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Soccer Betting Tips for Beginners

What do you hope to achieve through betting on soccer? Is your goal to make some money? Or are you just interested in having some fun?

Why are we asking? Your answer to these questions will determine what approach you need to take. If you’re planning to take things seriously and try to make money, you’re going to have to do a LOT of studying. There’s so much to learn, including but not limited to, all the strategy involved.

There’s no need to rush and try to learn everything as quickly as possible. It’s much better to take your time, and build your knowledge as you go along. You’ll probably want to focus on the more advanced aspects of soccer once you have a good foundation to work with, as it’s more likely to confuse you than actually help you as a beginner anyways.

The only thing to worry about RIGHT NOW is getting the basics right. Forming good habits from the moment you start betting on soccer will give you a much better chance of success in the long run. The tips we’ve provided below will help you form those good habits.

You should follow these tips even if you’re only planning to bet for fun. Why? By doing that, you’ll probably lose less money overall and ultimately have more fun as a result.

Set a STRICT Budget

Millions of people all over the world bet on soccer. Most of them lose money. There’s a high probability that you will too, especially as a beginner. There’s no reason why you can’t become profitable eventually, but realize that you’ll probably lose to start with.

Now, this doesn’t have to be an issue. There’s nothing wrong with losing money when having fun in the process. It only becomes a problem when you start losing too much, as that’s when it STOPS being fun. This is why it’s absolutely VITAL to set a strict budget, and stick to it.

Your budget can be a weekly one, a monthly one or a fixed amount. It doesn’t really matter. You just need to make sure that the budget is affordable. Please don’t EVER bet with money that’s needed for something more important. That’s exactly how problem gambling starts, and the potential consequences can be extremely damaging

Recommended Reading:
Setting a budget is only the first step in managing money correctly when betting on soccer. We also recommend learning about bankroll management and staking plans.

Beware of Personal Bias

Most soccer fans have their favorite teams and players. We certainly do. And, of course, we like to see our favorites do well. We want them to win games and lift trophies, and we get upset or even angry when they don’t. This is basically what being a soccer fan is all about, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Despite this reality, we do understand that having favorites CAN cause problems when betting on sports.

Why?
Because it prevents objective thinking.

The only way to make good betting decisions is to think objectively about what’s likely to happen in a game or competition.  This becomes more challenging when personal bias is involved, as it has the potential to cloud our judgement. Whether consciously or sub-consciously, our thought process is always affected by what we WANT to happen.

Imagine that your favorite team is about to play an important game against their biggest rivals. It’s near the end of the season, and they need to win to stay in contention for the league title. Naturally, you’re going to be desperate for them to get the victory. Do you honestly think you could view the game objectively when betting on it?

Realistically, you probably couldn’t.

In one way or another, you WOULD be affected by your personal bias. Even if you tried really hard to ignore that bias and be objective, you wouldn’t necessarily be able to. You could be subconsciously affected without even knowing it. It’s likely that you’d overvalue the team’s chances of winning simply because that’s your preferred outcome.

Personal bias can affect you in other ways too. You might feel obliged to bet on a favored team winning out of a sense of loyalty, even if you DON’T think it’s the most likely outcome. Or be tempted to back the opposition as a form of emotional hedging. Emotional hedging is when we bet on something that we don’t want to happen, so that we at least win money if it does.

Is there a solution to the problems caused by personal bias? Yes, but it’s not ideal. The only way to guarantee that personal bias won’t affect you is to simply avoid betting on any games involving your favorite team(s) and players.

Not everyone will have to take such a drastic step, but you MUST be aware of your personal bias and the potential effects it can have. Be very careful when betting on games involving your favorite teams and players, and try to get in the habit of being as objective as possible.

Watch PLENTY of Games

There are many different factors we should consider when betting on soccer. This means we have do our research if we want to make properly informed betting decisions. We need to read game reports, for example, and study statistics. This kind of research is invaluable, and can tell us a lot of what we need to know.

There’s no substitute for actually watching games though.

We cannot stress this enough. All forms of research are important to some degree, but watching the teams and players in action for ourselves gives us a whole different level of insight. It makes it significantly easier to assess these key factors.

  • Overall quality
  • Current performance levels
  • Potential to improve
  • Preferred style(s) of play
  • Fitness
  • Attitude
  • Discipline

We need to be clear here. It’s perfectly possible to assess these factors without watching games. We’re not saying that all other forms of research are useless, and that watching games is the ONLY way to get the information we need. We are saying that it’s the BEST way though. No other form of research allows us to assess players and teams to quite the same extent.

You may already watch a lot of games if you’re a big soccer fan. Are you watching as many as you can though? In our opinion, you can never watch too many games. That’s why we suggest trying to make a conscious effort to watch even more games whenever you have free time.

Use Varied Sources for Research

Remember what we said in the previous tip? ALL forms of research are important. Watching games is extremely beneficial, but this doesn’t mean we should neglect all the other forms of research. We still need to read game reports (even of games we’ve watched) and study the statistics. There’s a ton of other stuff we need to do too, and it’s better if we use more than one source.

Relying on just one or two sources of information can greatly limit what we learn.

The only exception to this is for hard data. For example, only one source is needed for checking results and current standings. These obviously aren’t going to change from one source to another.

