What Does EV Betting Mean?

EV Betting (Expected Value Betting) means a betting strategy designed to make a profit in the long run. The aim of the strategy is to wager bets on events with a positive expected value. Simply, the chosen events should have a higher probability of winning than a probability of losing.

Such gambling system requires  from the bettor a deep understanding of statistics and probability theory. However, if you learn the strategy, you will be able to make a profit in the long run.

Negative -EV

Negative -EV means a situation in sports betting when the bettor expects to lose money in the long run. This happens when the probability of success gets lower than expected. For example, if a bettor wagers a $100 stake on a team with 1.5 odds, then it is to be expected to get $150 in case the team wins, but he also risks losing $100 if the chosen side loses. In this case, the expected value of the bet is -$50. This means that the bettor expects to lose $50 with each stake wagered.

Positive +EV

A positive +EV means a situation in sports betting when the bettor expects to make a profit in the long run. It occurs when the probability of winning a bet gets higher than expected. For example, if a bettor wagers a $100 stake on a team with 2.0 odds, it is to be expected to get $200 in the event the team wins, and lose $100 if the team loses. In such case, the expected value of the bet is $50. This also means that the bettor expects to get $50 with each stake wagered.

In other words, in order to make a profit in sports betting, a bettor must bet on events with a positive +EV. Namely, it is highly important to find events with the probability of winning being higher than expected.

Why Do Value Bets Appear?

Value bet means a bet with a positive (+EV) expected value for the bettor. Meaning, when wagering bets, the bettor expects to make a profit from the bet, regardless of said bet winning or losing.

There are several reasons for value bets appearance:

  1. Odds calculating errors. The bookies sometimes make mistakes when setting their quotes. This may be due to human error, technical issues or other circumstances. For example, some bookmakers may accidentally set the wrong odds on some game result or event.
  2. Incorrect estimation of probabilities. The bookmakers use lots of methods to evaluate the probabilities of events. But not all of such methods are 100% correct. For example, the bookie may simply not take into account some factors that may affect the outcome of the event.
  3. Late odds update. The bookmakers constantly update their quotes based on new information and data. Sometimes they may simply not have enough time to update their odds on time, the error resulting in the possibility of a value bet (then the only tricky thing left is to have enough time to wager your bet before the quotes get updated).
  4. Special offers. From time to time, the bookies make special offers such as signup bonuses or free bets. Such offers may create a value bet opportunity as a bettor is now able to wager a bet on an event with a positive expected value even with the bonus being taken into account.

If one intends to find value events, then one needs to be aware of the reasons for their occurrence. The bettor must also be prepared to spend lots of time researching events and analyzing the betting markets. Below we have put together some additional tips that will help you to increase your chances of finding a value bet:

  1. Compare the odds set by different bookies. The bookmakers often set different quotes for the same event. By comparing the quotes of different bookies, the bettor can find the best ones for an event with a positive expected value.
  2. Analyze the teams' and players' stats. The data on about the past results of teams and players can come in useful in assessing the likelihood of an event's outcome.
  3. Don't be afraid to bet on less popular events. The bookies often do not pay enough attention to less popular events. This factor often creates the opportunity for a value bet.
  4. Be patient. Finding value bets is not easy and can take a lot of time and effort. However, if you are patient and persistent, you can find a value event and increase your profit with sports betting.

EV Calculation Example (American Odds)

For a better understanding of the EV Betting strategy, let's take a look at a live example. For our experiment, let's take the NHL regular season matchup, the Edmonton Oilers vs the San Jose Sharks. We chose the bookmaker having set the following quotes:

Edmonton Oilers -476
San Jose Sharks +425

For convenience, let's use a $1,000 betting stake. Let's also use a special algorithm to determine which side we are to bet on:

1. Convert the probability of winning to a percentage using the formula:

In case of negative BO line (-476):

Qt/ (Qt + 100) x 100%
476 / (476 + 100) x 100% = 82.63%

In case of positive BO line (+425):

100 / (Qt + 100) x 100%
100 / (425 + 100) x 100% = 19.04%

After calculating the probabilities (82.63 + 19.04), the sum gets more than 100% (101.67%). This 1.67% is the BO's margin (Vig) for the event.

2. Calculate the potential amount of win/loss on the bet:

In case of wagering a $1,000 bet on the Edmonton Oilers to win at -476, you can get $210 of net profit. In the event that the bet does not win, then we lose the amount of $1,000.

3. Calculate EV using a special formula:

EV = (PV x SV) - (PP x SP), where PV means the win percentage, SV means the potential net profit, PP means the loss percentage, SP means the potential loss

With our example, we get the following data:

EV = (0.8263 x 210) - (0.1904 x 1000) = 173.52 - 190.04 = -$16.88.

In this example, we get a negative -EV, and it is quite high:  -$16.88. So it doesn't make sense to bet on the Edmonton Oilers to win, because in the long run we will lose $16.88 on each $1,000 bet being wagered. If you intend to bet long term, don't use such kinds of events.

How Do We Use This Strategy in Sports Betting?

