As someone who spends a lot of their time researching their betting picks, and often writing about them, there are plenty of pitfalls awaiting the unsuspecting writer.
Pitfalls that can make you look a little silly, or turn your well-researched, confident betting tip or pick into an absolute miss.
As a writer and punter, you want to avoid this, but sometimes you can’t. Sometimes fate just conspires against you.
That means that even well-researched and solid sounding betting tips, can turn into losers very quickly.
In this article, we are going to look at some of the factors that can turn a solid bet on football, into one that makes your tip look foolish, if not downright crazy!
But I’ll also explain why these tips are not ‘bad picks’ and why you should not admonish yourself if some of the unfortunate events happen to you, on a game that you have bet on.
Of course, a pre-requisite for any punter is a good, if not great, sports betting website. Bet365 Sport is my preferred option thanks to its great value odds, outstanding promotions, generous welcome offer and the fact that you can access all bet365’s other sites from a single log in.
So let’s begin our list of things that can fox your football bet starting with some of the things that can happen even before a game kicks off.
Bet Breakers – Things You Can’t Predict That Can Impact Your Chances Of A Winning Bet
- Squad Rotation
Teams that find themselves in multiple competitions will likely rotate their squad for certain games and this can have a serious impact on your bet’s chances of success.
It is common nowadays for the top teams to rest many first team players for smaller cup competitions like the Carabao Cup. They may also rest players in European competitions if they have already qualified for the next phase of the competition or have been eliminated.
These are relatively easy to predict will happen, but sometimes, managers will throw you a curved ball and rotate their squad for league games too, especially over busy periods of the season (which tends to be November through to February).
If you’ve placed a bet assuming the manager of a team will pick his best XI and then when the team sheet is announced, half of those top players (sometimes more) are not playing. Your bet chances can plummet.
Solution – Wait until an hour before the game kicks off to place your bet and find yourself a reliable football news service that brings you details of each team’s line up in the hour before the game kicks off.
I’m not talking about injuries that you already know about (the same goes for suspensions too), but rather injuries that can happen in a game that robs a team you have backed of a key player.
The earlier in the game that these injuries occur, the more likely they are to have a greater impact on your bet. Particularly if you have backed that player to be the first or last goalscorer or similar.
However, it can also impact your bet if you have made your choices assuming that player would play all, or at least the vast majority of the game.
For example, if you back Manchester City to win a game 5-0 and Erling Haaland is injured during the game, then you’d assume City’s chances of scoring lots of goals would be decreased given they have lost their most potent attacking threat.
Solution – There isn’t one. You just have to formulate your bet as best you can and perhaps try and factor into your bet selection what could happen if a key player for the team you are backing, is injured.
- One or More Red Cards
Nothing can disrupt the flow of a game more than there being one or more red cards awarded, especially in the first half of a match.
We have already seen games where this has patently been the case in the 2023/24 Premier League season. Tottenham v Liverpool being one and Tottenham v Chelsea being the other. But any sending off can blow apart your chances of a successful bet.
In addition, the earlier a red card is issued, the more influence it will have on the rest of the game. A team can possibly hold out for a win if they play 10, 20 or maybe even 45 minutes with 9 or 10 men. But doing so for 80 minutes is a huge ask.
For me the red card is my nemesis when betting as it is so hard to predict if it will happen.
Solution – Again, there’s nothing you can do to predict red cards. You can narrow down the players who may get one (and even bet on that if you like), or bet on the fact that there may be one in a game, but you can’t really factor in a red card being awarded in your game as it happens relatively infrequently (well, for most teams at least!).
- Refereeing / VAR Decisions
Referees are fallible and make mistakes. VAR was supposed to stop this, but in the end, it has proven to be just as inconclusive and irrational as some refereeing decisions made without the use of technology.
We have seen so many games this season where there has been a refereeing decision, or more likely a VAR decision, that has affected the outcome of a game significantly. That can be the awarding or disallowing of a goal (even one that was incorrectly disallowed) or the sending off, or not, of a player.
When picking your bets, you can’t legislate for what VAR and the officials will do during a game and it isn’t something you can factor in to your thinking.
Of course, there is a flip side in that VAR or a refereeing decision can go for the team you have backed, so in many cases, it is just a decision that you have to take on the chin.
Solution – There isn’t one. Officials and VAR are not infallible and are not designed to produce an entirely fair game. So, you just have to hope any team you back is not impacted negatively by one or more of these types of decision.
- Pitch & Weather Conditions
The final factor that can impact a bet on any game are the conditions of the pitch and the weather.
In terms of the pitch, how it is set up can affect the type of game played on it. A short cut pitch with a slick surface is ideal for quick passing teams, but teams facing just such an opponent may leave the grass long or not water the pitch to make that kind of play more difficult.
Similarly, how wet or dry a pitch is can affect how much the ball rolls truly on it, plus the pitch can cut up in matches and that can bring its own hazards.