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Odds analysis: The Football Bettor's Bible?

Researching statistics to settle on a particular selection is just one-half of the equation to being a successful football bettor. Odds analysis is the other side that needs some serious attention.

A lot of punters can make the mistake of just focusing on the first part of actually finding a selection to bet on. Then off they go to their regular online sportsbook and place the bet without any actual thought about getting the best football odds.

The odds are, of course, set by the bookmaker, which on the surface, insinuates that you don’t have control over what price you take a selection at. But that’s not right, there’s plenty you can do to analyse odds and get actual value for your wagers. Odds analysis is the biggest playbook that a football bettor has.

Statistical Analysis

This is the place to start. What do the stats have to do with the football betting odds you are looking at? Everything. You have to know which picks are going to make the most sense in terms of value and risk assessment.

You don’t make a bet based simply on just odds. There has to be a solid reason for you to make a certain prediction and that can only come through statistical analysis before even looking at any bookie odds.

Understand Implied Probability

Once you have honed in on your selections from analysis, the next chapter in the playbook is the conversion of your selections into Implied Probability. Based on your analysis, if you think a home team has a good 60% chance of winning, then you would expect to see odds on the selection at 4/6.

Odds are born from this. They aren’t just random figures a bookmaker puts out there. They are representations of how likely a certain event is to happen. To calculate this use the formula “Implied Probability = 1 / Decimal Odds” and then you will be ready to take those selections to a sportsbook.

Comparative Analysis

So you have your picks and know what kind of odds you want to get for them. Next is actually finding those odds and this is a different field of study. Comparative analysis of odds between different bookmakers is what needs to be done here.

You probably have a regular bookmaker that you use the most. But don’t just settle for the odds on display there for your selection. Compare them to what prices other bookmakers have on the same selections at the current time.

You may find a different bookie has your selection at 8/11 instead of 4/6, which is almost a 58% Implied Probability, and value to you because it’s above the odds that you expected to see.

Load Up On Bookies

The best way to take advantage of odds comparisons is to have an account open at more than one bookmaker. If you are looking at something like a Liverpool away win in Premier League betting, there’s going to be a rough consensus among all bookies about the fair odds.

You’re not going to get massive variations, but when you think about the goal of betting is to make small gains over a long period, finding the best odds you can for each bet extends the overall value. Having different bookie platforms to bet on, for the sake of getting even marginally better odds is an excellent approach.

Market Trends

Another aspect of analysis is tracking the odds over a reasonable period. The time that you want to place a bet isn’t always when the selection is at its best price. The bulk of football bets happen on the day of a given match, as punters wait for things like team and injury news and then markets can rapidly change.

Depending on the action that comes in on that market at a given time, public support for a particular selection can shift the odds, sometimes in your favour. So a little planning and patience can go a long way, but always set your baseline at your Implied Probability odds.

The Long Game

Most casual bettors are in it for the long game and making football predictions is about winning a test of skill. There is a lot to gain from things like Implied Probability, and watching market movement for the peak time to pull the best value.

Woven very tightly into the skills of being a successful football better is analysis, on many different levels and across many different aspects. There’s an element of critical thinking also knit in, because sometimes a bet that you want to make, just isn’t going to return the odds that give it value and you have to pass.

A huge meta element of analysing your analysis also exists. Systematically overseeing your betting actions and results gives you ways to refine them.