Football Betting Odds

Football - Odds

Football – Odds Explained

Every occasion you get a football coupon or access your internet account, you usually do it with confidence. When wagering on football, it’s no surprise that you like your odds – compared to a 25 runner horse race at Redcar, football’s field of three is easy peasy!

Nevertheless, as you probably know, the bookies do everything to shift the odds in their favor when it comes to pricing up a football match. To have a better chance, you have to find out what the odds really mean.

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Bookmaking is founded on percentages, but punters should not be worried by the mathematics behind the odds. It isn’t that difficult to establish that a price of 11/8 against equates to a bookmaker’s opinion that the team concerned could possibly win eight matches out of 19 games against their given rivals at the given venue (don’t forget that home advantage plays a big part in the odds). Odds-on prices are quite an easy simple to work out – a team starting at 4/5 will, according to the bookmakers, win five out of every nine matches.

It’s important that you should NEVER have a bet unless you can establish the prices that you are willing to accept from your bookmaker. The simplest way for you to assess your own odds is to firstly concentrate on the price for the draw between any two teams that you care to name.

Here comes the science bit

You can use mathematical methods to calculate your own odds for the draw – you can look at the two teams’ previous results against each other and evaluate their form in the current season to work out how likely a draw is – or you can use your own gut feelings and hunches. If you fancy betting on games late in the season, understand that wins, home or away, become more likely because teams are keener than ever to pick up points to make it to the play-offs, avoid relegation, and so on.

When you have worked out your own price for a draw, you can compare them with the bookies’. The following odds are those laid by bookmakers for a match to end all-square, with the figures in brackets displaying what percentage the price connects to in real terms:

21/10 (32.2%)
11/5 (31.2%)
9/4 (30.8%)
23/10 (30.3%)
12/5 (29.4%)
5/2 (28.6%)
13/5 (27.8%)
11/4 (26.7%)
3/1 (25.0%)

Click the ‘How To’ button to see a table displaying the odds for every team (for example, Liverpool and Newcastle) to win, based on the price for the draw. So, if you believe that a match has around a 30 percent chance of ending in a draw, simply find the correct prices from the table.

If you feel that Liverpool and Newcastle are 23/10 to fight out a draw (via your approximate 30% evaluation), it’s recommended to pick between the relevant prices for each team shown above.

If you think that one of the teams is a favorite to win, you might choose Newcastle as 8/13 to win the match (your belief being they would win 13 out of every 21 matches between the sides at home), which leaves Liverpool as a 4/1 chance. If you think the teams are coequal, you could bet on Newcastle at 6/5 (thereby estimating they would win five out of every 11 games) and Liverpool at 17/10 (ten from every 27 matches).

This method is the best way for you to understand the prices set by the bookie and see whether they really represent value. Once you have evaluated your own views in the same language – expressed as odds – you will have evidence to consider if the prices are really worth taking.

Be wary of bookies’ traps

The most favored form of betting, outside of the basic method of backing teams to win, is the correct score sector of the market. If you have read InsideEdge (April’s edition), you’ll have learned about the mathematical method behind correct score betting, you should implement the rules of science if not, correct score betting is not worth the bother – the percentages are very much in favor of the bookmaker.

Bearing in mind that the bookmakers have already added their potential ‘profit’ into the original price, you will be sickened to find out that anything up to another 30 percent is added to the ‘mark up’ via correct score betting. A coupon I picked up at random from a leading bookie turned a 5/2 chance in win terms into 2/1, via correct score odds. And that only took into account six potential winning scorelines! The potential added profit for the bookie is 16.4% not including any other ‘correct score’ that might come into play!

A team opening at 6/4 possibly yields an additional 19.2% via nine potential scorelines, changing the 40% price into an 11/10 chance. It gets even worse when you study the figures for a team priced up at 1/2. A whopping 25.7% is potentially added to the bookmaker’s satchels as the first 11 betting opportunities evaluate to 1/5! Most punters place wagers on favorites by definition; therefore they’re being fleeced beyond comprehension, which is the reason why I’m proposing that you stay away from correct score betting.

Placing a bet on the first/last goal scorer is another wager that was invented by the bookmaker, for the bookmaker. Football is made up of 20 outfield players with a maximum of two of them in any given game – the first and last goalscorer – force the bookies to pay out on this particular market, so it is a guaranteed money-spinner for the bookie. Long lists, shortlists and handicap lists (to be specific) are designed to rid you of as much money as the bookmaker is legally allowed to take!

I’ve been taken in to placing bets on the half time/full-time markets – this is where you bet on what the state of play will be at half-time (Team A ahead, Team B ahead or a draw) and what the final conclusion of the match will be – but that is because I am a ‘trend-and-stats man’ at heart. There is at least a certain reasoning to the half-time/full-time wager, because of the way that managers ask their teams to perform from week to week. For example, it is possible to predict the way a team approaches a game: will they play to win or pick up a draw?

Does the manager dispatch the players to play attacking football? This offers you the added value that you simply couldn’t have when betting on a first goalscorer, as all sorts of players, especially at corners and free-kicks, can score goals. The half-time/full-time bet also permits you to re-evaluate your bet at the half-way stage, and you can put another bet on the outcome of the match after 45 minutes, probably seeking to develop a ‘no lose’ scenario on the eventual result. There are some ways of discovering the value – but you have to understand the odds first.