Betfair Education

What is Value?

RSS / BF Education / 11 January 2011 / Leave a comment

Value is a very subjective thing - the phrase "one man's trash is another man's treasure" correlates very well. What one person perceives as good value could be regarded as poor value by another. It is your opinion which counts most.

Backing Short Prices

Too often we hear racing media pundits use the phrase 'Any price a winner'. This guarantees only one thing... that the media pundit is doing the job because he needs a job - he does not win on the punt.

Let's get one thing clear - price is important, just how important you make it depends on your style of betting.

Look at it this way - if the average price of your bets is 2.0 (evens), then you need to make 50% of your bets winners just to break even. So 51 winners out of 100 makes you a slight profit, 49 winners a slight loss.

Even money is easy to work out - how about the leviathan punters you hear about that lump on the heavy favourites? For every 1.5 shot you back (1/2), you need to get two out of every three correct JUST to break even. A little shorter? At 1.33 (1/3), you need three of every four to come home to break even.

If those numbers are starting to look depressing, just imagine how many of those 1.01s need to succeed for you to profit.... Just one shock result in 101 events means you can do no better than break even.


Punters who prefer to back outsiders have to be prepared to sustain losing runs - the length of which is determined by their average price. Backing horses at an average of 4/1 means 20% of your tips must win to break even. One week three in a row might land, other weeks could see a losing streak of at least ten races without a collect.

If you're a fan of longshots, then you obviously love a juicy payout. You'd better be prepared to wait a while for each collect though. At 34 (33/1), you're looking at a 3% chance of winning, so about three times in 100 you'll be looking to collect.


The price at which you place a bet is entirely up to the individual, some people would rather get the occasional selection right for a big collect, others want to win nearly every time.

The trick is betting at a better price than you think your selection should be. If after all your research you decide that a certain selection has a 50% chance of success the price in a 100% book should be 2.0 (Evs). If the price available is greater than 2.0 this represents value. Likewise, if you can lay at a lower price than 2.0 this too is value. To win in the long run all bets placed should represent VALUE.

Many punters talk about betting 'overs' (overlay bets) or laying the 'unders' (a selection priced at under the odds they believe it should be). Bear this in mind - every time you back what you think is a 2/1 shot (3.0) at even money (2.0), you have to improve your win ratio by 16.7%.

If you're after a 50% winning strike rate on selections, your average price needs to be even money (2.0) to break even (ignoring commission). However if you are returning an average price of 5/4 (2.25), you are getting a 5.5% advantage on winners needed (you now need four out of nine rather than five of ten to break even) - you're actually making 25% more money.

To quote leading Australian racing analyst Steve Moran - "Value - you can't eat it, but you must have it in order to survive."

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