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  2. Two nations with promising young players meet in Portugal on Thursday, with a place in the final of the first ever UEFA Nations League campaign on offer. It is a great chance for them to get silverware and kick on ahead of next summer's Euro 2020 tournament. Everything is positive around England at the minute, with the feel-good factor continuing from last summer's World Cup run, where they finished fourth in Russia. Gareth Southgate has continued the impressive work, since giving opportunities to more talented youngsters. They are now on a seven-match undefeated run, beating the likes of Croatia and Spain to qualify for the last four of the Nations League, while hitting five without reply against the Czech Republic in Euro 2020 qualifying. With Champions League winners Jordan Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez in their ranks, and the emergence of the likes of Jadon Sancho, Callum Hudson-Odoi (missing here through injury) and Declan Rice, plus Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane having impressive seasons again, the future is bright. Meanwhile, after missing out on the World Cup last year, Holland are in a rebuilding phase under Ronald Koeman. They have lost just two of their last eight and beat Germany as well as world champions France en route to the Nations League semi-finals. They also have a lot to be optimistic about, with Ajax's European exploits showing the young Dutch talent coming through. Frenkie De Jong, 22, is heading to Barcelona this summer for an initial £65m while defender Matthijs de Ligt is attracting interest from Europe's biggest clubs with Juventus reportedly tabling a £75m bid. De Ligt, at just 19 years of age, is already Ajax's captain and a partnership with Van Dijk at the back could make the Netherlands extremely tough to beat in the coming years. They cannot do it on their own though and that showed in their 3-2 Euro 2020 qualifying defeat to Germany in March. Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt is on the radar of Europe's biggest clubs. England and Netherlands have similarities, says Declan Rice ahead of UEFA Nations League meeting If England are to win, you would think at least two goals are required and they are a tempting 11/8 to score two on the night, but the match does not reek of goals due to the scheduling of the tournament. We saw how sluggish both Tottenham and Liverpool players looked in the Champions League final on Saturday after three weeks without competitive action. Both sides having players feature last week should help a little with sharpness, should they opt to start them. This fixture coming so soon after the Champions League, though, means these nations have not been able to have a warm-up game in the run-up to what should be a big clash and it is a tough ask to chuck them into the semi-finals nearly a month after the conclusion of the campaign. Backing England to edge it with under 3.5 total goals at a shade over 2/1 is a preference with the expected rustiness in mind. They are both promising young sides, but the Three Lions are further down the line in their development and they are fancied to edge it.
  3. The first of the UEFA Nations League semi-finals takes place in Porto, where Portugal take on outsiders Switzerland. The current European champions are favourites with some bookmakers to win the tournament outright, but there is some value in backing their opponents to reach the final. The hosts have been held back by draws in recent games. No defeat in four looks good on the records, but the fact all have ended level potentially shows the issue they have. On the contrary, Switzerland saw two of their four group games end with them scoring five or more goals. The most eye-catching result being that convincing 5-2 hammering of World Cup semi-finalists Belgium, a game where they found themselves 2-0 down. Portugal may have the name in Cristiano Ronaldo, but Switzerland have shown how they have consistency across the squad. All of their players ply their trade in Europe's top divisions, with many seeing European qualification with their teams. Their recent showings have highlighted why, for me, the 5/2 price on qualification to the final seems a little too high. There's no doubting that Portugal are a good outfit, but Switzerland have earned their right to compete on this stage. The fact that the Swiss had to battle Belgium, and managed to edge past them to the finals on goal difference, and that can only put them in a good place here. It has to be said too that, on the whole, Switzerland had a harder group than Portugal and still managed to pick up a point more. The Portuguese faced Italy and Poland, which is actually easier than what it may appear on the surface. Italy are still in the process of a rebuild and, while they have young talent coming through, they aren't quite at the level required just yet. As for Poland, their two points in the Nations League and performance at the recent World Cup highlights their many problems. For Switzerland, they managed to get the better of Belgium in spectacular fashion. Alongside that, the eight goals scored against two games