Analyzing and Evaluating Soccer Teams for Betting Purposes
Many of the most popular soccer betting markets rely heavily on your ability to analyze and evaluate the teams involved and their potential performance. This makes it one of the most important skills you’ll need to master when it comes to betting on soccer.
There is a bit of a difference in the approach required, though, depending on your needs and what you’re betting on.
If you are placing outright and future bets related to the winner of a particular soccer competition, for example, you need to work on the objective, long-term strength of the team over a prolonged period of time.
If you are placing wagers on betting markets related to specific soccer games, as most people do, it’s more about the current state of the two sides that will meet each other. As you can imagine, the performances of teams are not fixed, as they vary throughout the different stages of the season.
This page will teach you about both approaches.
You will be able to get the bigger picture by analyzing the main strengths and weaknesses of a team but also go through some details and circumstances that may affect performance at a certain point in time.
Both are crucial for your long-term success, so we advise you to carefully go through the different sections of this page.
Assessing Overall Team Quality
The natural starting point of your analysis should always be related to the overall quality of the soccer team you are exploring.
You need to go through a couple of aspects so that you can determine how strong the group of players is, in general, before you add more layers to the equation.
- Position by position check
- Analyzing the core of the team
Position by Position Check
The first thing you need to do is check what players are part of the team by position. This will help you identify the main strength and weaknesses of the squad. For example, are there enough solid center-backs?
You should be looking at two things here.
The first one is the number of top-quality players by position. The best teams out there usually have at least 4-5 world-class athletes in key roles, such as forwards, playmakers, box-to-box midfielders, center-backs, and goalkeepers.
On top of that, the rest of the starters on top teams are close to that level, which is a solid platform to compete in the strongest competitions in the world.
Of course, evaluating the potential of leading sides like Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, or Manchester City is not the hardest task in the world anyway, as they are extremely powerful.
Analyzing teams that are not on that higher level is much more complicated. Their squads usually consist of decent players, some of them on the brink of breaking to another level and others who have been there in their peak but are now older.
Once you have a good idea of the potential first-choice players for the positions, it’s time to look at their potential deputies.
A good squad needs to have at least 17 or 18 solid players, preferably even 20 or more. If the list of athletes is a bit short, it’s quite possible for the team to hit a tough period sooner or later.
If you need a guide that could help you understand how to evaluate each player and his potential contribution to the team, we’ve got that covered. Simply check the page below for some help with that.
Analyzing the Core of a Team
There are a couple of positions that are considered the core of each team. The goalkeeper, the center-backs, the central midfielders, and the strikers are what you call “the backbone” in soccer. On successful teams, these five or six players are typically the best and most influential.
They are the leaders by both example on the pitch and character. To win trophies or achieve any other goal, you need a strong core that will contribute a lot throughout the season.
In some cases, a team may lack leadership and character. This can mean that the side will potentially struggle in the difficult moments. There are other potential problems, as some teams might have the mentality to succeed but simply lack the quality.
Dig deep and try to identify the main players of the team and predict if they have the required skills to lead the rest to success. Of course, there is an element of subjectivity here, but you should get better as the time goes by.
Potential Injury and Discipline Issues
After carefully analyzing the squad and its potential, it’s time to move on and include other factors in your evaluation. The first of them is related to the potential injuries and suspensions. You can’t accurately predict them before they happen, but you can have a good idea what to expect.
Check the injury and card records of the players on a team. Some athletes are prone to various health issues and are constantly sidelined. If that has been the case throughout their career so far, chances are it will stay like that in the future, too.
The same applies to discipline problems. If there are players that often receive yellow and red cards, you can be fairly certain the trend will continue, and they will miss a bunch of games because of suspensions.
It’s also worth noting that you often see technically gifted strikers and midfielders bullied and kicked by the opponents. As a result, some of them suffer injuries far too often, and this can greatly impact the performance of their team.
