With so many games and markets to choose from it can be a pretty daunting task when you place your first bets on football. Bookmakers have the sport covered so well these days that you can literally bet on anything from the number of corners to be taken to player ratings from a well known football statistics website.
There is no easy route to picking winners when betting on football and, to be successful, you either need to have a good understanding of the game or are willing to immerse yourself into learning as much as you can about each match; ideally both! Whilst football betting strategies can be a bit of a grey area, as you will need to apply your knowledge as well as data, there are multiple ways in which you can drastically improve your return for these types of bets.
Before we dive in to things that you can look at, we wanted to highlight that these aren’t betting systems. These systems, for the most part, are total rubbish and whilst people may say that you can follow X, Y or Z system the unpredictability of football means that they are highly unlikely to consistently win.
Start with What You Know
If you already have a base regarding football and betting in general, then it’s best to start here. Let’s say that you’ve been following your favourite team in the League of Ireland Premier League for the last 10 years and you were looking to start betting. We would suggest that this would be a good place to start.
It’s likely that you will already be familiar with teams and players from the league, so you’re at least going to be able to decipher the best outcome for most matches. Whilst you are still going to need to elaborate somewhat on the research you need to form more compressive bets, this base is always going to be advantageous to you when trying to find an edge against the bookmaker.
Compare that with diving in to games from the German second division, which you know little to nothing about, then you’re literally going to be heading into these bets blind.
Check Team Form
The most recent form for any team is going to be one of most precious tools when forming successful football bets. The team form will give you a really good idea of how they are playing of late and also if they are carrying any momentum for these matches. Even though football can be highly unpredictable, by seeing which teams are in form and which teams aren’t, it will give you a really good platform for your bets.
One thing we would say is that we often favour form over league standings, as over the course of a season these can be a little misleading. For example, you may be looking to place a bet on a team that is currently sitting in 6th place who are playing against a team ranked 15th. Just looking at league standing alone would suggest that the team in 6th would run out fairly easy winners, but when we look a little more closely we see that they have in fact lost their last 5 games and the team in 15th are unbeaten in their last 5 games. All of a sudden, the bet gets turned on its head and the bets that appear more attractive will likely change quite dramatically.
Head to Head
Another aspect that you need to look at is previous head to head results. What you may find from certain fixtures is that because of the nature of each side plays, the head to head form might from the recent formbook out the window. You need to be looking at previous trends over a fairly recent timescale of around 2-3 seasons max to take into account this variable.
The head to head form if something that is unlikely going to override recent form, but more to back up a certain decision or to maybe sway you towards an alternative market. For example, lets say that we are betting on two teams who historically have had games that have involved over 2.5 goals for their last 6 meetings. If we look at recent form, it tells us that only 3 from each of their last 6 games have seen over 2.5 goals. Without the head to head form information, we may be sceptical about backing over 2.5 goals for this game, but with the knowledge that it almost always brings in high scoring games, it’s going to really enhance this bet.
Finding value is pretty much the be all and end all when it comes to football betting. You are constantly striving to get one over on the bookmakers and, whilst this job is tough, there will be times where margins for value are larger than the odds on offer.
There is an easy way to work out if a certain bet has value, which we will mention next. Before that we wanted to highlight that the term ‘value’ in online betting is totally subjective. You need to be aware of all factors that are going to contribute towards the final result of the match and only when you have gathered this information can you make a decision on the potential outcome.
Remember, it’s you versus the bookmaker; they have their opinion and you have yours. But, don’t necessarily disagree just to try to justify value. In fact, we would recommend that the best thing to do is formulate what bet you think is going to best to place for that match before even looking at the current odds. It’s almost like formulating your own book and when you have this, you can then compare.
So, to work out value first off you need to establish the chance each result has a percentage. In this case, we are using the 1×2 market to keep things simple, but you can apply this theory to all betting markets that have 2 or more outcomes.
For our example we are going to take a made up match between Dundalk and Cork as our bet, with the following percentages:
- Dundalk to win = 50%
- Draw = 30%
- Cork City to win = 20%
Next, we find the bookies odds for these bets, which are:
- Dundalk to win = 1.75
- Draw = 2.50
- Cork City to win = 5.50
We now can work out if there is value from the bet simply by multiplying the decimal by the odds on offer then dividing by 1. If the numbers come out as positive then we can assume value, if they come out as negative then we can assume there is no value.
- Dundalk to win = (1.75*0.50) -1 = – 12%
- Draw = (2.50 * 0.30) – 1 = -25%
- Cork City to win = (5.50 * 0.20) – 1 = + 10%
As you can see from the numbers, both Dundalk and the draw don’t offer any value with two negative numbers. But, Cork city to win at odds of 5.50 is offering 10% of value, which based on our research and the odds on offer, makes it the value bet for this game.
Predict Correct Score
The correct score market is one of the hardest to call for football betting, but it can turn out to be one of the most lucrative. The market on offer allows for relatively high odds for the ability to correctly predict the score. But, predicting the score can be used for much more than simply the correct score betting market.
Once you have a rough idea of what the score is it opens up a huge number of markets that you are able to bet on with much more certainty. For example, if after conducting all your research you determine that the most likely result for the match in question is 1-1 then you can target bets such as the draw, both teams to score, under 2.5 goals and so on.
You don’t have to be bang on with these predictions either, as long as you aren’t betting on the correct score market that is. You’ll be able to get a much better understanding of which markets you can bet on once you’ve worked the score out and we think it’s one of the most interesting ways of conducting your research for football betting.