The Difference Between Win/Loss vs Value

February 16, 2023

Today your entire sports betting universe will be turned upside down. Okay, so it might not be that dramatic, but things are about to change for most of you today. We will discuss and cover one of the most common misunderstandings in sports betting, which affects both beginners and long-term bettors.


How significant is this? To begin with, it is really important. Because of this assumption, most sports bettors will never become professionals or long-term winners in the game. The most bizarre aspect is that some people who have been betting on sports for years still need to be aware of this concept.


Let us repeat that once more for emphasis. You must fully grasp this notion to make money from sports betting in the long run. Period. This concludes the discussion.


It’s All About Choosing the Right Goal


What we’re discussing today is your sports betting goal. What is the best goal to have while placing a bet? You need clarification if you answer that your primary goal is to pick a winner. To be blunt, the goal of a sports betting pick is not to predict a winner. The goal of selecting a sports bet is to locate and capitalize on value.


Let’s be clear about something. Simply because you are not attempting to pick winners does not imply that you are trying to pick losers. You’ll want to win as many of your sports bets as possible, but it shouldn’t be the driving force behind how you select your decisions. You would like to win 100% of your sports bets. However, if you approach sports betting intending to accumulate more wins than losses, you will be a long-term loser.


It’s okay if you’re entirely perplexed right now; we’ll spend a lot of time today breaking this down to ensure you fully understand what we’re trying to communicate.


Win/Loss Records Mean Everything to Some


Have you ever asked your pals how they fared on a sports betting weekend or a game day? If they give you a record, say, “Oh wonderful, I went 3-2!” ” You must send them this article. This is why.


You can have a winning sports betting record and still have lost money.

You can have a losing sports betting record and still have made money.


Allow those two statements to soak in for a moment. Your friend up there who won three bets and only two could have lost money on the day. They have their huge positive victory record, which matters so much to some, but they may have lost money on the day. On the other hand, someone who goes 2-3 on the day could make a lot of money.


The number of bets won vs. bets lost is not a fair predictor of how profitable your sports betting is. And the purpose of sports betting should be to make money, not to boost your ego.


This needs to be taken to its logical conclusion. If someone claims to have won 5 bets and lost none, they had a profitable day. They undoubtedly lost money on the day if they declared they lost every single wager they made. However, the win/loss record has no bearing on the success of anything in between. It’s employed because it’s convenient and corresponds with sports, which is what we’re wagering on. It also sounds fantastic to those who need help understanding lucrative sports betting correctly, which may be a higher proportion of the population than you first imagined.


Before we move on to the statistics you should be paying attention to, let’s look at a few instances to make sure this makes sense. Let’s begin with your hypothetical friend who says they had a terrific day and went 3-2. Assume they were betting $100 per game on the NFL. Here are the five games on which they bet:


  • The Patriots to beat the Dolphins moneyline
  • The Cowboys to beat the Lions moneyline
  • The Eagles to beat the Titans moneyline
  • The Jaguars to beat the Jets moneyline
  • The Seahawks to beat the Cardinals -1 (spread bet)


As your friend has mentioned, they ended up winning three of these wagers and losing two. Here are the results:


  • WIN – The Patriots to beat the Dolphins moneyline
  • LOSS – The Cowboys to beat the Lions moneyline
  • WIN – The Eagles to beat the Titans moneyline
  • WIN – The Jaguars to beat the Jets moneyline
  • LOSS – The Seahawks to beat the Cardinals -1 (spread bet)


They had a great little Sunday, according to your friend. But let us look at how much money they made. In the chart below, we’ll show you the bets, the payout odds, and how much they profited or lost on each bet. Then we’ll add it all up and see how wonderful their Sunday was. We’ll use the abbreviation “ML” for moneyline. Remember that a moneyline bet indicates that your team must win, regardless of the margin.


Total Profit = (-96.13 USD)


Yes, your winning friend lost a bit more than $96. Why? You should keep in mind that not all bets pay out the same amount of money. The more likely and more significant the favorite a bet is to occur, the less you will be paid out. So, if you bet heavily on favorites, you’ll have to win more games than someone who bets on underdogs.


This isn’t to say you shouldn’t take favorites or try to push underdog picks. It’s only an example demonstrating that aiming for a winning record is a losing strategy. People who do this tend to pick more favorites because they believe they will win. But when you crunch the numbers, it’s clear that it’s not all that fantastic.


We could have thrown in a couple more winning bets, and your friend would still have lost money. If we added two more bets like your friend’s Eagles ML, they would be 5-2 on the day but still down a little under a dollar. How many of you reading this would think your friend dominated the day if they told you they were 5-2? There are quite a number of you. Even your friend who lost money will likely think they had a nice day.


This is a concept that most people are unaware of. In the following part, we will discuss the concept of value. You should strive for value rather than just wins. Winning is something you want to happen, but it’s different from what you’re after.


