How to Pick a Winner
Next step is to make a few bookmarks, as you’ll need three kinds of sites.
The first group is statistical sites. Type into your browser “football (or soccer) statistics”. Start from the top of results and choose one that you fancy the most. Here’s no room for mistake, all of them are top sites.
The second group is clubs’ sites, find them easily with typing the club’s name.
And the last one is a group for sports news. You’ll again have to put small effort to find them. Some are specified for particular areas (like BBC or Skyport for British leagues), some cover the whole of Europe.
Step by step
Now you’re ready to start with your study. Sit back, get a cup of coffee and take a look at the list of games. Like Spurs at home against Wigan? Write on paper all the games that you fancy at first glance. Now, go to your favourite statistical site. Check every written game. Where Spurs on the table? On the top half chasing the Champions (Europa) League spot, on the bottom fighting to avoid relegation, or stuck in the middle. Top and bottom place could suggest a higher level of motivation, middle mediocrity lack of interest. Check how Tottenham play at home and how Wigan on the road. Some clubs are typical home sides, winning most of the points at home and hardly win away. For the end of this step, take a look at the history of their games at White Hart Lane (home of Tottenham). There are always clubs which haven’t won at some stadium for decades. That could affect their confidence. Check all the games from your list and make the first selection. All this work could be done two days before the kick-off.
A day before the game, all the teams’ news should be available. Visit every club and read the headlines. Hugo Rodallega will miss the game and you’ve never heard for him? Never mind, find the button statistics and check how many appearances, goals and assists he made in the recent season? You should find he’s one of the key players and his absence is a decent blow for Wigan. Check all injuries and suspensions for this game than repeating the procedure for the rest of your list. A number of potential bets are now significantly smaller.
Now visit major sports sites and check their headlines. Is there any of the players from your list caught in a drinking session, the chairman who threats to his manager, or some interesting story about the unrest in the dressing room? Club’s officials always try to hide internal affairs.
Other factors of interest
Every pitch in the league of five is well equipped with undersoil heating and good drainage, but if you wish to bet on the Cup game weather conditions should be also an area of interest. Let’s imagine Chelsea are visiting Scunthorpe in FA Cup. They’re normally strong favourites. Chelsea’s players are technically superior (superior in any way) but used to play and practice on perfect pitch. What about Glanford Park (Scunny’s ground). Flooded, full of mud and roughness? That will affect Chelsea’s quick passing game, while home players will try to pick up the ball from a puddle of mud and kick the long ball to the strikers. Sometimes they water the pitch even when it's raining. Check weather forecast there. Under the zero? Will stars risk some injury on the frozen pitch? Maybe you’ll find Chelsea now are not so strong favourites as they were before.
When you get some skill and browsing these sites becomes a routine, you will include some smaller factors into your consideration. Style of play and how your club copes with the sides from the bottom (or top) of the table. Previous results will maybe show vulnerability against the sides that “park the bus” and practice counter attacks. Or maybe they always have a special motivation against top league clubs. New manager syndrome. If there’s a new boss, players will give their best to impress him and buy a place in the team. Also when a manager gets the ultimatum from the board to make a result, there’s a question of how much players admire him. Depending on would they like him to stay or go, their effort will be bigger or smaller than usual. Who is referee, check his habits about an average number of bookings, awarded penalties and his history with your team. Is there a possibility to players are tired due to tough schedule? If you bet on English leagues, be aware that clubs play two Cup competitions. Is the stadium sold-out or are the fans in some kind of protest. Full crowds are always good motivation factor and opposite.
Find the best odds
You should open as many betting accounts as it is possible. Almost every bookmaker has different odds for the same event and differences are sometimes really big. You wouldn’t like to take Spurs at 1.30 if there is 1.50 available at another place. If you don’t know how to select a reliable bookmaker (that won’t refuse to pay your winnings), there’s one very simply rule. When you watch a football game, pay attention to the advertising around the pitch. Only reputable houses could pay that much and pass the needed regulations.
Before you place the bets, you have to make a final step and evaluate the offered odds and expected level of risk. If you think mentioned Spurs don’t worth of a shot at 1.30, simply don’t take it.
Now it’s the time for another cup of coffee (glass of beer) and little rest before the kick-off.