How do you measure ‘finding value’ in sports betting?


HOW do you measure ‘finding value’ in sports betting? We're delighted to have Alex Vella (@AlexVella_) from Trademate Sports on WLB to drill deep and reveal the answers.

How do you measure ‘finding value’ in sports betting?

The last article I wrote for WeLoveBetting looked at defining what value betting is and why it is so importantThis time I will be looking at how you measure value both pre-game and post-game.

Don’t measure your betting success based on win/loss

Although this statement sounds ridiculous, if you are looking to make a long-term profit from sports betting, you need to be taking value from the bookmaker.

So, after placing a bet, how can you sit back on your couch before the game and think; “nice, I just placed a value bet!”

Well, you need to have a benchmark that you can compare against, and for sports bettors that is called the closing line, a.k.a. the final price that was offered milli-seconds before kick off.

Why? Because the closing price takes into account every bit of information the market has to offer. Whether that be the crowd’s thoughts, a pro sports bettors opinion or the position of a betting syndicate. It also takes into account all the news surrounding a game (e.g. Paul Pogba coming back from injury or Kevin de Bruyne missing the game through sickness).

An example of beating the closing line would be if you bet on Manchester United to win at 1.70 in odds and by the time of kick-off their price had dropped to 1.60 in odds.

How do I beat the closing line? And which one should I beat?

Pinnacle’s closing line is the price you should be trying to beat as generally they have the most liquidity in the market as they don’t limit winning players. Pinnacle’s closing line is what people refer to as the ‘true odds’ of a sports game. 

Note: Although Pinnacle’s prices are sharper than all bookmakers on most occasions, they still take a margin on their odds. Generally, it’s something around the 2% mark, while for soft bookmakers (e.g. Bet365, William Hill etc.) it’s around 5-10%. So you don’t just need to beat Pinnacle’s closing line, you need to be Pinnacle’s margin-free closing line.

A key factor in beating the closing price is betting as close to kick-off as possible. At Trademate Sports, we recommend placing your bets between 0-8 hours before kick-off. If you are placing a bet which is higher than Pinnacle’s current price (0-8 hours before kick-off), you are more than likely going to beat the line come kick-off.

The closer to kick-off that you place your bet the better, because the longer you wait – the more liquidity there is in the market, which equals more information.

Post-bet analysis

Like I stated earlier, if you’re looking to make a long-term profit from sports betting, stop looking at whether your bet won or lost after a game, see if you beat the margin-free closing line.

It’s the best measuring stick you can use to judge whether your betting strategy is working as it doesn’t take into account the variant outcomes that sport so often produces.

Making it easier to find value

All that I’ve talked about can be done manually, but it takes significant time and effort. 

If you want to save some time finding value bets that consistently beat Pinnacle's margin-free closing line, start a free week trial of Trademate Sports.

Trademate finds the bets for you, all you have to do is place them with the bookmaker.

Note: For anyone looking to beat the closing line in Horse Racing, Betfair Sportsbooks’ closing line seems to be the most accurate measuring stick.

About Author

I started betting as soon as I turned 18 with absolutely no strategy, thinking it would be an easy way to make money because, of course, I knew more than the bookies! Now having worked with Trademate Sports for a year I can happily say I’m a profitable value bettor on just about every sport on the planet. On the weekends, you’ll find me watching rugby, MMA and football and abusing my three teams; Arsenal, Gold Coast Titans (League) and the Hurricanes (Union).


  1. Matthew Gamble on

    Is this not a silly angle to come at? Is it great to back a selection that is a bigger price that it was just before kick off….sure.

    But surely the path to long term value is more linked to having a better betting system? Also consistently picking winnings is a sure way to being more profitable than just ensuring you have selections that are bigger priced before kick off.

    What I would really like to read, to keep this constructive, is a sample of the WeLoveBetting team and how they bet. Not interested in the stakes, as that is personal/private, but how they bet. I suspect more professional punters back singles and for big stakes, snatching small and consistent wins.

    But what advice would you give to your average punter to be a more profitable gambler. We all know lots of friends that put on a 8-20 Hollywood accumulator, but what would you recommend to the more serious punter to bet and how.

    • Mark O'Haire on

      Hi Matthew,

      During lockdown we put together a series with experts from outside and inside WLB, sharing their process, sources and thoughts on a variety of betting topics, including finding value.

      You’re welcome to have a look here –

      But we agree with Alex’s assessment in this piece. Put simply, if you’re consistently beating the closing price, you’re going to make money long-term, but obviously to do so you would need a strong system/model in place.

      We’re hoping to extend this series in the coming weeks so hopefully there’ll be more food for thought on the way.

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