10 Tips For Successful Football Betting This Season


Wondering how to bet on football and profit? With the football season now upon us, today on the blog Cassini returns to offer us 10 pointers for football betting success this year.

With the 2013-14 European football season upon us, I thought I might share a few thoughts and ideas on how to find an edge when betting on this sport.

That football is such a popular sport for betting and trading is both a good thing and a bad thing. On the one hand the high liquidity means that if you bet in the core markets of the big leagues you won’t have any problem getting matched at a competitive price, but on the other hand, with huge worldwide interest, and thousands of people also looking at these big leagues, finding an edge is always going to be a challenge.

Here are ten rules that work for me personally, although I understand that not everyone will agree with me.

#1 - Football Is For Betting, Not Trading

Football is one sport where the prices move in a pre-determined fashion. Back the 0:0 pre-game and the price will decay until there is a goal or the game ends. When a goal is scored, the market resets at a price dependent on the prices just before the goal was scored.

We may be watching the game, and consider ourselves experts, but are you really likely to identify something in play watching Liverpool play Manchester City, than none of the other thousands of traders are missing?

#2 - Build Your Own Model

Start keeping records and collecting data. I have previously written some articles on how to develop an Elo based ratings model, and while they may not suit everyone, I don’t see how you are going to find an edge any other way - unless you have access to inside information.

They are not the Holy Grail to success, but they make a good starting point.

#3 - Know Your League

Not all leagues are the same. For example, of the Big Five leagues, the Bundesliga always sees a higher average number of goals per game than the French Ligue 1 which always has a lower average goals per game than the English Premier League.

Leagues may change their personalities over time of course, but the examples given have held true for the past few seasons.

#4 - Specialise In Less Popular Leagues

As mentioned in the introduction, the big leagues are highly competitive, and if you are struggling to find an edge in the big leagues, it may be worth your while to specialise in some of the less popular leagues.

There is a wealth of data and information available these days, and money won from a mid-season match in the Croatian league is worth just as much as money won in the Champions league Final.

#5 – Changes

The season is a marathon, not a sprint, and a new season is not a continuation of the previous one, with newly promoted teams excitedly taking their place in a new league, new managers in charge, and most clubs with a change of playing personnel to at least some degree.

There is no meaningful form to use, and pricing games up accurately necessarily involves a lot of guesswork. Tread carefully early in the season.

#6 – Motivation

At the tail end of the season, there can be a different challenge – winning the match means more to some teams than to others. A team fighting to avoid relegation playing a team certain to finish in mid table may well play out a lot differently to the same game played in early September.

This is famously noticeable in Italy.

#7 - Evaluate Form

A series of Ws in the form line might look impressive, but it’s important to look behind the win and understand who the opponents were, and what the context of the match was. If a team has an L in its recent record, it might not mean too much if it was a League Cup match four days before a European Champions League game.

All Ws are not created equal. An away win against a full strength Manchester United team at Old Trafford is arguably worth a tad more than a home win versus Portsmouth.

#8 - Shop Around For The Best Price

I’m a little hesitant to include this as a rule because it should be obvious, and applies to all betting, not just football. The problem is that many bookmakers don’t like you only betting with them when their prices are the top offer, and as a result many people are driven to the exchanges or have to accept less than the best price.

But it’s a problem that many would like to have and finding evens shots at 2.1 will still be a profitable strategy – just not quite as profitable as that 2.3 you see, but that you are limited to £2 on.

#9 - Stake Sensibly

This article is written with the serious recreational punter in mind – someone looking to have some fun and make a little money as well. If you are a professional betting in the thousands, then you probably won’t be reading this in the first place, but for anyone thinking of betting big (relatively) on football, my advice is to be diligent before placing your bets.

If a price looks to be excellent value, make sure that there is no injury news or that a bout of food poisoning hasn’t hit the team. A sudden movement in price is a clue that something not as yet in the public domain, may be going on behind the scenes.

#10 - Goal Expectancy

The best, or at least the most important, for last. The serious, as opposed to novelty or fringe, football markets are all derived from the goal expectancies of each team. This is ultimately the key to successful betting on football. If you can calculate these two numbers more accurately than the bookmaker or the competition on the exchanges, you will be a long-term winner.

The Poisson distribution feature in Microsoft’s Excel makes it relatively easy to plug in these two numbers, and generate probabilities, and thus odds. Compare those odds to those on offer, and back or lay where the value and your risk tolerance best align.

Take for example the opening English Premier League weekend’s game between Sunderland and Fulham. Your spreadsheet tells you that Sunderland’s goal expectancy in this game is 1.25, while Fulham’s is 1.1. A simple tweak of the Poisson distribution and the Match Odds probabilities and implied odds come out as:

Outcome Probability Implied Odds Exchange Odds
Sunderland 39.0% 2.56 2.33
Draw 30.0% 3.33 3.50
Fulham 31.0% 3.23 3.50

The prices currently available on the exchanges for this match are respectively 2.33, 3.5 and 3.5. There’s a 10% edge on laying Sunderland here, while the edges on the draw or a Fulham win are less, and of course your spreadsheet can also give you odds on the Under / Over markets (Under 1.5 is the sum of the probabilities of 0-0, 1-0 and 0-1). You won’t have this number right all the time of course, but if you can be closer to it than your opponent, stake sensibly, and stay disciplined, football can be a very lucrative sport.

Good luck in 2013-14.



You can follow Cassini on Twitter @calciocassini

And visit Cassini's blog : GreenAllOver.blogspot

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