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Picking Winners vs. Picking Good Value

Boxing Betting: Picking Winners vs. Picking Good Value

By Loot, Boxing Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

If you look at why the vast majority of boxing bettors lose over the longterm, a lot of it stems from how they look at boxing wagering. Too many bettors put all their eggs in the opinion basket--where their opinion on who will win the fight is all that matters. While picking winners is certainly a skill that you can use in boxing wagering, it's really useless if not being related to what makes the world of boxing wagering go around--the odds.

The key is value. In other words, picking who will win a fight is only useful when able to successfully translate it to the world of wagering. And the world of wagering revolves around odds and probabilities. At the end of the day, the key is in finding boxers whose actual value exceeds the odds they are receiving.

It can work with favorites and underdogs. But usually, it's the underdogs who have better value. People love favorites. There will certainly be favored fighters who should be even bigger favorites than they are, in which case they have good value. But in boxing, what is considered good is usually considered better than it actually is. Conversely, what is considered an underdog is often not as much an underdog as what is being portrayed.

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That's at the root of what good value represents--finding boxers whose actual chances of winning are better than what the odds indicate. That's how winning is done in boxing wagering, by honing in on the picks that offer good value. Over time, consistently getting good value is a winning proposition, while simply picking fighters you think will win gets you nowhere.

With favorites, you want odds that are lower than they should be. If a fighter is -300, that basically means he has a 75% chance of winning according to the bookmaker. But maybe you think he has a 90% chance of winning, making -300 an attractive price. You would bet on that fighter. But if a fighter is -900, that means he has a 90% chance of winning. If you think that percentage should be in the 80% range, then that bet would represent poor value.

With underdogs, you want to see a price that is better than what you think are the actual probabilities. If an underdog boxer is +400, that equates to a 20% chance of winning. If you think that fighter's chances are closer to 30-35%, you would take the +400 price because it represents good value. Over time, that pays off.

The thing is that seeking good value on underdogs puts you in a position to bet on fighters you think will lose. But remember, this isn't you talking at the bar with friends saying who will win in a straight-up sense. When taking part in actual boxing betting, it's all about getting good value. That means value is king and your opinions on who you think will win only come into play when the odds are in line with getting good value. How can picking fighters you think will lose be good? Over the long-run, if you are receiving odds that surpass the actual likelihood of a fighter winning, the numbers will end up in your favor.

This may sound too easy and in reality, it is not. This is not meant to impugn the effectiveness of the oddsmakers because they are really good at this. Most of the time, there will not be much of an edge to be had. The numbers will be right. Those are the fights we don't want to bet. But once in a while, we just may see a betting line that is off the mark. And it's not because the bookie is necessarily off his game. The line could be poisoned by incorrect public perception or any number of other factors. In other words, we want to steer clear of perfect odds and shoot for situations when the odds are out-of-whack.

The takeaway from this is that having an opinion on who will win a fight is only part of the equation and a rather useless one at that, if not related concretely to the odds that govern boxing betting. If odds didn't exist, then we could put all the stock in the opinion-making part of the process. But odds do exist and the key to winning at boxing wagering is to be able to use our knowledge and the odds hand-in-hand.

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