Often times when I post a money line play on an underdog i’ll get the question “Do you really think that team can win?” The answer is a bit more complicated than a simple yes or no. Lets say for example the Reds are playing in Chicago against the Cubs and the Cubs are a -330 favorite while the Reds are a +290 dog. A price of +290 on the Reds means that if the Reds win this game 25.6% of the time you’d break even. What am I talking about? Lets say hypothetically these two teams played 39 times with that same -330/+290 line. 10 Reds wins at +290 would cancel out 29 Reds losses at +290. So the Reds winning 10 times out of 39 would put you at 25.6% and breaking even. So in such a spot if I play the Reds at +290 does that mean I think they win the game? Not necessarily. It just means I think they have better than a 25.6% chance to win the game, therefore i’ve got “value” in the play.
It’s important to point out “value” isn’t only with underdogs. Every so often i’ll see someone take an underdog and say “I went with the value.” I’ll tell you what, you could take Vanderbilt +135 money line at Alabama in College Football, you’ve got a dog, but that doesn’t mean you have value. On the flip side if you lay -200 money line with Florida State in College Football against the sisters of the blind, yeah you bet a favorite, but you’ve still got value. Simple point here is that value can come with a favorite or with a dog.