Understanding The Basics Of Probability And Value



Sports betting can get a little complicated when you get into the “numbers' aspect of it, but it's something that you have to understand if you really want to be good at it. Probability and value are two concepts that you should get familiar with as you improve as a sports bettor, and here is an introduction to them.

Understanding The Hit Rate

The hit rate is a very simple concept: how many of your bets do you get correct? It is based on a percentage, so if you got 12 of your 15 bets correct, your hit rate is 0.8, or 80%. However, if you take all favorites, your profit margin isn't going to be very high. Therefore, the hit rate isn't as important as some would have you believe, although it is nice to see that you're getting some right, favorites or not. Also, you should never expect to make a perfect 100% hit rate because that just isn't realistic. Therefore, this is where the idea of value comes into play: grab a couple of underdogs in there to try and make a bigger profit, but your hit rate might go down because underdogs are just that for a reason.

The Probability Aspect

Then you get into probability, which is the likelihood of something happening. It is measured between 0 and 1, with 0 meaning it is impossible. In sports betting, it is difficult to come up with an exact probability, but you can reach what you believe the probability will be, which helps linesmakers come up with the odds that you see in the sportsbook.

Use Probability To Get The Value

Next, you would find the probability of an outcome actually happening, which is dividing one by decimal odds, which you can convert to easily enough using any online odds converter. Take a team that has odds of 2.50 to win; their winning probability comes out to 0.4, or 40%. If you put $10 on this team, you would make $24 if they win. This also means that you would stand to lose $10 around 60% of the time. So, your value is (the probability of winning multiplied by the amount won per wager) – (probability of losing multiplied by the stake). This comes out to (40% x $15) – (60% x $10) = $6.00 -$6.00 = 0....which means you would break even over time.

Overall

Remember, this isn't set in stone, but a template as to how you should evaluate probability and value. However, in the unpredictable world of sports betting, the smallest injury or change in a matchup can turn this formula upside down, so take it with a grain of salt, much like you would any other tip you get in this game. This is more for people who enjoy statistics, so if this is you, play with the formulas and see what you come up with. Make sure you have your calculator handy, and start making those winning picks.