If you follow betting blogs, you’ll find yourself reading a lot about match odds and accumulators.
The potential profits always seem attractive.
But how do you make sound betting selections without multiplying your risk?
The answer for all professional gamblers is to use reliable football form guides.
Football form guides to team performance are the bedrock of football betting.
In fact, without suitable statistical football form guides you’ll have little chance of success.
A football form guide offers you solid ground on which to build your selections.
It will help you analyse matches, sort good opportunities from bad, and decide which matches to bet on.
Don’t Rely On The Way Most People Choose Match Bets
Selecting the right matches is crucial to betting performance.
Yet many gamblers ignore research and simply act like this:
They list a few matches with short-priced favourite teams they believe will bring quick profits.
They reject any effort to check out form or current performance because they think they know their teams.
They place their bets with no more than a hope and a prayer that they can win.
If this sounds like you, now you have the chance to change for the better.
Think of the advantages you’d gain from full access to the most comprehensive football form guides available.
Would you pay good money for that?
Well, here you’ll get such advice completely free.
In this chapter, you’ll discover how to check match data for eleven different types of football form guide.
These football form guide types cover:
- 1 1X2 Betting
- 2 Head to head (H2H)
- 3 Both Teams To Score Form
- 4 Under/Over Goals Stats
- 5 Streaks
- 6 Clean Sheets
- 7 Failed To Score
- 8 Correct Score
- 9 First goal
- 10 How to Predict Live Goals
- 11 Lay The Underdog
- 12 Win to nil
- 13 Winning at Half Time
- 14 Home Team to Win at Half and Full Time
- 15 Penalty Goals
- 16 Corner Betting
- 17 Yellow/Red Cards Betting
- 18 Top Scorers, Top Players and First Goalkeepers (Key Players)
- 19 Recovery Days
- 20 Preview Analysis Experts
Once you get to know these 11 kinds of football form guide, you’ll be able to analyse any type of football match.
They will give you the kind of knowledge that is usually only familiar to bookmakers.
And they’ll help you develop solid betting profits in the medium and long term, whether you focus on pre-match betting or in-play.
This chapter will often show you different sites for checking out the same type of football form guide.
Although the statistics will be the same, each site uses its own style of display.
So, you can choose which website football form guide suits your analysis best.
Let´s get started with the most familiar football form guide of all:
This is the most widely used type of football form guide.
“1X2” (AKA: Home win/Draw/Away win) is used as a betting form guide for both single matches and for combined match accumulators.
There are also 3 narrower betting markets based on 1X2:
- Win to nil: Team must win without conceding a single goal.
- Home team to win HT and FT: Home team must win both halves.
- Winning at HT: Team must win first half.
The whoscored website offers two kinds of “1X2” recent form stats.
The first stats group displays teams in the primary and secondary European leagues with the best and worst recent “1X2” form.
This helps you choose the best teams to back (best form) or the best teams to lay (worst form) across these top leagues.
To reach these stats from the whoscored home page, click on “Statistics”.
Then choose “All team statistics”.
Here you´ll see the “Form” table, which enables you to filter the full data by best or worst form, and by home or away matches.
The second display at whoscored lists teams with the best and worst recent “1X2” form within their own leagues.
To reach these, select the “All Leagues & Cups” section.
Select a country from the alphabet then click on the league you are interested in.
Click on the “Form” tab and you’ll see the teams listed by best and worst “1X2” recent form.
You can also filter matches by Overall, Home, or Away.
From the football-data.co.uk home page, go to the top menu and select “Livescores”.
Now click on “Standings”.
The menu above enables you to select any country, league, and season.
After making your league selection, scroll below the teams and click “Form table”.
The table lists team “1X2” form and you can filter by:
- Number of recent matches
- First and second half scores
- Home or Away
At the btfstats home page, click on “Home-Away”.
Then on “12X”.
Select your country and league, and then select “Form”.
Filtering is available for home or away matches and fulltime/halftime stats.
From the footstats.co.uk’s home page, click on the “Form” drop-drown menu.
Then click on “Basic form”.
As you see in the screenshot below, the “Basic form” table menu allows you to filter the “1X2” recent form stats by:
- Number of matches
- Home or Away
Soccerstats (Home win/Draw/Away win/Win To Nil)
At soccerstats.com, check out the “1X2” recent form by first selecting the league you are interested in.