in Iceland should be applauded regardless. In League A, with the 12 best international teams in Europe competing against each other, Switzerland finished as top scorers by some distance. Their 14 goals in four games made them just one of two teams to hit double figures, Spain's 12 goals saw them come closest. Leading the line during that campaign was Haris Seferovic, who scored five of those 14 goals. The Benfica man has enjoyed a very positive season for both club and country and will aim to carry that form into the finals. It's hardly a surprise to see Southampton linked with a move this summer. Seferovic netted 23 goals in 29 Liga NOS games, that tally rising to 27 if you include other competitions. A groin injury prevented him from taking part in European qualifiers in March, but prior to that he netted four goals in two competitive games for Switzerland, including a hat-trick in the win against Belgium. The big question surrounds whether he will develop that one-season wonder reputation following a prolific season. Time will tell on that front, but what we can see is that he is a striker who is currently playing with confidence and form and that can only put him in the right position for the unfancied side. A price of 10/3 looks more than appealing for him to continue his run against Portugal on Wednesday. 7/4 is also available for two or more shots on target in 90 minutes, but it's worth taking that 10/3 as he has proved to be a striker who clearly knows where the net is at all levels. Score prediction: Portugal 1-2 Switzerland
  4. As if Liverpool beating Barcelona wasn’t dramatic enough, Spurs’ recovery against Ajax was perhaps more dramatic. Lucas Moura dragged his side off the canvas and into the final – after Spurs somehow qualified from their own devilishly tough group, despite earning just one point from their first three matches. However, as Real Madrid showed last season, you can’t win the Champions League without riding your luck a little along the way. So, looking at the betting, my first tip is one I’m very confident about: both teams to score. Both sides have found the net in seven of Spurs and Liverpool’s last eight meetings, and it’s clear they know an awful lot about each other; I can’t imagine either manager will adopt an overly-cautious, feel-each-other-out approach once on Saturday. While the contests are always hotly-contested, Liverpool do have the edge over Spurs in recent years. The Londoners have only beaten Liverpool once in their last 14 matches against them, although with four of the last nine ending in draws, you’d be a fool to write this one off as a foregone conclusion. Jurgen Klopp’s bizarrely terrible record in finals is also an interesting curveball; the German has lost his last six major finals, and while it shouldn’t affect proceedings, it’s something which might start eating away at him should things turn pear-shaped. Liverpool’s clean bill of health—with the likely exception of Naby Kieta—is a nice boost for Klopp, although Harry Kane’s imminent return to action (and yes, one way or another, Kane will feature on Saturday) will be music to Spurs fans’ ears. This could well be a classic European final. Despite Liverpool’s recent history against Spurs, and their clear superiority in the Premier league this season, the gulf between the two sides isn’t considerable. It’s the most exciting Champions League final in many years. Whatever happens, I expect both teams to score, and I’m putting 2pts into this tip. We can debate all we like about who will be the hero on Saturday: will Kane inspire Spurs to glory? Can Mo Salah end Klopp’s trophy drought? Is Hugh Lloris going to be a hero or villain? The one thing I can see having a huge impact on the game is VAR. The dreaded VAR. The three worst letters in football. VAR’s contribution to this season’s Champions League has, shall we say, been controversial – and that’s an understatement. Video technology continues to dig its talons into the game we love (can you tell what side of the VAR debate I’m on?), and it seems written in the stars it’ll play a part in Saturday’s final. There was VAR-assorted ridiculousness in the World Cup Final, and I can’t shirk this nagging feeling that technology will leave a bitter taste in everybody’s mouth. For this technological skulduggery to result in Damir Skomina pointing to the penalty spot, you’ll get odds of 21/10. I hope this season’s Champions League isn’t settled by a super-slo-mo replay of the ball brushing Jan Vertonghen’s index finger after it was blasted at him from a yard away – but unfortunately, it might. For my value pick, I’ve backed Liverpool to win 2-1 after 90 minutes, priced at 8/1. A draw is certainly on the table, as is a Spurs win, but Liverpool are just so strong, and a closely-fought Reds victory is my most likely outcome – particularly with BTTS a strong prospect. Liverpool’s last two meetings with Spurs have ended in 2-1 victories, and side as good as this simply can’t go trophyless…can they? This is where all the botched finals are remedied by Klopp. Spurs are worthy finalists, and I’m not ruling them out totally, but for me, Liverpool’s name is on this year’s Champions League trophy.
