Foundation of Football Betting - A Simple System on Real Odds

The only other way you are going to gain an edge on the bookmaker is by devising a system that has a positive expectancy. 

In other words, we are going to have to go through previous data in order to devise and back test a system that after a set number of games returned a profit. 

Let’s look at building a very basic system. Please note that the system stated below is for example purposes only.

Before we begin, it must be stated that devising a betting system can be extremely arduous and time-consuming. It involves collecting and analysing a great deal of data before you can even begin to see if there are any patterns which regularly repeat themselves. 

Let’s say you are looking to devise your first system. You’ve gone through a season’s worth of data and have found that, when the top six sides played away from home and were priced between 1.80 and 2.00, if you had opposed these sides in every such match you would have shown a profit. 

So this is your edge. Your research has indicated that blindly opposing the top six side when odds-on favourites away from home has shown a longterm profit. This strategy has a positive expectancy. Now you have something to work with. You can then add other factors into play. Your system rules may then be as follows: If a top-six side is playing away from home and odds-on favourites, priced between 1.80 and 2.00, and your ratings believe the away team have a chance of winning which is 5% greater than the bookmakers’ prices indicate, then you would look to oppose that team. For example, Stoke City are playing Arsenal at home and the bookmakers have priced up the game as follows.

  • Stoke City 5.20 = 19.23% chance of winning 
  • Draw 3.75 = 26.66%
  • Arsenal 1.80 = 55.55%

You look at your ratings and you see that you have the game priced as follows:

  • Stoke City 4.11 = 24.33%
  • Draw 3.71 = 26.95%
  • Arsenal 2.05 = 48.78%

As you can see, the bookmakers believe Arsenal have a 55.55% (1.80) chance of winning this game. But your ratings suggest that Arsenal should only have a 48.78% chance of winning. The difference between the two percentages is your rating (48.75%) minus the bookmakers’ price (55.55%) = -6.80%.

So your ratings suggest Arsenal have 6.8% less chance of winning the game than the bookmakers think. This therefore would qualify as a selection. So you oppose Arsenal by either laying them on the betting exchanges or backing Stoke City on the Asian Handicaps.

Now, the beauty of a system like this is that the system makes the selection for you. Again, emotion is taken out of the betting process. So then, going forward throughout the season, for every fixture involving a top six side playing away from home priced between 1.80 to 2.00, you just go through the same process as above.

But is such system-betting truly effective? And what’s a reasonable way of testing it? Once you have enough data and the system has proved profitable over at least 100 games, you should have the confidence to implement it.

Of course, as we said earlier, this is not about avoiding losses altogether: that can’t be done: it’s about making sure you get more winners than losers in the long run. It’s about making sure you only lose four out of every ten bets, rather than five or six. Therein is the secret of any successful gambler.

From the Book The Foundation of Football Betting