In this section our skilled tipsters offer betting predictions for upcoming football matches. We cover games from all major cups as well as the two biggest English leagues. In the pre-season we also offer ante post betting tips for each league and competition.
The tips for each cup and league can be found on the relevant pages below. Coverage usually starts a few days before the matches so if nothing is showing check back a little nearer the time.
Latest Football Tips
Note: As we mentioned on our main tips page, our football tips have recently changed from blog posts to dedicated pages that are updated whenever matches take place.
In addition to providing actual tips and predictions for specific matches, we also offer advice and hints on general football betting strategy.
Football Betting Strategy
When it comes to betting on football, the huge range of markets alone can seem overwhelming and that’s before you even decide which team you actually want to back. Football is the biggest betting sport globally and, therefore, it is the one to which almost all bookies dedicate the most resources. That means hundreds of markets, thousands of matches and lots of promotions and betting offers.
Despite the dizzying plethora of choice, the most important question will always be, “what should I bet on?” We can’t provide you with winners and there is no simple strategy or tactic that can make you a millionaire, we’re sorry to say. If there was, we wouldn’t be writing this feature – we’d be in a yacht sailing around the Caribbean, rum in hand.
Ultimately, managing a net win in the long term relies on your ability to find value bets. We talk about this in greater detail elsewhere but, in brief, a value bet is one where the odds are longer than they should be given the probability of that event happening. The easiest example to think of is a coin toss, with both heads and tails having a 50% chance of winning. Odds longer than evens, therefore, would be a value bet.
The only real way to find value bets is to spend long hours studying the available odds, as well as using the huge amount of information and data that exists to try and decide the true probability of a given outcome. Of course, if that all sounds like far too much hassle, you can always simply follow the many betting tips we offer!
Whether you want to try and study the odds and find your own bets or use our tips, it’s still worth understanding a few basic facts about betting on football. Read on as we take a look at some of the most popular types of bets you might choose to place. We will also provide pointers on tactics you can use to give yourself the best chance of winning more often than you lose.
One of the most basic and popular bets to place is to bet on which team will win a game. This is sometimes known as match betting, 90 minute betting, “to win”, 1×2 betting, or home/draw/away. This is a fun and simple bet that is easy to understand – you are just betting on who will win the match (in 90 minutes plus stoppage time).
However, when we look at “match betting” here, we are actually referring to something a little different. 1×2 betting is just one of many available markets within match betting as we are considering it. What we are referring to are all the various bets that you can place on a single game, as opposed to a cup, league, special or other competition.
There are many, many markets that come under this umbrella and many of these have strategies of their own. Here we look at some of the things you should be aware of when placing some of the most popular bets you can place on an individual match and offer our thoughts on how you can gain an edge or at least try and land your fair share of winners.
As said, this is the bet most people place, most often. The routes to value on this market are fairly generic, with studying stats, form and team news all key. In theory, anything that is essentially public knowledge should be factored into the odds already, which is why finding value is so tricky.
For example, should a team be without their star striker and goalkeeper, they are clearly less likely to win. This might make you want to oppose them and back the draw or the other side. However, more often than not, the bookie has already factored these issues into the prices and the other side’s odds will already be lower than they would otherwise have been.
To find value in these bets we need to think a little outside of the box:
One tip we have for finding value on such bets is to consider how much weight bookies place on certain factors. For example, motivation is often overvalued by bookies. At the end of the season, if a side with “nothing to play for” comes up against a side below them in the table who are desperate for points and are embroiled in a relegation battle, ask yourself, are the bookies overplaying the motivation factor?
The struggling team has more than likely been up against it for some time and their desperation hasn’t helped them before. They are down there because they are not a great side and yet we have seen instances where the bookies have priced the away team as favourites, despite them being as many as 12 points behind their hosts, simply because it is deemed they will be “more up for it”.
Home or Away
No side likes to lose at home and, especially when their form is good, such clubs can offer great value against well-backed but inferior teams who supposedly will want it more. That said, ignoring or opposing the “need to win” factor entirely is certainly unwise.
Nothing to Lose
One similar thing to look out for is when a club has already qualified from a group or already sealed top position. Such a scenario may be in the Champions League, Europa League, World Cup or other competition. If a side has won the group with a game to spare, whilst their opponent must win to secure the second qualification spot, this is sure to have an impact on how the fixture plays out.
