Football: Assessing Form »

by William Hanson

In order for the concepts behind value betting to have any value to you, you will have to assess and assign probabilities to each outcome in a market. This process is accomplished by traditional research and analysis, otherwise known as handicapping, in the arena of sports betting, or assessing form, specifically for football betting.

There are several factors that bettors may take into consideration prior to placing their bets that will have a substantial influence on whether or not their bets are successful. Home field advantage, a team’s style of play, or recent injuries are just a few of the various factors that will influence the outcome of a match. Staying up to the minute on the following information can certainly improve your chances of properly evaluating a given match.

Home Field Advantage

see Home Field Advantage

Recent Fixtures

A club’s recent performance is certainly relevant to predicting how they may perform in the near future. Are they on a roll? Have they been blowing teams out? Or are they on a losing streak and look dead out on the pitch? Maybe they are over-confident going into a match against a thought-to-be lesser opponent. Maybe they looked strong last match and are destined to soon enough turn it around. The momentum established in recent fixtures is significant and can be used effectively to handicap.

Goals For vs. Goals Against

Checking the ‘Goals For’ vs. ‘Goals Against’ statistics can be quite useful because they are quantifiable and therefore less subjective. Also, look at teams that have higher average margins of victory. A team that is consistently blowing teams out can probably be considered a safer bet than teams who are consistently winning by smaller margins such as 1-0.

Style of Play

Teams have differing styles of play, which affect things such as pace and strategy. Teams that possess ‘attacking’ styles can often have very erratic results. Constantly attacking and pushing the ball forward can yield several goals for, but can also leave a squad vulnerable to the counter-attack, which can, in turn, result in conceding several goals as well. Also, consider the affect an attacking style can have on fatigue. Meanwhile, ‘defensive’ squads tend to focus on passing and possession, and are more likely to be involved in low scoring affairs.


Injuries and suspensions are extremely important aspects to consider when assessing form. Often managers will not release whether or not a player will be available to play until minutes before kick-off, so make sure to constantly check the reports. Also, be sure to bear in mind players that have nagging injuries or have recently received bookings (fear of suspension) because this may cause them to be tentative on the pitch.


Managers often have the tendency to perform better against particular opposing clubs or managers. They may have certain tactics that can be effective in exploiting a team’s weakness or have strategies that can successfully counter another manager’s style. Be sure to check a manager’s career record against other clubs or managers, as well as other significant statistics, such as career goals for vs. goals against.

European & International Matches

Teams that have upcoming or recently played European matches may very well be resting key players, which could surely affect the outcome of the match on which you are betting. Be sure to check the schedule and recent news reports to stay informed on who may be playing or sitting.

This also holds true for International players. It is not uncommon for players to miss significant club matches in favor of their International squad. Players returning from International play may be fatigued or need time to adjust to playing with their teammates after not training with their club for some time.

Local Derbies, Rivalries, & Other Developing Stories

A derby is a matchup between two clubs that are considered to be rivals. Local derbies refer to intra-city rivals, or as they are called in the US, ‘cross-town rivals’ (i.e. Manchester United vs. Manchester City). In these particular fixtures, emotions and tempers are guaranteed to be running high, and the outcome is always predicted with a bit more uncertainty, no matter what the clubs’ recent form. Home field advantage can take on an even more significant role in these matches, especially when a favorite is heading into a hostile underdog environment. It is also interesting to keep in mind any developing stories, such as trash talking and players who are rumored to be transferred, as well as other historic implications.

Head-to-Head History

While maybe not the most relevant of statistics, recent head-to-head results can certainly be worth taking note of. Just be sure not to look too far back because many things could have changed, such as player transfers, new managers, etc.

Republished with the permission of (Original Post)
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