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What is a value bet in cricket?

If you like to bet on cricket online, you’ve probably heard people mention a ‘value bet’. But what are value bets – and where can you find them?

A value bet is exactly what it sounds like – a bet which offers good value. The trick is learning to figure out which are value bets, and which are simply the odds you should expect.

How rolling a die can produce a value bet

First, let’s take a look at a really simple example of a value bet.

Imagine you roll a regular, six-sided die. The odds of it landing on either a 1, 2 or 3 is 50%, and the odds of it landing on 4, 5 or 6 is also 50%. If you were receiving true odds on your bet, you would get even odds on either of the two outcomes.

But what about if a bookies has made a mistake? For example, they could offer 1.95 on 1, 2 or 3 and 2.05 on 4, 5 or 6.

The true decimal odds of either outcome is 2.00. To find this, we simply take the total percentage (100) and divide it by the odds of the event happening (50). Therefore, anything above 2.00 is a value bet – so we should bet on the 4, 5 or 6 at odds of 2.05.

As you can see, this value bet doesn’t guarantee that we’ll win – the die still has a 50% chance of landing on a 1, 2 or 3. But the bookies are giving us favourable odds. In theory, if we keep picking up value bets like this, we will win in the long run. This is sometimes described as expected value or EV.

Finding value bets in cricket

It’s pretty easy to spot a value bet in the example above. But how can you find these slim margins when betting on cricket? The first step is to quantify the outcomes of an event into percentages, based on the bookmaker’s odds.

Let’s say India vs Australia is coming up, and Australia have odds of 2.60 to emerge victorious. 100 divided by 2.6 gives us a percentage of 38.46%.

Next, we calculate the odds of Australia winning based on our own knowledge. This is where your expertise really comes into play. Factor in all the data you have, even the small stuff. Think about the form of players, the history of India vs Australia (in this case), player injuries, news you’ve read in blogs – anything which can help you make an informed decision.

Eventually, you decide that Australia have a 45% chance of beating India. Now, we need to calculate the value of the bet. We take our predicted percentage (45) and multiply it by the bookies’ odds (2.6) to give us 117. Then, we deduct 100 to leave us with 17. That means the bet represents 17% of value – confirming that it’s a value bet.

As with the previous example of rolling the die, this doesn’t guarantee that Australia will win. In fact, by both calculations, they’re still underdogs. But you’ll be beating the bookies long-term by capitalising on the value bet. Plus, you could place a bet and lay it off if the odds shorten on Australia closer to the match.

It’s a lot to take in, so if you don’t feel like rifling through each and every cricket market out there, you can take a short cut. Cricketprediction.com has done a comprehensive guide on cricket value bets, that you can apply. Read it and see how they use it through AI technology, then compare those odds with an online betting site. If the bookies’ odds don’t match up, you may have found yourself a value bet – so it’s time to lump on.

This article was brought to you by The Cricket Paper, the UK's best-selling cricket publication, on-sale every Sunday.
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