Finding Positive EV Wagers – A Step By Step Guide
Unabated provides you with a wide array of tools and resources to help you become a more intelligent bettor. These tools come with a slight learning curve and many of them require a Premium Subscription. However, we believe that once you become proficient in using these tools, the possibilities for profit are nearly endless. In this brief guide, we explore four ways for you to find positive expected value (EV) wagers using various features of the Unabated site.
1. Using Market Makers To Identify The Sharp Line
The Unabated Game Odds Screen is a remarkable resource which allows you to see lines from various sportsbooks around the world. There are many odds screens around the internet available to bettors. What makes the Unabated screen different is our focus on market makers, speed, and integrated tools. One of the easiest ways to find positive EV wagers is to identify what the sharp line should be on a game. You can do this by identifying who the market makers are in a sport that the rest of the market tends to follow.
When you identify and key on the market makers, you start to see the market move before the lines catch up at other sportsbooks. As we covered in this article about identifying market makers, there is no single sharpest sportsbook in the world. Different sportsbooks have different specialties when it comes to market making. To help you identify the sharp line, we have The Unabated Line. This is an expertly curated vig-free blend of the sharpest market makers for each sport we cover.
For now, let’s step through an example of identifying the sharp line:
In the example above, Niagra is the favorite against Siena. The market ranges from -2.5 to -3.5. However, DeckPrism, Bookmaker (CRIS), and Circa are all very sharp when it comes to college basketball. Using them as our guide, we can identify that BetMGM at -2.5 -110, is a slight outlier on this market. Additionally, Siena at +3.5 -114 at FanDuel also represents a number that is slightly off the sharp consensus.
Catching Line Movement In Sports Betting
Sometimes you catch a move as it happens at a sharp book, but before it happens at some of the books who look to copycat the market makers. Here’s an example of that:
The line moved at key market making books such as Bookmaker and Pinnacle, but had not yet moved at recreational books, FanDuel, BetMGM, or DraftKings. A Savvy bettor could swoop in and get +2.5 -110 on the Atlanta Hawks.
Using the Unabated Game Odds Screen to see movement happen in the industry and then using that information to find advantageous prices elsewhere is one of the tenets to being a sharp sports bettor. How do you know how much of an edge you have though?
2. Quantifying Your Edge Using Unabated’s Integrated Tools
For many bettors, finding an edge is often made hard by not knowing what an advantage looks like in the market. In this game, we have found Atlanta Hawks +2.5 -110 and we know that sharp books are pricing it at +1. Do we have an advantage here?
Unabated has an integrated Alternate Line Calculator on the odds screen. This is the same technology that powers the very popular Alternate Lines Betting Calculator available on our site. By clicking on the Calculator Icon in the upper right corner, you can slide in the Integrated Trading Tools. Select the Derivatives – Alternate Lines tool and then click on the market making line that is sharpest for this market.
In this example we’ll use Bookmaker (CRIS). We can slide the toggle to remove the vig from the line. This gives us a true line, with no house edge for the sportsbook, for this game given everything the market currently knows about the game. Anything we find that is better than +1 +100 on Atlanta (or better than -1 +100 on Chicago) is positive EV.
Judging Our Positive EV Wager
So how good is that +2.5 given that information? We need to answer the question if the true line is +1 +100, then what should the true price be if we can find +2.5? We enter +2.5 in the Alternate Line field and discover that the line would be -116.
This means that +2.5 -116 is the equivalent of +1 +100. So anything better than +2.5 -116 is a positive EV bet. To put this more plainly, we are buying something at $110 which should “sell” for $116. We’re getting a discount and that’s a good thing!
To figure out our exact edge, we can use another tool at Unabated. The Closing Line Value Calculator. While the CLV Calculator was designed to help you quantify your closing line value, it can also work for us in this instance as well despite this not being the closing line.
We can enter in the bet that we have, +2.5 -110. Then as the closing line, we enter the true sharp vig-free line of +1 +100. The CLV Calculator will tell us our edge on this wager is +2.53%. That’s a decent edge for simply observing what the sharp market maker thought the line should be and then snagging a better price at a competing sportsbook.
Oh, and congratulations, you just learned the Top Down Method of beating sports markets!
3. Identifying A Middle Opportunity
Sports bettors love to chase situations where they can win both sides of a wager. Perhaps it is the pursuit of having less risk and potentially winning two wagers. Whatever it is, many newer sports bettors are always trying to find hedge opportunities. Sometimes you can identify situations where two sportsbooks offer what could be a middle opportunity. You can use Unabated’s tools to discover if you do indeed have a profitable middle.