The Role of the Manager
Up to this point, we’ve been discussing the players only, but it’s time to take a look at the man responsible for getting the best out of them. This is the manager, or head coach.
The manager has one of the most critical roles in soccer. Often, casual fans underestimate the importance of this position.
It is the manager who selects the coaching staff, is involved in the transfer business, prepares the team, works on the tactics, motivates the players, and completes a bunch of other duties that are vital for the success of each soccer side. It is the man who shapes the character and the style of the team.
A good manager can lift even an average group of players and push them to punch over their weight. On the contrary, a mediocre manager might struggle, even if he has the squad to succeed.
It’s inevitable that the analysis of the manager plays a vital part in your evaluation of any soccer side out there. Let’s take a closer look at the different aspects of his job.
- System and main tactics
- Flexibility during matches
- Man management
- Playing style
System and Main Tactics
Each manager out there has a preferred system and works on various tactical approaches. The good managers always combine two things: the existing potential of their squad and their fundamental idea about how the game should be played.
You can’t ignore the objective realities, so the players you have and their strengths must be accounted for when you pick a system. The best managers out there are capable of getting the best out of their players by implementing tactics that are designed to rely on the strong sides and cover the weak sides of the team.
At the same time, it’s essential to have a long-term vision for the future and work hard to install your ideas in the team. We’ve seen that even managers like Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola, who are at the top of the soccer world, need a couple of years to teach their teams to play as they want them to.
The toughest part of the job is to find a system that works right now but simultaneously develop one that will allow your team to reach new heights in the near future.
When you are analyzing any team, it’s crucial to try and figure out if the manager can make this work.
Flexibility During Matches
The preparations during practice sessions and the pre-determined tactics before each game are one thing, but influencing the matches once they’ve started is a completely different task. The most obvious way to do so would be with subs.
A good coach knows his players and can find the best moment to send in some fresh replacements and change the course of the game. This can be crucial, as we’ve often seen how only one substitution can change the entire outcome of the match.
Some managers are notorious for their timing, while others are not that good at it. One of the few flaws of the otherwise legendary Arsene Wenger, for example, was that his subs were determined before the game most of the time. As a result, he wasn’t very good at reacting to what was going on.
Of course, it’s not only about the subs. The tactical changes made while the match is running, as well as the half-time adjustments, make a lot of difference.
Any type of manager in the world is required to get along with the guys under him and motivate them to squeeze the best out of them. Soccer is not an exception. A good manager will find a way to work efficiently with most players.
There are different styles, depending on the character of the manager and his reputation, but overall, the best managers have the respect of their players, and the squad is always willing to perform for the man in charge.
Once that’s not the case, any manager is doomed. This is why you should always try and understand what’s going on at the club. If there are too many indications that the manager has lost the dressing room, this could be the sign of a disaster waiting to happen.
On the contrary, when the team and the man leading it are on the same page, this could significantly boost the performances on the pitch.
As you would expect, each manager has a certain philosophy that he believes in. If he stays for long enough in a club, he will slowly drive it in this direction. Some prefer to work more on the defense, like Jose Mourinho, and are known for building teams that are notoriously hard to beat.
Others prefer to play an attacking form of soccer that constantly puts the opponent under pressure, while some are dedicated to keeping possession for as long as possible. Pep Guardiola is a good example of the latter.
It’s always a good idea to explore the career of the manager up to this point and learn what to expect from him. The more you know about a manager’s style, the better you can gauge how his team is likely to perform under him.
Remember that a manager can’t always come into a club and instantly get the team playing his way. It usually takes at least half a season and can be even longer if the playing style is especially different from the previous manager’s.
Club and Squad Unity
In every area or professional field in the world where there is a decent number of people involved, it’s essential that they are in harmony to succeed.
We already touched on that, but there’s a lot more to it when it comes to any soccer club out there, and analyzing any team requires you to take a deeper look at the following factors.
