Skip to main content

NFL Value Betting

NFL Value BettingValue is something we look for in everything and NFL betting should be no different. In fact, it is the most important thing and if you ever wish to be successful at this form of sports betting, you need to study everything about it. Value betting is not simple but it is absolutely essential, so make sure you have learned all there is to know about it before proceeding. The key to advancing as a sports bettor lies in betting for value.

What is Value Betting

What is Value BettingMany think that value betting is solely based on the odds but it actually takes into account a lot more. To find true value, you need to be able to see past the seemingly good odds and learn to look for the smaller opportunities that are almost guaranteed to win. Of course, there are no complete certainties in sports betting.

However, unless you are an expert at making NFL predictions, you will have to rely on the odds more or less. To do that, though, you need to fully understand all factors that affect the odds. After all, they are directly linked to the probability of that wager winning or losing, as well as which way the public is leaning. You can find lots of useful information coded in the odds.

The first thing you must always keep in mind, though, is that seemingly great odds do not mean a guaranteed big win. In fact, too often the exact opposite is true. Odds are made so that if there is an obvious winner, the odds will be low as that will be easy to guess. Therefore, most people will bet on that outcome and if the odds are high, the bookie would end up broke.

On the other hand, low odds may indicate a smaller payout but that usually also means that the wager would most likely be a winning one. So, this means that the potential profit would be smaller than the one of the high odds but it is a lot safer. After all, it is much better to have an almost certain small profit than a very unlikely big one when you have made a substantial bet.

The idea that bigger odds mean bigger payout is actually a myth that is unfortunately quite commonly believed. Not many punters go through the trouble of considering the factors that affect both the odds and the outcome of the sporting event they are betting on. We hope that thanks to this information, you will avoid making the same mistakes.

Factors That Affect the Odds

Factors That Affect the OddsThere are three main factors that affect the odds – the vigorish, or vig, the weight of money, and the need for a balanced book. Understanding all of them is necessary for making successful value bets and learning what the true probability of a given event is.

The Vig

The VigWhenever we consider the odds, we must also take into account the fact that the bookies need to make money too. That is what the vig is and in this case, it comes straight out of the odds. The vig is not a fee when it comes to sports betting. The odds are reduced from their true value and the vig comes from the difference between the numbers.

This is the exact reason why you cannot find even odds. If the odds are even, the sportsbook would have to pay out approximately the same amount of money regardless of the outcome of the sporting event. That would mean no profit for them which would, in turn, mean that they would go out of business. Of course, this does not mean that the odds are stacked against you – no, if the odds were not fair the result would once again be that the sportsbook going out of business.

The Weight of Money

The Weight of MoneyThe distribution of bet money affects the odds as well. This is what is called the weight of money – if there is a much larger amount of bet money on one side than on the other, this calls for action by the sportsbook. The bookie then changes the odds and lines in order to balance out the results. This way it becomes more attractive to bet on the other outcome.

This may mean that the more likely of the two outcomes will have worse odds the more money are wagered on it. The reason for this is that the sportsbooks need to make a profit. They will always make sure that in the end, they will take more money than they pay out.

Balanced Books

Balanced BooksEvery bookie strives to have a balanced book. This means taking roughly the same amount of money on each outcome of a given event. Of course, this also means that the sportsbook needs to offer odds that are as close to the true odds as possible.

However, no bookie will ever offer true odds or have a completely balanced book because that would mean that the sportsbook would not make a profit. Imagine a sportsbook offered odds of 2.00 on either outcome of a game and took $20,000 in wagers on each outcome. Regardless of the end result of the game, the sportsbook would have to pay out $40,000. This leaves nothing for the bookie. But if the odds are 1.91 instead, things change.

Implied Probability

Implied ProbabilityIn order to be successful at value betting, you must also understand what implied probability means as well as what the difference between it and true probability is. The implied probability of a given sporting event, in this case, an NFL game, is determined by the odds a sportsbook presents.

You can calculate the implied probability by using the following formula: 1/odds x100. This way you get a percentage which will more accurately tell you what the chances of a certain outcome happening are. Of course, as we already mentioned, the implied probability is not the same thing as true probability.

