Date: 9th January 2021 at 9:00am
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Football and betting have gone hand in hand for as long as anyone can remember. Originally it would have been wagers between friends, unless you wanted to venture into the world of the illegal backstreet bookmakers. By the 1880s, newspapers had contributed to the invention of the fixed-odds betting system, offering prizes to readers who managed to predict the outcomes of the weekly matches. With betting on football matches growing ever more popular, the Government decided to legalise the activity in 1960, choosing to ensure that the system was fair and regulated, rather than continuing to try and deal with the onslaught of illegal betting shops.

Since then, legalised betting on football matches has become hugely popular in the UK. Physical bookmakers were soon eclipsed by the ability on bet online, with popular betting websites seeing thousands of visitors daily. The advancement of technology has widened the market, meaning that people don’t only bet on English football nowadays, they can place a wager on any game in the world and follow the results in real-time. In recent years there has been a rise in in-game betting, where bookmakers change the odds in response to live action, allowing people to cash out if things aren’t going their way. Bookies offer odds on almost every aspect of the game, including winner, number of goals, first scorer, number of corners etc. Another favourite development is the accumulator, where people place related bets on a number of matches, with winnings increasing for each correct prediction, but one wrong move and you’ll lose it all.

Along with all these different ways to place bets have come a multitude of different betting strategies, all attempting to instil some sense of order into proceedings. Some work well to help you minimise your losses, while others don’t deliver on their promises and some are more complicated to work out than others. This page details various strategies which are worth looking at, and we’ve summarised a few others below.

Matched Betting

If you’re after a guaranteed win, even though it’s going to be a small one, then look into matched betting. It requires you to keep signing up for new accounts with different betting sites in order to take advantage of their free bet offers. Find a match where the odds on each team are fairly even, then use the free bet to wager on one to win, and use a betting exchange website to lay the bet against them. You’ve now covered every eventuality for that match, and are guaranteed a profit whatever happens. This strategy is limited by the number of free bet offers available, and you won’t win more than a few pounds each time, but if you’re a patient player who is happy to grind away, you can soon amass a nice pot of winnings.

Asian Handicap Betting

Usually, when you look at the odds for a match, they are skewed so that a bet on the favourite gives a very small return, while I bet on the underdog promises huge returns, but with a very unlikely chance of the necessary result coming to fruition. Asian Handicap odds attempt to even this out by awarding an arbitrary number of points to the underdog before the game even begins. This means the winning team need to win by a certain number of goals, and a bet for the other team will pay out even if they lose, as long as it’s by less than the handicap. This essentially gives a bet for either side the same odds of paying out. This strategy works well for people who always want to bet on their team, even if they aren’t very likely to win. It maximises their chances of coming away with a profit and helps them retain the feeling of loyalty they get for rooting for the team they support.

Kelly Criterion

This mathematical approach helps you calculate what percentage of your allotted bankroll you should place on each bet, and is used by professional bettors and investors all over the world. If maths isn’t your strong point, you can use a calculator to help you.

Not all betting strategies are good. Those which are best avoided are often the most simple, like the Martingale Strategy.

The Martingale Strategy doesn’t take into account the probabilities for different teams to win, which is what can make it a dangerous strategy to follow. Simply, it suggests that you double the amount of your wager every time you lose, with the thinking that eventually you will win enough to cover all your previous losses. It is only for use with even-money bets, which are rare in football anyway. The problems comes when your losing streak goes on for multiple bets, forcing you to dig deeper and deeper into your bank account to cover each loss and chasing a win which might not come before you run out of money.

Betting strategies can help you become more organised if you want to place bets with a good chance of winning. But make sure you pick the best one for your circumstances, and avoid bad strategies at all costs.


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