What is Expected Value and how to calculate soccer betting Expected Value (EV)?

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What is Expected Value and how to calculate soccer betting Expected Value (EV)?

Learn how to calculate Expected Value and understand why your long-term bankroll and overall betting success depends on it!



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Updated on 18 April 2019
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Betting Tips for Today's Football

Find more value in your next football bet. You could gain a betting edge by checking out the tips and stats for today's and tomorrow's fixtures...


Football matches are by their very nature uncertain or everyone would be a sports betting millionaire.


Sometimes, it’s difficult to pick winners from daily fixture lists, as random events can occur within any game. There could be a stray back pass leading to a goal against the run of play, a sending off that changes the dominance from one team to their opponents or any other unforeseen circumstance that may affect the eventual outcome.


This is where Expected Value comes into play

What is Expected Value (EV)?


Expected Value in soccer betting is the statement of future returns if identical bets were placed against identical matches with identical conditions an infinite number of times.


Hopefully, that definition was not too hard to understand!


The Expected Value provides a measure of projected profit or loss over the long-term and allows us to judge how sensible a selection would be over the long term.


As you can imagine a positive Expected Value, which is sometimes shown as +EV would be profitable, whereas a negative Expected Value, -EV would signify a losing selection over time.


I sometimes find it easier to think about value rather than winners or losers, as when all things are considered, we can assess the best selections that will provide the most value over the long-term. However, this also means that you should be less concerned with an overall success rate, but more concerned about the Expected Value that could be returned by one of your selections.


Depending on your attitude to risk, you could base your selections on long-term value and therefore, ensure you’re able to balance the risk against the probable outcomes and make better betting decisions for your bankroll.


Ok. That’s an explanation, but why should you really care about Expected Value (EV)?

Focussing on positive Expected Value (+EV) is the key


This slight preference towards expected value instead of focussing on if a specific team will win a fixture ensures you should have much greater profit potential over the long-term; providing you can accurately assess the real expected value of your selections.


Accurately calculating Expected Value will naturally improve your bets and nudge you towards more profitable selections on a daily basis, which in turn increases your expected winnings with each bet and helps your bankroll.


You may not have eye watering massive returns using tiny stakes, but you’re more likely to maintain your bankroll during poor betting runs and then gradually increase your winnings following losing runs.


I understand everything, but this sounds very similar to other advice…




Ok. I understand that some of this may seem a little repetitive and is often provided by other websites, but if we look at some data within the iwinsoccerbets database in addition to the bookmaker odds, we can make a quick judgement of the expected value based on the recent trend information.


We can look at this in two ways; using the bookmaker odds to calculate the suggested Expected Value and the same measure using iwinsoccerbets data, which would further imply a statistical likelihood of a draw or a victory on either side.

How to find Expected Value and how to calculate EV?



This is may not be as difficult as you might think, we’ll have to use an equation, but it’s quite easy to calculate the Expected Value using the bookmaker odds and the probability data within the Soccer Statistics Database.


The full calculation for Expected Value is:


(Chance of Winning Selection x Winning Profit) – (Chance of Losing Selection x Amount Risked)


Expected Value using bookmaker data



Let’s use an example, if we check out a past match between Real Salt Lake vs Colorado in the USA top football division (Major League Soccer). This provided the following odds:


Home: 1.41

Draw: 4.65

Away Win: 6.78


Using the equation above, we can see that based on the bookmaker odds the suggested Home Win Expected Value would be:


Chance of losing selection (sum the Draw and Away Win odds)


(1 / Draw Odds) + (1 / Away Odds)


(1 / 4.65) + (1 / 6.78)


0.215 + 0.147 = 0.362 or 36.2%


Amount Risked


10 units


Chance of Winning Selection x Winning Profit


(1 / Home Odds) x (Winning Profit)



(1 / 1.41) x ((1.41 - 1) x 10)



(0.709) x (4.10)



Putting everything together gives us:


(0.709 x 4.10) – (0.362 x 10) = -0.71


Now, if we did the same for the Draw and the Away Win, this would provide us with:



1X2 Bet OptionBookmaker Expected ValueReal Expected Value

Home Win
-0.71TBC

Draw
-0.71 TBC

Away Win
-0.71 TBC


You can see all of the bookmaker (i.e. implied) expected value numbers are the same and negative, which means that over time you would be expected to lose 0.72 within every 10 units that you risk on this fixture. Irrespective of the actual bet that you place!