Using the live example above, we've found out the Edmonton Oilers' chance of winning is 82.63%. However, we can also calculate the chances of the other team's winning. Let's say we assume that the true probability is higher, let's take 92%. In this case, EV can also be calculated using the new data:

EV = (0.92 x 210) - (0.1904 x 1000) = 193.2 - 190.04 = $3.16

And here we get an event with a positive +EV. It turns out that one can bet on a match if betting long term.

This is a positive EV value, meaning one should bet on the event.

The main issue lies in determining the true chances (either based on analysis, or based on a comparison of bookmakers). We recommend relying on BetWasp's EV Betting service, with this scanner you can beat any bookie!

Formula for Calculating American Odds Based on Available Probability

American odds – method of representing the probability of an event as the amount of winning in case of betting $100. American odds are always expressed as a positive or negative number. Positive odds indicate the probability of winning more than you bet if your bet wins. Negative odds indicate losing a large amount per each lost bet.

To calculate the American odds based on probability, use one of two formulas:

In case of more than 50% probability of an event:

American odds = - (V/ (100 - V)) * 100, where V means the probability.

For example, if the home team has a 60% chance of winning, then the true American odds for the team to win are to be -150.

In case of less than 50% probability of an event:

American odds = - ((100 - V) / V) * 100, where V means the probability.

When the probability of the event is estimated at 25%, then the formula gives us the ultimate odds of +300.

[!] Any other odds with the above outcomes will be either negative or positive. You are to to find a positive odd (when the bookmaker underestimates the real chances of a certain team winning).

What Does Vig Mean, and How to Calculate It?

Vig (or the bookmaker margin) means a fee charged by the bookie on every bet wagered. Vig is calculated as a percentage of the betting stake. For example, if the wining odds set for a team is -110, then Vig is 10%. In this case, the bettor is to lose $10 of any $100 bet wagered, even with winning bets.

Margin is the main way for the bookmakers to make a profit. The bookies cannot accurately predict the outcome of an event, so they charge Vig to offset their risks.

Vig may be annoying for bettors, but it's a necessary part of the sports betting industry. Without margin, the bookies would not be able to exist, and bettors would not be able to wager their bets.

Here are some tricks to reduce the impact of margin on the bets:

  1. Bet bigger. The larger your betting stake, the less impact Vig has on your profits.
  2. Bet on popular events. The more popular the event, the less margin the BOs put into their lines.
  3. Use betting strategies designed to reduce the impact of margins. There are a number of strategies to reduce the impact of Vig, including the Catch-up system and "betting against the market" strategy.

Let's take a look at the impact of the bookmaker's margin on bets, for this let's use a real example. Let's say we chose a basketball game, the New York Knicks vs the Cleveland Cavaliers. For the each side's win, our chosen BO has set the following odds:

New York Knicks-250
Cleveland Cavaliers+210

Step 1. Let's express the -250 quote of the home team's win as a probability using the formula for negative odds:

(250 / (250+100)) x 100% = 71.42%

Step 2. Let's express the +125 quote of the away team's win as a probability using the formula for positive odds:

(100 / 210 + 100) x 100% = 32.25%

Step 3. Now we add the probabilities of both events:

71.42 + 32.25 = 103.67%

Step 4. Now we subtract 100% from the received amount to find out the bookmaker's margin:

103.67% - 100% = 3.67%.

This is exactly what the Vig (or a margin) set by the bookmaker for this event is.

It turns out that in betting with Expected Value Betting strategy, it is important not only to find the difference in quotes, but also to take into account the Vig set by the bookie. In case the total value (margin included) is lower, we have a negative +EV. It means that it is not worth betting on such events.

Positive Expected Value

An Example of Finding Expected Value Using the BetWasp Scanner

ODDS Payout
Book1 for calculation 1,75 93,5$
Book2 for calculation 1,85 95,5$
Book3 for calculation 1,83 96,0$
Book1 for display 1,99 100$

Book1 for display (Valuebet) means the bookie selecting events with overstated quotes.

Book1/Book2/Book3 for calculation mean the bookmaker we've chosen to scan for value bets.

Payout means the amount to be gained by the bettor in case two opposite bets with a total betting stake of $100 get returned.

Here we must to take into account that the payout directly depends on the size of Vig set by the bookmaker: the smaller the margin, the greater the amount of the return.

What Does EV Betting Mean?

According to our formula, the expected profit from Valuebet is $100.

The formula above says that 1.99 is overstated by 2.25%. That is, we are to win a small amount from the BO (2.25%), since their line has an error. We have verified this fact with the help of the more effective bookies.