As in the scenario previously discussed, however, you must be careful not to overplay such a factor and also that the odds don’t already allow for it. In games like these getting an early idea of the team news can be crucial. If the manager announces that several top stars are being rested you may well be able to snap up some value on the opposition before the bookies cut their odds
Betting on who will score first (first goalscorer, or FGS), or even last, can sometimes throw up some nice value bets. As ever, team news is likely to be crucial but, especially in the lower leagues, the bookies are not always as thorough as they might be. If a side has a new or different penalty taker or free kick taker, they might offer real value.
If the said player is a defender, otherwise unlikely to score, this can particularly be the case, especially if it isn’t common knowledge that they will be on set piece duty. Moreover, if a side is especially dirty, or the ref in charge is a little over-zealous, this can increase the attractiveness of such a bet even further.
Pick The Right Market For Your Bet
One tip that applies to Asian handicap bets and FGS – and indeed a range of other match odds bets – is to check the available odds for different markets that actually cover the same eventualities. For example, an Asian handicap +0.5 bet is the same as a win/draw double chance bet but some bookies actually offer bigger odds on the Asians as these are usually more competitive.
In a similar but in one sense opposite sense, some markets that appear to be the same might not be. For example, backing 0-0 might seem to be identical to backing “No scorer” in the first or last goalscorer market. Often bookies price these bets at the same odds, however, wise punters will always back “No scorer”, as this will be a winner if the game ends 0-0 and if the only goal – or even goals – are own goals.
Note: Always check the odds for both markets, never assume that 0-0 and first goalscorer have the same odds as this sometimes isn’t the case.
Half Time/Full Time
This market and some others similar to it that involve half betting may give you the chance to find a nice bet and land a winner at good odds. That’s because bookies often generate the odds for such bets by applying a fixed algorithm to the match odds. Generally speaking that will give them a fairly accurate idea of the correct prices.
However, some teams may consistently be performing better in either the first half or the second. Most of the time this is simply a statistical anomaly with no underlying cause. However, sometimes there may be a genuine reason for this and in this instance the HT/FT market can be great. For example, a side’s style of football may wear teams down, another side may be super-fit or lack fitness.
All of these could lead to them over- or under-performing in a given half, thus meaning the algorithm-generated HT/FT odds are not where they should be. On top of that, confidence and psychology can play a part, for example if a team is having a run of late winners or second half comebacks – or the opposite – their belief that this will happen can mean it is more likely to come to pass.
Goal Bets & Automated Odds
Betting on over or under a certain number of goals, usually 2.5, or whether both teams will score (BTTS) or not, are two of the bets that punters love the most. There are a range of other markets within this category and, as with the HT/FT market, value may be sought by trying to exploit the fact that the odds are largely automated.
Especially for the lower leagues and smaller European and global competitions, odds for many markets are derived from the match odds. So, for example, where one side is a huge favourite in the match odds, as a general rule, over 2.5 goals will be favoured, whilst “BTTS – no” will also be fancied. The logic here is that in a game one team should dominate, there will be lots of goals and it will be all one-way traffic.
This can throw up value bets when a more detailed look at the game indicates that the opposite (as compared to what would be expected based on the match odds alone) outcome is more likely than normal.
One example might be a side who are simply woeful in defence and regularly concede three or more goals but in attack are actually very dangerous. Against a high flying opponent they may be big underdogs and thus the algorithm-generated odds on both teams to score might be generous. Equally, a top side might be winning games for fun but doing so on the basis of an excellent defence. If they don’t score too many but very rarely concede, then backing under 2.5 goals might be a wise play when they are up against a side on a terrible run of form, especially if that side are also quite low scoring.
Correct score bets can also fall into this category of markets where the odds are largely based on the odds for the home/draw/away market. This can throw up some interesting bets if a team has seemingly got into a habit of winning 1-0, or perhaps producing 0-0 stalemates.
When it comes to the correct score of games there are reams and reams of stats about past matches and, as well as the match odds, the bookies use this data to create their correct score prices. However, trends change over time and one thing that is true of just about every market in every sport is that it takes time for punters and bookies to recognise that these are new trends that are in fact here to stay, rather than mere anomalies.
Obviously, deciding when a run of results is a trend with a real underlying cause, rather than an unusual sequence of events thrown up randomly, is the hard part. With markets like correct score betting, this is further complicated by the fact that different leagues in different countries operate slightly differently, with some tending to be more attacking and others more defensive.
