Many online betting sites will offer free betting tips and predictions for forthcoming soccer fixtures. But what rules should you bear in mind before you risk your hard-earned cash?
Understand the Odds
The odds are a numerical expression of the probability of a particular result or outcome occurring. Understand what the various odds offered by a bookmaker mean before you place your bet. Also take the time to learn the difference between fractional odds – used by bookmakers in the UK and Ireland – and decimal odds quoted in most of the rest of the world. Fractional odds show how much you stand to win; decimal odds how much you will earn, including your original stake money.
And do not be afraid to shop around. Different bookmakers will offer slightly different odds for the same match or outcome, so find the one that offers the best value.
Stick to leagues and teams you know
Always confine your betting to the teams and leagues with which you are familiar. A truism regarding betting is that the more you know, the better the chances of your wager succeeding. So, if for example, you spend most of your time following the Premier League or La Liga, don’t waste your time or money betting on matches in the Dutch Eredivisie.
Keep Your Bets Simple
Unless you are an experienced soccer gambler, the best advice is to stick to simple bets like which team will win or lose, or betting on a draw. First team to score is another easy wager to make. Stay away from combination or accumulator bets until you have years of successful betting behind you.
Don’t be afraid to back favourites
Betting on favourites is a formula for long-term gambling success. The odds will be shorter, which means that the amount of money you can potentially win is also less, but the probability of winning is higher. As the saying goes “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”.
This is especially true when it comes to back outsiders. The odds might be really long, and therefore, the possible pay-out very attractive. But remember why those odds are so long. Bookmakers employ statisticians and actuaries who use complex computer models to analyse games, using a wealth of data to set those odds. They will not be prepared to offer such long odds if they had not concluded that the potential of such an outcome occurring was very low. However much research and analysis that you do, you can never hope to match them.
Decide whether you want to bet before or during a match
With most bookmakers, you have the choice to place a bet before a match takes place – commonly known as ante-post – or whilst it is progress (known as in-play betting). There are pros and cons to both systems.
With ante-post betting, you have the time to consider your selections carefully, and determine which seem to offer the best price. However, although the odds may change slightly in the lead-up to an event, unless there is a dramatic piece of late news, such as an unexpected injury to a star striker, then they will not change significantly from three days to the start of the match, to three hours before it kicks off.
In-play betting is more exciting, because you are reacting to events as they happen on the field, looking for opportunities as the odds change. However, with excitement, comes a greater risk of making a mistake. Betting in-play is a high pressure environment, and you need to be able to take decisions quickly.
You also need a fast high-speed internet connection. That is to ensure that the odds that you see displayed on your screen are the most up-to-date. If you have a lag on the line, there is a risk that the bet you place will be based on out of date information.
Do some basic homework
Whilst the soccer predictions and tips that you will see displayed have been compiled by experts, that does not excuse you from doing some basic homework of your own on teams, players, recent results and forms. Like anything else, the key to betting success is experience, and knowledge, so the more you learn, the more likely your soccer predictions are to succeed.