The aim of this article is to bring to your attention the rewards that can be had from specialising in betting on one particular team.
Some of you will hate me for this and some of you will love me for this, but let me just say it now and get it out of the way - I am a Manchester United fan. They are the team I have followed since I was around 4 years old. At the time, their nickname "The Red Devils" appealed to me and it still does, that's why I called my site The Red Devil!
Anyway, with that said, you can probably guess that I specialise in betting on Manchester United matches.
Betting on your favourite football team is a double edged sword and so you must be careful that you bet with your head and not your heart. Your prediction must always be based on objective analysis of the game at hand.
By following the team closely, I feel that I am able to do this. I know when they're playing poorly and I know when they're playing well. I know when key players are injured, suspended or just going through a bad patch.
Of course, although I specialise in betting on the one team, there are always two teams in a game of football and so the opponent must also be studied in some depth.
I basically use two websites when making my predictions.
First of all, it is useful to get some statistics from a soccer stats site on the two teams.
If they have played each other before, it is useful to see how those games ended up. I tend to look for trends in the games: do games between the two sides usually end up low-scoring or high scoring affairs? If they are high scoring, what have their recent results been like? Have they been struggling to score? Have they shored up their defence since the last meeting and now concede far fewer goals?
Does one of the teams have a poor record at that particular ground? It is amazing how year after year one team fails to beat the other and this despite inevitable changes in the playing and/or management personnel. For example, Portsmouth, with all due respect, are a middle-division side but whenever we travel to their place, an upset is always on the cards and it doesn't seem to matter how well we are playing at the time. Finding these historical patterns can prevent you from placing a bad bet.
So where do I get these football stats from? Well, there are many places on the net that provide this information but, for me, I prefer to use football stats from betexplorer.com. It is a nice, clean site with the information clearly presented and not cluttered by too many advertisements. The site offers in-depth statistics on all major European Leagues and so you're almost certain to find your chosen team on there.
Once I have seen the stats, an idea for a bet is usually forming in my head but before going ahead with it, I need to know what the price is for that bet.
Generally, football bets don't have very big prices as the outcomes are pretty restricted. Either a match will result in an away win, a home win or a draw. It will either have over 2.5 goals or under 2.5 goals etc.
Of course, if you fancy trying your luck, you could bet on your team winning 3-0 with Joe Blogs to score the first goal and the bookies will give you a very good price on that.
Personally, I avoid these bets like the plague, they are mug bets. Winning on those kinds of bets is pure luck. I prefer to use my judgement to reduce the element of luck in my predictions.
I tend to look for prices in the region of 1.8 - 2.2 and whilst these might sound low, a good run of results can send your betting bank upwards fairly quickly.
In order to get the best possible price for my money, I use an odds comparison site. Again, there are several on the net but I have a preference for the engine provided by BestBetting - I find it easy to navigate to my chosen market and the bookies on there are all well-known and commonly used.
Once I see the prices on offer for the bet I intended to take, I might decide against the bet if I feel the pice is too low. One thing you must never try to do is do it the other way round i.e. base your bet on the price without sound reasoning behind the selection. Just because a price on an outcome looks good, doesn't mean it is going to happen!
One more note about the prices - as I bet on a popular side like Manchester United who do tend to win far more than they lose, they are often over-bet - their price can be very short. What this presents is an opportunity to oppose them by backing the opponent in the Asian Handicap. Look out for these opportunities if your research has shown you that whilst Team A may be big favourites to win, Team B often gives them a close game. I was able to do this earlier this season when I backed Reading against United in the Asian Handicap at 1.90. The game ended 0-0!
Once I have decided on my bet and am happy with the price, it is then a case of placing the bet. I obviously have several betting accounts with various bookies which enables me to place the bet with the bookie offering the best price. If you don't have an account with the bookie offering the best price, consider opening one. Most bookies now offer free bets when you open an account and careful use of the free bets can reduce your risk still further.
One more thing I would like to mention is that I run The Red Devil for my own pleasure and I like to make a prediction for every game that Manchester United play in - this is not something I would actually recommend. Some of the games United play in are no-go areas as far as betting is concerned (Carling Cup games are notoriously hard to predict, for example, as Fergie tends to make drastic changes to the team).
Despite all the stats and the research, I like to have a picture in my mind of how I think the game will be played - what each team will be looking to get out of it. Sometimes, I find this hard to do and on those occasions, it really would be best to leave it and not have a bet.
Anyway, I hope that this article has given you some food for thought and that you are able to take something from it which will make your betting more profitable.
If you'd like to see how I'm doing on The Red Devil and would like some free football betting tips - please drop by!