  5. The unpredictability of the Championship, particularly the play-offs, is very much part of the allure – you might get served up some dross, you might witness something truly special. That’s why it’s such a fantastic league. One thing’s for sure though: if this season’s play-off final is even half as exciting as the two semi-finals, we’re in for a real treat. Leeds and West Brom have both fallen in spectacular style, leaving Aston Villa—in this position for the second season in-a-row—and Derby to fight for promotion. What better way to wash away the memory of that horrendous FA Cup final than a proper, blood-and-thunder affair between two sides who have endured their fair share of agony over the past decade or so? As I mentioned, Villa succumbed to Fulham in last season’s play-off final, and generally speaking, this galvanises sides should they return to Wembley the following season – much like Crystal Palace in 1997 or West Ham in 2005. The last team to lose consecutive play-off finals in the second-tier was Leicester City in 1993; Dean Smith will be rather keen to avoid adding his side to his list. Derby’s last play-off outing at Wembley was in 2014 against QPR where Bobby Zamora’s late winner—which was rather gift-wrapped by Richard Keogh—broke the Rams’ hearts. There’s no doubt Villa have had the edge over Derby this season. 4-0 and 3-0 victories home and away respectively is part of the reason why Villa are favourites on Monday, but Derby’s sensational comeback at Elland Road against Leeds suggests Frank Lampard’s young, hungry side aren’t fazed by anything – no mountain is too high. This said, I’m still backing Villa to lift the trophy. You felt there could be serious long-term ramifications for them after last season’s final defeat, but Smith has ensured they come into this a much better side than last year. Derby shouldn’t ever be counted out, especially in a one-off game like this, but Villa just look the part: from Tyrone Mings and Axel Tuanzebe at the back to Tammy Abraham up top. They’re just a brilliant side. I can’t see them losing yet again, which is why they are my pick to secure promotion. Aston Villa To Lift The Trophy 2pts 4/7 One huge part of Villa’s success this season has been Tammy Abraham. The 21-year-old has scored a whopping 26 goals this season—including strikes in both of Villa’s matches against Derby—and you have to feel he’s the one stand-out marksman amongst both squads. Conor Hourihane is another player who I can see scoring, but when push comes to shove, Tammy is the man who generally delivers, which is why I'm backing him to score at any time. Tammy Abraham Anytime Goalscorer 1pt 7/5 A hugely contributory factor to the play-off drama this season was ill-discipline. Across the four matches, THIRTY THREE yellow cards and four red cards were issued. Those are staggeringly high numbers. I don’t expect Monday’s match to be quite as feisty, but nine bookings in the couple of games between these two earlier in the season suggests there is plenty of needle. 50+ booking points is certainly obtainable with this one. And I like most neutrals, I’m sure hope things properly kick off once again.
  6. Well, here's another nice mess you've gotten me into. . .

  7. Sunderland’s semi-final victory against Portsmouth was perhaps less dramatic, but certainly no less impressive. Jack Ross’ men followed-up a 1-0 first-leg victory with a brilliant defensive performance at Fratton Park, avenging the EFL Trophy Final defeat from earlier in the season. This is the hardest of the three play-off finals for me to call, and the bookies are certainly none the wiser. Absolutely nothing separates these two in the betting market with most firms, and I’m in a similarly befuddled position. Charlton’s success this season has been built on a brilliant defence. Lee Bowyer’s men kept seven clean sheets in nine before their double-header with Doncaster, but then they go and concede three at The Valley at the worst possible time. Is this a blip? Or will Sunderland have similar joy in front of goal? As for The Black Cats, their over-reliance on goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin has got them this far—the stopper was absolutely outstanding against Pompey—but how long can Ross continue counting on the 31-year-old to bail his side out? My truthful answer to the conundrum which is the League One play-off final is: I have no idea what will happen. Nothing really separates these two—Charlton did finish the season three points better off than Sunderland—but with that Wembley experience from March under Sunderland’s belt, that may perhaps prove the difference. The most recent meeting between these two ended one apiece, and a draw after 90 minutes is surely the most likely outcome on Sunday as well. 4/5 looks like a very solid price for under 2.5 goals. The last couple of League One play-off finals have seen under three goals, and looking at recent results of the two parties involved this year, I wouldn’t be surprised to see that outcome once again. Six of Sunderland’s last nine matches have seen two goals or fewer, while in Charlton’s 18 league matches prior to the play-offs, we saw under 2.5 goals 11 times. It may not be action-filled from start to finish, but it’ll no doubt be fascinating viewing. My final tip is for Lee Cattermole to be shown a card. Cattermole, to his credit, has stuck with Sunderland through thick and thin (mainly thin), and this is arguably his first season where he has a chance to taste some genuine glory in the red and white stripes. And while he may not ply his trade in the Premier League any more, some things never change: 14 yellow cards in his 34 appearances shows just how he treats prisoners in League One. Passions, tempers and emotions will be at an incredible high for Sunderland and Cattermole on Sunday, so he looks a fantastic bet to have his name taken down.
