A common misconception about being successful with soccer betting is luck.
A lot of people make a consistent stream of income from soccer betting. This would be unsustainable if it’s just luck.
A lot of strategizing and analyzing goes into making the right predictions or at least ones with better chances of playing out correctly.
In this article, I’ll show you what to look for when betting on soccer.
Look Out for the Form of Each Team
This is a metric that gives you current insights into how well a team is performing.
The only drawback for this is it takes time. But still, there are a truckload of websites that supply information about a team’s form.
You can also simply Google the league table of your team and you will come across apt statistics. These can be the number of games won or lost, position at the table, goal difference, etc.
A team’s form can give you a better insight into whether they are likely to win a game or not. This is usually the first thing I check when trying to make a prediction.
It is also important to emphasize that when checking the form, you stick the most to the last five to seven games played.
Sometimes, there are cases where a team might be in the top four, but in their last five games, they didn’t even win a single game. If you predict them to win a game based on their position in the table alone, you could be in for a shock.
Despite the odds offered by bookmakers, it’s always important to see if the form of the team you’re backing makes sense.
Other than this, look into the quality of opponents faced in their last games to make a more informed prediction.
A team that lie seventh at the table might be struggling to win in their last five outings because they have simply played against better opposition, perhaps teams in the top four.
What if they’re in a place where their next opponent is in the relegation zone. Right, there is a good chance the 7th-position team might come out on top.
I can say that not all games will follow the script and there will be upsets here and there, but this usually happens on rare occasions.
Never Underestimate Head-to-Head Records
Regardless of ‘form’ as explained above, it’s common to see a certain team always causing trouble for some of the ‘big guns’, regardless of their position at the table.
This season we saw a good example of this in the Premier League. Between Crystal Palace and title-chasing Manchester City.
Pep Guardiola’s men failed to win against their hosts at home and away. I would never have predicted the Eagles taking four points out of six from City in any situation at all, but that is where head-to-head comes into play.
This is a metric that gives you an idea of the regular outcome of teams that have played against each other.
For example, Manchester City vs Manchester United might have five head-to-head records, spanning different seasons. If you see that Manchester City have won three of their meetings, that shows us the Citizens have at least a 60% win ratio against their rivals.
This metric is not always finite and should be considered alongside other factors before drawing a conclusion.
This is because there have been cases where a team with better head-to-head records ends up losing to the seeming underdog.
Basically, the quality of players that existed at a certain time in the past might differ completely to their current crop.
When using head-to-head records, it’s advisable to go for the last three years. Using records of over a decade might turn out to be irrelevant because these teams could have experienced a complete overhaul within that time frame.
If you know how Manchester City and PSG have been these years, you know what I’m talking about.
Notice Home/Away Streaks
Maybe it’s psychology or maybe it’s something else but it’s true that teams playing on home soil are usually favoured to win.
But this is not a reliable assumption to base your prediction on. The more precise way to use the home/away records is to check how well the team plays when they are at home or away, especially in their recent games.
If out of 10 games played on the home soil in the current season, Team A is unbeatable. This means they have a fool-proof home record, especially if some of those ten games were against competitive ones.
In some rare cases, some teams do better away rather than being at home.
A perfect example for this is Liverpool, with the Reds famously going 68 games at Anfield unbeaten (from April 2017 to January 2021) before it was brought to an end by Burnley. I did make decent profit from backing them at home in the course of their brilliant home run.
Weather Can Give You Quality Prediction
This is one factor that is rarely considered by bettors, but shouldn’t be left aside. The weather has proven time and again to play a role in team performance. Some teams tend to play better in certain weather conditions. To put this in perspective, I will give an example.
For example, a team like Barcelona is well-known for their short passes and fluid football.
They will find it difficult to play with heavy rainfall. This is because the field can become too soggy, restraining how fast the ball moves. But for a team like Real Madrid, they might not have so many problems since their style of play is mainly counter-attack and they do well with aerial balls.
If Barcelona are paired with Real Madrid under such weather conditions, it is obvious the odds are in Madrid’s favour.
You might wonder why the Afcon is usually played in January and not during the off-season like the Euros or the Copa America.
It is simply the same reason why the 2022 World Cup is being played in November and not in the usual June – because the weather in Qatar in June will be too hot for players to cope with.
Weather doesn’t look so inconsequential anymore, right?
By the way, I used Oddspedia for this. You can look at any site you want, there are many like this one.
Don’t Ignore the Word ‘Fixtures’
Like the weather, this is one factor that is mostly overlooked by bettors.
The number of fixtures that a team has to deal with within a specific period could affect the team’s overall performance, or in some cases force the manager to rotate his squad.
This is even more true for teams competing in domestic leagues and international competitions within the same timeframe. The fact that they have to play a number of games week in, week out, and travel long distances for their international games could stretch the squad.
In a period where a team has a congested fixture list, they are prone to a few slip-ups here and there. Many times when a team competes on the domestic and continental front alongside, they are likely to place more preference on their international games.
In those cases, I’ve seen teams bench their key players when playing domestic league games, especially when they know an important Champions League game for instance is lying in wait.
After all, they want the key players to be at their best in international competitions.
By every means, it is important to check the run of games of a certain team, especially for the ‘favourites’ and decide whether they are likely to give their best shot for that game.
Injuries Should Make Sense
Time and again Injuries have proven to determine how well a team can play, especially when those affected are the key players.
A top team might find it hard to score if their top striker is injured.
This played out the same way for Napoli this season in the Serie A. In a few games their top striker Victor Osimhen was injured, the Italian side struggled to win in five outings.
This is one of the reasons why it is important to check the lineup of a team before placing a bet, especially if that bet is a single bet.
The lineup information gives you an idea of the players that will be playing a game, the formation, and the missing players.
Note: Usually lineup information is often released two hours before a game.
Change in Managers
A change in management can make or break a team. Teams with new coaches also generally struggle to win their first few games under the new reign.
This especially happens when the style of the new coach is way different from the existing one. To adapt well enough, teams take a few losses.
On the flip side, new management can completely change the situation of a club for the better. Since Xavi Hernandez took over as Barcelona coach, they have quickly become one of the best teams in Europe.
Form is blown out of the window when clubs change managers or tactics as a whole.
Many people ignore tiny details like this but it has helped me in making better informed betting decisions before soccer games.
To keep up with information like this, you need to read the news.
Last Minute Tip
Before you start making predictions based on any of the above tips, you should know that there’s a third thing between good and bad bets.
Yes, we call it quality bets.
If you think your strategy is forecasting that PSG vs Real Madrid might end up in a draw, go ahead and try to see if it’s fitting the criteria of the things I’ve just told you.
If it fits at least 4 out of 7 things, that’s what we call a quality bet. Generally, bets like these have a high probability of winning.