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Betting Based on Win/Loss Streaks

We need to consider a variety of different factors when betting on football games. Some factors are extremely obvious and relatively easy to analyze. These are the factors that virtually all bettors take into account. For example, even the most casual of football bettors understand the importance of overall team quality. They know that they have to compare how good the two teams are when they’re assessing the likely outcome of a game.

Other factors are less obvious, and harder to analyze. Take a team’s playing style, for example, or their ability to perform under pressure. Factors such as these can definitely affect the outcome of a game, but many bettors don’t realize this. Or, at least, they don’t fully understand how to assess these factors and the impact that they have. So they just overlook them completely, and focus on the simpler things.

There are also some factors that split opinion. Momentum is perhaps the best example of this. Some people believe that it’s vital to consider momentum, while others believe that momentum is vastly overrated and has little effect on the outcome of football games.

Our own view is that momentum should definitely be taken into account, in some circumstances at least. We firmly believe that teams WITH momentum typically have an advantage over teams without it. Winning breeds winning: plain and simple. When a team is playing well and regularly winning their games, they are going to have the necessary confidence to continue their streak. They will more than likely be performing to the best of their abilities.

Conversely, a team that’s playing badly and regularly losing is likely to approach their games with a negative attitude. This poor attitude, and lack of confidence, could easily lead to that team’s defeat: or, at the very least, a poor performance.

This is why a lot of football bettors like to bet based on streaks. They see a team on a winning streak and assume that they’re going to keep winning. They see a team on a losing streak, and assume that they’re going to keep losing. These assumptions are reasonably logical if we accept that momentum does have a powerful effect on teams.

However, as with most aspects of football betting, things are never as straightforward as they might seem. All streaks come to an end at some point. Winning teams always lose a game eventually, and losing teams always manage to turn things around and get a win. We should never blindly bet on teams to continue their streaks. We have to be smarter than that and consider more than just momentum as an isolated factor.

This article features some useful information and advice for betting based on winning streaks and losing streaks. We start by exploring what causes such streaks. This is important, as it will help you know just how much you can read into a team’s recent results. Then we look how you can analyze the effects of streaks. This will help you to determine how much of an impact a team’s momentum will have on future results. Finally, we offer some strategy advice for betting streaks effectively.

Understanding the Cause of Streaks

It’s not unreasonable to assume that winning streaks and losing streaks are ultimately caused by a team’s overall quality. Strong teams are obviously more likely to go on a winning run, while weaker teams are more likely to go on a losing run.

It’s not that simple though. Teams on long winning streaks aren’t necessarily the best teams in the league, just as teams on long losing streaks aren’t necessarily the worst teams in the league. Quality is always going to play a part, of course, but streaks can be caused by a variety of other factors too. Here are some examples.

  • Easy/hard schedules
  • Favorable/unfavorable matchups
  • Roster changes
  • Coaching changes
  • Injuries
  • Luck

Let’s take a look at each of these examples in more detail.

Easy/hard schedules

A schedule can throw up some interesting scenarios. In an ideal world each team’s schedule would be perfectly balanced, but it rarely works that way. Teams sometimes have to face runs of several very tough games all in a row. Likewise, they sometimes get a run of really easy games. Sometimes they have to do a lot of travelling in a relatively short period of time, playing consecutive games in different time zones. Other times they get a few consecutive games that don’t require much travelling.

These things can all have a big impact on a team’s ability to get results. For example, a team with an easy run of games and little travelling to do is obviously well placed to put together a winning streak. Even if they’re not an amazingly strong team, circumstances have given them a good chance of gaining some momentum.

On the other hand, a team with a run of really hard games that require a great deal of travelling might find it tough to get any momentum going. Even if they’re a strong team, they might lose a few consecutive games primarily because of their schedule.

Favorable/unfavorable matchups

“Better” teams don’t always win football games. In fact, we regularly see results where a strong team is beaten by a so-called “weaker” team. This can be for any number of reasons, but sometimes it simply comes down to the weaker team being well suited to exploit their opponent’s weaknesses.

Even the strongest teams tend to have at least one weakness.