  8. Newport County will win I hope. Iam going to Wembley to support my home team Saturday. Iam also putting a small bet on Newport County to win 1. 0
  9. League One awaits for Newport or Tranmere. It’s a wonderful time of the year! This Bank Holiday weekend gifts us with three play-off finals at Wembley, starting in League Two, where Newport and Tranmere will do battle. Historically, Tranmere are relatively big fish in the League Two pond, while Newport have never reached the English third-tier in their history; will we see Michael Flynn’s men write themselves into Newportian folklore? Or will Tranmere restore the status quo? Both sides will feel confident about their chances. Newport, after sneaking into the top seven very late in the day, snuck past Mansfield—who spectacularly blew their own chances of automatic promotion—on penalties in the semis, while Tranmere brilliantly navigated past a good Forest Green outfit. Like most play-off finals, I expect great circumspection from both teams; Newport and Mansfield keep things tight at the best of times, but with so much on the line this Saturday, I think this approach will be exacerbated further. 12 of Newport’s last 16 matches have seen under three goals scored—a run which includes nine clean sheets—and it’s a similar story for Tranmere, who somewhat limped to the finish line in League Two with a number of gritty, low-scoring slugfests. In light of this, my first tip is for a goalless first-half. The one truly stand-out player in the League Two play-offs this season—and indeed the regular season, as he was voted Player of the Year—was Tranmere striker James Norwood. The 28-year-old has smashed in 32 goals this season, including a beauty against Forest Green last week, and his aggressive, bullish style makes him an absolute nightmare for defenders to deal with. Norwood will surely be playing in League One next season, even if Tranmere aren’t, but whatever happens, I can see him making a splash at Wembley. 17/10 for a goal at any time looks a fair price. Tranmere are my pick to lift the trophy (after 90 minutes or otherwise). Newport’s victory over Mansfield was a proper ding-dong, with both sides having multiple, glaring opportunities to put the game to bed, before it somehow reached a penalty shootout. It was akin to Anthony Joshua’s win against Wladimir Klitschko – a life-and-death, 50:50 encounter, with both parties constantly living on the edge. Tranmere’s victory over Forest Green, on the other hand, resembled Tyson Fury’s dismantling of Wlad; a highly impressive, keeping-at-arm’s-length type victory, where you’d be hard-pressed to envisage any other outcome in the future. Newport have every chance of winning, but it’s Tranmere who I now expect to lift the trophy. They’re yet to beat The Exiles this season, but now wouldn’t be a bad time to start.
  10. Yes a very good read indeed.System betting might have worked in the past but nothing is guaranteed in the future.
  11. Does anyone actually receive winning tips 

    1. Engracia

      Engracia

      I don't see them

       

  12. thank you very helpfull
  13. Being a West Bromwich Albion supporter for some 55 years, these play offs could be close, but, judging on form, I fear a mauling at Villa Park tomorrow,mand not in my beloved Albion's favour

    1. FreeSpeechFiona

      FreeSpeechFiona

      Well best of luck! I've supported Spurs for 52 years.

    2. Baggieman

      Baggieman

      They're my favourite London team" Ever since I saw them play at The Hawthorns in 1967 or 68 on the easter, we won 4-3 Jimmy Greaves got two for you, the great Steve Perryman was in the side as well another great, Alan Gilzean, and Pat Jennings in goal. Joe Kinnear and Cyril Knowles the full backs, Alan Mullery and Mike England and Phil Beale (?)

  14. Personally I think it's really close and 9/2 is a good price for Derby.
  15. Ahh this is just a preview so I'm trying to be as unbiased as possible and leave the choice to you. I could be wrong!
  16. Confused? You say get on the 9/2 outsider but the review says "we struggle to see Derby winning the playoff race"? What is it?
  17. Championship Playoffs 2019: Club by Club Guide Including 9/2 Outsider The Championship isn’t done yet, with another five huge clashes remaining in the campaign. There are still four sides chasing Premier League promotion in the playoffs. Last season’s winners Fulham were said to have landed a huge £160million from their victory – although the majority of that was wasted in the summer. However, there’s a potentially huge windfall for whoever goes up, while the four contenders all seem quite evenly matched. The playoffs are notoriously tough, but which of the four will claim promotion? Here we’re looking at the betting odds in the fight for the top flight, while we’re also looking back over the season for each of the contenders. Leeds United Promotion Odds: 15/8 with bet365 The side who lost out in the fight for the top two have to pick themselves up to go again. They lost their final game of the season with a 3-2 loss at Ipswich, which wasn’t the greatest note for them to wrap up the campaign. They’ve now lost three of their last four matches going into the playoffs, which does suggest that this is another tough finish to a season for Marcelo Bielsa. Earlier this season we took a glance over how his sides finish up – it doesn’t make great reading for Leeds fans. There is certainly a question of mental fatigue over a side who have had to quickly adjust to a huge change in style. While they’re