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A guide to betting on football in 2021

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Football is undoubtedly the most popular sport in the world, with the global fanbase dwarfing all of its main competition.

Betting on football is also extremely popular, particularly on major competitions such as the World Cup, Champions League and Premier League.

Read as we take a closer look at betting odds and assess the best way to wager on the sport.

Betting Sites

Whether you are a new or experienced punter, choosing the best online betting sites is a decision you cannot afford to take lightly.

The marketplace is awash with hundreds of different sportsbooks, so take time to find out which one best suits your personal requirements.

Some sites focus on the main leagues and competitions in Europe, while others offer in-depth coverage from around the world.

Make sure that you pick a site that has an intuitive user interface and that offers competitive odds on all the games.

Bonuses and promotions are also worth considering, with the best sites offering some excellent incentives to both new and existing punters.

It is also imperative to ensure that your chosen sportsbook is fully licensed and regulated to offer its services in your jurisdiction.

Betting Odds

If you are hoping to make a profit from betting on football, it is important to understand exactly how the odds work.

In simple terms, betting odds are a prediction of how likely it is that a particular event will happen.

They also allow you to work out in advance how much you will win if your wager is successful.

Odds are generally displayed in one of three different formats – fractional, decimal or moneyline.

Fractional odds tend to be the most popular, with most online bookmakers using them to display the prices.

As implied by the name, the odds for a particular event happening are displayed as fractions such as 1/2, 4/1, 13/2 and so on.

The number on the right is the stake you need to place to win the number on the left.

For instance, let’s say you back Manchester United to win the Premier League at odds of 7/1.

If you bet £10 and they are successful, you would receive £80 – £10 stake x seven = £70 plus your original stake.

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Bankroll Management

Much like one of Jose Mourinho’s teams, the key premise beyond bankroll management is that it is a defensive strategy.

The first factor to consider is working out how much can you afford to wager during a specific timeframe.

Once you are settled on the figure, the key rule to follow is that you must never bet more than two percent of your bankroll on a single bet.

For example, if your bankroll is £1,000, the maximum amount you should wager on an event is £20.

This will allow you to ride out any losing streaks and give you a greater chance of securing a long-term profit.

Blowing your entire bankroll on a single bet can quickly put you in the poor house, so resist the temptation to do this at all costs.

Value in Betting Odds

It is important to obtain the best possible value when you place any football wagers.

Odds comparison sites are a great place to determine where to obtain the best odds for your selections.

The term ‘value’ in betting also stretches beyond the prices offered by each sportsbook.

It can also be applied to situations where a bookie has underestimated a team’s chances of winning a game.

For instance, let’s say that a betting site rates Chelsea as 6/4 shots to win at Arsenal. This implies a 40% probability of Chelsea winning the game.

However, using analysis and statistics, you have calculated that their chances of winning the Emirates Stadium are actually 50%, and their price should be Evens.

This is a perfect value bet situation and is one where you should take advantage of what could be a blunder by the bookie.

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Best Football Betting Strategy

Football can be a hugely unpredictable sport, but there are betting strategies that you can employ to increase your chances of winning.

The Martingale system is a mathematically sound strategy that can be applied successfully to betting on football.

First popularised as a strategy for roulette, the Martingale can be adapted to secure winning returns from wagering on the world’s greatest sport.

The best market to implement the system on is the draw market for single football matches.

Draw odds are generally priced at 2/1 or better for most games, so betting on one team to draw each week will guarantee a profit.

For example, Liverpool won their first three matches at the start of the 2020/21 season before being thumped 7-2 at Aston Villa in their fourth outing.

A £2 staking plan would have required you to double your stake each week, so your outlay would have been £2 + £4 + £8 + £16 = £30.

In week five, your stake would have double again to £32, giving you a total expenditure of £62.

However, Liverpool drew 2-2 at Everton in that game, so at odds of 2/1 you would have received a payout of £96 (£34 profit).

Once you make a successful bet, your stake reverts to £2, and the cycle starts again.

While a long run without a draw could make a hole in your bankroll, most teams rarely go a few weeks without playing out a drawn game.

Betting on Football – The Final Word

Much like any form of betting, it is imperative to treat wagering on football like any other form of entertainment.

Set yourself an affordable budget, manage your bankroll properly and search for the best value bets throughout the season.

It is also advisable to stick to competitions you are familiar with. If you follow the Premier League closely but know nothing about football in Russia, steer clear of games involving Russian teams.

Remember that there are no certainties in football, so be prepared to suffer a few defeats along the way.

However, if you follow our guide, you will improve your chances of beating the bookmakers with your football betting.