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How do professionals bet on football?

Five classic games in which you are back in the money


In this digital age, placing a bet on your favourite football team has become a popular way to get more fun out of the game.

It’s all the more reason to get immersed in the action, and if the team wins, it’s a double celebration, as you get some cash in your pocket too. Betting on sport in this way is a perfect example of the heart ruling the head. You back the team because you’re a supporter, and the odds on offer and the question of whether they are a hot favourite or rank outsider doesn’t come into it.

There’s nothing wrong with betting for fun in this way. But of course there are some who take sports betting deadly seriously. For them, it is all about maximising their chances of a win, and sentiment doesn’t come into it. Let’s take a look at football betting from the perspective of the pros and see what strategic tips we can pick up.

Explore different ways of wagering

There are dozens of bookmaker apps to choose from, and they include familiar names like Bet 365, Paddy Power, Coral and all the rest. Don’t make the mistake of thinking they are all the same. These days, there is more to betting than simply placing a couple of pounds on which team you think is going to win.

Check out a bookmaker comparison site for special sign up offers and different ways of betting, for example in the football futures market. Sign up offers are a great way to try out these different options, and if you decide they are not for you, you can simply request a refund.

Do your homework

Knowing all about your favourite football team is great, but it will only get you so far in football betting. You need to look at every aspect of the game, including its context within the tournament.

For example, the FA Cup has become legendary for giant-killing results in the early stages. This is because some of the bigger teams make a conscious decision that tournaments like this just aren’t such a high priority when they are also battling to stay up in the Premier League, or perhaps fight for a place in Europe. For the smaller team, however, it can often be the biggest game that many of the players will be involved in in their entire careers.

Think about external aspects

Here, we are talking about the weather conditions and numerous other factors. Again, FA Cup matches can throw international stars off their game when they are played at club grounds with muddy pitches and basic facilities. The trick is to spot factors that might influence the outcome that others might have missed.

For example, in Copa Liberatadores a few years back, Bolivar had seemingly surprising wins against first Santos and then Universidad de Chile. However, these were played at La Paz and Quito, two of the highest altitude cities on the planet. That was always going to give Bolivar an edge.

Hone your strategy

To pro gamblers, sports betting is a business. They approach the financial side just like any entrepreneur, initially managing spending till they identify the business line that is worthy of more investment. In other words, start with small bets and carefully monitor what works and what doesn’t.

To do this, you need to keep exhaustive records of the bets you place and how they pan out. Make no mistake, it is a lot of work, both in terms of recording all the data and then analysing the results. Put in the effort, though, and it will pay dividends, just like a programme of continuous improvement in a business context. In time, you’ll be able to identify which bets, tournaments and teams are your strengths.

It’s not over at the final whistle

When you are betting for fun, you either collect your winnings or chalk the loss down to experience and move on to look at the next game. In doing so, you are ignoring useful data that a pro gambler will absorb and use.

It might sound strange, but the result of a specific bet is only of passing interest to the professional – he knows he’ll win some and lose some. What matters is how the game panned out and whether the evaluation he went through before kick off was accurate. Did the teams perform as expected? Were there any assumptions that turned out to be completely wrong? It’s all information that will inform the next bet, and the one after.

Keep focused on the big picture

As we mentioned in the previous section, being a pro gambler is not about winning every bet – if there was a way to make that happen, the punters in question would patent it, sell it and every bookmaker in the world would soon go out of business. Winning and losing streaks are all part of gambling, and professionals don’t pay too much attention to them.

Where the hobby bettors often go wrong is in changing their strategy when something goes right, or wrong. A run of wins is good news and means you turn a profit. The last thing you should do is immediately sink it in higher stakes for the next bet, or you’ll soon find all those winnings have evaporated.

Similarly, a run of bad results doesn’t mean you should change everything in a panic. By all means keep tweaking your strategy, but do so with your eye firmly fixed on the big picture, not just the last couple of results.

Bet with your head, not your heart

Ultimately, this is the biggest difference between the pro gambler and the fan who places a bet for fun. The pro will examine all the odds with a view to identifying where the bookmaker has been incautious or overly generous. How he feels about the team, and which one he “wants” to win doesn’t come into the equation at all.



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