odds are another way of showing a horses chance of winning

And calculating it can be done in a couple of seconds!

If a horse has odds of 7.00 (6/1), then you simply do the sum:

1 รท 7 = 0.14

The result is called a probability, which is kinda the same as a percentage. The difference is probability goes from 0 to 1, and percentages go from 0% to 100%.

To change it from a probability to a percentage we just multiply the result by 100 and get 14%.

That means this horse chance of winning the race, according to its odds, is 14%.

Now that makes much more sense than 7.00, and it’s something we can understand.

Ask yourself

“do I think this horse has more than a 14% chance of winning the race based on my analysis”

If the answer is yes then you’ve got a value bet, if the answer is no then you don’t.

Of course, that’s a gut feeling, and the gut feeling needs to be honed and trained with practice.

And you practice by keeping records.

You’ll already be keeping a record of the odds of your selections, now put in the chance you think the horse has of winning the race.

When you’ve got a bunch of one hundred or so selections, average all the percentage chance of winning you gave each horse. Then calculate the percentage chance of winning based on the odds (like we just did above) and calculate the average.

If your average figure is higher than the odds average figure, then you’re finding value. If not… then you need to optimise your approach a bit more.


By doing the same thing in all odds ranges, maybe you’re better and finding value bets in shorter or longer odds horses.

Perhaps you need to work a bit on assessing a horse’s chance of profit in the mid-range of odds.

Alternatively you could check to see if there are similarities between the selections that lose, are you always over-valuing or under-valuing a piece of information.

Ask yourself why you gave a horse a percentage chance of winning, go back and check the race and see if you would do the same again or if you would increase or decrease it.

Questions like these will point you to the issue in your analysis.

Never underestimate the power of looking at the races you lose to see if the data was available to point to the winner and you just missed something. It’s the fastest way to learn.


I’ve got great news for you…

If you’re making profitable bets on a system, then you’re already value betting.

Seriously. There’s nothing else to do.

Let’s pull back a bit!

Making a profit from a system is ten times harder (for most people) than from form reading, or at the very least than using a system to find contenders, and then form reading those contenders to make a decision about the actual bets you’ll be placing.

It’s so much tougher because generally when bettors build systems they’re using data that’s already available to everybody that’s placing a bet.

When you put all that together, it means that it’s going to be damn hard to find a value bet. If everybody is using the information then it will already be taken into account in the odds.

In order to build a long-term profitable betting system you need to use data that’s not available to everybody. Like the RA Pro horse racing ratings.

Generally you’ll build a system until it’s profitable. And the thing is… you can only have profitable bets if you’re value betting.

So you’ll spend A LOT longer building out your approach.

But when you’ve done it, then you’re going to be able to just bet on the selections using the same staking you used to build the betting system.

Which is kinda why you wanted to build a betting system anyway.

Now… if you’re the ultimate system builder… then you’re going to be making your own odds line (also known as tissue odds).

That’s where you give every horse in the race the percentage chance you think they have of winning.

You then compare your odds line to the available odds, and that can indicate whether the available betting odds are offering value or not.

Which is exactly what the PR Odds do inside RA Pro.

Value Betting

We even highlight the odds in green which we expect to be offering value.

But of course, you can do this yourself like this…

  1. Calculate each horses chance of winning the race and convert them into odds
  2. Add the market odds into the mix to make it more accurate

Only two steps, but those two steps are going to suck up a bunch of time, and time is the most precious asset we own.


Value betting is going to be essential if you want to make a long-term profit from your betting.

If you are analysing a race with form reading, or you’re using a system to find contenders and then looking at their form, you already know what the value odds of the horses should be. You’ve just got to get it out of your brain and down on paper.

And we went through a method showing exactly how to do that.

If you’re a system builder, and you follow the exact selections the rules find, then if you’re making a profit you’re already value betting.

The ultimate is to use an odds line combined with your own assessment to determine if there’s a value bet to be had.

What are you, a form reader or a system builder? Leave me a comment to let me know.

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.

One Comment

  1. Hi Michael et al,
    Definitely a system man, find it’s just far too easy to allow emotion to take over, over commit to a bet, and ignore information that would perhaps indicate NOT to bet (prime example… Enable on Sunday!)
    Not a qualifier with my number one system, but I absolutely adore the horse, backed her DESPITE Gosden saying she wasn’t quite right.
    Result? ‘Nuff said.

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