Betting on Football Matches

Tips & Strategy to help you pick the winner in Football

Football (Soccer) is doubtless one of the most popular sports for online gambling fans. The World Cup alone draws millions of bets for each match, and the trend continues for most major competitions throughout the year.

In anticipation of the World Cup in 2010, more and more people have been wagering on football, allowing online bookmakers to offer a range of different betting props in addition to regular wagers. Things like "Who will score the first goal?" and "Which team will win the first half?" are exciting extras that bettors can play on the side.

This guide aims to discuss several factors involved when making a wager on a football match, so let's take a look at the upcoming Champions League fixtures as an example.

The Odds

The first thing that you are going to notice when searching for a match to wager on is the odds. Let's take the Manchester United vs. AC Milan match for our example. The following odds are from Sportsbook.com for the second-leg matchup:

Manchester United: -153
Draw: +275
AC Milan: +375

Manchester United are clearly the favourites, but just why are they so heavily tipped to win?

The History

Champions League matches are always played over two legs (except the final), so it is recommended that you look back at previous meetings between the two clubs. In this case, since it is a second-leg fixture, we can review the first game that only occurred a week or two beforehand.

In the previous match, Manchester United won 3-2. Interestingly enough, they weren't favourites to win at most online bookmakers. There were a few contributing factors to this, not least of which was the fact that United had never scored a goal, let alone won, at the San Siro. The Italians were in the middle of a fairly productive season in their national league, Serie A, and it was believed that their stranglehold over United in previous games would be enough to see them through.

Instead, United came from behind and picked up three vital away goals. For the second-leg, it is clear that Manchester United are the favourites, not only because of their last meeting, but also because of where they are playing.

Home Ground Advantage

As previously mentioned, AC Milan had never conceded a goal to United prior to Round 2 of the 2009-10 Champions League. Their home ground, the San Siro, was something of a fortress against the English champions, yet a piece of Wayne Rooney magic saw them suffer a heavy defeat.

The opinion on whether home ground advantage plays a key part in football results is tentative, to say the least, but there is no doubt that Manchester United have had a strong home record in the 2009-10 Premier League season. What is interesting, however, is to learn that United only managed one home win in their Champions League group stages. While they won every single away match, their home form was less than stunning. Of course, it could be argued that United's only defeat, a 1-0 loss to Turkish club Besiktas, was due to the club having already qualified for the next round of the tournament, and the fact that the majority of their squad was made up of inexperienced and youth players.

Whatever the case, AC Milan should take some heart in knowing that the Red Devils haven't been at the top of their game in Champions League fixtures at Old Trafford this season.

Top Goalscorers

With so many Champions League game props on offer, it can be exciting to add an extra element to your bet with something like "Who will score the first goal?" These sort of props can even give you some insight into which team is most likely to win.

For Manchester United, Wayne Rooney has been their talisman in 2009-10; he has already scored 23 goals in 27 Premier League appearances, and has the attention of Milan after picking up a brace in the first leg.

AC Milan are quite unlike United in this respect. Where the Red Devils have one prolific goal scorer, Milan have several that can perform well on the right day. Alexandre Pato is arguably the most consistent this season, having already scored twice in the Champions League, while Ronaldinho is always a threat when on the ball, as was shown with his early goal against Manchester United in their previous encounter.

Injuries

Whether it's a star striker or group performance, the one thing that can ultimately change a game's outcome is injury. Manchester United have dealt with plenty already this season, at one point seeing their entire defence struck down with injury. While several players are back on the field, or at least close to doing so, there is always the daily worry that a player will be struck down with injury. Depending on the importance of such a player, this can often affect the odds for football fixtures.

Staying on top of updates, injuries, and squad changes can be a key part in football betting. In this type of sport, drastic and last minute changes are bound to occur at times, and betting lines will alter in order to accommodate such changes. Be sure to always keep a keen eye on the latest updates and changes prior to a match, and if you are live betting, take into account any injuries or substitutions that may occur throughout the match.

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