Betting Smart, not with the Heart

There are two types of bettors in the world: those that treat gambling as a hobby, and those that treat it as a business. Neither is right or wrong, but whichever camp you fall into, it is important to know which one you’re in, and those in the latter should act accordingly.

Putting a tenner on that horse because it’s named after your first love, or backing Aguero to score a hat trick in the Manchester derby because you dreamed that it would happen is all well and good, but it isn’t a strategy to base a business on. Unfortunately these are exactly the types of bets that you hear about, and you remember when they come off. You, your colleagues and the media don’t tend to pay much attention to when that nag falls at the third, and Aguero limps off after just under an hour. If you are going to go down that route, you may as well just ask Paul the Octopus.



Betting, especially betting on football, is becoming more and more scientific. You may not like it, but it is a cold hard fact. You only have to see the resources, the statistics and the algorithms that the bookmakers utilise to understand this.

In order to compete with the bookmakers – which is essentially what you are doing – there are several things that you can do, and you can get inspiration by looking at the techniques adopted by those wagering on other types of games. By studying these strategies – ones that at first may appear to have no relevance – it puts in sharp focus the techniques that we can use when betting on football, in order to give ourselves the best possible chance of being successful.



From the Baize to the Turf

More money is gambled on roulette and blackjack than on anything else on the planet. Therefore it’s no surprise that more time is spent learning and analysing betting techniques and strategies on these two forms of gambling than on any other. It is only sensible therefore to see what can be learned from those betting on these two games, and see how we can apply them when we are choosing our selections from the football coupon. And very quickly we see that there are three very fundamental techniques that will pay off.


Separate the Head from the Heart

This is essential for any type of betting, but is incredibly difficult when betting on football. In blackjack however it is simple, and professional and successful blackjack players are able to reduce the game down to a series of mathematical equations, not only in terms of the cards remaining in the decks, but also with their betting strategies.

Regular roulette players are the same. How do you bet, do you play inside or outside the roulette wheel?  Or quite simply do you opt to choose a combination of numbers that relate to loved ones birthdays. This actually doesn’t matter so much if they have a solid betting strategy worked out that reduces the house advantage and increases their chance of walking away at the end of the night up.



How to relate this to football? Never bet on your own team for a start. Apart from the positive or negative emotion involved – and unless you are a machine, you cannot help but allow it to influence your decision - there is another thing. On the surface you think you are in a very strong position, because of the unprecedented amount of information you have. True. It’s probably the only time you can rival the bookies for knowledge. The thing is; your knowledge is only about one team. Unless you can back it up with a similar amount of info about the opposition – which is almost always going to be impossible, then that knowledge is worse than useless. It isn’t just about your own team however, there is so much unwanted emotional baggage collected over the years in following a side, it is often wise to select leagues that you are initially unfamiliar with. Only then can you look at them with the cold, unemotional mind that is essential.


Give Yourself a Head Start

There are several things that good blackjack and roulette players always do BEFORE sitting down to play. They put themselves in a position where they have every possible advantage. Roulette players will always look for European tables as opposed to US tables. By doing this simple but oft ignored technique they are instantly halving the casino’s advantage. It is similar with blackjack players; choosing the right table, and then the optimum place at that table is vital to giving yourself every possible advantage.

How can we do this with football? The most obvious ways are to always make sure you are using the best odds. Always shop around, not just for the odds, but for bookmaker offers and free bets. These are constantly being updated, so a little bit of research or simply checking your emails can pay dividends.


Play Them at Their own Game

Knowledge is power. Due to the resources available to them, the bookies are more than likely going to be in the box seat when it comes to knowledge on each forthcoming fixture. But that’s no reason to simply start betting by instinct or gut feel. There are many people who bet on football every week who put more time into their fantasy football team every week than they do on their accumulator. Give yourself as much chance as possible by putting yourself as near to the bookmakers in terms of information as possible. There are many ways to do this. The easiest and quickest way is to follow the advice of tipsters who are already doing this successfully.  

Over time you will be able to mimic their actions, and build up a database of knowledge yourself. Often it is good to focus on one league, one that may be ignored by many punters. The bookmakers are going to throw more money, time and resources at leagues where most money is wagered. Move off the beaten track and you will be on a more even playing field, and even become an expert yourself.


There is no denying that in practically any form of gambling there is an element of luck involved, but by simply going on a whim, superstition, gut feel - whatever way you want to put it, you are simply lessening your chances of winning in the long run. If you are casual punter, content to remember the couple of wins you have a year, forgetting the 40 odd losses then that’s fine. But if you want to take it further, you have to start thinking in a whole lot more professional way. Treat it like a business, because that’s what this is, and one thing is for sure, you can bet your bottom dollar the bookmakers certainly do.


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Date: Nov 25, 2015