still covering the same distance in games, they don’t seem as organised in the Bielsa style. With three games left to play, that’s going to be a massive challenge for Leeds. There’s also the fact that they’ve overachieved in finishing third given the quality of their squad. Leeds are a hard side to back to go up with their price at 15/8 with bet365. If they could recreate their early season form then it would be different, but this Leeds side could just have dipped at the wrong time. West Bromwich Albion Promotion Odds: 7/2 with Betfair West Brom are the under the radar side among these four. They weren’t really involved in the top two fight or the top six battle for much of the season. The Baggies dipped out of the automatic promotion race early on. Despite that, West Brom are the only one of last season’s relegated sides to have a chance of returning to the Premier League, but can they do it? It’s certainly been a mixed season for the Baggies, who are under caretaker boss James Shan for the playoffs. They got rid of Darren Moore after an awful run. However, West Brom failed to replace him. Now they have an interim boss in charge going into this crucial stage of the season, which makes us doubt their chances. Despite finishing fourth, the Baggies are the third favourites to go up at 7/2 with Betfair. That’s hardly a surprise, given a mixed record against the sides around them. In six clashes with their fellow playoff sides, they have just two wins. At home, West Brom have won once at home to the top seven. That record leaves us swerving them in the promotion fight. Aston Villa Promotion Odds: 2/1 with Coral The side with form ahead of the playoffs are Aston Villa, who finished up in fifth. They may have lost to Norwich on the final day, but a two-month unbeaten run before that shows Villa’s potential. They had an incredible turnaround under Dean Smith, which pushed them into the top six fight. Their 10 game winning run made sure of a top-six finish, while it has made them a side to fear in the playoffs. Aston Villa are aiming to go one better than last term’s playoff final loss to Fulham. That looked unlikely back in January, while they found themselves in the bottom half under Steve Bruce earlier in the campaign. However, with a winning run behind them, they have made the cut, with more than enough quality to kick on from here. They should make a strong start, as we see them edging their first leg meeting with West Brom this week. The Villains are priced up at 2/1 with Coral to win promotion, which shows that they’re genuine rivals to Leeds. They’re certainly a better option than the Elland Road side, while they are in the best form of all of these sides. We think Villa are the best bet of the bunch to secure a Premier League place next term. Derby County Promotion Odds: 9/2 with BetVictor The team who booked their top six place on the final day are obvious outsiders. The Rams have been in this position before, losing out to Fulham after finishing sixth last term. Frank Lampard hit the minimum target for Derby this season, but can he finally bring them back to the Premier League? Their late rush to the playoffs has brought positivity to the side, but it doesn’t quite match the lofty expectations which arrived with Lampard last summer. The Rams have built up some form in recent weeks, having claimed four wins and two draws across their last six. That was enough to get them over the line in the fight for sixth, but can they carry that on in the playoffs? Like West Brom, their record leaves a lot to be desired. They did beat an uninterested Baggies side on the final day, but they lost home and away to Leeds and Villa this term. While the Spygate melodrama will carry across their meeting with Leeds, we struggle to see Derby winning the playoff race. They are 9/2 with BetVictor to go up, but we don’t see them winning promotion.
  18. Great informative article and have been going the summer leagues for a couple of years. So football all year around 😉
  19. What's the betting on another English final Arsenal v Chelsea.

  20. Well put together and very informative mossy
  21. It amazes me that I still receive emails which say, "I'm going to wait until the Premier League season starts again before I get betting". Liquidity aside, the Premier League is nothing special for betting! During the 2017/18 season the English Premier League had fewer games ending over 2.5 goals than French Ligue 1, German Bundesliga, Italian Serie A and Dutch Eredivisie. And it was a long, long way behind the top winter league - Qatari Stars League - in which 67.4% of games ended with 3 goals or more. I understand why I receive these emails... inexperienced bettors are more comfortable betting leagues and teams in which they have some footballing knowledge. But football betting is all about the numbers and very little to do with who's playing up front for Manchester United. For example, you don't need to know anything about Norwegian First Division teams and their players in order to bet their fixtures. The 45 winter leagues covered by Team Stats saw an average of 50.8% of games go over 2.5 goals during the 2017/18 season. Compare that with the summer of 2018 and you'll find that the 22 summer leagues achieved a higher average of 51.1%. If you're a football bettor who looks for goals - and that's the vast majority - you can find them all year round. Top 5 Summer Leagues for betting Swedish Allsvenskan Singaporean S League North American Major League Soccer Norwegian Eliteserien Icelandic Urvalsdeild