Finding Value Football Bets

Lets start with the most basic of football bets – theaccumulator. For the average punter this normally consists of a few “home bankers” chucked in with a few other picks.

Accas including Wolves, Wigan, Sunderland and Bolton allwent South at the weekend and although at around Even money these may not have been “Home Bankers” to a lotof punters, I’ll bet all 4 were good results for the bookies. – Particularly as 3 of those ended in Draws.

The Draw is usually the most favourable result for thebookmakers. I believe this is because punters focustoo heavily on trying to pick a match winner, backingthe draw just doesn’t capture the imagination in the same way as picking the winner.

But consider that just blindly backing the draw across all matches in the opening weekend of the Premier Leaguewould have made a level stakes profit of 4.2pts.

So we know that the draws are what usually scupperthe home bankers (big underdogs such as Blackpool winning away are a rare occurrence) and that draws on thewhole are under-bet and as such probably offer better value overall than the Home or Away options.

Now how can we use this knowledge to improve our betting habits?
Here’s a couple of suggestions for you:

Firstly, consider rolling up your win selections in”DRAW NO BET” multiples.

This simply takes what is the best result for the bookies out of the equation. Its the same as backingyour team off of scratch (0) on the Asian handicap,which gives you another set of prices to compare andoften offers better value with lower margins.

Let’s say that you really didn’t fancy the chances of West Ham at Villa, Fulham at Bolton, or Birmingham at Sunderland. Over the weekend you could have backed Villa DNB, Bolton DNB and Sunderland DNB in a treble.

Admittedly the “Draw No Bet” price will be shorter than the straight win, but it has insurance built in, if any of your selections win and none of them lose, you’ll always make a profit with this kind of bet. Drawn matches are simply void as far as the acca is concerned and your returns will be calculated based on the remaining bets that are winners.

Another option is to go specifically looking for likely draws at value prices. You could use statsas your starting point.
For example Aston Villa drew 42% of their home matcheslast season. Birmingham drew 50% of their home matches last season. is a good place to look.

If you could find 5 matches where you like the look of the draw, you could perm any 2 from these 5(10 doubles). Assuming a draw price of around 3.5you’d make a profit with just 2 draws.

3 Draws and you’d net a profit of 26 units.

4 Draws means a profit of 65 units.

All 5 correct would mean a 112 unit profit.

Backing the one off match to end all square is probablymy preference though. If you can get a strike ratebetter than 1 in 3 you should be making a profit frombacking the draw, as you’ll almost certainly be gettingodds better then 2/1 on average.
The other angle with this is the in running approach.Lets say you back the draw on Betfair for £40 at oddsof 3.5. As soon as the match starts the odds will startto get shorter as the match is already tied 0-0.Quite often there will be an opportunity to trade out at Halftime if the match is all square for a profit whatever the result. And that is an option if you’ve changed your mind afterseeing the 1st half.

However I’d recommend placing the bet and letting it run. Obviously you need to stake accordingly only risking what you are prepared to lose on the match from the outset. But lets say the match in question gets to the 89th minute goalless and the draw price has moved in to 1.05.

  • You have a profit on the draw of £100 (before commission)
  • With a loss on either team winning of £40.
  • You can now hedge your back bet by laying the draw.

At 1.05 you can sacrifice just £5 of your potential profit on the draw to give you a profit on any resultshould a late goal be scored.
By laying for £100 stake at 1.05 you’d lose £5 ifthe match remained a draw but you’d win £100 fromyour original back bet giving you £95 profit beforecommission.

If a late goal is scored you’d win £100 from yourlay at 1.05 and lose your £40 original bet giving youa profit before commission of £60 – A much nicer ending than losing £40 due to a late winner!

So by selectively backing draws you are betting theone outcome that the bookies love, and as most otherpunters are ignoring this result, you can often get very good value.

You can often get exaggerated odds on this outcomeon Betfair in the minutes before a match as many people are looking the lay the draw before kick off in order to trade after a goal.

The “late goal insurance” method is also a nice option to have if you think the price is low enough, or you simply don’t like getting undone by very late goals!

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2 Responses to Finding Value Football Bets

  1. JOHN says:

    hi is it possible to make a profit backing win lose draw say Liverpool v west ham you back Liverpool win then back then draw the back west ham my friend told me you add all the odds together for the home draw away then divide x 3 but no idea have you
    thanks stewart

    • paulr says:

      You can only make decent profit on all outcomes if the odds move significantly in your favour, before the game you’d need a big swing in the odds which is quite rare. During the game the odds on the favourite with slowly start to lengthen as the games goes on without a goal and the draw price will come down, the outsider price with slightly drift although this depends on what the starting price was.

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