Soccer Betting Tips

Successful Soccer Betting Strategies

Bet on a team not to lose.

A great type of bet is where your team doesn't even have to win for you to make money. It's called Double Chance, because you back two outcomes: a win and a draw. If you can identify a situation where one team is unlikely to lose, this kind of bet might be attractive to you. But keep in mind the odds will be lower than simply backing a team to win.

There are a several situations where this can be a useful bet, but one of the most common is when one team is playing for a draw. Try and pinpoint a game where one team's aim is simply not to lose. A club employing such a negative strategy will very rarely win. Even if they succeed in drawing the match, your Double Chance bet against them is a winner.

Another time this bet comes is handy is when a team is missing their key striker who scores most of their goals. Some clubs rely on a single player up front, and when he's injured they become useless at scoring goals. Quite often the odds won't adjust far enough to reflect this. So you can bet against those teams and be fairly confident the best they can do is draw.

There are other types of bets which are equivalent to Double Chance. The half ball Asian Handicap (+0.5 or +1/2) lets you combine a win bet and a draw. Similarly, laying a team to lose on a betting exchange like Betfair has the same effect.

Back teams that know how to score goals.

If you're risking hard-earned cash on a bet, at least back a team you can count on to score. Try and avoid encounters between mediocre teams who sit in the middle of the league table. Often these matches are most unpredictable: a home win, away win and draw are all feasible results.

An alternative is to look for powerful, high scoring teams that have no trouble finding the back of the net. These are often the elite clubs of a league: Bayern Munich, AC Milan, Barcelona etc. But this is what most amateur punters do, so the bookies will almost always offer poor odds on the best teams.

A better strategy is to bet against extremely weak teams. Every league has one or two hopeless sides who lose every weekend. These bottom-dwellers are sometimes given too much credit by the bookmakers. Look for a situation where a decent or even below average club is playing at home against a dreadfully bad away team (one of those clubs that's 0-1-9 on the road for example). The bookie will often set the odds on the home side slightly below even money, say at 1.75 when it should really be much lower, like 1.50. Similarly the Asian Handicap will be -3/4 ball when it should be at least -1. If you can identify the whipping boys of a league, this is exactly the sort of situation where it's profitable to bet against them.

Believe it or not, luck can play a role in this type of strategy. Talented teams make their own luck and find a way to win (how many times have we seen Juventus or Chelsea sneak a 90th minute goal and win 1-0?). On the flip side, weak teams are often unlucky and the bounces just seem to go against them.

Look for unusual home and away form

Playing on home turf is a big advantage in most football leagues. Support from the thousands of screaming fans gives a boost to the home club and intimidates the visitors. Teams noticeably struggle in away games, and even top clubs can't replicate their home form. Of course, the bookies know this as well as anyone, which is why the odds are shorter on a team playing in their own stadium.

But there are exceptions to the rule, and these can be very profitable if you find them.

Some teams won't fit the pattern and will actually play better away from home.

Here are a few examples from the 2005/2006 season in England, Italy and Spain:

Wigan home: 7 wins, 3 draws, 9 losses
Wigan away: 8 wins, 3 draws, 8 losses

Treviso home: 1 win, 4 draws, 13 losses
Treviso away: 1 win, 8 draws, 10 losses

Deportivo home: 6 wins, 5 draws, 8 losses
Deportivo away: 9 wins, 5 draws, 4 losses

As you can see, Wigan, Deportivo and Treviso all had better records on the road. There are various explanations for this. Sometimes a team feels too much pressure from its home fans. Other teams adopt different playing styles and tactics in away games, which are often more successful than their game strategy at home.

But how does this affect your betting? Even though we've spotted this unusual pattern, the bookies will continue to make their odds assuming these teams have a bigger home advantage than they actually do. That creates value betting opportunities, because the odds on Wigan, Deportivo and Treviso will be bigger than they should be in away games. Similarly, it is worth betting against these teams when they play at home, because the bookies are factoring in home advantage where there is none.

Bet on the draw

A lot of punters have a hard time predicting draws, so it's not surprising the draw isn't the most popular type of bet out there. It's much more fun rooting for a win anyway. So why bet on a stalemate? Because it pays well! Draws shouldn't be the most frequent outcome you pick, but there are times when it makes sense to back them. Try and find a match where both teams will have a tough time breaking each other down. One way of doing this is looking for matches between an in-form mid-table side playing at home against a top-table away side. For example, match-ups from the 2005-2006 season that fit this profile might be Bolton vs. Liverpool, Lazio vs. Juventus, or Villarreal vs. Real Madrid. The visiting team has the quality to escape the game without losing, but they also have trouble scoring against an in-form home side. Both teams in this situation are happy to settle for a draw, and that is quite often the result. Another quick and easy way to identify potential draws is to study the Asian Handicap odds. Look for games where the handicap is set to (0) or level ball. This implies both teams are relatively evenly matched and the bookies don't want to offer a head start to either team. Games like this tend to draw more often than you might think.