Football Betting Lessons Learned: Netherlands vs Denmark - Don't Believe the Hype »
by Gambling.com staff
Despite its black and white tribalism, its obligatory doses of loyalty and hatred in equal measures, it can be very difficult to predict the outcome of a football match. Football betting is a complicated proposition that’s dependent – or should be – on a number of factors.
Let’s take a recent game from the opening round of group games at Euro 2012 as an example of when a football win bet isn't always as obvious as it may seem. In the opening match of Group B at the championships, the Netherlands took on Denmark. It’s worth noting immediately that Group B is an immensely competitive group, with Germany and Portugal comprising the other two spots.
As for Holland vs. Denmark, it was the Dutch who were heavy favourites before the game began. In such a tough group, Denmark are considered the least likely to progress, while the Netherlands scored a phenomenal 37 goals during qualifying. That’s more than any other team and, with the likes of Robin van Persie and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar – who scored 12 in eight games over qualifying – leading the line, the Dutch looked certain to put at least a few past a questionable Danish back four.
Indeed, such was the belief that Holland would come out on top that Ladbrokes had them at 4/7 and 32Red offered 3/5, while 888 thought the result was so clear-cut that they claimed in their pre-match report that it “might as well be Cyprus versus Germany”.
However, as a few astute punters will have observed, there were a few variables that weren’t quite taken into account before the game. Popular opinion spread by the media is a funny old thing; all the talk pre-game was about the attacking prowess of the Dutch and their appearance in the final of the 2010 World Cup. It just shows that, sometimes, even the bookies believe the hype when it comes to football betting.
First off, Denmark won their qualifying group impressively. They tallied 19 out of a possible 24 points – that’s one more than England. While their scoring record wasn’t overly impressive, their +9 goal difference showed they were a disciplined side with credible attacking threats.
Secondly, despite the Netherlands’ impressive run at the last World Cup – which led many to believe they were onto a football win bet here – the team had changed in one fundamental way since then. Holland’s 2010 campaign was based not on 'total football', but rather on hardened resilience and lethal counter-attack. Against Denmark, that solid defensive bedrock was missing; the injury of centre-back stalwart Joris Mathijsen was not adequately filled, while 18-year-old Jetro Williems played admirably at left-back on début but his inexperience was evident.
The Dutch, then, were vulnerable to attack and, having conceded a worrying eight in qualifying, it was always likely that Denmark were going to get at least one good opportunity. And this is the final variable that affected the match’s outcome; fortune. While the most in-form striker in the world, Robin van Persie, missed a string of good chances at the other end, the Danish converted their one decent chance and went on to win the game 1-0.
So, while Ladbrokes believed that 4/7 for a Dutch win was generous, when we start to look at some of the factors that affected the game, it doesn’t look so attractive at all. Indeed, the 11/2 given by both Ladbrokes and Paddy Power for Denmark starts to look very tempting. Variables such as recent form, injury, inexperienced personnel and even overhype in the media that leads to misguided confidence – this time, on the part of the bookies – can all affect the outcome of a football match and, more importantly, how you approach your football betting.