Finding Profitable Football Betting Opportunities

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Arbitrage GuideWhere to Find the Best Ways to Profitably Bet on Football (Soccer)

When it comes to sheer volume of betting opportunities, football is hard to top. Not only are there more matches available on a daily basis than almost any other sport, each match in itself has many markets available. The most popular market of all is the ‘match odds’, where you’ll simply bet on the match result (home win, away win or draw), however here I’ll take a look at a wider range of markets and opportunities and show how they can give you that gambling ‘edge’ and make any season profitable.

In this guide I have started by showing how some simple structured preparation pre-match can give you an edge over the bookies. I have then covered individual markets including Asian Handicaps, total goals scored and draw-no bet offers – explaining the situations where these can be profitable.  Along the way you will find examples of markets you should not be touching.

Where to find Profitable Football Betting Opportunities #1 – Preparation

The first thing you should do when approaching any match is to try and look at every angle and ask as many questions as you can. This sounds obvious when written, though the huge majority of punters will not ‘drill-down’ through a simple checklist like this one:

Will both teams come to win the game, or will one of the teams aim to shut up shop?

Will each team put out their strongest line-up?

Will one of the teams be much fresher than the other due to a much longer break?

How will injuries and suspensions affect the game?

Gaining a good overall feel for the match beforehand will put you in much greater stead than the vast majority of gamblers who will simply go on gut instinct and back ‘United’ because they think they’ll win. Simply by asking questions, you’ll be in an analytical frame of mind… take advantage by seeking out the best odds for your bet, or maybe a new sportsbook bonus.

Finding Profitable Football Betting Spots #2 – Asian Handicap Markets

Profitable Football Betting - Asian HandicapsOn many occasions, the straightforward ‘match result’ market will be ideal, especially if your deeper analysis comes to a strong conclusion about the expected result. However, this kind of certainty can be tough to come by - and sometimes you’ll simply have a feel that one of the two teams will perform ‘better than expected’.

This is when the Asian Handicap markets really come into their own.

Take the following example game. Chelsea are facing West Bromwich Albion at home in the Premier League and the bookmakers have Chelsea as strong favorites at odds of just 1.3. You’ve looked at the game and you think WBA will perform better than expected, as they are coming off 7 days rest (Chelsea played a European tie three days ago and a couple of key players are looking out of form) and WBA are fully fit. Here the Asian Handicap market might be ideal, as you spot that WBA with a 1.5 goal start are available at odds of 1.95. Here your bet will win if WBA win the game, the game is a draw and if Chelsea win by just a single goal. This bet gives you a great many ways to win and WBA performing ‘better than expected’ includes them losing by a single goal.

Conversely, you might think everything points to Chelsea performing ‘better than expected’ (if the team rest scenario was switched around). Backing Chelsea here on the Asian Handicap at odds of 1.95 offers much greater odds than the win market and you’ll win in any scenario where Chelsea win by 2 goals or more.

Finding Profitable Football Betting Opportunities #3 – Total Goals Markets

Sometimes you’ll approach a game and find it easier to make a judgement on how ‘open’ or ‘tight’ the match will be. For example, you look at the line-ups of both teams and you come to the conclusion that one team is here to ‘park the bus’ and you consider that the opposition might find it tough to break them down. Here, instead of the ‘match result’ you might want to consider a market such as ‘Under/Over 2.5 goals’. Having backed ‘under’ here, every minute that the game remains goalless is a good one. Conversely, if you expect a free flowing game, back over 2.5 and you’ll be sitting pretty when the game is 1-1 after just 20 minutes!

Profitable Football Betting #4 – Draw No Bet

Soccer PlayersAnother good way to approach those games where a team will come to defend is to make use of the ‘draw no bet’ market. If you’re not convinced that a team will be able to break down another, but you are convinced they won’t lose, backing them in the ‘draw no bet’ market might be ideal. If they win, you’ve made your money and if it’s a draw you’ll get your cash back. The downside to this bet is the much lower odds you’ll be offered in comparison to the ‘match result’ market, but this is a good one, with the insurance of your money back if the game is a draw.

Remember – Sometimes the Best Strategy is Simply ‘No Bet’

Sometimes, you simply can’t find an edge in a market, as you consider that you share the view of the sportsbook/ bookmaker when it comes to the odds on offer. Here your only course of action should be to leave the game alone and look for another opportunity elsewhere. There is no point in placing a bet if you don’t think you have an edge. This is a mistake many make, especially when a game is televised – if you really can’t resist having some action, then make the bet tiny compared to your regular stakes.

Football Betting Markets to Avoid

Some football betting markets have a much bigger profit margin for the bookmaker than others. Your typical Asian Handicap, Total Goals and Match Result markets will have a percentage book of around 105%-107% meaning that the betting company will ‘expect’ to make between 5% and 7% profit on any game. If instead you are betting in the half-time/full time, correct score, first goal scorer and scorecast markets, the book rises to 120% and in some cases much higher. These markets are a real money spinner for the betting sites and it’s little wonder that many of the promotions are geared around these particular bets – don’t fall for this and stick to the bets with the lower ‘house edge’.

How to Find Profitable Football Betting Opportunities – Overview

Successful football betting requires you to think a little ‘smarter’ than your average gambler. Look at a game beforehand and make an informed judgement (handy hint: Wait for the teams to be announced an hour before kick-off to make the best judgement) and then choose the market type which best fits your view. Play the right markets and avoid those that are simply ‘cash cows’ for the sites and your football betting season should be a successful one.

While I always recommend you shop for the very best odds, rather than stick to one bookie for all your bets – I have a strong recommendation for European Giants Unibet.

Not only will you find the best odds for a wide range of markets, there are innovations including 2 apps (one for in play, the other for heads up match play against other bettors), and some of the best promos you’ll find online. Check out for the latest offers.

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More Betting Strategy:

- Why Season-Long Premiership Bets are a Bad Idea

- UK Bookies with Live Streaming

- Why Was I Limited by My Bookie? (Gubbing)