A Guide to Winning Your Soccer Bets

by Chris Massey
on September 21, 2017

Want to beat the bookies and make a killing betting on soccer? Well, we have you covered with a comprehensive guide on how to maximize your chances of winning. Our guidelines, strategies, and tips will turn you from a newbie who relies on luck into someone with an effective system who is well equipped to deal with the unpredictability of this sport. Paying heed to our one-stop guide, and see your bets win on a consistent basis.

Follow The Sport

Seems intuitive enough, but this is the very bedrock of successful betting. Stay abreast with the latest soccer news about players, teams, and match-ups. You don’t have to stay online 24×7 to find out what’s going on in the world of soccer or watch every match that gets broadcasted on TV. Simply download an app like OneFootball or LiveScore and receive automatic notifications and updates on the latest developments.

Injuries and Suspensions

Which player got sidelined with an injury? Did a manager have a spat with one of his players or a match official? Always make sure to follow the news for injuries and suspensions as they can have a major impact and tilt the balance of a game. Even the best of teams can get weakened by an injury to an important player if they don’t have a suitable backup for that position.

Rivalries and Motivations

Rivalries between players, managers, and clubs can also have a bearing on the performance of teams and impact results. It gives them extra incentive and motivation to get one over their on-field enemies. On the other hand, certain managers might also be less inclined to play their best players in domestic cup competitions to prevent possible injuries and keep them fresh for other ‘major’ trophies. A lot of sides have nothing to play for towards the tail end of the season and put in sub-par performances.

Schedule and Fatigue

With different teams competing in different competitions, their schedule and workload can have an effect on their performances. Fatigue comes into play when a team has to place two or even three games a week, especially if they have to travel long distances to do so. With the risk of injuries high in such situations, there is a lot of rotation of players that might impact the team’s chemistry.

Importance of Analyzing Psychological Aspects

It is critical to be aware of these psychological aspects that don’t fall under the umbrella of data and statistical analysis. If a team has a particularly bad record against another team, never underestimate the impact it has on the minds of the players, managers and fans as well. Similarly, a winning streak can bring about a lot of confidence and cause major upsets, much like how Leicester won the EPL a couple of seasons ago.

Knowledge is power, so do not even dream about betting on players, teams and leagues that you are not familiar with.

Data and Statistical Analysis


As a wise man once said, “Statistics are the grammar of science”. The best bets are never made on hunches or expectations. They’re instead made on a solid analysis of past performances of players and teams alike. It is vital to, therefore, analyze relevant statistics provided by the likes of OptaJoe, WhoScored and Statszone.

Know the Full Story

The scoreline never reflects the full story of what happens on a football pitch. Statistics, however, provide a more in-depth explanation that goes beyond the attention-grabbing headlines. Did the team actually play well and keep possession or were they just lucky to nick a scrappy goal? A data-centric approach eliminates a lot of the risks that come with soccer betting by taking into account all playing aspects.

Individual and Team Records

Want to know which team scores the most goals, or keeps the cleanest sheets? These statistics are great at assessing the recent forms of players and teams for both home and away matches and is extremely handy when the time comes for you to pick the best value bets. Head to head records can indicate which side will be more dominant and likely to get a favorable result.

Mathematical Models

Besides these popular statistics, there are a few other hidden treasures that are quite powerful in determining the future performances of teams. One such goldmine is the mathematical model of Poisson distribution, which is actually used for calculating the odds for soccer betting. Why not pit the system against itself to beat it?

xG

The hottest mathematical model used by top soccer clubs themselves is the Expected Goals (xG) Model. This method measures the number of goals a team could have potentially scored taking into account the amount and quality of shots created, rather than just directly looking at how many goals a team actually scored in the game. Perhaps the best illustration of this model has been provided by the famous soccer tactical analysis website 11tegen11.

Strategies

The Double Chance Bet: Team to Not Lose

This is a very attractive bet as it gives you two winning outcomes: a draw and a win. It is perfect for David vs Goliath match-ups that involve teams at the top and bottom ends of the table. Possibly the safest bet when it comes to domestic cup games where one team is from a lower division, it is also ideal for betting on teams that have a good home record and are playing at home against lower placed opposition.

Some managers like Manchester United’s Jose Mourinho are renowned for employing ‘negative’ tactics, shutting up show, and playing for a draw against teams that are stronger than them. The double chance bet should be used for such matches.

Bet On Teams That Concede or Score The Most Goals

Mid-table match-ups are hard to predict, but teams that fight for the league are either the ones that score the most goals, concede the fewest, or a combination of both. However, the odds for these elite teams such as Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Bayern Munich to name a few are fairly poor. Conversely, the minnows or ‘whipping boys’ of a league who linger around the bottom of the table and get thrashed week in, week out, have higher odds.

A shrewd strategy is to bet on teams at the extreme ends of the table, as both even seem to have contrasting lucks. We’ve witnessed how fortune seems to favor the top teams who routinely grind out wins even in injury time year after year, and how the teams that languish at the bottom of the table concede through unlucky deflections or incorrect calls by officials in the dying minutes of matches.