Hover on “Statistics” for the drop-down menu.
Then select the “Form tables” item.
Now you´ll have a display of two tables—for the last 6 and last 10 matches played—and the best to worst performing teams in the league.
Further options are to filter the results by Home and Away matches.
On the other hand you can also check “Win to nil” stats clicking on “Goals”.
In this page, the “WTN” column will show you the teams that perform better and worst regarding “Win to nil”.
Simple Soccer Stats (Win to nil/Home team to win HT and FT/Winning at HT)
Simplesoccerstats.com offers you:
- “Win to nil”
- “Home team to win HT and FT”
- “Winning at HT”
Just go to the drop-down “Stats” menu and click on “Match Stats”.
Next, on the drop-down “BTTS Yes” menu, click on the stat you want.
Here you can see the percentage probability of each team getting the outcomes above.
Using the “Home-Away” filter in any football form guide will give you more accurate stats.
This is because team performance can change when playing at home or away.
Pro betting tip:
The best strategy to make the most of the “1X2” football form guide is definitely the “Football betting tip 1: Must win matches” which I explain in the Chapter 3.
Head to head (H2H)
There are many ways of analysing football matches for different betting markets.
Of all these, head-to-head statistics is one set of data that should never be ignored.
A head-to-head guide records match history and will show you how two teams have performed when playing against each other in the past.
Head-to-head stats of previous matches will help you decide whether to expect:
- An equal or an unbalanced game
- High or low scoring
- Both teams to score
- Willingness to accept a draw
At whoscored.com start by choosing your league.
Then from the upcoming fixtures click “vs” for the match pair you want to study.
Now you can see the following for the last 6 match meetings:
- Percentage for both teams of wins and draws
- Goals each team has scored
- Yellow and red cards each team has received
You can also filter the stats by Overall results, Home vs Away, and Away vs Home.
Hover over “Competitions” and select your league at soccerway.com.
Choose by date then click the “i” information icon against your chosen match.
Now choose “H2H Comparison”.
Here you will find historic details of the two teams’ head-to-head matches.
Pro betting tip:
The whoscored.com head-to-head tool gives excellent stats for “laying the draw” before the match.
To follow this strategy (more details in Chapter 4) be sure the teams show no more than 10% of draws for both Home and Away matches.
Both Teams To Score Form
BTTS is short for Both Teams To Score.
You’ll find it is also often known as “Goals Galore”.
BTTS/Goals Galore is a very popular option in betting markets today.
Many bookmakers offer bonus rewards for accumulator selections (3 or more matches) in which both teams score goals.
The following is a rundown of all form guides for the BTTS betting market.
At soccerststs.com click on the league you want to research.
Then select “Goals”.
Scroll down the screen, and on the left you will find the “Both teams scored” table.
This table will show you the best down to the worst performing teams in their frequency of matches where both teams scored.
From the left of the btfstats.com home page, choose the league you want to check out.
From the filter menu, select “BTS”.
This table shows you the total “both teams scored” match results for each team.
You can also filter these results by switching from “All” to “Home” or “Away”.
Simple Soccer Stats (BTTS Yes/BTTS No/BTTS and Win/BTTS and Over 2.5 goals)
From the simplesoccerstats.com home page, go to the drop-down “Stats” menu and click on “Match stats”.
Next, go to the “BTTS Yes” drop-down menu and click on your desired “both teams to score” market:
- “BTTS Yes”
- “BTTS No”
- “BTTS and Win
- “BTTS and Over 2.5 goals”
The table will show you the probability of each team accomplishing the four outcomes above.
Pro betting tip:
In the chapter 4 I will teach you how to identify the best matches to bet on both teams to score.
Under/Over Goals Stats
Under/Over goals is a market where you bet on the number of goals scored during a match.
In the table below I describe the most popular Under/Over goals types:
|UNDER/OVER GOALS||MATCH GOALS|
|Under 0.5||0 goals|
|Over 0.5||1 or more goals|
|Under 1.5||From 0 to 1 goal|
|Over 1.5||2 or more goals|
|Under 2.5||From 0 to 2 goals|
|Over 2.5||3 or more goals|
|Under 3.5||From 0 to 3 goals|
|Over 3.5||4 or more goals|
|Under 4.5||From 0 to 4 goals|
|Over 4.5||5 or more goals|
At the btfstats.com home page, select your league from the left side menu.