The Mighty Power of Value


So, what should we be chasing if we desire wins but still need them? We’re seeking something known as worth. This is the most basic definition of value in sports betting. Value is when you place yourself in a position to be paid more by the sportsbook than you should be. Let’s break this down and then show you some instances and real-world applications.


Sportsbooks compensate you based on the possibility that your wager will win. The more likely the bet is to occur, the less they will pay you. For example, in the preceding part, we had many football games that your friend wagered on the moneyline. The Eagles’ victory paid far more than the Jaguars’ victory. Why? The sportsbook thought the Jaguars were far more likely to win their game than the Eagles were. This was reflected in the rewards your friend received.


This applies to both favorites and underdogs. The more often it occurs, the less you will be paid out on a win. This also means that the less likely it is, the more you will be paid out for a victory.


The sportsbook strives to bring the payoff as close to the likelihood as feasible. However, they sometimes need to be corrected, or the payout odds change, resulting in a disparity between what they should be paying and what they pay. When you discover these chances, you are said to have discovered value.


Consider a circumstance in which the sportsbook gets it right. We can make the same bet ten times in a row. While this is not conceivable in real life, it works if you place ten bets that have or do not have value. What we demonstrate here in a vacuum also applies to the real world.


When a sportsbook provides payout odds, those odds can be converted into a % probability that the bet will win. We won’t go into those conversions or what are known as implied probabilities today, but they are covered in our advanced strategy section on understanding value. For the time being, please remember that these payout odds can be converted to the percentage the sportsbook believes the bet will win.


Today, we’ll look at ten bets with payout odds of (-150). When you convert this, it implies the sportsbook believes you have a 60% chance of winning this bet. So, if you place the bet ten times, you should win six of them. Let’s see how that affects your Profit, assuming the sportsbook is correct.


You’ll come out exactly even if you sum up your Profit and loss from all of these bets. (We rounded the payouts somewhat so that you may get a couple of pennies off). Essentially, this is a bet with no monetary value. You are being compensated just as you should be. You’re getting paid 60% of the time for a wager that happened 60% of the time.


But what if the sportsbook is wrong, or the line has shifted somewhere you believe needs to be corrected? Remember how we mentioned value is when you are paid more than you should be? We also stated that you are paid more if something is less likely to occur.


So, in our previous example, the sportsbook pays you out as if the bet will win 60% of the time. But what if you believe the bet will win 70% of the time? If the sportsbook agreed, they would reduce the rewards and offer you less because you would win more frequently. But since they didn’t, if you’re correct about the 70%, you’ve discovered some value! You’re getting paid a premium for a bet that’s only meant to hit 60% of the time, but you’re winning 70% of the time.


This is how it would look if you were correct, and the sportsbook line needed to be corrected.


When you sum up your Profit and loss, you’ll notice that you made $66.67! This is because you discovered and exploited value.


Remember that you might find value in favored and underdog bets. Underdog bets also have little value. Simply because they pay you more than money does not imply, they are valuable.


The only time value that exists is when you are paid more than you should be based on the likelihood of the bet winning. You’re undoubtedly wondering how you determine the likelihood of a certain bet winning. This is when sports betting skill comes into play. Unless you have a miraculous crystal, ball or can see the future, you’ll have to make a prediction and hope you’re accurate.


We give you a number of more advanced ways to compute this in our advanced strategy guide, which we referenced above. We recommend reading the guide and learning advanced skills when the time comes. But for the time being, we can provide you with a simple approach to get started.


Using an implied probability calculator, convert the sportsbook’s payout odds to an implied probability. Implied probability is simply the percentage chance the sportsbook believes the bet will win.


Determine the % probability you believe the bet will win. While we have more complicated methods, here’s a simple way to represent them. Assume that the teams will play each other 100 times. How many times do you believe a specific team will win? Assume you think they will win 65 times.


That suggests they will win 65% of the time. If you believe they will win 30 times, you think they’re 30% likely to win.


Compare the two figures. If your predicted percentage (how likely you believe they will win) is more than the indicated probability (how likely the sportsbook thinks they will win), there is value, and that is a bet you should place. If they are EXACTLY THE SAME, there is no value in that bet. If your percentage is LOWER, you may consider betting on the opposite side of the game.


This is the most basic method of calculating value, but it can still be successful. How effectively you forecast this percentage will determine how much you gain or lose at sports betting. The more exact you are, the more value you will find and the more money you will make.


Wrapping It All Together


When it comes to sports betting, today is all about altering your emphasis and your main end goal. While we will always want to win our bets, it cannot be the reason we place them. When you look at a bet, don’t ask yourself, “Am I going to win this or not? ” Determine whether or not the bet has value.


When betting value bets (particularly underdog value bets), you may lose more bets than you win. This is acceptable if you are genuinely finding value. You will be profitable in the long run. So, when your pals are bragging about how many bets they’ve won, you can counter with your profit figures – the ones that matter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.