Using Expected Value For Profitable Bets

Expected value (EV) in sports is the term used to predict how probable winning a bet is and how well a bet will return if won. It’s one thing to win a bet on a sports game but it’s seemingly pointless to bet on a game that has minimal profit as a result. In order to maximize profit from betting on sports, you must figure out which games are going to have the best payoff as the result of winning the bet.
The first thing you have to look at are the odds on certain games and how much money you can win from them. To figure it out, the difference of the amount of the possible profit won and what could be lost is added to the bet. The formula looks like EV= Wager+ (money won-money lost). Let’s look at some examples.
The Arizona Cardinals are playing the Seattle Seahawks and the odds are with the Cardinals to win the game.  If fractional odds given are 33/20, this is equivalent of  39% that the Cardinals would win the game, or 61% odds against. If you were to bet $20, you could win $33.
However if using your handicapping skills, which are naturally superior to the bookie’s, you had worked out the Cardinals had in fact a 20% change of winning the game., the expected value of the  $20 bet would be, ev = 20 x (1-0.8)-20 x (1-0.61), which works out as -$3.80. That is you would expect to lose $3.80 on that bet if you made it several times.
If on the otherhand you thought that the Cardinals had a 50% change of winning, the expected value would be 20 x (1-0.5)-20 x (1-0.61), which is equal to +$2.00.  Every time you made the bet you would expect to win $2, so this is a bet you would make.
In the English Premier League game between Norwich City and Sunderland, let’s place a $20 bet on Norwich City who is the favourite with odds on of 2/1. So, for a $2 bet you could win $1. This is equivalent to a 67% chance of Norwich City winning. If you felt the bookie had underestimated the odds and Norwich City in fact had an 80% chance of winning, the expected value on a $2 bet would be  $0.26 and you should make the bet.  If on the other hand you thought that Norwich City only had a 45% chance of winning, the expected value would be negative, in fact -44c and you should not make the bet.
Knowledge of the sport you are betting on is a huge factor. Even though the percentage odds may be against a team that’s not as high in the standings as another team, knowing that the underdog team is playing at home or, knowing that the favored team is having a lot of trouble with injuries should also be factored in. By understanding your expected value on games with the combination of knowledge of the particular teams, you can beat the odds that are set and earn more profit in the long run.

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