What is a successful football betting strategy? Some imagine accumulator bets with over 7 events and a stake of £5 turning into potential winnings going into the thousands. However, we’re here to tell you while winning accas is a great way of making a profit off football betting, the probability of winning one is quite low, and you will probably waste a good deal of your budget just waiting for this betting strategy to work out.
In this article, we’ve compiled a few alternative football betting strategies which have worked for many successful punters in the past. Read on to learn more about different ways to achieve consistent successful football bets!
- Popular Football Betting Strategies
- Best Betting Sites for Football Betting
- Ideal Football Betting Markets To Bet on
- Betting on Over/Under Markets
- Finding Value Bets
- Risk Management in Football Betting – Placing the Right Wagers
- Guidelines for a Managing Risk in Football Betting
- Statistics and Football Trends To Look Out for
- ThePuntersPage Final Say
Popular Football Betting Strategies
Many professional punters will claim to have created ‘the best’ football betting strategy; having said that, as in all other sports betting scenarios, anything can happen during a football match – some things are just less likely than others. Certainty is something which no one can guarantee, and unless you’re using a free bet, your stake will always be at risk.
In this section, we mention some of the most popular football betting strategies around so that you can familiarise yourself with the most common practices and choose the one you think will be the best football betting system for you.
Football Betting Strategy #1 – Follow Tipsters
- Online tipsters offer great ways of finding some great value bets, however many normally require a subscription fee to gain access to their betting tips.
Football Betting Strategy #2 – The Kelly Criterion Method
- This mathematical calculation will help you to determine which bets are to be considered value bets and what stakes to place. It can be considered an alternative to the Kickform Value Bet Calculator to spot bets where the odds and the probability of a correct outcome are in the punter’s favour, helping you determine what percentage of your bankroll you should be betting. The calculation here is based on the estimated probability of winning and the odds offered.
Formula: [([Decimal odds – 1] x estimated probability of winning) – estimated probability of losing] ÷ [decimal odds – 1]
If the answer is positive, then you should multiply the answer by your bankroll to determine the stake to place.
If the answer is negative, then you should either consider placing an opposing bet or looking at a totally different market to bet on which will have more perceived value.
Kelly Criterion Method in action
Let’s say we wish to see what stake to place on Arsenal who are playing away to Leicester City at odds of 2.87 while on a good run. The probability of winning is deemed to be 48%. Thus, the calculation will look like this:
[([2.87 – 1] x 0.48) – 0.52] ÷ [2.87 – 1] = 0.2019
The answer is positive, so we will need to multiply the answer by the bankroll. Effectively, this method suggests placing 20% of our bankroll as a stake.
Football Betting Strategy #3 – Backing the Match Favourites
- This might be the easiest online betting system to follow. The idea here is simply to back the heavy favourites (odds of less than 1.25). Once again, this method is not 100% safe, however the match favourites are favourites for a reason.
- This method builds profits up slowly but surely – bear mind mind, though, that it is more difficult to recover any losses since the margins being made on winning bets are quite low when compared to accas or more elaborate bets.
Football Betting Strategy #4 – Making Good Use of System Bets
- Once you’ve found yourself a value bet or maybe more than one, you may consider putting together an acca with all of them so as to increase the possible winnings. Rather than placing a single acca, we suggest placing a system bet such as a Heinz, Lucky 15, Lucky 63 or Canadian. In this way, you are guaranteed a return if a minimum of 1 of the outcomes is correct. The winnings then increase exponentially as more outcomes are confirmed to be correct. If more than half the outcomes placed in the system bet are correct, you are guaranteed a profit.
Football Betting Strategy #5 – Matched Betting with Free Bets
- Many bookmakers often offer punters free bet promotions, and naturally we suggest you make use of these as much as possible. The next step to ensure a profit in this situation would be to place a lay bet against your free bet at a betting exchange site.
- A lay bet is a bet placed on the opposing team as your free bet, thus guaranteeing a return regardless of which team wins the match. For example, if you place a free bet on Juventus who are playing against Napoli, you may place a lay bet on Napoli at some other betting site. Here we suggest using a different site than the one which you placed the other one at. This helps prevent raising alarms related to matched betting to the bookmaker.
- For this sports betting technique, we suggest researching which betting site has the better odds, and then betting on matches in which teams are evenly matched since there is an opportunity of finding the opponents listed as the favourite team from different sites. For example, if Chelsea were to take on Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League, you might have Liverpool as the favourite on bet365 but Chelsea as the favourite on Paddy Power, so you would place bets on both and make a profit if either wins. This is also a form of arbitrage betting.
