Top tips for making the right football predictions

Date published: Friday 28th April 2017 7:30

Tottenham and Arsenal: Face off this weekend

There’s no question about it, betting on sports is big business these days and so are fantasy leagues.

Every season millions of people all round the world do their very best to predict which team is going to win a particular league, cup championship or single match.

In fact, in a world which has seen an explosion in gaming across all sports and which, almost unbelievably, even includes esports betting on the outcome of broadcast video games, there are also a huge number of different kinds of bet. It all makes the old days of the football pools where all you had to do was pick the week’s score draws seem positively prehistoric.

In line with this increasing sophistication, the methods being used to try and predict everything from the half time score to the first player to get a goal are becoming equally complicated with many people even trying to calculate the odds for themselves as well as interpret the complex information that lies behind them.

Obviously the first thing to be considered is the track record of the teams themselves, paying particular attention to how they have fared against each other in the past. This sort of information is pretty easy to access online through sites like Statto which will go back seasons and even provide up-to-the minute odds for you.

Of course, looking at the odds is all very well but interpreting them accurately is also important and the practice of doing this is called getting “value”. To do this you need to have two key facts at your disposal. The first is your estimation of how likely a team is to win as a percentage and the second is the odds that are being given in decimal form. If these, multiplied together,come to more than 1 then you’re getting value. So, for example, if you think a team has a 50% chance of winning and the decimal odds being given are 2.0. You convert your 50% prediction to 0.5 and multiply it by 2.0 giving you 1.0 – meaning it’s bet worth taking. But if the odds were 1.8 then the calculation would bring the result to 0.9 and not be worth risking.

Naturally, there are many factors that go into creating your personal prediction of how a team will do. We’ve already talked about past performances in terms of the team but you also have to take this down to a player level. For example if there’s a striker who just can’t seem to help scoring or a keeper who has failed to keep a clean sheet for weeks then these have to be considered.

Even the track records of the managers in playing each other have to be examined, even when they were at different clubs. For example the long-running feud between Wenger and Mourinho started when the latter was at Chelsea and has continued now he’s at United – and the results of their meetings tell their own story.

So hopefully these few tips will go some way towards helping you to predict the football a little more accurately. But it’s also important to remember that in football big surprises are never out of the question – as Leicester City proved so dramatically last season.

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