Football betting, like any other form of sports betting, is rife with risk. Bookmakers wouldn’t be bookmakers if they didn’t have some sort of edge; as a punter, it’s important to try and minimise this advantage by avoiding some of the most common football betting traps there are. They may be obvious to some, but others return to the bookies each and every week with little excuse and even less profit.
All sports betting requires some level of research. A lot of people may back a horse in the Grand National because it has an attractive name and others will simply put a bet on their team for the sake of it, but you can guarantee that 99 times out of 100, these people are making a loss in the long run.
Football betting demands an in-depth knowledge of the markets offered by the bookmakers. Punters should know which markets are likely to be more profitable ('first goal scorer' and 'full time score', for example) than others. Similarly, bettors should be aware of why bookmakers are offering odds at particular prices.
This all entails study; analysis of recent form, home and away figures, injury lists etc. All of these should be taken into account before establishing what the punter themselves think will be the likely outcome. Only then should their thoughts be compared to the prices offered by the bookmakers and, if value can be found, should a bet be made.
This is linked to research; never bet on a team or individual (to score, keep a clean sheet etc.) simply on the back of last week. Form is, of course, important but make sure you take into account all the different variables on the match day in question. These may include weather conditions, sudden injuries, different formations and, obviously, different opponents.
This is one of those football betting traps that people excuse because, once in a very rare while, the returns can be generous. However, unless you think there is genuine value, consistently backing the underdog will only decrease your bankroll.
Usually, bookmakers are much more informed about proceedings in the run-up to a match than your average punter, meaning they are able to fix prices according to likely outcomes. If the money is backing Manchester United at evens to beat Stoke at home, it’s because everything – form, player calibre, home conditions, an attacking formation, an injury-free squad – is telling the bookies that there is only one likely outcome. In these situations, don’t simply back Stoke because their odds may be 8/1; it’s not sensible and it’s unlikely to result in profit.
Finally, staying disciplined when football betting is vitally important. If, for example, you’re betting in-play and suddenly get excited by the proposition of a new market which you can back or lay on a website like Betfair Sports, take a moment, reflect and consider whether your initial instincts were right and, most importantly, whether your bankroll can afford it – without a bankroll, you can’t do anything!
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