Best Betting Sites for Football Betting
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Ideal Football Betting Markets To Bet on
To get closer to an optimal football bet, it is not enough to use the tendencies of the most recent matches as a basis for your bet. We do not suggest solely relying on your gut instinct or simply trusting your intuition. Instead, we suggest opting for a proficient football betting strategy which can be put together by analysing relevant figures and statistics.
This is especially important when betting on Over/Under bets, detecting Value Bets and defining a proficient risk management strategy. In this article, we go over the most important basics for creating scientific betting strategies, so you know where and how to really get started.
Betting on Over/Under Markets
Over/Under bets are some of the most popular betting selections in football betting strategies, allowing you to bet on whether the total number of goals scored in a match will be more or less than a certain figure. You might also bet on other factors, like the number of yellow cards, corners and many more; however, the most common type is betting on goals scored. Due to this, we will stick to this type of the Over/Under bet for our overview.
Most bookmakers will very often offer the classic Over 2.5-goals or Under 2.5-goals selections. Below we will answer questions such as: Which football betting strategy will make you successful in the long run? What details should you take into consideration?
Take Home and Away Performances Into Account
The Home or Away record of a team has a considerable indicating value of whether 2.5 goals (so at least 3) or under 2.5 goals (so no more than 2) will be scored. Many teams play better in front of their own crowd and gain more points than in away matches. The numbers from the 2018/19 Premier League season (when fans were present for all matches) prove this: Home teams score 1.57 goals on average, while Away teams only reach 1.25 goals on average.
The below example from the Premier League 2018-19 season shows that these factors have a larger predictive value than the number of goals scored on average in the whole season (so Home and Away matches combined).
Chelsea managed to score an average of 2.05 goals when playing in front of their home crowd at Stamford Bridge. Despite fielding a 4-3-3 in nearly each match, the choice of players and different match preparation for away games meant that they scored less goals on the run. In fact, Chelsea only managed an average of 1.26 goals scored when playing away. This difference in goal scoring frequency would not have been apparent if one was simply looking at the general average of goals scored per game by the Blues (1.66).On the flip side, Crystal Palace, under Roy Hodgson’s lead, were approaching home matches with a more defensive-minded style of play, trying to concede as little space as possible to opponents and hitting hard on the counter attack. When playing away they were playing with a more adventurous style of play, open to scoring more goals however also open to conceding more goals too. In fact, the average of goals scored while playing home was 1.00 while the average of goals scored away was 1.68. When speaking about goals conceded, they succeeded in conceding less at home on average (1.21) than they conceded away (1.58).
Take Direct Encounters Into Account & What Not To Do
The results of direct encounters also let you assess whether you should bet on Over or Under 2.5 goals. It may quite possibly happen that teams play offensively and score many goals for the whole season, but in a direct encounter, almost no goals are being scored. This may be the result of the tactical line-up or the situation in the league. The opposite is also possible, with teams playing defensively without scoring any goals; a direct encounter might actually make for a goal fest.
- Do not analyse matches that are too outdated
When analysing direct encounters, you should not go too far back in history. Encounters from the last 3 years are especially significant. If you go too far back, completely different teams, managers and thus, other tactical orientations would have dominated the match, thus affecting the result of your analysis.
- Do not analyse too few matches
Don’t just take one or two encounters between the two teams into account – analyse at least 3 games. There are always clashes that are out of the ordinary and that represent outliers in the statistics. To avoid this, and to be able to make a better forecast, it is important to evaluate a good number of matches.
Assess Frequency Instead of Averages
Goals scored by a team may be a useful value when you assess whether to bet on Over or Under 2.5 goals or not. At the same time, they may be a bit of an annoyance. If you only consider the average figure of goals scored in a match, outliers in your statistics might lead you to false conclusions. An example from the Bundesliga season of 2014/15 serves to underline this important point:
After 12 matchdays, games played by VfB Stuttgart, which amounted to an average of 3.33 goals per match, seemed to offer safe bets for over 2.5 goals to be scored. However, after analysing each match, it soon becomes clear that this statistic is misleading. Among these 12 matches, there were 7 matches with less than 2.5 goals (and only 5 with more than 2.5 goals). In the 5 games with more than 2.5 goals, the teams scored 8, 6, 5, 4 and 5 goals. So, although the average number of goals does appear to be high, you are actually more likely to lose an Over 2.5 Goals bet than win it.
