On the surface, soccer (sorry, football for the purists) is one of the more simple sports on the planet.
One pitch, one ball, two goals and 11 players on each side trying to boot that ball into the opposition goal - easy, right?
While the premise is simple, soccer (we are going to call it soccer for the purpose of this article to differentiate it from other football codes) has so many nuances, strategies, leagues and skill levels that actually makes it extremely sophisticated.
That can also be a punters nightmare, especially when there are three main outcomes to consider with the draw a common result.
So here if your ultimate guide to batter the bookies in the world game, including all the tips and tricks you might not have considered previously.
This one may come across as common sense, but it is vital that you don't rely exclusively on one bookie.
The markets, odds and promotions vary wildly from one bookie to the other, depending on the match and the league.
There is no one bookie that is consistently better, you just have to have an eagle eye.
Some bookies can be slower to move their lines than others as well, especially with some of the more obscure leagues.
Keep a log of which bookies move the slowest for certain leagues, and you can grab great odds.
This is critical in soccer, as the draw is a huge point of difference.
Most bookies offer three-way markets, for each team to win, and the draw. The handicap betting needs to be viewed carefully as well.
Some bookies will offer -1 or +1 handicaps, others will offer -0.5 or +0.5. This is critical, which we will show in an example.
Let's say the Bendigo Burger Bashers are playing the Ulladulla Unicorns. The Unicorns are the favourites, so you can get -1 or -0.5 depending on the bookie.
Now, let's say the Unicorns win the match 1-0. If you have a handicap of -1, then you will get your money back as it will equal a drawn result.
If you have -0.5 then the Unicorns win by 0.5 goals in your handicap bet, and you get the full payout.
This can be taken to another level with Asian handicap betting, which is best described in a full article which you can find here.
The results in soccer can be tricky to pick, especially in some of the bigger leagues in the world.
This is where the total goals market can be a real cash cow. By doing the proper research, you can determine sides that are likely to score - or leak - goals, and how they match up against other teams.
Some clubs will adopt certain strategies that favour a low-scoring match, which will be shown in their history and trends.
Research thoroughly, learn which structures they are going to run with. The context of the match is important as well. Read up on whether teams need to win by a certain margin, which comes into play in qualification tournaments for events like the FIFA World Cup.
The longer you keep at soccer betting, the better you can get at analysing trends.
Make a spreadsheet that shows how teams perform at home, away, against certain teams, certain structures.
This way you can start to identify trends. The Unicorns may be really strong against the Burger Bashers, but perhaps they have a history of not travelling well to Tasmania etc.
In such a highly structured game, coaches and managers will look for any weakness to exploit. If you can identify those weakness as well, you can use it your advantage when it comes to betting.
Josh Alston is a hack with over 12 years industry experience, covering sport across all codes for newspapers and online agencies. Known to frequent grade matches because of their cheap tinnies. Eventually graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism and a Masters in sitting on the hill when the local cricket side was playing. Softball premiership winner, rugby league legend in Year 10 and no stranger to Doomben Racecourse.