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What is the concept of expected value reveals for football bettors?

ByOphelia

Nov 18, 2023

Seasoned sports bettors understand that turning a long-term profit requires more than correctly predicting game outcomes or final scores. Players who are savvy use a concept called expected value to determine whether a wager holds positive or negative value. Especially in football where chance heavily influences results, embracing expected value theory is foundational.

Defining expected value

A bet’s expected value is determined by multiplying its net outcome over time by the same conditions. Calculating a wager’s expected value requires just two variables:

  • The probability of the bet being successful  
  • The payout odds on the wager  

To demonstrate via simplified example, let’s examine a -110 NFL moneyline bet at average breakeven probability:

  • Moneyline Odds: Chiefs -110 / Raiders +110   
  • Chief’s Probability to Win: 52.38%

Here is the expected value calculation:

  • (0.5238 x $100) – (0.4762 x $110) = -$1  

Over hundreds of placements, a standard -110 NFL moneyline UFABET has an expected value of -$1 as the sportsbook maintains its edge. Make sense why Vegas stays so profitable now?

Even though individual bet outcomes are highly variable, over a large sample of wagers, the expected value can predict whether you will make a profit or lose. When EV is positive, you earn money long-term. When EV is negative, the house maintains its edge to diminish bankrolls.

Key applications to football betting

Understanding expected value theory informs bettors in multiple ways:  

Quantifying betting value

Expected value measures allow precisely quantifying if a posted line or price offers value against your win probability projections for teams. Distinguishing great bets from those lacking value fuels profitability. 

Informing bankroll strategy  

The variance of expected outcomes on individual wagers determines ideal bet sizing and risk management tactics to maintain. Volatility impacts bankroll requirements.

Weighing possible outcomes  

The probability inputs into EV calculations encompass the likelihood of not just the main expected outcome but also less common occurrences like backdoor covers or overtime results. Weighing various paths to calculate “true” probabilities informs EV accuracy.   

Predicting multiply outcomes

Bets like parlays, multis round robins, and sweetheart teasers rely on multiple outcomes hitting. Their embedded expected value bakes in probability around overlapping outcomes occurring collectively.

Strategies to improve expected value 

Sharpening your EV assessment abilities and acting upon them transforms betting outcomes:

  • Line shopping – Compare odds/payouts at multiple sportsbooks to find and play only the highest EV line available for a given projection  
  • Buying points – Pay extra juice to increase line value when crossing key numbers or hitting projections exactly 
  • 401pooling projections – Combine multiple models/projections to build consensus EV assessment for games
  • Positive regression tracking – Monitor records in high/low-probability bets to target mismatched expected vs actual outcomes 
  • Opportunistic line timing – Strike when late line moves increase EV enough to compensate for earlier missed value 
  • Staking to kelly criterion – Size bankroll risk on bets proportional to the expected value edge detected   

Implementing combinations of these strategies pivots bettors towards positive expectancy by acting upon the value identified through EV model projections versus posted odds.

By Ophelia