By Charles Jay
Certainly I would not consider myself to be at the point where I am an “expert” soccer bettor. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t find it very intriguing, with – how should I say – plenty of “opportunity for growth.”
And interestingly enough, I haven’t done too badly with it so far. One of the reasons, I believe, is that I don’t go into it thinking I know more than I actually do. And so I am not making assumptions that paralyze other bettors who might engage in it.
Sometimes common sense pretty much prevails. But there are obviously some factors that have to go into that.
For one thing, I like to read as much as I can about the games, in the “jurisdiction,” so to speak, in which the game is being played. So if it is the English Premier League, we’d be talking about the British newspapers; if it’s La Liga or Bundesliga, it would be media outlets in Spain and Germany, respectively, with English translation if necessary.
I have found that the coaches on these teams (the “managers” as they are sometimes referred to) are pretty forthcoming when it involves an evaluation of their own side’s state of mind, although I must say that information about the “fitness” of individual star players isn’t always so specific.
But the news on all of this has to be digested and interpreted. And you might be able to get some insight as to how a particular side is going to approach a game. That is important in a sport where genuine scoring opportunities don’t arise all that often.
How might this manifest itself? Well, let me go over an example. I’m not going to get into all that much detail, because I don’t want it to “date” the article.
In this particular instance, one of the teams (Side A) was pointing itself straight toward a championship, and frankly, it wasn’t even close. The other side (Side B) was so inferior a club that it failed to even score a goal in a previous meeting, in which Side A was sitting out nine of its players.
But there was a question of “edge” coming into the festivities for soccer punters. Side A knew that sooner or later, it was going to clinch the title. Side B was in a genuine battle, as it was running the risk of being relegated to a lower tier of the football system.
So one could say that Side B probably had a little more of a sense of urgency. Still, there was such a difference in talent that I imagined that Side A, operating with its first team, was the vastly superior contingent. So laying a price that was less than 3-1 was attractive to me.
I should have been looking in another direction. Side B had a number of injury problems, and was going to be without quite a bit of firepower for this match. They weren’t a particularly effective team on the defensive end, but the coach had remarked that they might have to play a patient game.
I should have read the tea leaves when looking at soccer betting odds. Side B, which was playing at home, had to take every opportunity to come out with even a point out of this matchup, as the outright win seemed out of reach. And without great ability to strike, they were likely to take more of a defensive posture, almost killing the clock as a way of neutralizing a much more explosive club.
So what was the result? A scoreless tie. I’m not going to sit here and say that the draw (better than 4-1) was something I was considering. But sometimes the motivation to prevent the other team from scoring is powerful. The over / under on the game was three goals. And that is the way I should have gone.
So I resolved myself to paying closer attention to the information the next time around, and benefited by it.