The same applies to statistics. If you find a useful source of statistics that is both reliable and comprehensive, that’s all you need. Stats are stats, and there’s no subjective opinion involved. Well, there is in how you interpret them but that’s the not the point here. The actual stats themselves are hard data, so you only need one source if it’s a good one.

For all other forms of research, however, using varied sources is very important. Much of what you need to research IS subjective, and it’s good to take on board a range of different opinions. The ultimate goal is to form your own opinions of course, but that’s a lot easier to do when using multiple sources of information. By making sure you use a variety of resources during your research, the quality of your research will go up substantially.

Here are some examples of the sources you can use.

  • Websites of major sports outlets (EPSN, Fox Sports, Sky Sports etc.)
  • National newspapers with extensive sports coverage (online or print)
  • Regional newspapers covering local teams (online or print)
  • Online Forums (general soccer forums or ones dedicated to specific teams or competitions)
  • Social media
  • Fan blogs

Bet for the Right Reason

There is only one good reason to place a wager on anything soccer related. That’s if we’ve found real value in the betting markets. Betting for any other reason is ultimately the wrong thing to do, and is likely to cost us money in the long run.

We’ve already explained why betting based on personal bias is a bad idea. Betting simply for the sake of it is a bad idea too. That should be obvious, of course. What’s less obvious, however, is that betting based on what we think is going to happen is also a bad idea. This might be hard to believe, but the fact that we think a particular outcome is likely is NOT a good enough reason to place a wager.

Value is the ONLY thing that matters.

Honestly, this is not an exaggeration. Value is everything when betting on soccer, so you really need to get in the habit of basing your decisions on value alone. This is essential if you’re betting with the goal of making money, and strongly recommended even when betting for fun.

Are you feeling a little overwhelmed? Don’t be! A lot of bettors don’t properly understand the concept of value as it applies to betting. The good news is that we can teach you everything you need to know. You should start with the following article, which explains the concept in a very easy to understand way.

We explain how to actually apply the concept in the following article.

Use Online Betting Sites

Using online betting sites is hands down the best way to bet on soccer. No other option even comes close. Betting online offers several advantages over the alternatives.

  • It’s safe, easy and convenient.
  • The odds are consistently better.
  • There are more wagers available.
  • There’s extensive coverage of different leagues and competitions.
  • The bonuses and rewards available can be very valuable.

Can you see why we recommend betting online? These advantages are pretty significant, and there are others too. Honestly, there isn’t a single reason we can think of NOT to bet online.

Most online betting sites cover soccer extensively, so there are plenty of options to choose from. You shouldn’t use just any site though. They don’t ALL provide the same level of service. Most of them are good enough, but there are a few sites that stand out as being especially high quality. These are the sites to use if you want the best possible online betting experience.

We’ve hand selected what we believe to be the top soccer betting sites and listed them all on the following page. We’ve also included details on WHY these sites are so much better than the rest and provided some useful tips for online soccer betting.

Shop Around for Better Odds

Shopping around for the best odds becomes second nature after a while. There’ll come a time when you do it automatically without even thinking about it. So this is a VERY easy habit to form. It’s also one of the most important, as it can make a big difference to your results in the long run.

What does it entail? Not much really. All you have to do is take a few minutes to look around for the best odds when placing a wager. This is incredibly easy to do when betting online, as you literally just need to click on a few different sites. Then you simply place the wager wherever the odds are best.

To provide some idea of WHY this is important, here’s a comparison of the odds available at different betting sites for an upcoming soccer game. We’ve removed the odds for the draw just to make the comparisons easier.

Chelseavs Arsenal

SelectionOdds
Betting Site A

Chelsea to win
Arsenal to win

2.00
3.30

Betting Site B

Chelsea to win
Arsenal to win

1.95
3.40

Betting Site C

Chelsea to win
Arsenal to win

1.88
3.41

The differences in odds here are obviously not huge. They’re not insignificant either though. Let’s say we’re betting $100 on this game, and we like Chelsea to win. The difference between the potential payout at Betting Site A and Betting Site C is $12. Not a massive amount of money, but differences like that soon add up over the course of a few months.

If we’re placing an average of 20 wagers per month at these kind of stakes, and the average difference in payouts was just $10, that’s $200 per month. Or $2,400 per year. That’s a significant amount of extra money to win each year, especially for doing something that takes virtually no time at all.

Record All Wagers

Again, this is something that will become second nature eventually. It’s not a difficult habit to form, and it’s something we strongly recommend doing. At the very least it’s a good way to keep track of how much you’re winning or losing. With just a little extra effort, this information can be used to help you reflect and improve on your overall betting performance.

The idea here is very straightforward. You just need to set up a simple spreadsheet, or even just get a notebook to write in. Then you record a few details for every single wager you place. We suggest recording the following information as a minimum.

  • Selection
  • Stake
  • Odds
  • Result
  • Profit/loss

It doesn’t take long to record this information, but it will make keeping track of your results so much easier. It will make it easier to stick to a budget too.

Want to improve even more? Then, we suggest recording even more detailed information to help you analyze your betting performance and look for even more ways to improve. We cover this in detail in the article listed below.

So there you have it. Eight simple tips that will help you form good habits when betting on soccer. Did any of them seem that difficult to you? Some of them are a little more challenging than others, but none of them are exactly hard. They’re ALL going to help you in one way or another, so please try to follow our advice. We can promise you’ll be glad you did.