What Does EV Mean in Sports Betting?

Ever since the evolution of sports betting, the Expectancy Value (EV) rating system has been a part of the landscape, providing a guideline for gamblers as to how much they should risk on any given sporting event. The term EV stands for “Expectancy Value”, and was first introduced to the public in 1919, when USA Today published an article discussing betting odds and the concept of EV. The term EV was adopted by the American Association of Racing (Jarvis Landry Group) in 1922 and was used in part as a response to the Great Depression. The AA.R later adopted the Risk Reversal (RR) system as its official betting methodology, which replaced EV altogether in 1948. While EV and RR are essentially the same, the former is still used today in some parts of the world, particularly Australia and New Zealand. Below, you’ll find a brief overview of the EV system, along with some additional information regarding its origins and relation to RR.

Traditional Betting Odds And The Expectancy Value Rating System

The traditional way of looking at betting odds (aside from the sports betting side) is as ratings for events that are predictive of happening, or as a sign of unpredictability. For example, a ratio of 3 dogs to 1 bookmaker on a given event is considered an odds of 3 to 1, in the traditional sense. This means that the odds are considered fair from the betting point of view, but that there’s a chance the dog will win (and the bettor will lose).

If you take away nothing else from this article, perhaps consider that even the most incredible winners at the sporting event have lost in the end, and that no matter how much someone wins, in the end, they still lose. We could call this “the one that got away” syndrome – in other words, even the most brilliant athletes and athletic events are still only a part of the great universe, which continues to reject them – at least until they die.

The sporting EV system was developed to allow gamblers to come up with a formula that could be applied to arbitrary events, such as dodging balls, getting stuck in ruts, etc. The methodology was initially applied to ratings predictive of happening (that is, events that can be easily predicted, such as the finish of a race), but has since been extended to include unpredictable events as well. For instance, a team that is known for high-scoring games, such as the New York Yankees (whose nickname is “The Bronx Bombers”), is often considered to be an EV-rated team, despite not consistently being a high-scoring team over the years. The Yankees have only scored 1400 or more runs in a single season once (in 1952), while in 2013 they scored only 1180 runs, yet their EV is still predicts they’ll score around 16.5 runs per game this season. (You can find a running total of the Yankees’ EV for the entire team including sub-plots, here.)

How Is EV Determined?

The Expectancy Value of a given event is based on a number of factors, including the overall strength of the team or group that will be playing (or competing in the case of sports competitions), the strengths of the individual players contained within the teams, and the type of game that will be played. For instance, a baseball team will have a much higher EV than an equestrian team, because the former’s players are much more likely to score runs and winries than are the latter’s. (A side note: in the case of sports competitions, it is usually the overall strength of the team that determines which side will win in a given match, with the stronger party having the advantage in terms of odds. However, in some cases, it’s been the opposite – that is, in situations where a team is considered to be weak in terms of the strength of their individual members. This is usually the case with collegiate teams, where the players are considered sickening and the school sees it as a chance to “reclaim” their sport – as in the case of the University of Maryland. The Bucky Dawkins era was a time when the Terps were considered an underdog in the Big Ten conference, yet they scored a record 110 runs and had the fifth highest EV in the entire conference. This is primarily due to the fact that the Bucky Dawkins led Maryland to a record 16-3 season, despite the Terps being a little overrated before the season started and then ending up being one of the few surprising performers in the nation’s top sports conference. In other words, just because a team is considered to be weak at the start of the season does not necessarily mean they’ll end up being a weak team.