Bet Based On Home or Away Forms That Are Anomalies

The advantages of playing at home are often huge in soccer. An overwhelming majority of loud and supportive home fans can actually play the role of the 12th man, even intimidating the opposition players. It’s no surprise that a lot of good players and teams fail to come up with the goods at away games. Most league winning teams usually have next to spotless home records, and bookies take the home turf advantage into consideration while computing odds, which are lower for home wins.

All you have to do is find the teams that deviate from this home-advantage pattern and have better away results.

For instance, in the 2015-16 Bundesliga season, Darmstadt had a home record of 2 Wins, 6 Draws, and 9 Losses, compared to a much better away record of 7 Wins, 5 Draws, and 5 Losses. There are always teams that will play better away from home perhaps due to lower expectations and lesser pressure. Since most teams like to attack more when playing at home, they might play right into the hands of a counterattacking away team as they might be more open and vulnerable to conceding goals.

Bet On Teams To Draw Matches

As mentioned earlier, a lot of teams go into matches with a goal to not lose the game rather than to try and win it. This is most common between teams that have a lot of gulf in ability and is a common tactic applied by mid and lower table teams against opposition that hovers around the top of the league. It is not uncommon to see both teams struggling to break each other down, which makes draws the most likely outcome.

Draws also have quite high odds as it’s harder to predict for punters. The Asian Handicap odds, when set to 0, also offer reliable insight into predicting and identifying potential stalemates.

Bet In-Play Based On The Momentum

Soccer is a game of momentum. Matches are won and lost on spells that can last for a few minutes or even an entire half. This gives rise to a lot of betting opportunities. Often, a top team will come out to play against inferior opposition and take them for granted. They’ll start off slow and lethargic and look off the pace only to find themselves a goal down. Rest assured, a rollicking from the manager will give the players some much-needed sense of urgency and the momentum of the match will swing.

It might be a good idea to bet on a high number of corners in play for the pre-match favorites as they chase an equalizer, especially if they conceded around or after the hour mark. If a striker has looked sharp and menacing all game long but failed to find the back of the net, you should consider betting on him being the next goal scorer.

End to end games that are open and played at a high tempo often result in higher number of goals scored.

Player Transfer Bets

Make sure to read our transfer analysis of the players linked with moves. You should consider a wide variety of elements, such as the number of years left on the current contract, player wages, country and F.A.’s laws, and Financial Fair Play to name a few. Don’t believe all the twitter ITKs and social media rumors that fly around in the silly season; stick to the reliable journalists and sources for your news.

The well-known and popular leagues all offer lower odds than the obscure ones. Following and betting on teams from the lesser known leagues and divisions offers a high risk/high reward scenario that has the potential to make you a lot of money.

Helpful Tips

Understand the Soccer Betting Market

We have compiled a life-saving resource for you that aggregates all the different types of soccer bets. Before getting started, it is essential to have a good grasp of the terminology used in the betting sphere. Most beginners often fail to understand what these terms mean, which results in them losing money and any interest in betting.

A commonly misunderstood one is the HT/FT bet, which people confuse with the win both halves bet. The latter is only a winning outcome if the team you picked won in both halves separately; the former is a winning proposition when your team is winning at halftime, and then at full-time. For instance, a match where your team leads 1-0 at HT and ends at the same scoreline after 90 minutes is only a win if you bet HT/FT. In order to win the both halves bet, your team would have to win the second half separately which would take the score to at least 2-0 at FT.

Bet With your Head, Not With your Heart

If you’re getting into soccer betting, chances are high that you follow the sport and already have a favorite team. Yes, you love your team and want it to win ever so badly, but don’t do it unless you absolutely want to throw away your hard-earned money.

Avoid Unpredictable Games Such as Local Derbies

As the saying goes, “Form Goes Out the Window on Derby Day”. The pride and bragging rights associated with derby games means players put in that extra bit more to appease their fans and uphold the traditions of the club. Always unpredictable, these are best avoided.

Refrain from betting at the start of the season since you have no way of analyzing the sharpness of players returning from extended holidays. Pre-seasons are nowadays more for experimenting with the squad and raking in money for commercial sponsors, so they are not a good way of judging how teams will kick off their campaigns.

Compare Various Bookmakers

This is a no-brainer. Different bookies offer different returns, and for a minor inconvenience, you could either save yourself from losing that extra bit of cash that you had, or you could win that extra bit more to buy that latest gadget you’ve had your eyes on.

It is equally important to not be influenced by the predictions of pundits and others, and remain confident in your analysis.

But don’t get too cocky, nothing is more predictable than unpredictability when it comes to the world of soccer!

You’ve now learned the vast majority of skills required to maximize your chances of winning soccer bets. Go on, and use our strategies to make yourself a ton of money. Don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments section below. Let us know what helped you the most to beat the bookies!

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