An example of Mainz 05 from the 2014/15 season emphasises this further:
Within the first 12 matches of the season, matches played by Mainz 05 displayed a goal average of 2.42 goals scored per match. At a surface glance, this seems to suggest that you should place an Under 2.5 Goals bet and expect to win it. However, if you take a closer look at each of Mainz’s matches, you will find that less than 2.5 goals were scored only in 5 of their matches. In 7 matches, they actually struck more than 2.5 goals. Here, just as before, simply reviewing the individual matches can explain the supposed contradiction: among the matches with under 2.5 goals, 3 were draws without any goals scored. And, among the matches with more than 2.5 goals, there was no match where more than 4 goals were scored.
Conclusion: When carrying out an Over/Under goal analysis before placing your bet, you should refrain from mean values and instead include frequency in your calculations. Always ask yourself: in how many matches played by team X were more than (and less than) 2.5 goals scored?
Include More Than Just Goals in Your Statistics
Scored goals may carry significance for future results; however, you should work with more indicators for Over / Under bets to define the exact potential of a team. Keep in mind any shots on goal and opportunities allowed. Check the shot conversion rate: how many goalscoring opportunities does a team need to score a goal? How many goalscoring opportunities does the opponent need on average to score a goal against said team?
Goals might be the obvious indicator for an Over / Under bet. Statistically, however, goals are often volatile, and therefore do not serve as a strong enough indicator to make safe predictions for your bets.
Remember that most bettors only go by the end results of matches, and that bookmakers use this attitude for the creation of their odds. If you include more than just goals in your predictions, you can give yourself an edge over most bookmakers.
Treat Short-Term Trends with Caution
The ongoing performance level of a team is often considered to be an important indicator for Over / Under bets by rookie punters. However, do not let your prediction be influenced too much by this. A high number of scored goals or goal opportunities does not always recur in future football matches, as there many different opponent factors (such as attitude and rank within the league) that have a significant impact on the number of goals. Instead, look at the last 20 matches of the team in question, and check how often they scored Over or Under 2.5 goals.
Take Circumstances and Date into Account
Apart from match statistics, circumstances as well as date of the match should also be taken into account. Pay special attention to:
- How both teams acted in similar situations
- How previous games ended when one team was considered an underdog
- Whether a prolific striker or an important defender will miss the match (due to illness, injury or ban)
- Whether one of the teams has already reached its goals for the season (champion, retained their ranking, etc.) and might, therefore, be less motivated to score goals
- How far the season already has progressed, since each phase features a higher or lower “goal probability”.
If you include these factors in your analysis, you can gain a lead over many other bettors.
Question Exotic Bets
Apart from data and facts which directly concern the match, it is also a good idea to question the bookmaker’s odds for Over/Under bets. Do the odds for a match seem too high to you?
Avoid betting blindly – calculate the commission that the bookmaker charges. Ordinarily, bookmakers who account for such odds charge a commission which is significantly above the average.
Such odds may only rarely be found for Over/Under bets on 2.5 goals, but they can be found for more exotic bets such as Over/Under 4.5 goals. However, it will be considerably more difficult to find useful statistics to analyse for such bets.
In this case, if you feel that you can’t carry out your usual analysis, you should look out for Value Bets instead. However, if you have found odds that seem implausible or unlikely, check their value and the bookmaker’s commission.
Finding Value Bets
Detecting Value Bets form the start of every betting strategy – they are the basis from which you'll be able to steadily generate profit. A value bet is one where the probability of the result and the odds are mismatched in the punter's favour.
For example, let’s say we take a Premier League match between Manchester City and Norwich with City playing home. The probability of Man City taking 3 points from the match would be close to 85%, so if the odds are at anything above 1.2, then a bet with those odds would be considered a Value Bet. The most important piece of information in calculating a Value Bet would be the percentage chance of an event happening. This is where we suggest using Kickform’s Prediction Calculator.
Calculate Your Value Bet with the KickForm Value Bets Finder
- To check whether you found a Value Bet, multiply our calculated KickForm probability in percentage by the bookmaker’s odds. Afterwards, divide the result by 100.
(Outcome probability in percentage x bookmaker’s odds) ÷ 100 = Result
If the result is more than 1, you have found a Value Bet. As a rule of thumb, you should keep in mind that the higher above 1 the figure is, the more value the bet has. If the result is under 1, it is not a Value Bet.
Paris Saint-Germain is going to play AS Monaco. The KickForm Algorithm has calculated that PSG will leave the pitch as winner with a probability of 55%. The bookmakers offer you odds of 2.0. Is this a Value Bet?(55% x 2.0) ÷ 100 = 1.1As we can see, the result has amounted to more than 1, so we have found a Value Bet.