Then go to the top filter menu and choose “UO”.
You can narrow these results further by selecting Home or Away matches.
Furthermore, you can choose Under/Over results for any scores from 0.5 goals to 6.5 goals.
From the home page, use the menu on the right.
First click on “Livescores”.
And then from that page click “Standings”.
Scroll down below the table and click on the “Over/Under” tab.
Now you will see the results, which can be filtered by:
- Over/Under 0.5, 1.5, 2.5, 3.5 and 4.5 goals
- Last matches: all, 3 and 6
- Home or Away matches
Simple Soccer Stats (Over/Under 2.5 Goals)
At simplesoccerstats.com place the cursor over “Stats” and click on “Match Stats”.
Next, go to the drop-down “BTTS Yes” menu and click on either “Over 2.5 goals” or “Under 2.5 goals”
Finally, you can select the probability of teams ending play with either Over or Under 2.5 goals.
Pro betting tip:
In the chapters 5 to 9 I will show you how to find the best matches to bet on Over/Under 1.5, 2.5 and 3.5 goals.
A streak is when a team achieves the same outcome – win, lose, draw, etc. – for at least two matches (and possibly several matches) in succession.
The following section will help you pick out those teams with the longest streaks in the most popular football betting markets.
At whoscored.com, go to the top menu and click on “Statistics”.
Next, click on the “All Team Statistics” tab.
Then scroll down to the “Streaks Table”.
This shows you the best performing teams for the following outcomes:
- Winning: Consecutive wins
- Unbeaten: Consecutive matches with no defeats
- Draw: Consecutive draws
- Winless: Consecutive matches with no wins
- Losing: Consecutive defeats
- Clean Sheet: Consecutive matches without conceding a single goal
- Failed to Score: Consecutive matches without scoring a single goal
You can also filter the stats by Home or Away matches.
From the soccerstats.com home page, scroll down to the tab marked “Streaks” and click.
Now you see several tables showing the top streak-performing teams for:
- Consecutive wins
- Unbeaten runs
- Consecutive clean sheets.
As well as overall performance, the tables also divide the results into games played at home and away.
At the btfstats’ home page, go to the top menu and click on “Team Stats”.
The “Streaks” table can be filtered to give a range of streak results, and from the best to the worst performing teams.
These options include:
- 12X: Teams with “Best” or “Worst” performance for consecutive wins or defeats.
- Under/Over: Teams with “Best/Worst” streak performance for “Over”/“Under” 0.5, 1.5, 2.5, 3.5, 4.5, 5.5, and 6.5 goals.
- BTS: Teams with “Best” or “Worst” performance on the “Both teams to score” market.
- GR: Teams with best streaks on “GR” (goal range): 0-1, 2-3, 4-6 and 7+ goals.
- AVG Goals: Teams with “Best” or “Worst” streak for average goals scored per match.
Other-Offense/Defense: Teams that are the most consistent top scorers (Offence) or lowest scorers (Defence).
A team with a clean sheet after a match means it hasn’t conceded a goal during the game.
Clean sheets are discussed in the “Streaks” form guide, but here I give a useful data tip.
This is how to identify teams with the best clean sheet performance in any league:
At soccerstats.com choose your league.
Now click on “Goals”.
You’ll find the Clean Sheets table by scrolling down the page.
It will show you which teams in your chosen league have the best clean sheet performance.
Failed To Score
“Failed to score” is a soccer statistic that means just what it says.
Teams that regularly fall into this category have a problem in scoring match goals.
One way that this statistic can particularly help you is if you bet in markets that need low scores such as Under 1.5 or Under 2.5 goals.
These markets can offer good odds.
Go to soccerstats.com and choose your league.
Click on “Goals”.
Then scroll down to the “Failed to score” lists.
Here you will find, in reverse order, the percentage of games for each team in which they failed to score.
Pro betting tip:
Combine “Failed to score” stats with the Under 1.5 goals strategy explained in Chapter 5.
Predicting the exact score in a match is one of the hardest choices you can make.
But, because it is unpredictable, it can also be the most profitable betting market.
Correct score means betting on a particular match score outcome, for instance 1-1.
From the soccerstats.com home page, select your league using the “Leagues” tab.
Then, click on the team you’re interested in.
