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Nothing is certain in esports or any kind of betting. There is always a risk that the favorite will lose. It may be that Astralis win 9 out of 10 games when they are in fine form. But if the odds on them to win is only 1.05, you are better off not betting on them. If they end up winning their match, and you have placed 10 euros on it – then your profit is 50 cents. But there is a 10 percent chance that they will not win, and that risk must always be taken into consideration. What is the point of winning 50 cents 9 times (4,50 euros) if you end up losing 10 euros on the 10th bet?
This is – in short – the simple philosophy of value betting.
Nothing is, as mentioned in the beginning, certain. This is exactly why you should not let the bookmakers fool you into playing odds that are too low.
You have to make a chance assessment. This is what the bookmakers do when they do come up with the odds for a certain match. Therefore, it is also what you have to do to beat the bookmaker.
A prerequisite for making a good chance assessment and picking value bets is that you really have insight into what you are betting on. If not, you can’t make a reasonably realistic chance assessment which means you cannot trust the value of your bets. Basically, you end up playing non-value bets in disguise and this will most certainly result in a deficit. Maybe not on the first bet (even though there is a lot of risk for that too), but for sure in the long run.
You need to know your strengths and limitations. Anyone can throw out a number – but not all numbers are realistic.
How to calculate a chance assessment?
In fact, you should make a definite analysis of the match in question and include factors such as:
And then you have to put numbers on your words/thoughts.
Here is an example of how to do it. This example is a CS:GO match.
It is convenient to have a fixed starting point. In CS:GO matches it is quite easy as one can simply take the statistics. Take the home team statistics and the away team statistics. For example, the home team has 8 wins and 2 losses while the away team has 4 wins and 6 losses. Translated into percentages this means 80-20 for the home team and 40-60 for the away team. Add the numbers together (80+60 and 20+40) and you get an overall chance assessment which is 70% of the home team winning and 30% of the away team winning.
But that is only a purely statistical starting point; in the real world there are several other factors to consider. Such as form, team situation and motivation.
And this is where it becomes tricky. How much should you weigh the absence of a key player for example? How many percent? Can be pretty tricky. If you have the time, you can look closely at how things usually go when that person is missing.
The home teams last three games: Lost, won, won. Here you have to, if you can, take a closer look at the course of the matches. Was the team unlucky to not win the last match? Or was it due to good opponents, fatigue or possibly a general decline in form? If the latter is the case, you can subtract something from the chance of victory and add it to the chance of defeat. How much? Let’s say 2,50 percent. This gives us a chance assessment of 67,50%-32,50%.
The away teams last three games: Won, lost, lost. Bit of an upward form it seems. We draw 2,50 percent more from the home teams’ chance of victory which leaves us with 65%-35%.
Team situation and motivation: None of the teams are missing any players. The home team is fighting for promotion while the away team is fighting against relegation. Not a big difference.
Despite the home team’s declining form and the away team’s rising form curve, the normally strong home team should win over a weaker away team. The odds on the home win is 1,60 – so the bet value is 65%x1,60=104. A value bet.
If the odds had been 1,50 (bet value at 97,50), the value better would stay clear of the bet since it does not make sense to bet at 1,50.
NOTE: The purpose of these calculations is not to give chance assessment a pseudo-scientific touch. A chance assessment is and will be subjective. The intention is to draw attention to one way of doing it: in a CS: GO match, you can take the statistics as a starting and then adjust with other factors.