Risk Management in Football Betting – Placing the Right Wagers
If you have found Value Bets, you need to work out the correct wagers. If you want to consistently profit off your bets, it is important to set up a good risk management strategy that protects your capital and prevents it from decreasing. So – what’s the best way to manage your money?
a) Flat Wagers
For flat wagers, you should always use a small percentage of your total starting budget – normally within the single-digit percentage area. This approach helps you minimise the risk of losing money. At the same time, it will take a while until your budget increases. Therefore, in the long run, flat wagers are suited for more cautious bettors who want to play it safe. If you are a rather patient bettor, this strategy might lead you to success.
b) Dynamic Wagers
With dynamic wagers, you are not guided by your starting budget. That way, your set betting amount doesn’t stay the same but (ideally) increases over time.
You start with a betting budget of £100 and put 2% of your budget on your first bet. Consequently, your wager is £2. Let’s say you win the bet and get £4 in return. Your budget now amounts to £102. For your next bet, you place 2% of your current budget, which now amounts to £102. Therefore, you place £2.04 on your next bet.
Dynamic wagers not only facilitate an exponential increase of your profits, but also your losses. Both consequently turn out higher than in the case of flat wagers.
c) Adjustable Wagers
With flexible wagers, your bets are detached from your starting or current betting budget; instead, you base your betting amounts on other criteria. Many bettors take the factor of risk into account, and decide how much money they want to place depending on how safe they think their bets are. This basically boils down to the punter's football knowledge and how informed they are about the different football markets available, which may allow them to balance the risk vs reward ratio.
d) Progressive Wagers
For progressive wagers, you should always think back to whether you have won or lost your last bet(s). If you have recently lost a bet, double your wager for the next bet. You should keep doing so until you win. If you have won a bet, stick to your last wager. For these types of bets, you need enough betting capital and a high risk disposition.
1. Bet: wager £5 – lost
2. Bet: wager £10 – lost
3. Bet: wager £20 – lost
4. Bet: wager £40 – won
In the above example, we initially made a loss of £35 from the first three bets, and then went on to a win of £40 from the fourth bet. On balance, we made a profit of £5.
Many bettors begin progressive betting with a small betting amount, since it grows exponentially with each loss. If the odds are high enough, you might as well reduce the increase of said betting amount. In this case, you don’t double your betting amount after a lost bet, but increase it only by 25% or 50%.
Alternatively, you can also double your budget only after two or three lost bets in a row. Both alternatives reduce your risk and therefore, the risk of loss. This type of betting system is also known as the Martingale Staking Method.
Which Football Betting Strategy Is the Best?
There’s no clear answer to this. You might be able to discover attractive bets with the help of research and tools such as our KickForm ValueBets Finder; however, the final result of the match and whether you win your bet depends on many other factors, as well as chance.
Flat and dynamic wagers are very popular – brave bettors who work with wagers can quickly increase their betting budget with good bets and some luck. However, it can only take a few lost bets until the bettor has lost all their money. More cautious players who work with flat wagers need a longer “run” to decisively increase their budget. On the other hand, a few lost bets don’t hurt them as much, since their budget shrinks at a slower rate.
Eventually, you need to decide what type of bettor you are. If you enjoy taking risks, you should go with dynamic wagers. If you would rather take a more cautious approach and try your luck for some time, flat wagers are better suited to you.
A professional risk management that enables you to protect your betting capital but doesn’t hinder you from making profits demands a combination of both strategies. For some ideas on proficient risk management, you should keep the following points in mind.
Guidelines for a Managing Risk in Football Betting
1. Keep Multiple Online Betting Accounts!
To use flat wager with dynamic wagers effectively and profit from the advantages of both strategies, you should keep multiple betting accounts. That way you can test both strategies. Losses on one account may, when skilfully planned, be compensated through wins on the other account.
2. Adjust Your Wagers Flexibly!
You do not need an especially rigid bankroll management strategy. Instead, you can switch between flat and dynamic wagers (within an account). If, for example, you made losses with your last bets, adjust your next few wagers and use smaller amounts.
Another suggestion would be to plan your football betting strategy around your budget. Play with dynamic wagers until you fall under your starting budget and then play with flat wagers to break your free fall. Like this, you can prevent gambling away everything in your bankroll. If you end up above your former starting budget, you can then switch back to dynamic wagers again.