There are lots of sites that analyse such data and one great way to try and find value is to revisit these sites regularly. In this way you may be able to spot a changing trend ahead of the crowd and thus get the value before the bookmakers realise their odds are a little out.
Aside from betting on individual games, betting on who will win a given league is also a hugely popular bet. As ever, the best route to finding winners at worthwhile odds is to study every possible piece of relevant information. If your efforts discover a team that has seemingly been mispriced by the bookmakers, you could be on to a winner.
Only Back the Favourites if the Price is Right
In the modern era of football when money is so important, many leagues around the world are regularly dominated by the same teams. For example, the likes of Juventus in Serie A, Bayern Munich in Germany and PSG in France’s Ligue 1 always start as red hot favourites to win their respective league (at least at the time of writing).
Some punters think that they can back the favourite in August, sit back and claim their winnings in May. However, all good runs come to an end eventually, so piling in at odds of, say, 1/7 before a ball is kicked can be imprudent to say the least.
The key point to remember is to always ask yourself, do the odds represent value based on the probability? Nothing is 100% certain when it comes to predicting the future and every single day, somewhere in the world, bets with odds of 1/10, 1/20 or even shorter, lose.
Don’t Ignore the Outsiders
Paying special attention to summer signings, managerial changes, commitments beyond the league and even the early fixtures (which, if easy, can help build confidence) is crucial. Whilst many are tempted to opt for the obvious, “usual suspects”, ever since Leicester’s remarkable 5000/1 Premier League triumph in 2016, lots of punters have tried to pick “the next Leicester”.
We wouldn’t advise backing such outsiders but, especially in some of the smaller leagues, winners at double-digit odds are not uncommon and can deliver brilliant entertainment for the whole season – not to mention a tidy payout in May!
Ante Post Betting
Ante post betting, which is where you bet on an event in advance, before all the entrants are confirmed or the full details of teams are available, is very popular with football fans. It is especially relevant to betting on who will win a league or leagues, with many punters regularly placing bets before the season begins.
This may be a single wager, for example Manchester City to win the Premier League, or some form of accumulator or multiple, for example naming the winners of the “big five” European leagues. Whatever you decide to bet on, you can get huge odds and great value if you call things right.
Bigger Odds But Harder to Win
That’s because of the increased uncertainty associated with an ante post wager. If you bet before the season has started and before the transfer window has closed there are so many unknowns to try and factor in. Will the side you fancy lose their main striker, pull off a major coup in the transfer market or perhaps suffer terrible injury luck in pre-season games?
Deciding when to place your ante post bet on who will win a league is tricky. You can place such bets before the preceding season has even finished and such wagers can deliver huge odds. However, as a general rule we would advise waiting until at least some of the clubs’ transfer dealings have been made. One summer’s transfers rarely make or break a title challenge but even so, having at least some idea of how the squad will shape up is prudent, especially if you intend to stake a large sum on a favourite.
In some regards, in-play betting is the opposite of ante post. With the latter you are betting days, weeks or even years in advance of an event. In contrast, with the former, you are actually betting after it has started and during the match itself.
In-play betting has now been around for a long time. However, it has certainly experienced a huge growth over the last five to 10 years. Much of that is down to the prevalence of smart phones, making it quicker and easier than ever to have a bet on a game wherever and whenever you like.
In-play betting is great fun and a superb way to spice up a match, especially one in which you aren’t otherwise overly interested. It’s also a good option should you place a bet pre-match that loses very early, thus ending your interest in the game.
Many of the same ideas apply to in-play betting as generally apply to all the areas we have looked at. However, here are a few additional pointers and things to be aware of:
- No Easy Wins – some punters assume in-play betting gives them some kind of edge, for example by backing under 0.5 goals before the game and then backing over 0.5 goals at longer odds when the match remains 0-0 after five minutes. We have seen countless such systems but none work and all can easily be downed by a freak early goal or other occurrence
- How Live is Live? – be careful of odds or bets that seem too good to be true, perhaps the “live” broadcast you are seeing is actually a little bit behind the real events
- Bet Delay – the delay between placing your bets and them being accepted, usually 5-10 seconds, means trying to beat the system by anticipating what is going to happen next won’t work
- Caution – much as in-play betting can be great fun, because it can also be very quick-paced, it can be addictive. Don’t chase losses during a game by making more and more bets
- Betting When Not Watching – we would advise extreme caution when betting in-play on a game you aren’t watching. Live text services, Twitter, the bookies’ stats and even the radio are no substitute for seeing what is really going on in the game with your own eyes. Moreover, it has been known, very infrequently, for even reputable websites to make errors about the score or state of the game.
