Football is one of the most popular sports around the world. Every week, millions of people flock to their local clubs to cheer on their side in the league, confront their rivals in the cup, or settle scores in a series of friendly matches. There is also a whole world of online football that you can access at any time from your phone or laptop. But what is the point of watching or playing football if you cannot make sense of the statistics?
The odds are an integral part of a bookmaker’s income and can help you understand the betting patterns for different games and events much more easily. When you read racing odds, for example, you know exactly what to expect – the longer the odds remain the same, the more the bookie will be paid out on the bet. But what do you make of football odds? How do you read them?
Let’s take a quick look at how to read football odds and whether they’re worth paying attention to.
Fully Understand The Terms First
Whether you watch football professionally or recreationally, odds are something you will come across on some level. In order to truly make sense of them, you need to understand what they mean fully before you start interpreting them. For example, are the ‘over’ and ‘under’ odds used in football the ones used in baseball, or are they specific to football?
Most bookmakers use the over/under method of odd-setting in most sports, but that does not necessarily mean that every bookie uses those terms in football. Although they are the most common way of setting football odds, there are other ways of writing them that you need to be aware of. On the flip side, there are certain terms used in football that you need to be careful not to confuse with other sports.
Know What To Look For
As a beginner, it is not easy to know where to start with football odds. There are just so many different ways of presenting them that it can be mind-numbing trying to figure out what to make of them all. The simplest way of getting started is by looking for trends that appear often in conjunction with each other. For example, if you see a lot of one-sided bets placed on teams from one division over teams from another division, it is usually a good indication that there is something dodgy going on. You should also familiarize yourself with the tendencies of individual bookmakers because, as we have established, not all football odds are created equal. Some are simply trying to take your money while offering very limited value in return.
Watch The Popularity Of Each Team
While you are learning how to read football odds, it would be beneficial to look at which teams are popular amongst gamblers. This can be determined by looking at whether or not they are backed in a large number of bets. A team’s popularity can give you a good indication of whether or not they are a good investment based on your own research, but it also serves as a useful indicator of whether or not there are any bets worth taking against them. Simply put, the more bets that are placed on a team, the more that team is probably favoured in wins – at least, relatively speaking. Take Seattle as an example. The majority of bets are placed on them in games against San Francisco and Kansas City. Moreover, most gamblers are backing Seattle because the teams they are playing against are quite weak. It would be wise to avoid betting on them if your objectives are to make a profit.
Look At The Trends
As a beginner, you should always look for trends when analyzing odds because those are often the key to identifying the value in them. Trends can be defined as a sustained increase or decrease in the level of activity, generally in the same direction. For example, there was a time when it was not uncommon to see bets on both sides of a football match, but that was before it became commonplace to see one-sided bets in NFL contests. When analyzing odds, you should look for trends because that is usually the quickest and most efficient way of ascertaining whether or not there is any value in them. Take the 2014 Superbowl for example. The underdogs, Seattle, were widely expected to lose the game, but they shocked the world by beating the favorite Denver Broncos 48-forty.
Interpret The Odds Based On Your Experience
As we have established, not all football odds are created equal. Some are deliberately set to confuse and trick the unwary, while others are simply a vehicle for making money. The odds themselves do not necessarily mean anything in particular, but you need to look at how the bookie is setting them and whether or not that is making sense based on your expertise. You should also keep in mind that the last thing you want to do is place a bet that you cannot afford to lose. In other words, it is always better to put your money on the table than to lay it on the lines.
To give you a better insight on whether or not to make a particular wager, let us now examine some of the most common odds that you will come across.
Home Team Advantage
When you are reading odds that pertain to a team you are following, always remember that the home team advantage exists and it is generally in favor of the home team. This does not necessarily mean that all or even most home games are guaranteed wins, but it does indicate that there is generally more value in the home team than there is in the away team. Moreover, if you are not entirely sure which team will win a particular game, you should probably stick with the home team. The advantage of the home team is that they have a much better chance of winning. If a team is playing at home, they usually have good odds of winning. This is mainly due to the fact that gamblers want to provide the bookie with a winning edge – it is the bookies’ job to take care of the games as opposed to the individual bettors, so they usually provide the better odds. As a general rule, it is usually in your best interest to back the home team even if they are a long shot to win because they usually cover the spread more often than not.
The most common way of setting odds in sportsbooks is by using over/under odds. These are simply two numbers separated by a colon (:). For example, the over/under for a football match is usually a 1X2 – if the game is spread over two hours, the odds will be 1X2 for the first half and 3X2 for the second half. The ‘under’ part of the odds refers to the number of goals that will be scored under the circumstances described in the ‘over’ part. For example, if you were betting on a football game that is expected to finish under a certain score, you would need to look at the over number first because most bookies will always give you the option of whether or not you want to bet on under or over. This is a useful tool for someone new to football because it takes the guesswork out of whether or not to back a team. The main difference between under and over odds is the latter’s premium. If you are backing the home team, you will likely want to go for the over, whereas if you are betting against them, under will be the way to go. The other factor to take into consideration is the time of the game. If you are planning on placing a bet before the kickoff, you will want to go for the over because there usually is more time left in the game once it has been kicked off. After the opening kickoff, the over/under gradually diminishes in importance because there is less time left in the game. In the NFL and NBA, for example, there is usually only one or two periods left in the game by the time the fourth quarter rolls around. This is why you will see a lot of one-sided bets in those sports because the premium is only on one side and there is generally more money available on the books for those sports than there is in the NFL or NBA. If you are still unsure as to whether or not to take a particular wager, go with the over/under option because it is usually the simplest and least expensive way of choosing your side in a contest.
If you are reading betting odds for a game that will not be played at the same location as your local team, it is usually a good idea to look at the point spread. A point spread is a number that represents the ‘over/under’ difference in points between the two teams. This is usually the case when a game is being telecasted on television and there is no local team involved. As mentioned, the point spread gradually diminishes in importance when playing a home game because the home team advantage gives the home team an added advantage, but even when playing a game that is being televised, a point spread is still used.