Positive EV Betting Guides

Part 1: Introduction to Positive EV Betting

Welcome to Outlier’s Definitive Guide for Positive EV Betting!

In the realm of sports betting, the concept of Expected Value (EV) stands out as a cornerstone for long-term success. Positive EV betting involves identifying and placing wagers that, over time, are expected to yield a profit. This guide delves into the basics of EV, the significance of positive EV betting, and practical strategies to leverage this concept for profitable sports betting.

Positive EV Betting Introduction

Understanding Positive Expected Value (EV)

What is Expected Value?

Expected Value is a statistical measure used to determine the average outcome of a bet if it were repeated multiple times. It provides bettors with a clear understanding of whether a particular bet is likely to be profitable or not. The formula for calculating EV is:

EV=(Probability of Winning×Amount Won per Bet)−(Probability of Losing×Amount Lost per Bet)

In simpler terms, EV helps bettors quantify the potential profitability of a bet by considering both the probabilities of different outcomes and the associated payouts.

Positive EV vs. Negative EV

A bet with a positive EV (+EV) suggests that it will yield a profit over the long run, while a negative EV (-EV) indicates a loss. For instance, if you consistently place bets with a positive EV, you can expect to make money in the long term. Conversely, bets with negative EV will eventually lead to losses.


The Importance of Positive EV Betting

Beating the Odds

The majority of sports bettors lose money due to the built-in house advantage, often referred to as the “vig” or “juice.” This advantage skews the odds against the bettor, making it challenging to achieve profitability. Positive EV betting is a strategy that helps bettors overcome this disadvantage by focusing on bets that offer value.

Long-Term Profitability

Betting with a positive EV mindset shifts the focus from short-term wins and losses to long-term profitability. By consistently identifying and placing +EV bets, you can build a sustainable betting strategy that yields consistent returns over time.

Risk Management

Understanding EV also aids in managing risks effectively. By evaluating the expected value of different bets, you can make more informed decisions about how much to wager, thus protecting your bankroll from significant losses.

How to Calculate Expected Value

Step-by-Step Calculation

To calculate the EV of a bet, follow these steps:

1) Determine the Odds: Identify the odds for both winning and losing outcomes. For example, if the odds of a team winning are 2.00 (even odds), the probability of winning is 0.50 (50%).

2) Calculate Probabilities: Convert the odds into probabilities. For even odds (2.00), the probability of winning is 50% (0.50), and the probability of losing is also 50% (0.50).

3) Determine Payouts: Identify the potential payout for a win and the amount lost for a loss. For a $100 bet at even odds, the payout for a win is $100, and the amount lost for a loss is $100.

4) Apply the EV Formula: Plug the probabilities and payouts into the EV formula:

In this example, the EV is zero, indicating neither a profit nor a loss over time. However, the goal is to find bets with a positive EV.


How to Find Positive EV Bets

Outlier Pro

We built Outlier Pro to solve for the need of a missing positive expected value betting tools in the market.  Outlier’s Pro tier combines (1) an easy to use interface, (2) advanced, real-time data and (3) the seamless execution of betting strategies that were traditionally only possible for professional handicappers to implement.  Start a 7 day, risk free trial today.

Analyzing Betting Lines

One effective way to find positive EV bets is by analyzing betting lines and looking for discrepancies. Sometimes, sportsbooks may set lines that undervalue a particular outcome, creating an opportunity for a +EV bet. For example, if you believe a team’s true probability of winning is higher than what the odds suggest, this may indicate a positive EV bet.

Using Betting Models

Advanced bettors often use betting models to calculate EV. These models consider various factors such as team performance, player statistics, and historical data to estimate the true probabilities of different outcomes. By comparing these probabilities to the odds offered by sportsbooks, bettors can identify value bets.

Line Shopping

Line shopping involves comparing odds from different sportsbooks to find the best value. Since different sportsbooks may offer slightly different odds for the same event, line shopping can help you secure the most favorable odds, thus increasing the potential EV of your bets.

Practical Strategies for Positive EV Betting

Bankroll Management

Effective bankroll management is crucial for positive EV betting. This involves setting aside a specific amount of money for betting and dividing it into smaller units (typically 1-2% of your total bankroll per bet). This approach minimizes the risk of significant losses and ensures that you can sustain your betting strategy over the long term.

Within Outlier Pro, we’ve done the heavy lifting of calculating the recommended Kelly Criterion weighting for you. More on this later.


Discipline and Patience

Positive EV betting requires discipline and patience. It’s essential to stick to your strategy and avoid chasing losses or making impulsive bets. By consistently placing +EV bets and managing your bankroll wisely, you can achieve steady, long-term profits.

Keeping Records

Maintaining detailed records of your bets, including the EV calculations, outcomes, and any relevant notes, can help you track your performance and identify areas for improvement. Analyzing your betting history allows you to refine your strategy and make more informed decisions in the future.

Common Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

Overestimating Your Edge

One common mistake bettors make is overestimating their edge, leading to unrealistic expectations. It’s important to be honest with yourself about your abilities and avoid overconfidence. Regularly review your betting performance and adjust your strategy as needed.

Ignoring Variance

Variance is an inherent part of sports betting, and even +EV bets can lose in the short term due to random fluctuations. Understanding and accepting variance is crucial to maintaining a positive mindset and staying committed to your strategy.

Betting Without a Plan

Betting without a clear plan or strategy can lead to haphazard decisions and losses. Develop a well-defined betting strategy based on positive EV principles and stick to it consistently.

Other Positive EV Betting Tools and Resources

Betting Calculators

Various online betting calculators can help you calculate EV and assess the value of different bets. These tools simplify the process and ensure that your calculations are accurate.

Statistical Databases

Access to comprehensive statistical databases can provide valuable insights into team and player performance, helping you make more informed betting decisions. Websites like Sports Reference and ESPN offer extensive sports statistics and analysis.

Betting Forums and Communities

Joining betting forums and communities can be beneficial for sharing insights, discussing strategies, and learning from other experienced bettors. Platforms like Reddit and specialized betting forums offer a wealth of knowledge and support.


Positive EV betting is a fundamental concept that underpins successful sports betting. By understanding and applying the principles of EV, you can make more informed betting decisions, manage risks effectively, and achieve long-term profitability. Remember, the key to success lies in discipline, patience, and continuous learning. With the right approach, positive EV betting can transform your sports betting experience and lead to consistent, sustainable profits.

Outlier Team
June 28, 2024
Share article