Sometimes a team will come up against opposition that has just the right personnel and playing style to take full advantage of their weaknesses. So they could easily lose the game, despite technically being the better team overall. An unfavorable matchup therefore doesn’t have to mean stronger opposition per se. And if a team is unlucky enough to face several unfavorable matchups in a row, they might go on a losing streak, despite having a decent performance.

Likewise, a favorable matchup doesn’t necessarily mean weaker opposition. A team might face opposition that is stronger overall, but is the perfect opposition for their preferred style of play. If a team is lucky enough to get a few of these kinds of matchups consecutively, they could go on a winning run even in their weaker moments.

Roster changes

Teams generally make a few changes to their roster each season. Sometimes these changes have a positive impact immediately, but sometimes it takes a while for the players to get used to each other. Even if a team has improved the overall quality of its roster significantly, there’s still no guarantee that they’re going to start playing well straightaway. This can lead to a losing streak at the start of the season.

Coaching Changes

Coaching changes can have a big impact on a team. Especially when it’s a new head coach that’s coming in. He may be looking to overhaul the way everything is done, and completely change the way a team plays. It will often take time before he can properly impose his philosophies and methods on his new team, so results in the short term may not be very good. So, as with roster changes, a losing streak at the start of season is a distinct possibility.

Injuries

Some teams rely heavily on just one or two star players. If they lose their star players to injury, it can really affect their ability to get positive results. In fact, any team can be badly affected by injuries. They can completely disrupt even the strongest of teams, so it’s fair to say that injuries can definitely cause a team to go on a losing streak.

Luck

We don’t like to talk too much about luck in the context of sport, and especially not in the context of football. Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase “the more I practice, the luckier I get?” This is very apt for football. For the most part, teams and players make their own luck. Their success, or otherwise, is largely down to how good they are. It’s also down to the time and effort they put into training and practicing.

Luck can sometimes play its role though. There will be times when everything seems to fall right for a team, and they almost can’t help but win. There will also be times when everything seems to go wrong for a team, and they can’t seem to get a win no matter what they do. So, on occasion, luck can be a factor in causing winning or losing streaks.

Assessing the Effects of Streaks

Having established that a variety of reasons can cause teams to go on winning or losing streaks, we now need to think about the effects of these streaks. What impact do they have on a team? What about their opposition? Do they affect the betting markets at all?

Let’s answer these questions one by one.

The effects of streaks on a team

We mentioned early on in this article how momentum affects confidence. This is, in fact, probably the biggest effect that winning and losing streaks have on teams. Winning teams tend to gain confidence, and losing teams tend to lose confidence. Confidence is very powerful when it comes to football, and all sports for that matter.

Confidence plays a big part in how well players and teams are able to perform.

A confident team can be an almost unstoppable force. When the players believe in themselves and each other, it can really drive them on to perform to the very best of their abilities. They look forward to every game, and feel good whenever they take to the field. They don’t have to think too much about what they’re doing and when, as it all just seems to come naturally. It’s very common for confident teams to just keep getting better and better.

A team that’s lacking in confidence, on the other hand, can really find things difficult. They might dread each game, and be convinced that they’re sure to lose. This can mean that they’re basically beaten before they leave the locker room. When they get out on the field, they’re filled with self-doubt. This can restrict their ability to play naturally, and lead to even poorer performances.

With all this being said, we have to be careful about making assumptions about the effects of streaks on teams. We need to consider the following two points.

  • Winning streaks don’t always have a positive effect on teams.
  • Losing streaks don’t always have a negative effect on teams.

Winning streaks can lead to increased confidence, yes, but they can also lead to complacency. It’s very easy for a winning team to fall into the trap of thinking they’re going to win every game without even trying. That can be very dangerous. There’s no room for complacency on the football field, as the opposition will always look to exploit that.

A loss of motivation can also be a problem. This might seem counter-intuitive, but it does happen. Teams that are winning all the team may find it difficult to get themselves fired up for a game. Especially if they’ve already done enough to assure a play-off spot. This can result in a drop off in performances.

