To Reach The Final Outright Betting Market Explained
To qualify for the final of a knockout-style tournament is no mean feat. Each year, teams across the globe fight it out to reach finals in their respective cup competitions – whether that be the FA Cup, DFB Pokal, Copa Del Rey or the Copa Do Brasil – with the hope that perhaps this year could be theirs.
‘To Reach The Final’ is a betting market where you bet on which team you expect to qualify for the last game of a knockout tournament. However, there are slight permutations to this market, best described by SkyBet’s official description:
- To Reach The Final – You’re betting on: A team to reach the Final/Semi-Final/Quarter-Final of the competition.
As such, ‘To Reach The Final’ is not just a single type of market. Where there are multiple matches ending in the word ‘Final’, you may be allowed to bet on the participants of earlier stages of the tournament.
To keep things simple, we’ll focus on the outcome where the team you choose must qualify for the final.
To Reach The Final Terminology
When a team qualifies for the final, they face off against another side that has played an equal number of matches within the same competition. Moreover, the opposition has beaten each opposing side it’s come up against. Both finalists go into the last round of the tournament on level terms.
This betting market does not consider which team must win the final, nor does it care for the scoreline or how the final is won. The bookmaker will settle your bet once the finalists have been determined.
Let’s break down ‘To Reach The Final’ to better understand what we’re talking about.
‘To Reach’ simply refers to a team qualifying for a particular stage of a tournament. This is different to ‘To Win’ markets in that the outcome of the stage is irrelevant.
‘The Final’ is the ultimate round of a knockout cup competition. It represents the last match of the competition for that year and the victor will be awarded a trophy to celebrate their triumph. Each eligible player will receive a gold medal (in most cases) for their contribution to the team’s success.
‘To Reach The Final’ is the precursing bet to the main prize. There are no trophies handed out for making it to the tournament’s most prestigious round, but there are winnings that can be earned in your favour.
How ‘To Reach The Final’ Bets Work
Bets are placed in the same way you’d take a punt on any other market. Select a league or tournament (e.g. Champions League, FA Cup, World Cup) and find ‘To Reach The Final’ among the available markets.
Select a team by clicking on the listed odds. This adds the selection to your betslip. From your betslip, you can enter a stake and confirm your wager by clicking ‘Place Bet’.
That’s the easy part. The hard part is watching on as your team fights to try and reach the final. This is because unless the team you bet on wins every game before the final – regardless of the method of victory – your bet will lose. Hence, most bettors are attracted to bigger teams for this type of bet as they are more likely to advance to the final.
To Reach The Final Betting Strategy
In the previous section, we discussed ‘the hard part’ of betting on the ‘To Reach The Final’ market. By following this betting strategy, picking the right team is going to feel a whole lot easier.
Football, for the most part, is a numbers game. Teams can win big games and lose against smaller sides but in the end, they almost always return to the average. This is why the odds for top-quality sides reaching the final of any tournament are so low, whereas prices for lower-rated clubs and nations to qualify for the final can be astronomical.
For example, a club like Manchester City is expected to reach the final of any competition it enters. Smaller sides, like Norwich City, just hope to make it as far as they can in any tournament.
#1. Manage Your Risk
Our Rule #1 for ‘To Reach The Final’ betting markets is this:
- Pick the side with the best average expectation at the highest risk you’re willing to take.
This means that you need to have an idea of your risk allowance. How much are you willing to bet? Is the price worth it against your budget? Before diving into the deep end, ask yourself how much risk you’re really taking. Potential returns mean nothing if you never give yourself the chance to earn them.
#2. Home Advantage Is Important
Having an advantage because you’re playing at your home ground is not a myth. The home team is more likely to score more goals than the away side and, in turn, better placed to come out on top in the affair. This is backed up by statistics.
During 2016/17, as reported by smarkets.com, the Premier League saw the home team win 49.2% of the time. Compare that to just 28.7% for away teams and you can see a pattern immediately.
The data is even more damning when you consider international games. Home nations won 50.5% of matches against the away side’s 24.5%, with the world’s top footballing countries averaging home win rates above 60% for the season.
A more recent study by FootyStats.org shows that home teams perform 17% better at home than they do away (FA Cup only). In the 2021/22 season, the home win percentage was 46%. Away teams won 37% of the time. In addition, of the 728 competing teams in the FA Cup proper, the average number of goals conceded by visiting sides stood at 1.8. When you consider they bagged an average of 1.53, you can figure out who the results usually favoured.
What does this mean?
We’re not going to go out on a limb and state that Qatar will win the 2022 World Cup. However, the chances of the Qatari side reaching the final are greater in 2022 compared to any other year just because they’re playing at home.
If you notice that a club that fits your expectation for risk management will play a lot of games at home via a kind draw, it might well be worth placing a bet to reach the final.
#3. History Matters More Than You’d Think
Fans all around the world love to celebrate their own team’s historical achievements. It makes sense. As a species, we’re brought up to respect those who came before us and try to learn from what they may have done.
In football, those principles are particularly prominent. Brazil, Liverpool, Germany, Manchester United, Italy, Real Madrid. What do they all have in common?
No matter their current form or squad level, they will be considered one of the favourites to reach the final of the tournament based on historical victories alone. With good reason, too.
Germany have reached the final 5 of the last 10 World Cup tournaments. Between 1994 and 2002, Brazil qualified for all three World Cup Finals. Italy won two of the first three World Cups, last making it to the final stage of the competition in the infamous 2006 Final versus France in Berlin. They’re the reigning European Champions.
Real Madrid have accumulated more Champions Leagues than anybody else with 14. Liverpool, despite enduring a barren Champions League run from 1984 to 2005, continued to qualify for elite finals (including the UEFA Cup, Europa League and domestic cups) before playing in the 2018, 2019 and 2022 Champions League Finals.
Manchester United were a force to be reckoned with in the 1990s and 2000s under Sir Alex Ferguson. Since his retirement, the Red Devils have gone through 7 gaffers (including caretaker bosses) and are widely considered one of the poorest-run clubs in the current footballing climate. In that same time, United have qualified for 8 finals (including 2 Community Shield games).
All of this goes to show that regardless of current form, history will always have the last laugh. If a club is prestigious enough, the belief that they can reach a final will always be in the back of the minds of players and supporters.
Resultantly, Rule #3 is to bet on teams with a grand history in big cups.