5 Pieces Of Advice For......The Average Football Punter


Struggling to decide on your last minute Premier League season bets? Fear not. Today Ethan Dean Richards has 5 pieces of advice for the average football punter.

When the editor of this blog asked me to give five pieces of advice to the “average football punter” ahead of the new season, I hesitated.

‘What do I know about football?’ I thought.

But then I realised that I know everything about football, of course, and anyone who disagrees with any piece of advice found in the following list of five is both wrong and morally corrupt. A happy realisation for all involved. Five pieces of advice for the average football punter ahead of the new Premier League season, here we go:

#1. Expect Gareth Bale to score fewer goals for Tottenham Hotspur this time around.

In this age of unrealistic expectations, where disappointment is the default position and regret occurs before, not after, the event, there are a lot of people who fully believe that Gareth Bale should score more goals for Tottenham this season than he did last. For these people, 26 goals was not enough. For these people, a developing talent should always produce more. ‘More, more, more,’ they shout, each time grinning suspiciously, as if they won’t take no for answer. These people won’t be told. They expect Gareth Bale to score more goals for Tottenham this season than he did last, whatever happens.

I’m here to tell you that he won’t do it. In part, this is because 26 goals is a lot. Beating that total, however great your form is, would be one of the more impressive achievements in the last decade’s worth of football. In part, it’s because he’s going to be marked more heavily now: opponents were ready for him before, but this time out they’ll be even more so (apologies for being vague, I am not a tactics writer. Yet.) But the main thing is that it’s unrealistic at best to expect a player to continue to score goals for a team he no longer plays for.

Please allow me to explain.

The logistics of it simply don’t work. If Bale is playing for Real Madrid after September 2nd, then continuing to score for Tottenham at that point becomes practically impossible. To explain in terms that the average punter might best understand: it is physically impossible to be in two places at once. This is science. #Science.

#2. Always back Mourinho

There is a school of thought that says that Jose Mourinho is washed up. As is well established, this school of thought is occupied entirely by people who feel sexually threatened by Jose Mourinho.

You see, one rough season as manager of Real Madrid, the roughest club in world football, does not make for a washed up manager, whoever it is. To think so is of course the logic of convenience, in this case aimed at applying pressure to a man who inspires a magnificent amount of discontent amongst anyone who is not in love with him.

No-one sensible writes off Mourinho, a man whose record as the most dynamic trophy collector in world football speaks for itself. The winner of league titles in Portugal, England, Italy and Spain, two European Cups and dozens of other trinkets isn’t likely to ever go quietly. In the last ten years he’s won relentlessly, because probably he’s the cleverest tactician and the best motivator in the game, and definitely the supreme combination of the two.

And then there’s his Chelsea team. Yes, it’s full of holes – it’s midfield crisis is secretly on the same scale as Manchester United’s and you wouldn’t back any of the strikers to be a regular starter in a title winning side – but when you have Mata, Schurrle, Hazard, Oscar and De Bruyne all waiting for the call, you are never going to be in too much trouble. Mourinho will figure something out. Always back Mourinho. #YNWA

#3. If you’ve bet on Arsenal to win the league, I have some magic beans for you to purchase

Some people back their team, all day, every day. They interpret their role as a fan of a football club as taking in the club’s PR too. In this, they are incorrect. Sometimes backing your team is the wrong thing to do.

One example of backing your team being the wrong course of action could be any Arsenal fan who believes that their team might win the Premier League this season. With the season about to begin, the squad has stagnated. The talk of major signings still lingers, but the walk would, at this point, be more impressive. They have the same set of players as last season, minus a few sub-par reinforcements and plus a new young kid. This, as everyone who has ever commented on football has already pointed out, is no good.

Arsenal aren’t going to get close to the title this season. That’s pretty miserable, but it’s true.

#4. If you’ve bet on Liverpool to win the league this season, then I also have some magic beans for you.

Liverpool have decided to focus their summer on a player who is already at their club maybe leaving their club, rather than on signing new, better players. In some ways, this is an admirable stance – getting players to stay is perhaps a more reasonable aspiration than getting players to arrive. In other ways, it less admirable.

Liverpool will be a better team if Luis Suarez stays with them than if he leaves them. This is difficult to deny. But here’s the thing: they’ll be a better team than Liverpool FC without Luis Suarez; that doesn’t mean they’ll be a better team than anyone else. Merely being better than a slightly worse hypothetical version of yourself fits few people’s definitions of ‘aspirational’. If Suarez stays then Liverpool will be a better team than if he went, but unfortunately they will not be playing against that rubbish version of themselves.

This is not their year.

#5. Do not confuse football with darts or the chances of success are no better than guessing

Essential when betting on football, or indeed any sport, is knowing which sport you are betting on.


Opening Weekend Premier League Odds

 bet365 bet365 bet365
Liverpool 1.40 Draw 4.80 Stoke 9.50
Arsenal 1.40 Draw 5.20 Aston Villa 8.50
Norwich 3.20 Draw 3.40 Everton 2.40
Sunderland 2.30 Draw 3.40 Fulham 3.40
West Brom 2.40 Draw 3.40 Southampton 3.20
West Ham  1.95 Draw 3.60 Cardiff 4.20
Swansea 4.00 Draw 3.50 Man United 2.05
Crystal Palace 4.75 Draw 3.75 Tottenham 1.83
Chelsea 1.20 Draw 7.00 Hull 21.00
Man City 1.33 Draw 5.50 Newcastle 11.00

Odds as at 16th August 2013.



Follow Ethan on Twitter: @SurrealFootball