If you are new to betting on soccer, click here to read our previous article that explains the basics. For those of you that want to make better and more accurate soccer bets, this is the article for you.
Soccer betting is unlike any other sport. The lines are different and there are almost too many ways to bet on it.
Continue reading for soccer betting advice and a few outlined strategies.
Soccer Is Random
Soccer matches have very low scoring games. A match can be settled by a slight deflection or just by a sweet strike of the ball. These single moments can make or break soccer predictions.
Soccer matches have far more luck and randomness than other sports like ice hockey and basketball. Sometimes it’ll work in your favor, other times it will work against you.
Although it may be difficult to accommodate luck into soccer betting advice, it can still be accounted for in the results. Just remember that short-term success may not be totally down to skill.
Read on to find out how you can make profitable soccer predictions.
How To Select A Soccer Bet
Take a look at this screenshot for an average Premier League match:
These are just some of the ‘main’ bets available, not to mention the specials and other markets available.
Sportsbooks, especially in Europe, have so many markets to bet on in soccer that people can often try and predict too much.
TV adverts don’t help when they tell you to bet on the number of corners in the match or the total number of cards issued. They try and get sports bettors to stay away from a result and focus on prop bets that require little to no skill in predicting.
So, instead of trying to predict everything, focus on one aspect of the game. Sportsbooks will have to manage soccer betting lines for all of their markets, meaning there is room to find value.
Select the league, then select the team and finally select the market.
The more people betting on the competition, the more difficult it is to be profitable. This is because sportsbooks sharpen their odds based on how much action they receive. Popular competitions get the most action, resulting in more information for the sportsbooks.
In the Premier League, there is a lot more interest in the ‘big games’, such as Manchester United vs Liverpool.
Typically, there isn’t much value to be found here as there isn’t too much difference between them.
However, take a look at these past odds for the past match between Southampton vs Cardiff:
You could have got Cardiff at +400 to win this match! That is insane value.
If you looked at positions in the table, they are both near the relegation zone, so it’s crazy to think how big of a dog Cardiff was, given Southampton’s own struggles.
This is one of the main things to think about when finding a soccer bet: value.
The more value you can find from a soccer match, the better the bet.
One way you can find value from soccer matches is by using previous results – which brings us to the next point.
Use Previous Soccer Matches
Once you know what you are going to bet on, you should look at results from previous matches. This is the best way to determine if your bets will go the way you expect them to in the future.
Data is hands down, the greatest tool at your disposal. It doesn’t lie and enables you to build profitable soccer betting strategies without bias.
Common data points to look for include recent form, how they have historically performed against their opponents and their record against the spread.
The more information you can gather, the more accurate your predictions will be.
For example, soccer analytics are now starting to measure the number of expected goals (xG). Instead of looking at a result based on goals scored, expected goals measure the quality of chances created and where a player is more likely than not to score.
For example, Sky Sports used it to compare the top goalies in the Premier League last season:
With this in mind, expected goals have only just become an important metric. Before Sander Itjsma discussed them back in 2011, they weren’t even used in soccer.
The takeaway: new data can be created using other pieces of information, which may lead to new profitable ways to bet on soccer matches.
Soccer Predictions And Soccer Odds
More data = more accurate predictions, but your soccer bets don’t have to always be right to be profitable.
You just have to be more right than wrong and more accurate than the sportsbook.
Once you have a method to make your soccer predictions, you need to convert them into probabilities and compare them against the odds offered by the sportsbooks.
If you estimate that the probability of a match is higher than what the sportsbooks think, you have found an edge.
The bigger your edge, the more of your bankroll you can wager per bet.
However, you will know from our bankroll management post that you should never stake more than 2% of your bankroll per play.
The size of your edge will depend on how well you know the sport and the amount of research you have done.
Bookmakers are quick to update their soccer odds due to the popularity of the sport. For this reason, the smart money won’t go on the match until close to kick-off.
The closer you are to when the smart money goes down, the better your odds; sportsbooks will sometimes use smart money to adjust their odds and hedge their money with other betting exchanges.
Sports Betting Mindset
Regardless if you make a profit or not, you need to be constantly refining and maintaining it to ensure long-term success.
This takes a mindset not usually found within recreational or losing sports betting.
Think about the athletes themselves. Do you see Cristiano Ronaldo stop improving because he won a league title? Absolutely not. To ensure he stays successful, he trains his ass off every day and goes above and beyond everybody else to be the best on the world.
The results speak for themselves.
You must train yourself to go back over your previous bets and check if you won by luck, if you actually had an edge or if there is another metric you could have taken into account to make that strategy better.
Soccer Closing Lines
This is another way to measure how successful your soccer betting strategy is.
Betting lines are made based on what sportsbooks believe best represents the value of both teams playing. They are always subject to change based on new information.
Betting lines will continue to change up until the match starts. The final betting line is known as the closing line.
Analysing your bets through closing odds comparisons can highlight how often you find value. The more value you find from your bets, the more profit you’ll make long-term.
Soccer Betting Advice Summary
Don’t underestimate how difficult it is to successfully predict the outcome of soccer matches. The above steps will help you make better decisions and your bets more accurate.
If there’s just one thing that you take away from this article, let it be this: ensure there’s value in your bet before you make the play.
Looking at historical data from the results of previous matches will help you build more advanced strategies to increase confidence in your bets.