The Church of Betting

Value Betting: The Practice & Odds Shopping

Value Betting: The Practice & Odds Shopping

This article is the second part of my previous article on Value Betting: The Theory. Check it up if you haven’t yet. At the end of the last article I promised that if you beat the overround you could, at least in theory, be a rich man. Now let’s talk about what it takes to beat the overround, how do you find an edge in the markets and what is Odds Shopping.

The two issues

As I wrote in the first part, you need to beat the market with the overround as a minimum. Well, there are two hardships you will encounter in doing that. First, the market is very efficient in estimating the correct probabilities. To beat it with even a single percentage point you have to be really damn good. There are people like that out there, but without knowing you, the chances that you are one of them are slim.

Second, the overround varies between bookmakers and events, so to improve your chances in beating the overround you have to work with the smallest overround possible. And to achieve that, you will need to place your bet with the best odds (referred to as Odds Shopping). Most of the cases this will be a sharp bookmaker like Pinnacle (a must have whether you are arbing or value betting), but not always. For example you can check the bookmakers that Steve from Daily25 is using – more then half the volume is placed in Pinnacle, but the rest is split among various different bookmakers. This looks a bit tiresome, but it is a necessity when shopping for the best odds around.

Odds Shopping

The issue of securing the highest odds is getting smaller in time, especially in recent years. You can read my historical overround analysis that clearly shows the global reduction of the overround ever since the online bookmakers were introduced. The more seasoned bettors around here won’t need that article, as you’d know that from experience.

Moreover, another interesting trend I have found is that in recent years the divergence in odds around bookmakers has decreased. In other words, Odds Shopping is providing less and less value to the bettor. So, does this mean the market has gotten more efficient in estimating the true probabilities? This would be one possible explanation. However, there is also the theory that this convergence of opinion comes from the fact that all bookmakers outsource odds calculation to an increasingly smaller pool of odds calculating companies. In other words it might be that not everyone is more right, they are just all equally wrong.

Anyhow, odds shopping remains the easiest way to boost your ROI. If you, on average, get 2% better price every time you bet, that will boost your return the same as an incredibly smart, sophisticated and expensive statistical model that beats the market by 2%. Of course, the smartest punters use both odds shopping and smart models. But even if you don’t have access to such model, everyone can and should do odds shopping – it’s easy! But how do you do it, you ask?

Odds comparison portals

Odds Shopping

Odds comparison portals are a very straightforward option if you work with soft bookmakers. They are free and will tell you where you can get the highest price for the event you have chosen. A few names that come to mind are Oddschecker, Oddsportal, Betbrain, but there are surely many others.

Of course, the issue here is that soft bookmakers always limit winning players, so as long as you start profiting from any strategy you will be chased away. That is where the Asian bookmakers, exchanges and other smart providers come into play. And the best way to access all of them at once is via a broker.

Betting brokers

I have written a dedicated article about betting brokers, where you can look at the concept in more detail. Basically, those are agents that have a relationship with many smart bookmakers and exchanges and provide to the punter a one-stop solution where he can access all of them at once. They mostly do it free of charge, and sometimes even provide cashback incentives in order to increase their customer turnover, which is where their profit comes from – after all, most of the punters are losing in the long run.

Finding an edge

Once you have done your homework and know how to pick the best odds on the market for every selection, you need to find an edge. Only by identifying undervalued selections on the market can you make a profit betting in the long term. This is where your knowledge in statistics, mathematics, and above all in football, the sport we all love so much, comes into play. This is also where it gets interesting – shopping for odds is a necessary, but tedious task, with a lot of administrative work involved. Taking a side in a game on the other hand is fun and we all like to do it from time to time, regardless whether money is being involved or not.

If you have any thoughts on the subject, I would be happy to chat about that in the comments. Also, I would appreciate if you follow me on Facebook and Twitter – in this way you will always be informed about the latest content in the Church. Thanks for reading and see you around!

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The Church of Betting