Winter Football v Summer Football When judging how good a league could be for betting, I like to look at 'over 2.5 goals' and 'both teams to score' stats. As a football bettor, plenty of goals makes my life much easier and if both teams in a fixture are capable of scoring, then I'm more confident of finding goals. After all, once both teams score then the game has to go over 2.5 goals if one of the teams is going to win it. Also, a higher occurrence of both teams scoring may indicate that the league isn't dominated by 'elite' teams how power to victory every week. I prefer to avoid the likes of Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Ajax, Manchester City, Celtic and their terrible prices. When looking at a comparison between the winter and summer leagues over the past decade, there's a consistent pattern. You can see below the average percentage of matches which went over 2.5 goals as well as the average percentage of matches in which both teams scored for both the winter and summer leagues. The summer leagues consistently outperform the winter leagues which is great news for football bettors! Highest Scoring Summer Leagues I have also put together a couple of top ten lists for the highest scoring football leagues during the summer of 2018. Top 5 Summer Leagues for betting There are some terrific leagues worth betting throughout the summer and I'm going to run through my top five. Swedish Allsvenskan The Allsvenskan has had plenty of goals in recent years (though 2018 suffered a bit of a dip) and market liquidity on Betfair is excellent. I have also enjoyed many profitable bets in the Swedish Superettan, though a few games don't go in-play on Betfair. Singaporean S League Not many people will have heard of "Home United" or "Tampines Rovers" but anyone who has bet on football will have certainly come across the S League. There have been plenty of goals in recent years which is great for betting. The only thing which holds the S League back is Betfair liquidity, though it's not as bad midweek. North American Major League Soccer "Soccer" is on the rise in the United States, though it still has a very long way to go before it comes close to challenging the popularity of NFL football, MLB baseball, NHL ice hockey and NBA basketball. Even college sports are far more popular, for example University of Michigan's stadium has 109,901 seats! That being said, MLS is picking up and Betfair liquidity is plenty good enough for betting. There are plenty of goals scored, which perhaps has more to do with the standard of defending than anything else! Norwegian Eliteserien This has been a strong betting league for many seasons. It suffered a dip in goals during 2016, but has recovered well since then. Norwegian Division 1 is often better for goals, though many games don't go in-play on Betfair so you have to be very careful. No wonder Norwegian league football is played during summer! Icelandic Urvalsdeild There are plenty of goals in Iceland, but liquidity can be a bit tricky. Also, the season is quite short - only 22 games played - so waiting for teams to settle into form doesn't leave too much time to bet. On the plus side, games often kick-off later in the evening which fits in nicely with those who need to put the kids to bed first. Football 'stadium' at Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland Other Summer Leagues to Consider The Irish Premier Division can produce some good bets and liquidity is generally ok on a Friday evening. I would bet more Irish First Division fixtures if they went in-play, but the growth in exchange betting could see that come about. The Finnish Veikkausliiga has struggled badly for goals in recent years. However, 2017 went the other way and there were some great prices to take advantage of while the markets adjusted. Galway United FC, Irish Premier League For the rest of the summer action, you're looking at Asia and South America. I have had great success betting the Japanese J League in the past. Their experiment with the Apertura and Clausura system didn't work out, so it's back to a standard format again and - hopefully - lots of goals. The Chinese Super League is certainly on the rise and a lot of money has been invested to bring superstar footballers to the country. It quickly became one of the highest scoring football leagues, perhaps because the big money was spent on strikers rather than defenders! Of course, because of timezones it's impossible to bet both Asian and North/South American leagues. I'm a bit of a night owl and I prefer to concentrate on Major League Soccer rather than the J League. That means I can also monitor the South American fixtures. When looking for betting opportunities in South America, I tend to stay away from goals bets. Brazilian football is often associated with attacking flair, but it's very inconsistent and lacks goals. This is a surprise to many new bettors whose preconception is goals, goals, goals! When you look at the facts, just 37.0% of Brazilian Serie A games in 2018 had three or more goals. Awful. Games without the prospect of goals can still be profitable, however. We have plenty of profitable bets which don't need lots of goals, which is ideal for the South American leagues. As always, the key is finding the best risk/reward to take advantage of a betting opportunity. Why Wait? If you're waiting for the English Premier League to start back up, then you're missing out on some terrific betting opportunities. Courtesy of Goalprofits.com
  22. 2009! REALLY? Reduces confidence in betting.