3. Let Your Online Bookmaker Set Limits!
Most bookmakers will allow you to set betting limits. The bookmaker then controls your planned wagers and protects you from suffering overly large losses. It is quite easy to get carried away with sports betting, especially when it’s a sport you’re passionate about, such as football. Setting limits for yourself will prove to be a useful safety net in case things get out of hand.
4. Do Your Research!
If you want to place successful wagers consistently, it is important to do extensive research before each bet. Do not solely rely on luck or your gut instinct; be productive and look up as many relevant facts and data for each game as you can.
The urge to trust your gut on football bets will be best satisfied whenever you have free bets available. In any other situation, we suggest adopting a logical football betting strategy as you try to accurately predict outcomes. The only way to beat a system built on mathematical calculations is to fight back with mathematics itself to build profitable betting strategies.
Statistics and Football Trends To Look Out for
The world of football statistics needs to become your playing field. We’ve put together a number of match statistics you would need to keep an eye on, regardless of which football betting strategy you decide to use. As mentioned earlier, research is paramount – so here’s what we suggest you start looking for:
Rather than only looking at the stats related to goals scored, we suggest looking at the xG (expected goals) which the team registers. Given the existence of a home advantage, we suggest looking at the difference in xG for a particular team when playing at home and when playing away. You can then compare these stats to the conversion rate so that you may quantify how dangerous the team’s attack is and measure its success rate.
These findings will help you when deciding how to place over/under bets, correct scores or even betting on the total shots (or shots on target) for a team.
- Keep in mind that if the teams facing each other are coming from different leagues, you must take the results of the statistical research with a pinch of salt, because the opposition faced in one league cannot be directly compared to the opposition faced in another.
In addition to the above, we suggest looking at the both teams’ defensive record to help you determine how many goal scoring opportunities they might concede to the opposition. Having both the attacking and defending trends will help you balance out what you think the most possible outcome could be.
This info could help in simply deciding which team will win the match or deciding which team will manage to keep a clean sheet or not. Ultimately these figures could also shed light on a possible correct score. Once you have this data at hand, it will be easier to decide which betting market to choose to implement your chosen betting strategies.
Fouls Per Match
When betting on cards, we suggest gathering information with regards to the number of fouls per game by a particular team so as to get an idea of their overall discipline. This could help when betting on the total number of cards in a game or the total number of cards for a particular team in a game.
A particular niche market which normally has very high odds would be betting on a particular player to be booked. By combining the pre-match info about the team’s discipline with the amount of fouls a player has already committed during the match, you may find yourself in a position to place an in-play bet on a player who has already committed a few fouls but who hasn’t been sanctioned with a yellow card yet – a golden opportunity to place a small stake on odds which are normally still relatively high. Here we suggest taking note of the amount of substitutions left in the match so as to avoid the risk of having that player subbed off, and whether the particular player is just one yellow card away from missing the next match.
Gather Info About the Current Situation
Each football match has its own story and no fixture is the same as a previous one. Even if the two teams playing each other have recently met, the upcoming match presents a different situation. This could be due to which players are currently injured or suspended, the progress made in the league, which team is playing at home, current form, whether the fans are allowed at the stadium, and so on. We suggest having a look at the points mentioned earlier on when discussing over/under bets.
- Keep in mind that if the teams facing each other are coming from different leagues, you must take the results of the statistical research with a pinch of salt, because the opposition faced in one league cannot be directly compared to the opposition faced in another.
Football Betting Strategy FAQs
There is no bet which is 100% guaranteed; however, placing low, flat wagers on heavy favourites is one of the safest options. Naturally the risk reward ratio states that the higher the risk, the higher the possible reward.
There are various betting strategies out there, but really and truly, they are only as complicated as you wish them to be. Simple strategies could be as effective as the more elaborate ones.
It is the act of placing a bet and then placing a lay bet against it so that you receive a return regardless of the outcome. Normally this is done using free bets.
Different bookmakers tackle this issue differently – however, we always suggest placing lay bets on separate bookmakers.
If the balance in your bankroll is more than it was at the starting point, then you’re making an overall profit. This does not take any withdrawals or separate betting sites into consideration, though, so we suggest keeping track of your betting activity on a simple spreadsheet.
ThePuntersPage Final Say
Betting blindly is probably the furthest away from generating a sustainable profit from your betting endeavours, so this article has highlighted some of the most popular strategies to help you decide on an overall football betting strategy for yourself.
Whether it’s looking up betting tips or developing your own elaborate accumulator betting calculations, having a football betting strategy is always better than not having one. At the end of the day, your betting experience will generate a learning curve if you’re wise enough to take notes as you go along.