Every day millions of football fans around the world make football bets. In many, maybe most cases, these are not professional bets. For many people, putting a small bet on football occasionally is not a serious endeavour. Sure, they want to win and may celebrate if they do, but these are essentially fun bets and are often placed with very little study or scrutiny.
Sometimes those bets come off. This can convince the average punter that they have some magical insight into football betting or that they have the magic touch. Much as it would be good if that were true, it never is. Even betting at random, you will win some of the time.
If you want to take your betting more seriously, then you need to take a more in-depth and committed approach. Casual bets are not the way to go. But where do you start? To help point you in the right direction, we’ve put together a short guide to some of the key things to look for.
How do you always win a football bet?
You don’t, is the short answer! No punter, no matter how successful, ever expects to win every football bet. Expecting never to lose indicates that you don’t understand the nature of betting. Of course, you aim to win every bet, in the sense that you only ever bet when you think the odds are in your favour. But winning all the time is impossible. Sometimes 1/10 shots lose. Sometimes 10/1 outsiders win. This is the nature of sports betting.
What should I know before betting on football?
Following on from the advice above, there are two things that you should know before you start betting on football, that you can’t afford to ignore:
- Never bet with money you can’t afford to lose
- Losing runs are inevitable
This advice is not exciting, but it is fundamental and ignoring it can lead to a great deal of heartache. In particular, if you are considering betting with money that you can’t afford to lose, then you should stop immediately and also consider whether you have a gambling problem.
What is the best football betting strategy?
You won’t be surprised to learn that there is no magic formula or universal winning strategy when it comes to football betting. If there were, you can be sure that someone would have discovered it by now. The reality of the football betting markets is that they are extremely competitive and that they change all the time. What works today may not work tomorrow.
Does that mean you are facing an impossible task? No. It just means that you have to be diligent, alert and prepared to put in the hard work.
That hard work starts with knowledge. The starting point in knowing what to look for in football betting is to ensure that you are looking in the first place!
This does not necessarily mean that you need to know everything about every team, player and coach in your preferred competitions. But it does mean that you have to be searching for knowledge, looking for clues. Ultimately, what you are looking for is an edge.
How do I find an edge in football betting?
What is an edge in football betting? An edge is simply an advantage that you have over the vast majority of the other punters out there. It can be anything: a piece of information, some statistical analysis, something that you’ve spotted while watching a live game.
Your edge can come from your encyclopaedic knowledge of the game, combined with your ability to judge prices. It can be the result of a complicated mathematical model. You may find an edge in predicting how the tactical battle between coaches will play out. Make sure that you are constantly on the lookout for an edge, and double-check with yourself that you are content about the quality of your edge before you make any football bet.
Understanding how football odds are calculated will also help you spot when bookies make a mistake and have attractive odds on offer.
Why specialise in football betting?
Whenever professional sports bettors talk about what they do or are asked to provide advice for aspiring bettors, one of the most frequently mentioned pieces of advice is to specialise.
Why should you specialise? Simply because there is so much football out there that it is impossible to cover it all. On any given day there could be action happening in twenty different leagues around the world, not to mention tournaments like the Champions League and international games.
Bookmakers want you to spread yourself thin. They want you to make ill-considered and hasty bets. They want you to feel as though you have to bet on every match. So do the opposite.
One of the first things you should look for in football betting is an area of the sport that you feel can be effective in, whether that is a particular league or even a particular type of market. Sometimes focusing on the less high profile tournaments or markets can reduce the competition, and give you more room for manoeuvre as bookmakers are less likely to devote resources to getting their odds right when there is a smaller customer base to address.
Examples of edges in football betting
There are infinite possibilities when it comes to finding an edge in football betting, but to give you an idea of the kind of thing that you are looking for, here are some examples of potential edges:
- Team news. You read on a fan forum that Team A’s main striker has just pulled his hamstring in training. You know from your previous research that the team wins 10% less often when he is absent. If you can be one of the first to bet based on this news, you could have an edge.
- You read an academic paper that says home teams are undervalued in the Bundesliga
- You note while watching a Premier League game that Team B are vulnerable to crosses and you know their next opponents have two skilled wingers
- You construct a model to predict the number of goals that will be scored in a game, test it on a sample of games and find that it makes a profit.
These are all examples of the sort of details and knowledge that can give you an edge. With diligence, hard work and intelligence, you should be able to find more.