Finding Big Priced Winners

Boxing Day was an incredible day for my value premier league selections. I managed to get 7 winners from 10 which might not sound that remarkable but the odds of them were. All of the bottom 3 won which recorded winners at prices of 11.0, 5.0 and 4.0. I also picked the draw out on the Spurs match, a win for Southampton (Should have made this tip of the day in hindsight as it was better value than Man City) and shorter priced winners on Arsenal and Man City.

I heard on the TV that the bookies quoted odds of 140-1 for all of the bottom 3 to win so it shows how impressive Saturday’s results were. It actually could have been even better had Hull held on to a 2-0 lead and Stoke not had 2 men sent off when 1-0 up. Yes, I know, I’m just getting greedy now and I’m well aware that plenty of other things went in my favour.

So, how do I pick these out exactly and is it just luck? Well, regular readers of this blog will know that I use a value finder spreadsheet to input my percentage predictions which when compared to the inputted odds available shows up which selections are value (based on my estimates). It’s an approach that requires patience and it’s only in the last few weeks that the selections crept into profit. It I s however an approach I am confident with however and I made a handsome profit betting this way for most of 2011.

It’s not just as simple as opposing all the big favourites and whilst you probably won’t do too badly selecting most outsiders at the best odds, it won’t guarantee profit and the losing streaks will be painful. As you can see from the Boxing Day selections, I had 2 odds on bets in addition to the underdog selections and both won albeit after initially trailing.

What I do with the premier league selections is price up the favourites first as it’s much easier. You might think an outsider has a good chance of winning but when they lose more often than not it’s very difficult to estimate how much they do win. It’s much easier to estimate how often the team that usually wins or would usually win and when you compare this to the actual odds you can see whether the price on the favourite offers value. If it doesn’t then there’s likely value on the underdog. To turn odds into a percentage estimate just do 100 divided by the odds e.g. a 1.3 shot will be 100/1.3 = 76.92%.

When pricing up the football, I typically take into account form but also the match up and styles of the two teams. If an underdog is improving and they are playing against a not typically convincing odds on favourite then they will probably be picked out by my spreadsheet.

The only times I give strong estimates to favourites are when they are scoring freely, their opponents aren’t and usually when they are at home. I didn’t even think of the bottom 3 teams as being the bottom 3 when I priced them up. They’ve all had new managers recently and shown plenty of improvement and if I’d thought too much about league position I probably wouldn’t have given them a prayer.

The horse racing tipster Pricewise whose selections we track, actually highlights looking for improving horses as the key to his profits. The stats/data alone may not show that a horse should be a much shorter price but there may be other things that indicate why an improvement might be just around the corner.

A lot of the time it’s as simple as tracking talented performers and getting a feel for when it’s possible that they might be making the transition from good to great. It might be that you hear that they are taking their training more seriously. Their condition might have improved or they’ve had a big win that might take their confidence to the next level.

In recent years we’ve seen tennis players like Milos Raonic make this kind of surge and last year Fabio Fognini also had a huge improvement. In the Darts many felt it was a matter of time before Adrian Lewis took his game to the next level but his odds were still well into the 20s for the first World Championship that he won.

You won’t get every one right but at the kind of prices you’ll be looking at, being right only a third of the time could see you make big profits. It’s all about speculating, similar to the approach of that in the stock market. Betting is a much more professional game now and we can even look to trade some of these speculative prices to smooth out returns.