How To Understand Football Betting Odds

How To Understand Football Betting Odds

Choice Of Three

What so many always seem to forget is the possibility of a Draw in football matches. The overwhelming number of bets are always placed on a team to win and rarely does the draw outcome attract much betting action.

Year-on-year around 27% of all English Premier League football games result in a draw so, on average, a draw should be priced around 11/4. But no matter what the betting odds, it is generally accepted that when a major football match ends in a draw, the online bookmakers win handsomely.

Home Or Away

Statistically a home win occurs around 46% of the time and an away win is another 27% outcome. But the bookies would go broke if they bet to annual stats. There is a far greater chance that Manchester City will beat Brighton at home than 46% for example.

Opening Show

Online bookmakers will use their experts and historical statistics to come up with their football betting odds on matches. They will factor in the unpopularity of the draw and some firms will base some of their odds on the habits of their customer base.

There is one online bookmaking firm with a number of shops in the north west of the UK and a large number of their online customers come from those parts. Consequently you will often find their betting odds on Manchester teams are less than those found with other betting firms as they know they will take a large number of bets on these teams regardless of the prices they offer.

Why Do Football Odds Change?

As with all betting genres, odds can and do change as market forces (the weight of money) see bookmakers manage their liabilities. But odds compilers do not only make changes to their prices because of big bets (or a host of small ones).

Breaking news that a key football player is injured and will miss the game often leads to bookies making odds changes. This can become evasive action when the full team sheets are published.

In fact for many betting on football is something of an art form. Similar to day traders on the stock market, many will use every piece of information available to them when trading on a football match.

Any team news can affect the prices on a match so shrewd punters will keep their fingers on the pulse by following multiple Twitter feeds from the biggest clubs as well as official websites and even individual player’s Instagram accounts.

A Match Example

Nevertheless, apart from the rare occasion when a draw will see both teams proceed to the next round in a European Cup match, punters still tend to neglect the possibility of matches being a draw.

We have touched on betting percentages and football markets before, assessing a 113% match book as laid out below:

6/4 Home win – £40 bet returns £100

6/4 Away win – £40 bet returns £100

2/1 A Draw – £33.33 bet returns £100

Therefore this market is 113.33 percent meaning, in an ideal world, if a bookmaker takes £113.33 in bets they will pay back out £100 to punters in winnings. The remaining £13.33 is bookmaker profits.

But, in truth, if £113.33 is taken on bets in a single football match the cash could well be spread out like this:

£60 at 6/4 Home win net result: Bookmaker loss £36.67

£45 at 6/4 Away win net result: Bookmaker profit 0.83p

£8.33 at 2/1 A Draw net result: Bookmaker profit £88.34


Betting is a sophisticated business but understanding how bookmakers win should help you devise ways of how to beat them and show a profit yourself.

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