It’s hard to imagine that losing streaks can have a positive effect on a team, but they can. If a team has the requisite mental toughness, then a few bad results can actually lead to better performances later on. The players might start fighting that little harder for each other, and that can improve team unity. They might find themselves with more motivation, as they become determined to prove that they are better than their results suggest. They might even go right back to the basics, and try to identify any possible way in which they can improve.

We’ll explain what all this means from a strategy point of view later in this article. For now, though, the important thing to realize is that the effects of winning and losing streaks isn’t always as obvious as they first appear.

The effects of streaks on the opposition

Winning and losing streaks don’t only affect the team that’s winning or losing. They affect their opposition too. Not to the same extent, but there are still some effects to consider. This is entirely logical when you think about it. Consider the following point.

Most teams will approach games against opponents on a winning run differently to how they’ll approach games against opponents on a losing run.

So the effects of steaks here are primarily about the mindset of the opposition. CONFIDENCE..MOTIVATION..they are both so important! For example, the opponents of a team on a winning streak are likely to be less confident of a victory than they might otherwise be. They see that this team just keeps on getting positive results, and would naturally worry that they’re about to be the next ones to be beaten. Thinking this way can be dangerous, as it can lead to playing with fear. Playing with fear can then lead to a bad performance.

On the flip side, facing a team on a winning streak can increase motivation. Players can get really fired up, as they’re determined to be the ones who bring the streak to an end. This can lead to better performances.

Things basically work in completely the opposite way when we’re considering the effects on opponents facing teams on a losing streak. Confidence is likely to be higher, while motivation can be lower.

The effects of streaks on the betting markets

Streaks can affect what happens off the field too. Specifically, they can affect what happens in the betting markets. This is actually a key consideration when betting based on streaks, for reasons that we’ll outline shortly. Before we get to that, though, we need to understand exactly what these effects are.

Before this can be accomplished, you must first know that football betting markets are heavily influenced by public opinion. When bookmakers set their odds and lines, they take into account where the general betting public are likely to be putting their money. If they’re especially confident that the public will be betting on the favorite, they’ll make it less attractive to do so. This can mean decreasing the odds, or adjusting the spread to make it harder for the favorite to cover. They do this because they figure that the public will back the favorite anyway. And they’re usually right.

When the money does still come in for the favorite, they’ll the adjust odds and lines again. So the spread might get even bigger, and the odds even lower.

What does all this have to do with streaks? Quite a lot actually. Public opinion will almost always follow winning and losing streaks. The majority of football bettors will typically expect a team on a winning streak to win their next game, and typically expect a team on a losing streak to lose their next game. This has the following effects on the betting markets.

How winning and losing streaks affect odds and lines

Bookmakers basically make it far less attractive to bet on teams that are on winning streaks, because they know that chances are high that those streaks will continue. They make it far more attractive to bet on teams on losing streaks, because they know that the majority will still back their opposition.

The net result of this is often that there’s a lot of value to be had in going against the public when betting based on streaks. You can get better odds and lines than you technically should be able to, as you’ll be betting the opposite to what the bookmakers expect. This is something that you MUST consider when betting streaks.

Betting Streaks Effectively

In the final section of this article we’re going to take everything discussed so far, and look at how you can use this information to develop effective strategies for betting based on win/loss streaks. We’ll also offer some helpful tips along the way.

So, what have we actually learned up to this stage? The following neatly summarizes the key points that you should focus on.

  • Streaks can happen for a variety of reasons.
  • Streaks can affect teams in different ways.
  • Streaks can also affect the opposition.
  • The betting public tend to follow streaks.

Let’s now take a look at these points in detail, and explain what you should be doing based on each one.

Streaks happen for a variety of reasons

If you know that streaks can happen for a variety of reasons, it should be obvious that you can’t make simple assumptions about teams that are consistently winning or losing. Many bettors will automatically leap to the conclusion that a team on a winning streak must be a strong team that’s playing really well. Or that a team on a losing streak must be a weak that team that’s playing poorly. Jumping to conclusion is always dangerous when it comes to betting on winning streaks.

