After having opened accounts with several bookmakers,
getting to know their rules and procedures, and after
analysing your risk- and betting profile, it's time to
get down to business. It's time to pick games, it's time
to consider what's good bets, what's good odds, get a
market view, gather info about teams and events, etc. By
following these simple steps, you should be well on your
Get an overview
Find out who's offering what. Get a view of the
assortment from several bookies. Use the Internet, and
visit the bookmaker sites. Make use of an excellent free
Betbrain, who compares odds presented by most
It's important to superficially scan the assortment
before you start examining the assortment more
carefully. We mention this because if you are updated on
the event, you'll automatically know when a good object
comes your way. Often you don't need to run a thorough
analysis on a match in order to decide whether to bet on
it or not.
If you have to analyse every match you want to bet on,
you don't know as much about the participating teams as
you should in order to make a sound bet. If you can't
decide upon whether to bet or not to bet on an event,
perhaps it isn't a good object after all. Do not pay too
much attention to the odds offered in this phase, just
notice the events you feel "must" have a certain
The most common way of betting is to pick an object
based on genuine belief of a certain outcome. First pick
the object based on belief, and then check the prices
offered. This is how the average punter operates. Very
often, the average punter will have decided his bet long
before he's even seen the price offered. Sometimes the
decision is based on a mix of genuine belief, and good
price offered. By "genuine belief" I mean the hunch, or
the feeling you've got before you've checked the table,
the form, statistics, etc.
Let it be said: Use of
statistical analysis should not be the only criteria
when choosing betting objects. It should only be used as
additional information to a genuine belief. Only use
statistics when you are in slight doubt about the object
and as a supplement to objects you've singled out
through criteria mentioned further down on this page.
With statistics we mean league tables, form tables, 5-
and 10-year statistics, etc.
It's very wise to have a check on the participating
teams' injury situation before placing a bet. The bookie
presents his odds long before the match kicks off, and
bookies are not necessarily updated on the injury
situation. Punters have here a rare advantage on the
bookie, because punters can stay updated on injuries to
the last minutes before kick-off. But if you have
singled out an object, don't change your plan only
because an unexpected injury occurs. If several key
members of the team gets unexpectedly injured, then you
should consider your pick (especially if it's a team
with a rather thin squad, dependant on their key
personnel). Also pay attention to reports of viruses,
squads suffering from the flu, etc. Very often during
the winter, squads are depleted due to flu or viruses.
Type of match
The outcome of a match is often dependant on what kind
of match it is. Is it an international, a cup game, a
league game, a pre-season friendly, etc? National cups
are often difficult to predict, especially less
important cup games (like the league cup). In England,
the league cup still has some importance, but in
Germany, France, Spain and Italy, the big teams rarely
put any great effort in the league cup.
And be aware of cup finals. Even though media has made
one of the teams a huge favourite, it's still a cup
final, and very often an open encounter. International
matches or important European cup matches are generally
easier to predict than other league- or cup matches.
Friendly internationals often end with a draw, while
important internationals rarely end with an away
victory. Playing on home soil seems to be very important
in international matches. And don't forget that a
nations pride is at stake. Generally, internationals are
"easy" to predict.
Our advice is to avoid national cups in France, Italy
Spain and Germany, and be careful in England as well
(the top teams often play with a very young and
inexperienced team in the League Cup, but generally the
League Cup has a higher standing in England than in the
other big European leagues).
The European Cups are different. In the early rounds
there can be some surprises, as the big guns are happy
just to scrape through to the next round, but as the
going gets tougher, results are often relatively easy to
predict, as the home teams tend to win quite easily.
It's well known that the Italian league is easier to
predict than other leagues. Top teams versus underdogs
rarely end with a surprise result, and when the top
teams meet, a draw is always in the cards. In England
results are often very unpredictable in the first and
final quarters of the season. In mid-season, results are
very predictable, especially in the Premier League.
English Division 1 has been very open in recent years,
and the less fancied teams beat the well-known teams
more often than before. Germany has become more
unpredictable than it used to be only a few years ago.
But still the top teams are very reliable at home. The
French and Spanish leagues are also leagues with a high
home win percentage. The French league is very similar
to the Italian league regarding amount of home
victories. One team in particular, Bastia, is one of the
best home teams in Europe. When they play at home on
Corsica, it seems that a draw is the best the away team
can hope for...
The top teams in Europe often play a huge amount of
games each season, thus they need to make priorities on
which competitions to go for. It's virtually impossible
for top teams to challenge seriously in every
competition, due to the strain on the players. Very
often top teams field a weakened side in competitions
with a low priority.
