Football Betting Strategy Guide

by Lewis Watson

Football Betting Strategy Guide

Use Your Knowledge of Football to Beat the Bookmaker

Worldwide, football is considered a national sport. Bringing countries, cities, and towns together, a collective identity is formed in the pursuit of their team’s success. With popularity comes business – none more so than the betting industry who turnover millions a year on football betting alone. With heart often ruling the head when it comes to placing a bet on your team, reality can be difficult to gauge and the bookmakers are often primed and ready to take full advantage. However, it’s not all doom and gloom! With thousands of markets available for a broad spectrum of matches from hundreds of leagues, there will always be a bet catered to you; this may be harder to find than you think. Let’s explore the different types of football betting, and how to find the best value in doing so.

Types of Football Bets on Offer

With a multitude of bets available, let’s concentrate on the traditional markets first before taking a more in-depth look at Asian handicaps.

Full-time result – allows you to bet on the outcome of the 90 minutes; a home win, a draw, or an away win. Being the most common market to bet on, punters often use multiple bets to draw the most value out of betting on the full-time result.

First goal scorer – allows you to predict the first goal scorer in the match, from either side. With over 20 selections available for each game in the first goalscorer market, the bookmaker holds a significant advantage over the punter.

Both teams to score – allows you to predict whether you think both sides will score in the 90minutes.

Correct score – allows you to predict the exact score in 90 minutes.

Over/under goals – with values set at 0.5, 1.5, 2.5, 3.5, 4.5 and so on… you can predict whether there will be less or more goals in the 90 minutes than the value set.

Scorecast – you can combine first goalscorer bet with a correct score bet, i.e. Chelsea to win 2-0and Eden Hazard to score first. Despite being hard to win, these often offer the best prices and are popular for punters backing their teams to win.

Now, let's talk Asian handicaps. With a plethora of markets available at punters fingertips, it's important to consider all options when trying to derive value from the odds presented; Asian handicaps allow this and will enable you to make money on backing the favourites.

In essence, Asian handicaps eliminate the possibility of a draw in a football match. So already, we see our basic chances of winning the bet go from 33% to 50%. One team will effectively be given a 'virtual head start' in the fixture by a range of amounts - dependant on how much of an underdog they are perceived to be by the bookmaker.

You can receive quarter goal (0.25) half goal (0.5) or full goal (1.0) handicaps by bookmakers such as Bet365 and Betfair. Regardless of how daunting these figures may look on the wager you want to place, don't be put off as it's a lot simpler than you would imagine. Of course, quarter goals and half goals can't be scored in football (unless we are counting Frank Lampard's ghost goal against Germany at the 2010 World Cup...? I digress...), so these decimals eliminate the chances of a tie in the betting.

Full goal handicaps are extremely punter friendly, and allow us to back a team to get a comfortable win at close to evens. Let's take Man City vs Arsenal as a clear example. Man City are clearly the stronger side in this fixture, as well as playing at home, so we can handicap them by two goals (-

2.0) at the start of the match. In betting terms, this means that they start the game losing 0-2. This kind of handicap could produce odds that are close to even money (2.0/1/1).

So, what we are betting on here, is that Man City will overcome that handicap winning by three or more goals for the bet to win. A 3-0, 4-1, 5-2 etc. would win for City. However, a 1-0 win would leave them a goal short of overturning the handicap and the bet loses. If the result finished 2-0 to Man City - all bets would be refunded to the customer (the positive here is that the 2-2 betting 'draw' is not detrimental to our wager).

Half goal handicaps can eliminate the chance of a draw entirely within the bet and may lead to some fantastic prices if you feel that the favourite is going to romp to victory. In a match between Chelsea and Crystal Palace, we can find odds of evens if we back Chelsea @ -1.5.

If you believe that Chelsea is going to put Palace to the sword in this fixture, backing Chelsea to win by two goals or more shows fantastic value, the kind of value that can't be found in the outright markets (1.28 for an outright home win). Of course, Chelsea will have to win this fixture 2-0, 3-1, 4-2 etc. for your bet to win, but you won't have to stake as much to receive good returns like you would in other less profitable markets.

Quarter goal handicaps are the trickiest to get your head around, but they are merely splitting the intervals between the two closest quarter bets by putting half of your stake on either side of the handicap. For example:

Let's again take Man City vs Arsenal. You place £10 on Arsenal for 0.75 (giving them a 3/4 of a goal head start), this bet is effectively setting £5 on Arsenal +0.5 goals and £5 on Arsenal +1 goal.

The +0.5 handicap needs Arsenal to win or draw to win the bet, as there is already a half goal advantage, whereas the +1 handicap caters for Arsenal winning, drawing or a refunded bet if Arsenal loses by that singular one goal.

Where You can Find Value in Football Betting

The key word here is ‘value’. Betting will ALWAYS come with its risks, however, when we see a selection that is more likely that the odds suggest, the value is found. Good value isn’t always so readily available and can take scrupulous attention to detail.

Let’s take a Premier League example to determine where value be can found:

Let’s say that Man City are playing a side battling relegation towards the back end of the season away from home – with the league already sewn up. Man City, also, have a Champions League semi-final to prepare for on the Tuesday that following week. So, from what we know, Man City may consider fielding weaker side than usual to preserve their most potent team for the semi-final in the midweek game.

We could expect odds similar to this pre-match:

Relegation-threatened side:9.0

Draw:5.0

Man City:1.3

Now, from these odds, there is massive value in laying Man City or backing either the draw or the win. If Man City HAD to win this match to keep their title chances alive, then the value would disappear, however with the situation as it is (in our fabricated scenario) a ‘double chance’ bet of home win or draw would be worth backing.

Finding value can also be easy when it comes to starting line-up. If you can work out the rotation trends within sides, or even get a head start on possible injuries, backing a second-string striker to score first will often offer fantastic value. Applying this to our example above, assuming that Man City would rest Sergio Aguero for their midweek Champions League tie, backing Gabriel Jesus to score first would hold value at the pre-match prices before the starting elevens were announced.

Football Betting Strategy Tips

Again, it’s always important to stress the risk involved when betting. The bookmakers will always hold the edge, and with the big companies turning over BILLIONS a year, a level of reality must ever be observed when taking on the bookies. However, one sensible approach is to build a pot over a long-term strategy of betting slowly. ‘Hollywood’ bets that you often see being posted on social media are the ones to ignore. Accumulators of six sides scoring in each half returning £20,000 will often lure punters into making similar bets, with the likelihood a lot smaller than the odds would suggest.

Be patient. Start with a small stake and back the favourite at home for a match that you expect to be reasonably comfortable. Then, stake your winnings on a similar bet and see your profits slowly rise. Backing anything higher than 3.0 will more often than not lose, so being sensible with your stake and spreading your money across a multitude of bets could also prove profitable.

A big trap that many punters fall into is to bet on football leagues where their knowledge is limited. Stick to the league that you know, and eventually, the profits will start rolling in; don’t be pressured into betting on a market where your knowledge is not the best it can be.

Knowledge and Patience are Key to Beating the Bookies

Betting will always hold its risks; however if you can use your KNOWLEDGE to find VALUE and your PATIENCE to find the right MARKET, then there is no reason that you can’t profit from football betting. It’s important to remember that football is fundamentally unpredictable – the reason why we all love it so much!