So, the first thing you need to consider when betting streaks is WHY the relevant team is on their streak. If a team has just had the easiest portion of their schedule, for example, you probably can’t read too much into their recent results. They might have just played a few teams that they were fully expected to beat. Not to mention that they might only have won those games by narrow margins, even though everyone expected them to win by more. The reality is that they may not be playing that well at all.

A similar principle applies when looking at teams on losing streaks. They might have just had a really tough portion of their schedule, and lost to teams that they were always likely to lose to. They might have been hit by several injuries, or be adjusting to a new playing style under a new coach.

The primary thing to understand here is that you need to properly analyze a team’s previous results before you can make any kind of judgement about whether their streaks are likely to continue or not. Try to answer the following questions.

  • What’s the standard of their recent opposition?
  • How much travelling have they had to do?
  • Have recent matchups been especially favorable, or especially unfavorable?
  • Have they suffered any injuries to key players?
  • Are they integrating a lot of new players?
  • Are they adapting to a new playing style under a new coach?
  • Have they been winning or losing by big or small margins?

The final question is perhaps the most important of all. Answering this will give you a clear idea of just how well they’ve been playing, and that’s vital information. A winning team that’s in genuinely good form is far more likely to keep winning than one that’s not really playing well but just grinding out results. Likewise, a losing team that’s in very poor form is far more likely to keep losing than one that’s not actually playing worse than usual.

Streaks can affect teams in different ways

The second thing you need to consider when betting streaks is what kind of impact they will have on the teams. Again, you can’t make simple assumptions here. Don’t take it for granted that a winning streak has positive effects on a team, or that losing streaks have negative effects on a team. It does often work that way, but streaks can have the opposite effects too.

Unfortunately, it’s not easy to analyze the likely effects of streaks on teams. It’s impossible to know for sure at what point a winning team is going to go from fully confidence to complacent. Or when a losing team is going to go from discouraged to absolutely determined to turn their bad form around.

All you can really do here is try to understand as much as possible about the mental strength of the relevant players. A group of mentally strong players are far more likely to be positively affected by either a winning streak or a losing streak. A group of mentally weak players, on the other hand, are more likely to be negatively affected.

Top Tip:
A good way to get inside the heads of players is to watch any TV interviews they’ve given recently, or read what they’ve been saying in the press. This can tell you a lot about their state of mind.

Streaks can also affect the opposition

Remember that there are two teams involved in a game of football. It’s natural to focus on the team that’s actually on a streak, and they probably should get most of your attention when you’re specifically betting based on steaks. However, don’t forget to study their opposition too. Think about THEIR mental strength, and how they are likely to approach the game. Are they likely to be raising their performance? Or is there a chance that they’re not going to play to the best of their abilities.

The betting public tend to follow streaks

Most people who bet on football lose money. This is 100% true, without any doubt. And it’s true for a variety of reasons. One major reason is that the majority of bettors don’t give any consideration to value. They bet purely based on what they think is the most likely outcome, without any real thought as to whether their selection actually offers any value.

The bookmakers know this. They also know that most bettors prefer to bet with streaks. The majority will back a team on a winning streak and bet against a team on a losing streak. Because these bettors don’t think about value, the bookmakers know they can set odds and lines that aren’t particularly attractive for those betting with streaks. The majority are going to make the same selections regardless.

When we covered this earlier, we explained that this often creates value in betting the opposite way to the majority. This means betting AGAINST streaks is frequently the right thing to do. Therefore, our best piece of advice for betting based on streaks is as follows.

Look for opportunities to bet against teams on winning streaks and/or to back teams on losing streaks.

Please note that we’re not suggesting you should ALWAYS bet against a streak. That’s oversimplifying things. There are times when it’s right to go with the majority, and bet on a streak to continue. Our point is that betting against a streak will typically offer the better value.

Your profits can flourish if you can regularly identify situations where a streak is likely to end. In our opinion, this is the single most effective strategy you can use when betting on streaks. Just remember that you still need to take everything else we’ve covered in this article into account. The key to success here lies in finding suitable opportunities where a streak ending seems like a strong possibility.

As with most football betting strategies, this requires analyzing a range of different factors and trying to make informed judgements. Do this well and you should make money!