  23. Today I want to talk to you about the 5 sports betting trends, which in my opinion will shake the world of sports betting in 2019. These are all topics that, in my opinion, every serious and forward-thinking punter should at least be aware of in order to stay ahead of the pack. I will finish the article with a few honorable mentions that almost made the list. Perhaps they will become the main contestants for 2020. Without further ado, I give you the 5 hottest trends in sports betting in 2019: Trend 1: Arbing to Technical Value Betting The most massive wave I observed at the end of 2018 and the beginning of 2019 was the shift many small-scale sharp punters made from Arbing to Technical Value Betting in soft books. As compared to Arbing, Technical Value Betting immensely increases the volatility of the punter’s returns, but rewards him for that with a few percentage points increase in expected ROI. For me it is the most peculiar trend of the year, that is why I put it on the first place. It caught me by surprise, since Technical Value Betting in soft books is in itself nothing new. The arbitrage softwares of BetBurger and Rebelbetting were on the market since many years already and you could always simply skip the step of covering your arb in the sharp book/exchange. So what actually changed? New market entrants I identify two main developments that caused this shift. First, new players entered the betting software market and moved things quite a bit. I believe Trademate Sport’s launch had a big part to play in this, since it was one of the first products to introduce a more professional perspective to Technical Value Betting. Trademate in particular, as well as other Value Betting softwares like BetOnValue and WinnerOdds, managed to address the area between the arb and fair value thresholds. With this they offered many positive EV bets, which were being ignored by the traditional arbing software. More importantly, this area contained a number of potential value bets in smart books and exchanges, which was exciting to the highrollers as well. All that, combined with neat interface and nice possibilities for bookkeeping and analysis, represented a real challenge to the traditional arbing software firms. Not surprisingly, BetBurger and RebelBetting responded by introducing their own Value Betting services, at a very competitive pricing at that. How this new market is going to be split between the new and the old players remains to be seen, but the fact is that many arbers already switched to Value Betting and many others will probably do so soon. Tougher market conditions New market entrants aside, the second factor I believe influenced the shift from Arbing to Value Betting was the general increase of risk appetite of the market participants. Value Betting has always been there as an alternative to Arbing, but now a lot more people seem to think the extra risk is worth the extra return, which was not the case before. I do consider this a somewhat worrying fact. It might be an indication that soft bookmakers have become more hawkish and it has become harder to produce the same profit with Arbing as it was before. So punters became ready to swallow the extra volatility in order not to sacrifice a slice of their monthly income. This is a rather pessimistic reading of the situation, but the only explanation I can think of for this shift in risk preference. I would still advice (as I always have) all readers thinking about shifting to Technical Value Betting to first educate themselves about the risks of this strategy. In any case, the shift from Arbing to Technical Value Betting represents the first important betting trend for 2019. Followed by… Trend 2: Manual to Automatic Trading bots Have trading bots killed manual sports trading? I think the answer is yes. Save for a few courtsiders operating in a grey-to-illegal area of the business, I don’t believe there are many sports traders left who could make a living on manually trading whatever sport on Betfair, based on gut feeling alone. Much like in the financial markets, where high-frequency trading disrupted the business, the betting exchanges were conquered by the tech-savvy punters who manage to scrape any little value they find – automatically and on a large scale, with the use of sophisticated trading algorithms. If you have good programming skills and the will to put them to use, I would strongly recommend exploring this option. It surely requires a lot of work to create a functioning and profitable trading bot, but the good thing is you can always test it with very small stakes until you feel comfortable raising them, so there is not much to lose. Good places to start are Betfair Pro Trader and Trader 247. Betting automation API (Application Development Interface) is surely not a new invention. However, what has been done with the available APIs in the betting space the last years is a story in development. A main player in this space, smartbet.io seems to be growing faster then ever by integrating more and more tipsters every day, which improves the diversity of strategies one can follow automatically. We could only hope the continuous improvement of support and functionality will still be there in 2019. In any case, in view of the fast growth of the platform, I do believe more and more sharp punters will become aware of the benefits of betting automation and will try to run their strategies on the platform. Trend 3: US Deregulation A US Supreme Court’s decision from 2018 has opened the door for statewise legalisation of online sports betting in the United States – previously only allowed in Nevada, and in a very restricted form in just a few other states. This is of course big news for the large European bookmakers and the industry as a whole. Surely a positive development for the sharp punter too – one can hope that the new opportunities overseas will shift the focus of soft bookmakers more towards marketing and attracting new players and less towards restricting the winning ones. Furthermore, the deregulation of the US betting market should both sharpen the odds and increase the limits in the sports of interest for the US American punter – American football, baseball, basketball and ice hockey. But mostly, we should expect the overall sports betting market to achieve high growth rates due to the inflow of US punters, with all the disruption this development might bring. Through Cassini from green-all-over I found a really well-researched article on the deregulation of US betting markets, which I highly recommend. Furthermore, Matthew Trenhaile from the Inside Betting podcast has talked about the US