What happens if we increase the stake?


Now, let’s take this one step further by slightly changing the stake to 50 units. The table below shows how increasing your stake would make a number of the bets look much worse…



1X2 Bet OptionBookmaker Expected ValueReal Expected Value

Home Win
-3.57TBC

Draw
-3.57 TBC

Away Win
-3.57 TBC


What happens if we reduce the stake?


If we reduce the stake to 2 units

1X2 Bet OptionBookmaker Expected ValueReal Expected Value

Home Win
-0.14TBC

Draw
-0.14 TBC

Away Win
-0.14 TBC


Based on the bookmaker odds, the expected value calculations do not indicate tremendous value within this fixture. If your match analysis also agrees with the market’s assessment of the odds then you would have identified a bet with negative (implied) expected value, which would suggest you will lose money over the long term based on any selection.



As you can see, this isn’t all going to happy betting fun, as even if the odds for the Draw and Away Win are higher than the home win, you're still looking at losing money over time (if the bookmaker odds can be believed).

This usually means that you could be in for long losing sequences, which would test anyone’s commitment to value rather than winning as many bets as possible!

What is the difference between Bookmaker Expected Value and Real Expected Value?



In my opinion, the bookmaker expected value calculations are not 100% accurate, as the bookmaker odds are only the suggested probability of a win.


Bookmakers are usually concerned with balancing the wagered money on all sides of the bet and bookies retain an in-built commission percentage within their odds, which ensures a profit margin within each book.

Note: Betting exchanges charge a commission AFTER you win a bet. So, you have to take this commission into account BERFORE you place your exchange bets

Fundamentally, bookmaker retain a profit against all of their betting events and if we’re not careful we will gradually lose our bankroll over time.


So, if we compare the iwinsoccerbets Expected Value based on soccer analysis to the Bookmaker Expected Value, we can identify any value within the selection and understand if the bookmaker has misjudged or mispriced the selection.


If we look at the previous example and compare the bookmaker odds to the Soccer Statistics Database data, we can make a judgement on what I’m going to call; Real Expected Value for a 10 unit bet for the same fixture.


Using the data from our database, this would provide the following Real Expected Value:


1X2 Bet OptionBookmaker Expected ValueReal Expected Value

Home Win
-0.71-12.25

Draw
-0.71-8.88

Away Win
-0.71-4.76


The difference between the Real Expected Value and the bookmaker version within the table shows the difference between the historical information and trends within the database. The negative numbers signify the database related Expected Value, which provides a realistic percentage and probability-based statistics for each of the 1X2 selections.


The table shows the best selection is the Away Win, as this has the highest Expected Value, which corresponds with the negative bookmaker Expected Value calculations, but higher.


However, the bookmaker data also suggests an equal negative expected for any bet over the long term, without any differentiation between them.

The Real Expected Value indicates that a Draw and Home Win would not be a good selections as there is significant difference the bookmaker;s implied measure and the calculate measure using the statistics.


The iwinsoccerbets Real Expected Value is a measure that we use to differentiate between the bookmaker Expected Value and what we see within the soccer statistics.

This is something that should be considered before placing a bet, as the standard selection would have been to back the Home Win favourite, whereas the optimal selection for long-term value is the Away Win!


I believe you should focus and find expected value rather than correct selections




In conclusion, I believe you should concentrate on EV rather than always trying to find accurate selections. If you place more emphasis on the long-term you can quickly see that when you’re able to correctly predict or calculate the EV within a fixture, you can receive more positive returns over time.


Good Luck!




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