Whilst all that may seem a little negative, the fact remains that betting in-play is a great way to gamble. If you feel you are a good judge of a game it can really allow you to have a look at how the sides are playing before committing your money.
Of course, we’ve all seen games where one side batters the other and simply can’t score, or others that appear to have 0-0 written all over them until two late penalties. Strange things are every day occurrences in life and football but there is no doubt that in-play betting adds an extra element of skill into betting on a game.
Betting on who will win a cup competition is another popular football bet and is such wagers are often placed ante post. Cup bets are also a great way to get long-term enjoyment from a wager. Obviously there is a danger your side may be eliminated early but even then, depending on when you place the bet, you may get a few weeks or months of hope!
Betting on cups is a little trickier than betting on the league. Over a 38-game season, the best team will almost always, or lots would argue always win. However, in a knockout competition, one piece of bad luck or a poor decision from the ref or linesperson can stop your bet in its tracks.
How Important is the Cup to the Team?
With the more prestigious cups, for example the major international competitions such as the World Cup or Euros, or the Champions League, things are about as predictable as they can be in a cup. Teams do everything in their power to win and, more often than not, prioritise the competition over all others.
However, where you have to be more careful with your bets are those times that squad rotation is likely to feature heavily. Just how seriously will the likes of Man City or Liverpool take the League Cup, or even the FA Cup?
That said, whilst many argue that the biggest sides don’t take the domestic cups seriously, in the last five years no side other than Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea or Arsenal have won either the FA Cup or the League (EFL) Cup. These days the top Premier League sides have such strength in depth that they can field weaker starting XIs during the early rounds and still make it through.
Of course, that isn’t necessarily the case in other cups around the world, nor in the lower league-only cups in the UK. Anyway, aside from considering just what priority a cup is likely to hold for a team, it’s also worth considering if they are a “cup side”.
Look for Hidden Value
Teams that are capable of outstanding football on their day but who are, perhaps, less likely to be able to grind it out over a whole season, may offer good value in the cup. That would certainly seem a reasonable explanation for the seven FA Cups Arsene Wenger won with Arsenal.
Ultimately, when it comes to the cups, indeed any knockout competition where a side’s fate is decided over 90 minutes, there is always a degree of luck needed. Many who bet on the cups often go with an approach of “I have a feeling it could be their year”. That’s not likely to yield overly impressive results over the long term; however, for the recreational punter and given the unpredictable nature of cups, it isn’t something we would wholly advise against!
Football specials cover a huge range of weird and wonderful markets and for those really prepared to put the hours in they can yield some great winners at really big odds. Increasingly, in a crowded marketplace, betting sites are looking to differentiate themselves from their rivals. Offering different bets and different types of bet is one way they can do this. The danger for the bookie is that with such new markets, they often have less past data to go on and so it can be harder for them to price up the market accurately.
The term “specials” really does cover a vast area, with some highly common bets, such as who will be the top scorer, either in a league or at a club under this umbrella. Equally, some much newer markets, such as who will be the top fantasy footballer points scorer or top goalkeeper are covered. If you think you know more about fantasy football than the bookies do than you might just be on to a winner: we certainly were when we backed Seamus Coleman at 150/1 to be the top defender a few seasons back!
There are no real tips or overriding strategies but for those who are prepared to put in the time and effort, these strange bets really can throw up some crackers.
Accas and Multiples
Accas and multiples are loved by novice and recreational punters but in general are eschewed by more serious bettors looking to win over a longer period. Accumulators give you the chance for large wins without having to stake much and so it’s easy to understand why they are popular. The thrill of chasing that big win, plus the fact that you can get a whole afternoon of betting fun from a stake as small as 10p is hard to resist.
Obviously if fun is what you’re after we certainly don’t advise against having a regular accumulator or three. However, if more regular wins are your main aim, we would suggest you stick to singles. The reasoning is simple – on the vast majority of bets, the bookie has the advantage. The odds are shorter than they “should” be, in the same way when you buy something from a shop the shop sells it to you for more than it costs them to buy.
So as an acca multiplies your returns, it also multiplies the disadvantage you are at in terms of the odds and the true probability. So, whilst you think your eightfold of odds-on favourites is a banker that simply can’t lose, the truth is rather different. Assuming that all eight lack value, the combined effect of this might be that your 33/1 bet should really be closer to 80/1.