The true probability cannot be calculated by using the odds offered by any sportsbook. Instead, in order to come up with it, you will need to figure out what the true odds of a sporting event are. This can be done by taking into account all sorts of different factors that its outcome depends on. You can find more on this in our other articles.

The reason why implied and true probability are two different things is that the sportsbook cannot offer true odds. As previously explained, sportsbooks need to offer slightly different odds in order to make a profit. The difference between the two is what makes up the vigorish.

How to Use Implied Probability to Calculate Bets

How to Use Implied Probability to Calculate BetsYou can use the implied probability of any NFL game to determine what your bet size should be. Although, there is no exact formula to tell you how much you should be betting, there are two formulas you can use to see whether the bet you are about to make has a positive value or not.

The first formula you can use is: (1/odds) x100. The odds format you should be using in order for this formula to work is decimal. The number you should end up with must range between 0 and 1 after which you will need to multiply it by 100 as illustrated above. The reason for this is so that you end up with a percentage.

The other formula you can use is: (Probability x odds) – 1. This way you use both the implied probability and the odds, so you may feel more secure by using this equation. However, both of these formulas work and either one of them will tell you whether there is a positive value in a bet or not.

Depending on whether you are satisfied with the number of the positive value of a given wager, you should bet a smaller or bigger amount of money. If the bet holds value and is likely to be successful in your own opinion, then you should bet as much as your predetermined bankroll size allows you. If the opposite is true, then you may wish to reconsider placing that bet altogether.

You can also calculate the profitability of a stake by using the following formula: (potential payout x probability of winning) – (potential loss x probability of losing). As you can see, in this case, you will need to figure out both the true probability of winning and of losing.

These equations are all neat and seemingly simple but in practice, finding the numbers that represent the true probability and odds is almost impossible. Naturally, you can get pretty close to them and that can help out too. The closer you get the more accurate your predictions will become.

Value Betting Tips

Value Betting TipsAs you can see, value betting on the NFL is not simple but it is rewarding. It takes time and practice but after only a short while you will be able to easily spot value betting opportunities. There are several things you can do to improve until then though.

You should start by finding the true odds of the NFL wager you wish to make. This may not be easy but it is definitely going to help you make better bets. You can do this by looking at all factors that may have an effect which will vary depending on the type of bet you wish to make.

That goes double for finding the true probability of the wager you wish to place winning or losing. This may not be a guarantee but it is as close as you can get in sports betting which is highly important. Comparing the implied probability with the true one can also help you find the best sportsbook for the bet you wish to place.

You can also do yourself a favor by finding the online sportsbook that offers the best odds on the bet you wish to place. Plenty of players simply do not do this and thus miss out on some great value betting opportunities. It is true that the differences are most often small but that does not mean that they are insignificant. You can profit greatly from those small differences.

You should try to be as informed as possible on every single sporting event you want to bet on. The more you know, the more likely you are to have a clear idea of the outcome of any sporting event. However, you should also keep in mind that bias is a big con when it comes to value betting. You should never let your emotions get the better of you while betting on the NFL.

In order to be successful at sports betting you may also wish to consider some less common NFL bet types. Point spreads and totals are the most popular types of NFL bets at the moment and while they are easier to predict, they rarely offer good value. Try looking at some prop bets or accumulators.

Another alternative type of NFL betting you should consider is live betting. This will simplify your job as a value bettor because as the game progresses you will be able to more accurately predict the outcomes of the different available wagers. This gives you a great advantage over the bookies. Furthermore, there are plenty of strategies based on live betting that you can use.


ConclusionValue betting is not its own separate type of betting strategy but rather something no punter can go without. It is essential for anyone who wants to be successful at sports betting, regardless of whether you are betting on the NFL or something else. It requires several key factors but once you have got the hang of it, you will be able to easily recognize bets with positive value.

Thanks to the equations we have provided you with, you will be able to make this process even more precise. You will even be able to calculate the potential profitability of a stake. All you need to do from that point on is to make sure that you play responsibly.