market at length in Episode 12 – Thoughts on Quantum Sports. The Quantum Sports blog itself is a really nice recourse on betting on US Sports and NFL in particular. Trend 4: Big Data for Sports Analytics Sports Analytics has surely already shaken the general sports industry and it is only a matter of time until it becomes a central topic in sports betting as well. Of course, sports have always been analysed by sports professionals, sports traders and sharp punters alike – however, not nearly at the scale and size it is being done today. Big Data Technologies have enabled analytics companies such as OptaPro to analyse vast amounts of data in various formats – not only text, but also pictures and video. This has allowed the processing of very granular data such as player placement and movement and to put things in perspective not seen before. Every big football team nowadays has its own Sports Analytics department and models like xG (expected goals) have taken the industry by a storm. As soon as sharp bookmakers, exchanges and large betting syndicates manage to attract the same or similar sports analytics talent, we should expect the new insights generated by Big Data Sports Analytics Models to get priced in the betting odds as well. These new models will surely make the sharp punter’s task of detecting value on the market even harder, but will also open up a whole realm of new opportunities. For example, I have just recently come around this article, where the author claims to have developed a profitable Premier League model, using machine learning and neural network techniques. The model is actually based on, wait for it, player ratings from the FIFA computer game. A realm of new opportunities indeed. Trend 5: eSports I see eSports as another game changer in 2019. The development of technology has brought with it another fascinating trend not only in sports betting, but in sports in general – the emergence of eSports. Having written about it in the past, eSports are a whole new category in the sports universe. It is completely digital, takes place on the player’s computers and is being broadcasted on large screens in sports stadiums, as well as on online streams with hundreds of thousands of viewers. eSports are attracting an always higher number of viewers, advertisers and of course, betting action. eSports in Asia In fact, in one of the recent episodes of the ‘Inside Betting’ podcast, I have learnt that eSports has turned into the 4th largest sport for Pinnacle (strictly speaking not really an Asian, but part of sharp bookmaker pack) in terms of accepted bet volume. Asia is the Mecca of eSports, in terms of professional teams and fans alike, so it only makes sense for bookies interested in the Asian market to target that area. You can access the whole range of eSports offerings of Asian bookies, Pinnacle and the exchanges easily via a broker such as Premium Tradings or AsianConnect88. The demand is already there, so I expect both sharp and soft bookmakers to start competing for the e-Sports punter’s money by offering increasingly competitive odds and limits. If you are interested in developing fundamental knowledge and expertise in e-Sports for the goals of trading / sharp betting, there is no better time to start than now. This was my personal list of the 5 betting trends I expect to have the biggest influence over the betting world in 2019. I will finish off with a few bonus entries that didn’t quite make it in the list, but are among the main contenders für 2020. What I have my eyes on for 2020 Bonus Trend 1: Blockchain Now that the dust around the crypto bubble of 2018 has settled, we could again have a more sober look at the area and how it has developed betting-wise. The majority of bookies accepting crypto nowadays still operate in fiat, meaning you need to convert your money twice there (upon deposit and upon withdrawal) and pay the associated spread. The prime crypto bookmakers (e.g. Nitrogen Sports) are offering little more than crypto as an additional (or main) payment technology, but not much has fundamentally changed in terms bets are being processed and settled. However, if we look a bit further than bookmakers, we will notice a few sections of the market that are developing interestingly. Of the platforms mentioned there, BetMoose continues to offer a variety of prediction markets, but still mostly focuses on political markets. Augur on the other hand has already launched and by the looks of it is already offering serious volumes on a variety of markets – sports and others. I would probably give a try to the platform myself soon and I feel it is worth an article of its own, so I won’t expand anymore on it here, but it surely looks very promising. Smart contracts Another interesting product I noticed recently were ETH casinos. Of course, there is little to win from a casino unless you are the casino yourself (here is a business idea for you). However, what I find particularly exciting in an ETH casino is the way games are being settled. Similar to Augur, this works via smart contracts based on ETH. Everyone playing can see the exact algorithm, which to me means a new level of transparency that you cannot get in any conventional online casino. I think it is only a question of time until smart contracts on sports events enter the betting markets en masse. Smart contracts have the potential to open up a whole new market for p2p bets, which can turn into a income stream for smart bettors. I think the first mover advantage here will be huge, so I will certainly watch this space in 2019 too. Bonus Trend 2: European DFS (Daily Fantasy Sports) The DFS industry is huge in the United States and I continue to believe it is only a question of time until Europe catches up as well. The Premier League Fantasy game enjoys great popularity for many seasons now, so the format seems to be enjoyed by the audience in UK and the rest of Europe. The biggest American providers DraftKings and FanDuel already provide competitions in Football and other European sports, but there are also some smaller emerging platforms focusing on the European market such as FanTeam. DFS continues to be an interesting area full of opportunity, which I recommend everyone out there to inform themselves about. Conclusion Those were the most important betting trends in 2019 as I see them. I would love to see your take on this list and read your own suggestions for important betting trends I might have missed or forgotten. And if you enjoyed this article, I would recommend you follow COB's Twitter Courtesy of the amazing www.churchofbetting.com
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