FOOTBALL BETTING STRATEGY: ALL ABOUT BETTING
– There are two main secrets to betting on football for profit and they are related. First of all, knowledge is power and the more you know about a match, team or player the better equipped you will be to decide which selection make a good bet. There is so much information out there these days that with a lot of research and study you can give yourself a real edge. Of course, the higher up the football ladder you go, the more information there is, the more the bookmakers will be aware of and the more your fellow punters will know too. This makes it harder to make a profit from betting on the Premier League than it is on the lower divisions.
But what do we do with all this information anyway? Football, of course, is a highly unpredictable game and that is why we love it so much (and also why the bookmakers remain in business). If the favourites always won there would be no gambling (so thank heavens they don’t!). What this unpredictability means is that you can never know for sure who will win and the way to profit is not to try and find the winner at any price but to find the bet where the odds are higher than they should be.
This is called value betting and is the only real way to make a profit over the long term. If you are simply betting on football for a bit of fun or only occasionally this isn’t massively important but if you bet a lot, over a long timeframe then it is essential.
When picking a bet the odds are just as important as whether you think the selection will win or not. To give an example, whilst you would expect Chelsea to beat QPR practically every time they played, you wouldn’t want to bet on Chelsea at any odds at all, for example 1/20 (or 20/1 on). Too few gamblers fail to give enough weight to the odds, placing too much emphasis on the bet itself.
Finding value is hard but not impossible. As said, it’s easier with the smaller teams and the more information you have the easier it becomes. Is a striker injured this week so a defender playing up front? If you know this but maybe the bookmakers don’t then his first scorer odds will probably be great value. Have several key players been struck down by a virus? Has the manager just been sacked and will the new manager bring a boost to the team? Are the bookmakers ignoring some useful piece of information or a key statistic or have they simply got their odds wrong and favoured one team incorrectly? Get as much information as possible and look for value bets and you’ll soon be as rich as Wayne Rooney’s hair doctor!
FOOTBALL BETTING RULES
– On the whole betting on football is a relatively simple matter but there are one or two questions that beginners often ask or rules that may seem slightly counter-intuitive. Whilst 99% of your bets will pass simply and effortlessly (and hopefully you’ll win 99% too!) it is worth knowing these basics to avoid disappointment. Some rules can vary from company to company so check to be sure but these general points are applicable to most bookmakers.
The first regards own goals. Whilst these can be massively crucial in football (indeed Colombian footballer Andres Escobar was killed because of one!) they do not count at all in player goal markets. So if you back a player to score first and he nets an own goal you don’t win but the next player to score a “proper” goal does. This also applies to last scorer bets. If a bookie offers 0-0 at the same odds as “no scorer” in the first goalscorer odds, always bet on “no scorer” as this will cover 0-0 and also any score that includes only own goals.
The other main rule to be aware of is that almost all bets, unless clearly stated, apply to the full 90 minutes, plus injury time but not extra time or penalties. This is mainly relevant to cup games and applies to a huge range of bets, including first scorer, last scorer, correct score, match result… basically any bet that didn’t clearly state otherwise.
Another thing to note is that most bets are settled according to how the match is reported at the time. So in the case of a goal subsequently being awarded as an own goal, rather than given to the striker, or a red card being rescinded on appeal it will be the officially reported player/score/event that stands as the winner.
The final thing to be aware of, though something that will apply even less frequently than the aforementioned quirks, is that bookmakers apply different rules in the event of a match being postponed or abandoned. Some will void all bets, others will allow the result to stand if it reached a certain point in the game or the match is replayed within a certain timeframe.
HOW TO BET ON FOOTBALL
Match result – This market has many names, including “match betting”, “90 minutes”, “1X2” and “to win” and is the most popular football bet going. It is simple as you have just three options: backing the home side will win, the away side to win, or the draw.
Correct score – Another popular one and again very simple: what will the score be at full-time? Odds will reflect the likelihood of a result, with a correct score of 4-4 priced at much longer odds than, say, 1-1.
First goalscorer – A bet on which player will score the first goal of the game. One can also bet on the last goalscorer and, at lower odds, for a named player to score at any time during the match. Backing “no scorer” is also available in this market.
Half-time/Full-time – Often written as HT/FT, this is a duel prediction of which side – if either – will be winning at half-time and at full-time. There are nine possible outcomes and your selection will be expressed in the form “draw/Man Utd” or “Man Utd/Everton” for example.
Over/Under – There are several different ways to bet on the number of goals a game will contain and the most common is by backing over or under a specified number. To avoid the possibility of a tie these are usually expressed in half goals and whilst you can bet on over or under 0.5 goals right up to 6.5 goals or higher, the most popular bet focuses on over or under 2.5 goals. If you think a game will have three or more you back “over” whilst two or fewer and you would bet on “under”.
Both teams to score – This is a relatively new bet but growing in popularity and gaining lots of attention from the bookies. If you think both teams will score at least one goal in the game you would bet “yes” or simply tick that match. Some bookies also offer the chance to bet against both teams to score, in which instance you select “no” and win if one or both teams fail to score.
Handicap – This is used to even out the odds, especially where one side is such a strong favourite that the result itself is deemed hardly worth betting on, so likely it is that one side will win. For example, if Barcelona play Bradford, the bookmakers might give odds where Barcelona have a handicap of -3 goals, whilst Bradford are +3.
Asian handicap – Similar to the above but only two outcomes can be bet on, either side A to win or side B to win, but no draws. Asian handicaps usually use fractions of goals to eliminate the draw, so you may see Barcelona -3.5. This would mean that if they beat Bradford by three goals or fewer, Bradford have won, but four or more and Barca triumph, with no possibility of the draw. Asian handicaps can be more complicated as they sometimes involve two handicaps with your bet split between those outcomes.
Draw no bet – Also called DNB this is another way of eliminating the draw (the concept of which is popular with US and Asian punters). This can be expressed by the Asian Handicap of “0” but is better known to most people as “draw no bet”. If the game is a stalemate you do not win but you do not lose – you get your stake back.
To win to nil – We’re back on the simple bets now. This is self-explanatory: you are backing one team to beat the other without conceding a goal.
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