Suppose you have this situation where books are offering diverging lines on an NBA side:
Is there enough value in betting -6.5 at PointsBet and +8.5 at WynnBET and hoping the game lands on 7 or 8? To solve for this, we need to know the probability the game lands in that range. The easiest way to do that is to figure out the odds of each team covering and finding how much they overlap.
The Math Behind Sports Betting Middles
First, we establish what the true sharp line is for the game. We’ll use the Bookmaker line here since it is in the picture. We can again click the Calculator Icon, select the Alternate Line tool, and then choose that line and toggle to Remove Vig. This is the same process we followed in the previous exercise. You’ll find that many of the processes for finding an edge have a common core of steps. Finding the vig-free true market price is key step to learn. In this case, we get the vig-free true sharp line of -7.5 +110 / +7.5 -110.
Next, we use the Alternate Line tool to price out both -6.5 and +8.5. Doing so, we get -6.5 -110 and +8.5 -131. Logically, this is telling us the odds that the favorite will win by 7 or more, and the odds that the underdog will either win or lose by 8 or less. To visualize the overlap, we next convert those numbers to implied probability.
There are many different sites on the internet to convert odds to probability and vice-versa. Use one and it’ll produce these numbers.
-110 = 52.38%
-131 = 56.71%
The odds that -6.5 will cover are 52.38% and the odds that -131 will cover is 56.71%. When laid on top of each other in a probability scale that goes from 0-100%, they create the overlap visualized in green below.
So the odds of the game landing on the favorite winning by 7 or 8 is 9.09%. As long as we’re not paying more 9.09% in vig to shoot for this middle, it’ll be a positive EV wager. Since both our wagers for this middle are priced at -110, we can use the Unabated Hold Calculator and enter -110 on both lines. This tells us the vig involved is -4.55%. This situation also gives us a massive edge. A 9.09% probability of hitting the middle while only paying -4.55% in vig.
4. Partial Game Derivatives – Finding Value Inside Games
Another way to find positive EV wagers is to price out a partial game derivative using the Partial Game Derivatives Betting Calculator at Unabated. For instance, suppose we’re shopping for lines for 1st Period goals scored.
Again, our first step is to establish what the sharp true line is. Using Bookmaker we get o6 +108 / u6 -108 and using Pinnacle we get o6 +110 / u6 -110. We’ll split the difference and call it:
over 6 +109
under 6 -109
Entering that into the Partial Game Derivatives Betting Calculator is straightforward. From there we are given an output table which gives us the vig-free prices for a range of total goals in the 1st Period.
Next we want to compare these true prices to the available betting lines. In doing so we are able to identify a popular sportsbook that offers an edge on betting the Under 1.5 goals in the 1st period as well as Under 2 goals.
We’re getting Under 1.5 goals for +115, when the correct price should be +104. To compute how much our edge is here, we can again apply a slight hack to the CLV Calculator.
Using any sport on the list, we can set the Your Bet to 0 +115, and the Closing Line to 0 +104 as a way of seeing what our edge was in this wager. The result is +5.39%. Finding a positive EV wager of +5.39% is a nice nugget of value in a market that not many people would think to check.
Partial Game Odds Screen Coming Soon
If you’re thinking this would be even easier if you could see a comparison of partial game odds similar to our Game Odds Screen, you’re not alone. The planned expansion of the Game Odds Screen is a Partial Game Odds Screen which will help you line shop faster and more efficiently. Be on the lookout for that product enhancement coming soon.
- The Unabated Game Odds Screen is a fast and effective way to see what market makers are pricing a sport.
- Finding the sharp true line for a wager is key first step in identifying value.
- Use the Unabated Alt Lines Calculator to find the proper price for a line that is out of step from the market maker.
- Middles can offer a lot of value if you can find them.
- Use Unabated’s tools to properly price a middle and understand your edge.
- Often value can hide in partial game derivative markets like NHL periods.
- Use Unabated’s Partial Games Derivative Calculator to properly price out those markets as well.
We’ve only just scratched the surface on ways to use Unabated’s tools and resources to find positive EV wagers. We didn’t even mention our line of simulator based products that allow you to create pricing distributions. Nor did we discuss our in-game betting tools which price out derivative markets for in-game betting. It’s an exciting time to join Unabated. If you’re not a Premium Subscriber, here is our current pricing.