How To Understand Football Form When Betting
Published on 24/10/17
If you’re looking for a way to maximise your opportunities of making long-term profit on football betting, you need to be a dab hand at understanding the form and how that plays such an important impact in the way bookmakers price up any fixture, big or small.
Within this blog post we’ll be taking a look at all the key elements and statistics that you should always take into consideration before parting with your hard-earned cash on any bet or trade on a football match. With just a little forward planning you can give yourself a competitive edge over many other punters.
Compare Home and Away Form for Each Team
The first port of call for any football punter looking at the form of an upcoming fixture is to assess the home form of the home side and the away form of the away side. Here, you can very quickly spot trends as to whether a side is particularly dominant on home soil or prefers playing without the pressure of being in front of their own fans and counter-attacking.
You’ll also be able to see whether either side should be considered a draw specialist. It may be a red flag for you to get involved in betting on the 1X2 market if a side has drawn at least one-third of its matches in a league campaign.
One of the best places to obtain this data is Soccer Stats. It’s completely free and you don’t even need an account to access the stats. Below are the stats for Leicester:
As you can probably tell, Leicester’s away form is pretty dire. If they were then playing a team who were particularly strong at home, such as Tottenham then backing the home team to win against Leicester would be a given.
Assess Recent Results and Scores Against Similar Teams
In isolation, comparing the home form and away form of both sides may not actually give you enough to go on in terms of form. A more accurate assessment of the two sides’ capabilities is to assess their recent results against the same or similar teams. For example, if you’re reading the form of Stoke v Sunderland for a Premier League fixture, check how both sides have fared against sides of a similar standard or teams who are in the same area of the table to each other to get a more accurate feel for their potential performances.
The last thing you want is to be reviewing Sunderland’s recent results and taking into account recent games that happened to be against top four sides like Chelsea and Arsenal. They don’t provide an adequate barometer for a fixture against Stoke. Create that barometer for yourself by refining your search.
Research Team News Ahead of the Game
One of the most important aspects for any professional sports punter or trader, getting that team news early can be the difference between getting great value on your bets and not such good value. Keep your eyes peeled to news aggregator sites such as NewsNow and Twitter as they can provide up-to-the-minute news on team selection, fitness tests and suspensions.
NewsNow pulls in news stories from across the web and tends to be one of the best places to get the latest news stories as soon as they break:
Don’t rule out heading to some of the more obscure leagues around the globe. Google Translate can be your friend in these instances, helping you to pick out price-changing team news before the bookmakers giving you a much larger potential profit margin.
Consider the Match Up of Managerial Styles
Another significant aspect that many football punters often forget to weigh up when assessing the pre-match form is the team’s managers. The coaching staff can have a significant bearing on how the players perform on match day, both in terms of who they select in their starting XI and the playing styles they prefer. Always consider making notes on a manager’s style to make it easy to spot when they’re coming up against a manager and team they may struggle against.
For example, we all know that Arsene Wenger and his Arsenal side often struggle against more direct, physical outfits. A match-up between Wenger’s Gunners and a side like Sean Dyche’s Burnley – a more direct and robust side – may help you steer clear from a potential losing bet.
Recent results are all well and good but sometimes when you read the form of an upcoming football match you can spot when a side simply has a hold over another outfit. The latest head-to-head results (from the last few years if possible) can be a good indicator of how two sides match up.
It’s certainly an important element to take into account as despite potentially negative team news you might continue to side with the team that appears to have some kind of hoodoo over their opponent – if they have five wins in their last six meetings, for example.
Goal-Fest or Bore-Fest?
The unders and overs goal betting markets are now some of the most popular in football betting, giving punters the opportunity to make profit on attacking – or dull – matches, regardless of who wins or loses.
A quick and easy way to determine the percentage likelihood a team is involved in matches with over 2.5 goals is as follows:
• Look back at the home side’s last 10 home league games and check how many times their matches finished with over 2.5 goals.
• Look back at the away side’s last 10 away league games and check how many times their matches finished with over 2.5 goals.
• Add up the number of over 2.5 goals matches from both the home and away side.
• Divide that number by 20 (the total number of fixtures you compare) and multiply your answer by 100 to get a percentage.
Sometimes you’ll be able to spot real value pre-match by doing these kind of calculations using recent form.
Let’s take a look at an example: We’ll look at Leicester V Liverpool. Of Leicester’s last 10 home games 6 ended with over 2.5 goals. Of Liverpool’s last 10 away games, 6 ended with over 2.5 goals. We therefore have 12 out of 20 which is 60% of games ending with over 2.5 goals and a 60% chance of it occurring in this match.
If you want, you can then compare this percentage chance to the current prices available at the bookmakers. At the time of writing, over 2.5 goals was priced at 5/6. If you take 6 and divide by 5+6 and then multiple by 100 you’ll get the chance of it happening according to the bookies. In this case, the bookies have the probability of there being over 2.5 goals as 54.55%.
You can use this same method to work out the percentage chance of there being over/under 1.5, 2.5, 3.5 etc goals.
Timing of Fixtures
If you’re betting on the Premier League and you’re assessing the form for the upcoming weekend’s fixtures, check whether the side’s you’re reviewing played in midweek. This can have a bearing on their freshness and dynamism, especially if they were away in somewhere like Ukraine or Russia.
Lunchtime kick-offs can also have a bearing on the outcome of a match. Atmospheres in the stands tend to be a little more muted in the televised lunchtime games and matches tend to take a little longer to get going, which is yet another element to weigh up.
Type of Fixture
The type of match you’re betting on can have a significant bearing on whether or not you get involved. If you find an FA Cup tie where the team news is favourable towards one side more than the other, but the other side is deemed more committed to a cup run within the media it might be worth siding with the other team.
Alternatively, local derbies can be an altogether different kettle of fish. The saying ‘the form book goes out of the window’ was tailor-made for clashes with local rivals where anything could happen; from red cards to own goals.
There are so many variables to consider when betting on football, but if you’re able to use the form alongside other information freely available online and in the traditional media, you’ll have all the tools at your disposal to make the best value bets every day of the week.