Our Tennis Tips always include Target Favourite Odds and Target Outsider Odds. These targeted odds are used to find value bets in your betting strategy.
What are ‘Value’ bets
If you place bets you will have lucky streaks and win numerous times on the trot but also you will have losing streaks. However, in the long term its the bookmaker that always ends up in profit and probably at your expense. The reason is simple, bookmaker’s are not stupid, they have an army of full time staff, tons of data and years of experience at assessing risk. Whenever they set odds based upon probability of a result they are rarely very far off and to make sure they load the odds by offering a price that will be anything from 5% – 25% (and sometimes higher) in their favour. On top of that, they will adjust the odds to suit market trends – for example if an event is seeing a lot of action on one outcome they will adjust the odds to mitigate their exposure and attract more money on the opposite outcome to balance their books in case the unthinkable happens.
The bookmakers, like you and I will win some and lose some because betting is gambling, but, over time the ‘edge’ they create for themselves ensures they end up in profit. Unfortunately, we don’t have that luxury!
So, where does that leave us? doomed to failure? – well, mostly yes! if you accept the bookmakers starting price odds, BUT, there are opportunities that exist allowing us to mitigate the bookmakers ‘edge’ and place bets that have an ‘edge’ in your favour. These are called ‘Value’ bets.
The Bookmakers ‘Edge’
To fully understand what value bets are we first need to understand how the bookmakers set their odds. The best way to do this is to look at a real example using bet365 at this years French Open:
French Open 2016 Andy Murray v Richard Gasquet
Bet365 may well have calculated the ‘true’ odds of Murray winning at around 1.47 (47/100) which gives an implied probability of 68.03%. In other words if they played 100 times Murray would win 68 times.
So, hypothetically, if you now put £1 on 100 matches at these odds you will win £99.96 (£1 x 1.47 for 68 games that Murray wins) and lose £32 (£1 x 32 for the 32 games that Murray loses). If the bookmaker has calculated the probability of Murray winning accurately and offers you odds without applying their ‘edge’ you will neither win nor lose money over the long run.
However, the bookies are in it for the money so they will apply their ‘edge’ and reduce the price by anything from 5% to 25% depending upon the bookmaker (sometimes even more!). In this case just prior to the match Bet365 offered odds on Murray winning of 1.28 (77/275), in this example their ‘edge’ would have been around 13% in their favour.
So, now, hypothetically, if they played 100 times and you put £1 on 100 matches at the new bookmaker odds with the ‘edge’ applied you will win £87.04 (£1 x 1.28 for 68 games that Murray wins) and lose £32 (£1 x 32 for the 32 games that Murray loses). A net loss of £12.96. So, betting on the favourite every time at the starting price odds offered by the bookmaker is a great way of losing your money to the bookmaker in the long run.
Therefore, if you could find a bookmaker offering odds at or above 1.47 (True odds) for the Murray v Gasquet game it will represent ‘value’ as the bookmaker ‘edge’ will have been nullified.
More importantly, if you can find and bet on ‘value’ bets all the time you will have turned the tables on the bookmakers and ensure you are in profit over the long term.
Finding the ‘Value’ bets
On the face of it being able to calculate the true probability of the outcome of an event and then finding a value bet doesn’t seem feasible. However, recent betting trends have made the task easier than you might think. The game changer in Tennis betting has been ‘Inplay’ betting. Using our real example, if we take a look at how the match between Murray and Gasquet progressed you will see that value bets become available ‘InPlay’. These opportunities arise ‘InPlay’ because the bookmakers have to adjust the odds in real time throughout the match. They certainly can’t offer you odds of 1.28 if one of the players was 6-0, 6-0 5-0 and serving for the match otherwise we would all pile in and clean up! So, the bookmakers have to adjust the odds as the game progresses and as the game swings in favour from one player to the other and back again. This cannot be done manually due to the shear number of games and events on at any time, so the bookmakers will use an algorithm to automatically change the odds as the score changes. This constant change in odds is what gives us an opportunity to place bets when the odds swing in ‘value’. Here’s how it works.
In our example Richard Gasquet won the first 2 sets and was looking odds on to go on and win the match, this caused Murray’s odds to increase dramatically from the starting price of 1.28 and when they reached 1.66 I decided to place my bet. As it turned out, Murray went on to win and I won my bet at odds around 30% higher than the starting price and at odds around 13% higher even than the true odds. By simply monitoring games InPlay value bets will present themselves in Tennis quite frequently.
Whether you win or lose individual value bets like this, in the long run if all the bets you make are value bets you will end up in profit in just the same way the bookmakers will end up in profit if you always use their starting price odds.
To make life easier for you we have developed a statistical Algorithm that factors in statistical data on players such as ranking points, year to date wins, year to date losses, years on tour, their age and head-to-head history for each tournament we cover and matches we publish. For each match we publish target odds that represent value. For the Murray v Gasquet game we set target odds at 1.67 which was around 12% higher than ‘true’ odds according to our statistical algorithm. Our algorithm and assessment of probability will be different from the bookmakers simply because the bookmakers protect the make up of their algorithm for obvious reasons, plus, their odds will also fluctuate to accommodate commercial opportunism. So, in the interest of your profitability we build in a 15% ‘edge’ into our published target odds in your favour.
In this case with Murray losing the first 2 sets there was plenty of time to identify and get your bet on once the target odds had been reached providing of course you still had the confidence that Murray would pull the game back and go on to win.
It doesn’t always happen so easily and you sometimes have to pick your moment. For example when Murray met Wawrinka later in the tournament in the semi-final.
Murray’s bookmaker price to win prior to the game was 1.76 which is an implied probability of 56.82% – so Bet365 were expecting a closer game and I suspect their true odds were probably calculated out at about 1.9. We published our target odds at 2.1.
The game started with Wawrinka serving first and comfortably holding serve to go 1-0 up in the first set. Murray on the other hand in his first service game struggled and went a break point down and that was enough for the odds to increase from the starting price of 1.76 up to 2.3, at which point I placed my bet. Murray then went on to hold serve and level the match at 1-1, after which he then took an early lead causing the odds to go down from then onwards never reaching a point of value again. The opportunity presented itself in that second game and I was able to cash in with a value bet at 2.3 but had I not been monitoring the game I probably wouldn’t have bet at all.
Value bets are plentiful, although you will have to monitor your matches to find them, and that shouldn’t be a problem for the majority of our members because that is what this website is all about – betting to enhance your enjoyment of sport.