How to Find Value in a Sports Bet

Sports bet is a fun and exciting way to wager on sporting events, but it can also be a lucrative pursuit if you know how to find value in the markets. Unlike betting on your favorite team or using a random trend, value bets pay out at a higher rate than they should, and they require you to do some research to locate them.

One of the best ways to find value in a sports bet is to compare odds on different bookmakers. This can be done manually, or through an automated tool that scours the internet for potential value bets and logs them in a spreadsheet. While the manual method requires more time, it can yield better results if you take your time and are careful not to overdo the amount of bets you place.

The first step is to look at the odds for the event you’re interested in. These can be listed in American, fractional, or decimal form, and they’ll give you the probability of a particular outcome occurring. Money line odds only reflect whether a team will win or lose the game; point spreads factor in how many points the underdog will win by. And finally, totals betting is where you bet on how many combined points will be scored in a game (over/under).

The most effective way to work out odds is with a positive expected value approach, which is a system used by sharp sports bettors. A casual bettor is like a roulette player hoping their color comes up; a +EV bettor is more like a stockbroker looking to buy low and sell high.