The Struggle of the Bookies On Value Bettors

The bookmakers are actively struggling the value bettors. They use various methods to deal with value bets. Here are some of them:

  1. Tracking bets. The bookies have means to track a bettor's bets to see the leagues and sports they bet on. In the event that a bettor bets on lots of different leagues and sports, this may be a sign of looking for values.
  2. Tracking bet sizes. Bookmakers  can also track bettor's betting stake amounts. If a bettor wagers big bets, this can also be a sign of looking for values.
  3. Mandatory requirement of identity verification. The bookies may require a bettor to provide proof of identity to verify that they are who they claim to be. It also helps the bookmakers tracking the betting activity, and identify bettors who are betting on values.
  4. Limiting bets. The bookmakers are able to limit the betting stake to be wagered by a bettor on individual events, or within a certain period of time. This helps bookies to protect themselves from losses that may result from betting on values.
  5. Blocking accounts. Sometimes bookmakers go as far as blocking the account of a bettor suspected in value betting. This helps bookies to protect themselves from losses.
  6. Using customized software to detect suspicious behavior. The bookies may use software to detect anomalies in bettors' bets. Such software may be able to track things like betting stake sizes, betting frequency, and bet types. When the software detects anomalies, this may be a sign that the bettor place value bets.
  7. Cooperation of Bookmakers. The bookies cooperate with each other to share information about suspicious bettors. This helps the bookies to keep track of bettor activity.

Some Tips For Value Betting

Lots of bettors manage to make profit in a long run and not be caught by the bookies. Is it difficult? Not at all, you just have to follow some simple tips:

  1. Make deep research. Do not wager your bets without knowing anything about the event or the teams. Analyze statistics, news and other factors that may influence the outcome of an event.
  2. Compare odds. Don't bet on the first offer you see. Compare quotes from different bookies in order to find the best offer.
  3. Be careful with big bets. If your bets are large, you may be suspected of speculation. Try to wager small bets so as not to attract the attention of fraud team.
  4. Do not bet more than you can afford to lose. Sports betting is a type of gambling, and there is always a risk of losing. Never bet more than you can afford to lose.
  5. Be patient. Don't expect to make big profits on spot. Value betting is a long term strategy, and it may take time to reap the fruits.
  6. Don't be afraid to change the strategy. If your current strategy is ineffective, don't be afraid to change it. There are lots of various value betting strategies, and you can always find the one that works best for you specifically.
  7. Don't play blind. You must not bet if there is no certainty about the outcome of the event. It is better to miss one bet than to lose your stake.
  8. Develop your own skills. The more you know about sports betting, the more likely you are to win. Read articles, news and blogs about betting to improve your skills.

By following the above tips, you will be able to significantly increase your chances of winning bets.


⭕ Which strategy is better, EV Betting or Surebets?

EV Betting and Surebets are two different sports betting strategies. EV Betting is a strategy designed for searching for bets with a positive expected value. In turn, Surebets is a strategy for finding bets that guarantee profit in any outcome of the event.

Value betting is more complex than surebetting. Its successful implementation requires a good understanding of statistics, and probability theory. But if you learned said betting system, you will be able to make a profit in the long run.

So which one is the best strategy? It all depends on your goals and preferences. If you want to make profit in the long run, then EV Betting is your best choice. But if you want to easily make a quick profit "right here right now", then feel free to choose Surebets.

⭕ How much can one earn with value betting?

There is no clear answer to this question, since it is different for all bettors. The amount of profit that may be made with value betting depends on lots of factors: the size of the betting stake, the size of the bets, the chosen odds, the luck of the bettor, and much more. If a bettor is well versed in the chosen sport and knows how to search for values, then such bettor will be able to make decent amounts of profits in a long run.

Nevertheless it still is highly important to remember that sports betting is a form of gambling and there is always a risk of losing. So never bet more money than you can afford to lose.

⭕ Can the bookies block my account?

Yes, the bookmakers are able to block your account for various reasons:

  • Suspicious activity. If the bookie suspects you of cheating or betting manipulation, they may block your account.
  • Rule violations. If you violate the bookmaker's rules, for example, in case you bet on an event that is prohibited, the bookie may block your account.
  • Inactivity. If you do not use your account for a certain period of time, the bookmaker may block it.
  • Technical problems. Sometimes accounts can be blocked for technical reasons. If you think that your account was blocked by mistake, you can always contact the bookie's support team.

Using the EV Betting strategy is not expressly prohibited, however, the bookmakers consider it to be artificial manipulations and a violation of the rules. The thing is that the bookies are not interested in you winning, especially if you have an advantage. So the blocking due to the use of values is an option. That is why we recommend betting carefully and following simple rules when wagering your bets.

If your account is blocked, you can try to contact the bookmaker's support team, and find out the reason for the block, and see if it is possible to unblock it. However, if the block was caused by suspicious activity or a violation of the rules, the bookmaker will most likely refuse to unblock your account.

⭕ How much should I invest to begin value betting?

The starting amount recommended for value betting depends on your financial means and your goals. If you are just starting to engage in this kind of betting, then you must not invest heaps of money. It is much better to start with small amounts that you can afford to lose over the course of a week / month. And only with an experience and self-confidence should one switch to an "big boy" betting.

Used literature, references

Oleg Borshchev
Having a huge wealth of knowledge and 11 years of betting proficiency, Oleg kindly shares his tips and experience in our blog. In his articles, you'll learn more about different strategies and bet types, as well as find a lot of useful advices and tips.
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