- Relationship between the manager and the players
- Relationship between the board and the manager
- The role of the fans
Relationship Between the Manager and the Players
We won’t spend too much time on this one, as we already talked about the importance of this relationship. The players and the manager must trust and respect each other, or there’s no way to go forward.
There’s no need for them to like each other, but they must be able to work together and for the common goals of the soccer club.
Relationship Between the Board and the Manager
This one is essential as well. In the modern day, the pressure to perform right now has taken over almost everywhere. The average lifespan of the managers has dropped dramatically, as you will often see them sacked after just a couple of bad results.
Almost no group of soccer executives has the patience to wait for the long term and give the new manager enough time to install his ideas. The state of the sport in this regard is actually a bit sad, and there are no signs that a change will come.
This is why it’s always a good idea to carefully evaluate the relationship between the manager and the board of the club. Are the men on top truly behind the one leading the team, or is their confidence shaken?
If the latter is the case, that puts the manager under enormous pressure and creates a terrible atmosphere around the club. When this happens, you will often see even the strongest squads out there struggle badly on the pitch.
A couple of bad results will often lead to a disaster, as it’s close to impossible to turn things around if you know that every game might be your last.
A manager that has the complete trust of the board behind him, however, is more likely to solve critical situations faster and get the results he is targeting.
The Role of the Fans
The game of soccer is for the fans, and they have their say for many reasons. This is why you should always include this aspect in your analysis of every team.
For a start, the atmosphere at the home games is crucial. The crowd can lift the team with its support and stay hostile to the visitors, which provides a huge advantage. On top of that, we’ve seen instances when the referees were influenced by the supporters at the stadium.
Some clubs have notoriously passionate fans. If that’s the case, you can certainly consider the home advantage as an even bigger factor than usual when those teams play in front of their own crowd.
The other factor to consider is if the fan base stands behind the manager and the board.
If that’s not the case, you’ll often see protests, empty rows, and many other borderline depressing views in home matches. This affects all teams out there, so you should always expect clubs that don’t have the backing of their supporters to struggle badly.
Predicting the Future
By this point, you pretty much have all it takes to analyze the current state of any soccer team and use it to your advantage when placing a bet.
However, if you are looking at a longer period of time, let’s say a season ahead or even more, you should include other factors that matter.
- Financial power
- Strength of academy
If you are looking at a full soccer season, there will be at least one transfer window in that period of time. This means that each club will have the chance to buy or sell some players.
While it’s close to impossible to predict exactly what will happen half a year before that, you could make an educated guess about if the team will improve.
Some clubs out there, like Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Manchester City, and Bayern Munich, have the financial power to buy pretty much any player in the world.
While those are the most obvious examples, you could always check the transfer history of any side and see if it often opts to invest in the squad.
If that’s the case, the manager will probably be given the opportunity to buy some players and improve the squad. This is why you should have that in mind when analyzing the potential development of the soccer club over a prolonged period of time.
Strength of Academy
There is another way for any soccer club to improve its squad over the long run. Most teams around the globe have their own academies that work with youngsters and kids. Some of them have constantly been producing young talent that reaches the senior team.
Such players are invaluable, as they usually love the club and are desperate to lead it to glory and success.
A good example is the English Southampton, as the academy of the Saints has produced a bunch of players for the first team throughout the years.
At first glance, the process of analyzing the strength of a soccer team looks extremely complicated.
Don’t worry, though. While it is definitely not easy, and there is some effort required, it’s far from impossible, and you will eventually get comfortable with it.
It’s especially important to remember that the current state of each side is dynamic, and many factors might affect it.
When placing a wager on a soccer match, make sure your information on both sides is up to date and relevant. When placing a longer-term wager, make sure you’re looking at all the relevant aspects of a team that will affect its long-term performance.
Ultimately, conducting meaningful evaluations of teams will have an excellent impact on your chances of winning money from soccer betting.