Although it doesn't enjoy the same scale of support, women's football follows the same rules, involves similar tactics and enjoys the same sense of fierce competition as its male dominated counterpart. These characteristics come together to create a highly underused yet potentially lucrative football betting market, providing you follow the right strategy.
The simple gulf in popularity between the two sports means that there are some real bargains to be had in women's football betting, all of which are much harder to unearth in the male version. Inexperienced punters tend to ditch their obsession with the stats and only back the favourite with the home advantage, thereby limiting their potential winnings.
The group stages of the 2013 UEFA Women's European Championship are a prime example of this practice. Before the match between England and Russia, both sides had lost their opening game, and had comparable win rates in the UEFA championship build up (England were on 66%, Russia 61%). The 'outright betting' markets failed to reflect this, though, with Betfair Sports offering extremely short odds of 3/10 on England to triumph, whilst Russia were rated at a staggering 8/1. Those playing it safe with the draw lucked out in the end, with the match finishing 1-1 after a long period of Russian dominance. This indicates that there is clearly money to be made when backing the supposed underdog, providing you do your research beforehand.
Other women's football betting markets are similarly attractive, with the slower, more tactical nature of the women's game making in-play betting a much more viable prospect for beginners and ponderous punters.
With these factors in mind, the 'total goals' markets can also be particularly interesting. In the 2012 WSL (the UK's top women's football league), for example, there was an average of 1.6 goals per game, compared to just 1.39 in the 2012/13 English Premier League. The slightly higher number of goals per game in women's football means that betting on high scores is rarely as lucrative, but if you pick a defensive team and a low score you have another route to decent odds. Those of you with some skill and experience from the male leagues will find many of the statistics comparable, making it easy to transfer your existing betting knowledge
Another point to note is that top ladies team Arsenal scored 2.78 goals per game, a fair chunk above male champs Manchester United who only managed to notch up 2.26. This highlights the greater inequality between the top and bottom of the table in ladies football, and this can be easily exploited in the handicaps markets - choosing a favourite with a handicapped bet can make the odds much more favourable.
As the merits of women's football become more and more obvious, it's only a matter of time before this great sport breaks through into the mainstream. If you want to get in on the action before the rest, head over to William Hill Sports today to get started.