Everyone will have their theories about how to go about football betting on the match winner/match odds/1×2 market on a football match. From the guy who blindly bets on his own team (or the opposition just to make sure he’s happy one way or the other) to those who just look at a price and decide where the best bet lies, to those who trawl through endless spreadsheets to find a morsel of value.

Neither of the three strategies is a particularly balanced one for football betting, so what should we look at before deciding where to put our money?

Head-to-head in football betting

Speak to any odds compiler and they will tell you this is the most important factor of all. Managers and players change over the years but it’s incredible how consistent head-to-heads records remain despite these constant changes.  In the case of a Manchester United v Bournemouth it’s hardly rocket-science that United, perennial champion contenders, have almost always beaten the little South-Coast team. But even amongst seemingly closer teams in terms of quality, there’s normally one who gets the better of the other. Could be style of play or could be confidence from having beaten them before.

One thing to look out for though is nouveau-riche teams.  Sides like Manchester City or PSG are very different to how they’ve been in the past because of the huge influx of cash into the club in recent years. So in their cases, what happened 10 years ago against team x is of slightly less relevance.

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Current form

Whether you’re a tennis player, golfer or racehorse, current form counts for a lot. And it’s the same in football. Winning, or at least not losing, becomes a habit. Whether it’s the striker whose confidence is sky-high and refuses to believe he’ll miss his next chance, to the well-marshalled back four who defend as a unit and have been keeping plenty of clean sheets.

Playing well at any given time will massively boost your chances of getting a result in your next match.

Home advantage

An obvious one to an extent but not one to be ignored in the world of football betting. After all, not having to travel, playing on a pitch you know inside out and in front of your own fans, must surely be a big boost.

In the 2016/17 Premier League season 49% of games were won by the home team, 29% by the away team with 22% of games ending in stalemates.

But look closely at the individual teams. Burnley for example, finished just 16th but were ninth for home form, winning 52% of their home matches. They were 19th for away form. Because of their modest league position and awful away form, they were often priced up at generous odds at home even though their home form suggested they’d come good with the three points every other match.

But don’t always assume that a side is considerably better off just because they have home comforts. In 2016/17 Crystal Palace actually managed one point more away than at home, making them one to avoid at Selhurst Park but often value to avoid defeat or better, on the road.

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Team news

This one is a little harder to crack. How much of a difference does the absence of one player make to a team? How much of a difference does the absence of three players make to a team? How does losing Sergio Aguero to injury compare to losing Kevin de Bruyne to suspension ahead of playing Chelsea?

You can get stats on how the team performs with and without a certain player but they don’t tell the full story. Maybe Man City only managed six points from five games without Aguero and 12 points from five games with Aguero. But who were they playing when he was and wasn’t there? Maybe there were other factors- like an early sending-off- that heavily contributed to them losing the game that had nothing to do with Aguero being there or not.

It’s hard to quantify missing players mathematically but it goes without saying that absences to regular starters is a negative and a full squad of players is a positive.

 

Momentum and motivation in football betting

Momentum is I suppose a little similar to current form but not quite the same. For example, in 2016/17 Leicester City had plenty of momentum in the Champions League but were suffering from a bout of inertia in the Premier League, partly caused by the pressure of being defending champions. They believed they could get results in Europe in midweek but it just wasn’t happening for them on the domestic front.

Motivation is of course a very different beast but one you’d be foolish to ignore in football betting. A side playing for a Champions League spot on the final day of the season probably has different levels of motivation to one sat in tenth who is playing for nothing. Similarly, how motivated is a team who has lost their first two matches at a World Cup and is on the next plane home whatever happens in the last game?

Don’t underestimate motivation levels in individual players, too. Players in action against their old clubs are normally well up for it. Those who are leaving the club at the end of the season on a free transfer are probably a little less fussed about going the extra mile.

 

The Manager

Again, sounds obvious but consider it. When push comes to shove in football betting, there’s a big difference between a side being managed by a young, inexperienced coach, such as one in the first couple of years of their career, maybe even one occupying the role in a caretaker capacity…and a Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola or Diego Simeone.

 

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Remember that sports betting should primarily be seen as a form of entertainment. Please bet responsibly. If you feel you need help with your gambling habits contact www.begambleaware.org.

 

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