The national cups in Germany, France, Spain, and to some
extent Italy, are examples of this. Top teams often bow
out to a much weaker side in the early rounds. In
France, it's a rarity when there are 2 or more top
division sides left in the quarterfinals. Even in
England, teams like Manchester United are known to rest
their top players in the league cup.
During the season run-in, mid-table teams, with little
to play for, often beat top teams with medals in sight,
or desperate teams looking to survive. Nothing to play
for means little pressure and often these teams play
very well. Of course, the opposite also happens. This
has all to do with psychology and be aware of these
kinds of games. Even already relegated teams can play
better after their fate has been decided. The pressure's
off, and suddenly they start to play well again. Stay
away from these kinds of games, they are usually
difficult to predict.
Local derbies are always special. Pay attention to these
games. Derbies do tend to end with a draw, as the fear
of losing exceeds the will to win.
Early rounds in the European Cups can bring surprises,
as the favourite "never" plays to his best if it's a
first leg away game. The top teams know they can do it
all at home in the second leg, and often settle for a
dull draw or a minor loss.
Do not bother betting at friendlies, whether its
internationals, pre-season, testimonials or show
matches. It's a waste of money, although international
friendlies are easier to predict than other friendlies.
International friendlies often end with draw, because
there is nothing at stake.
Time of year
The season in most European leagues starts in August and
ends in May. During the first quarter of the season
(September to October), results can be very
unpredictable, and often less fancied teams bet the more
well known teams. This is the time to bet on highly
priced underdogs. Also be careful with the first rounds
in the European cups. The top teams are just happy to
scrape through to the next round, and matches are easier
to predict after a few rounds.
From November to March, the leagues have usually
settled, and things are back to normal. Results seem to
be "normal", and the assumed top teams win their matches
with ease. This is the time when the promoted teams
start to feel the pace, and loosing their grips after a
good start to the campaign.
During the run-in (last quarter), results may not be so
easy to predict. Low table teams often beat the top
teams, and form doesn't count for so much anymore. The
bottom teams are desperate, and this makes this part of
the season difficult for punters. It might pay off to
have small bets on the underdogs, instead of heavy money
on the favourites.
tables should not be used as a pick criterion at all
during the first months of the season, as they count for
nothing in this period. Wait for the season to settle,
and only start to use the tables after about a quarter
of the season.
League tables should never be used as the only criteria
when picking a betting object. Remember that bookies use
league tables, form tables and 5- or 10-year statistics
when they decide what odds to offer.
Form is the major criteria used by bookies to decide
prices. Therefore, form teams are almost always
recognised by bookies, and the prices reflect this. A
team that has won its last 4 matches is rarely given
good odds by the bookie. You have to identify a team in
form as early as possible, in order to get good prices
before the bookie discovers it. Often you can assume a
change in form, not necessarily based on results, but on
reports on how the team has played, even though results
haven't been that good.
During the course of a season teams will hit periods of
good fortune, and periods with really bad luck. Teams
can play very badly for a period, then a change of
management turn things upside down, and the team hits a
winning streak. It's vital to your success to identify
these periods early on, before bookies become aware.
Some punters do not take 5 or 10-year statistics into
consideration at all when picking objects. Successful
punters do not use these statistics as a vital
criterion, but if other criteria like form and league
table indicate a good object and the 5-year statistics
shows the opposite, the object is often dropped. 5-year
statistics can indicate a team’s psychological
superiority, but do not pay too much attention to these
criteria unless form and league table indicate a good
object. In England top teams are known to have so called
"bogey teams". Spurs, for instance, "never"
seem to beat
Chelsea away, and Italian teams appeared to previously
always beat English teams in European competitions.
Of course, this could be superstition, but when things
happen over and over again, it would be stupid not to
take it into consideration when the situation occurs.
Differences in style of play are probably the reason for
the "bogey team" theory, but it could also be just a
Often special high profiled games end with a draw. For
some fixtures, the 5 or 10-year statistics indicate a
draw. Typical games are local derbies, especially
Rome-Lazio and Inter Milan-AC Milan. These teams share
the same ground, and the fear of losing a local derby is
always greater than the will to win. It's a good advice
"always" to bet on a draw when these teams meet in the
Sometimes two teams only need a draw to qualify for a
championship, or to avoid relegation. Sometimes one team
need a draw to ensure the championship, while to
opposition need a draw to beat the drop.
Bookmakers are very alert to these situations, and
prices are often slashed in these situations. A "fixed"
draw is typical for the Italian league, but will rarely
happen in English soccer, due to the typical honesty of
English teams. English teams play for pride, and for the
sake of the sport's reputation. For us punters, it's a
must to bet on these games, but very often bookmakers
won't accept bets.