With fast-paced and fiercely contested games, it’s no surprise that England’s Premier League is the most-watched football league in the world. It’s not just broadcasters scrambling to be part of the action either – top gambling sites are constantly competing to deliver you the most lucrative markets, the best prices and fresh special offers.
But how do you go about getting value for your money? Understanding when, how and why to make a bet during the EPL season is crucial to ensuring you keep a positive return despite such a competitive market.
Before the first game kicks off, gamblers should look for opportunities in the Premier League outright markets. The most popular include:
- Premier League Winner | With the right statistics to hand, predicting the league’s winner before the first ball is kicked can be worth a punt. Just five teams have won the Premier League ever, but don’t assume the big spenders have the edge. 2014/15 champions Chelsea were only the fourth biggest spenders that year, behind Manchester Utd (who finished fourth), Liverpool (sixth) and Arsenal (third).
- Relegation | The three teams promoted from the Championship are usually among the favourites to go down, yet since the year 2000 there’s never been a season when all three recently promoted teams were relegated. Most frequently, just one of these sides goes down, so a relegation bet on a newcomer is not guaranteed. Gambling on a surprise relegation can pay dividends.
- Top Goal Scorer | With a few notable exceptions, including Manchester United's Robin van Persie in 2012/13 and Dwight Yorke in 1998/99, big signings rarely win the golden boot with a new team. Consecutive wins aren't all too common either, but in-form strikers are worth considering.
The best sports betting sites offer numerous variations on these themes, providing a range of risk and reward. For example, players can bet on sides finishing in the top two, three or four for smaller returns; or boldly consider a winner/top goal-scorer double for a really big win.
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Timing Your Bets
One of the major considerations for anyone taking up Premier League betting is when to place bets. Jump in early and fresh developments could scupper your plans. Move too late and the odds can quickly shift. Fortunately, there are a number of simple ways to plan your timing to maximise your bets..
- Seasonal Trends | The job of a Premier League manager is notoriously insecure, and gamblers are always invited to bet on the next man for the sack. November is historically the most dangerous month for Premier League managers. Similar trends exist for striker hot streaks, injuries and more.
- Form | As with betting on a horse-race, form is vital. Clubs go through hot and cold streaks, and identifying a team on a run is key to making accurate predictions, particularly in the match winner markets.
- In-Play Betting | As well as being exciting, in-play betting lets you capitalise on developments during a game. Sites like Coral also provide live stats, helping you to time your bets effectively. If you think your bet might be about to fail, most sites have a ‘cash out’ function that lets you claim your winnings before the final whistle.
From 2003/4 to 2012/13 the Premier League has consistently been among the leagues with the highest amount of variation in its points spread. Put another way, the gap between the top and the bottom is one of the largest of the world’s top leagues. The implications of stats like these are huge, and potentially money-making in a number of ways.
- Match Winner Markets | Yes, games can be unpredictable and shock results do happen, but the stats tell us that there are top teams who consistently win and bottom teams who don’t. Pick them out, back them consistently, and regular returns are likely.
- Goal Scorer Markets | We’ve touched on the importance of identifying in-form strikers, but equally important is identifying when they’ll score. In 2014/15, Aguero scored 13 at home and 13 away, but Wayne Rooney scored 11 at home and just one away. An extremely important distinction to be aware of for gamblers.
- Other Goal Markets | Away from the specific details of player form and psychology, markets like goals over/under and time of goal are excellent spaces to make use of cold hard stats. For example, it’s worth noting that the average number of goals per game has hovered between two and three in every single Premier League season up to 2014/15. Look hard and you can also uncover trends in the times goals are scored, like in 2014/15 when more goals were scored in the final quarter of games than any other time.
Looking in detail at a team’s strategy and player statistics can reveal opportunities in surprising markets like corners over/under, cards per game and handicaps. Whichever you choose, the key to using statistics and trends effectively is applying a consistent, well thought-out strategy to your bets.
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