Scroll far down until at the left you see the tables “Scores at Home” and “Scores Away”.
These tables record how often the team has achieved particular scores at home or away.
Simple Soccer Stats
Click on “Full” at the “Consoles” tab.
Now select your league and match/team from the top level filter.
Scroll down to the seventh section, “Correct scores”.
This chart gives you the frequency of full time or half time scores – for a single team or by comparing two teams.
Pro betting tip:
Combine this football form guide with the “Correct score” strategies in Chapter 11.
There’s no doubt that of all the football betting markets the most popular is betting on which team will win.
It’s a simple enough strategy, but if you want to maximise returns you need to choose odds for your team of no more than around 2.0.
This means that while your team is favoured to win, it’s no certainty; losing the match or drawing the game are still a real possibility.
Now the best way to deal with this potential risk is to cash out your bet as soon as your chosen team scores the first goal.
This will give you a profit return on your stake of around 60% (learn more from “Football Betting Tip 1: Must win matches” in Chapter 4).
However, you are still faced with the uncertainty of whether your team can score the first goal in the match.
Don’t worry—this is where soccerstats.com can help.
At the soccerstats.com homepage choose a league from the top-level flags.
Now click on the “First” option.
The table shows you the percentage of opening goals scored by teams in the league for both Home and Away games and as a combined total.
The strongest opening goal performances are marked in green.
Pro betting tip:
Focus on teams playing at home and avoid teams where their opponents often score first playing away.
Betting on first goals also includes the chance of gambling on which player will be the first to score in a match.
This is a tougher market to succeed in than choosing which team may score first—because there are so many more options.
But the incentive for this market is the much higher odds.
At the football-data.co.uk homepage, select “Livescores”.
Now using the “Site resources” menu, click on “Standings”.
Scroll down below the teams and select “Player statistics”, and then click on “First goal”.
The table will show you the best first score players as well as their team.
Pro betting tip:
Use the stats in Chapter 4 for best first goal scoring teams with “Football betting tip 1: Must win matches”.
How to Predict Live Goals
Live, in-play football betting increases gambling chances as match events unfold.
But the most popular in-play betting market remains the prediction of goals.
There is no method that can definitely predict when (or if) goals will be scored.
However, there are two systems available that can indicate if a team has a high probability of scoring in a match.
Each of these systems is based on the “shots on target” statistic.
Shots On Target To Score a Goal
The first of these is a collaboration between top analyst, Joseph Buchdahl, and the betting analysis website betgps.com.
The Betting-Data Workbook, available at betgps.com, processes data to show the average number of shots on target needed for a team to score a goal.
The “shots on target to score a goal” stat helps you decide if the live performance of a team suggests they can soon score a goal.
To use “shots on target to score a goal”, first download the Betting-Data Workbook from betgps and consult the FAQ for setup.
Open the workbook, select your league, and click on the “Main Table” tab.
The three tables available will show you the “shots on target to score a goal” stat for each league team overall, at home, or away.
These “Shots on target to score a goal” stats seem to be unique on the Internet.
So the Betting-Data Workbook is well worth downloading to save yourself calculating “average goals per game”/”shots on target” per team.
The footcharts.co.uk website offers you two ways to predict in-play goals.
First, click on “Correlations” and select “Goals”.
Then choose your league, the venue (all, home or away) and the data season, and press “Go”.
The data table shows the relationship between shots on target and goals.
The “Error” column gives an instant check on whether the algorithm predicts above average (green) or below average (red) goal-scoring from shots on target by each team.
The second option for helping you predict in-play goals compares corners won with goals:
Choose “Correlations” at footcharts and select “Corners”.
Here you will find tables for each league showing corners taken by each team and goals scored.
The Predict column shows the likelihood of each team scoring from a corner.
And the Errors column shows how well a team is performing against its average – green is good, red is poor.
Pro betting tip:
Use this football form guide in the following live football betting strategies:
- Lay the draw, Lay the underdog and Lay the current score from the chapter 4
- In-play both teams to score from the chapter 5
- In-play Over 1.5 goals from the chapter 7
Lay The Underdog
This guide can help you if you want to “Lay the underdog” (Betfair) or bet on the “Favorite and the draw” (Bet365).
To explain, this opportunity can occur if a big favourite or top team is losing at half time (preferably at home) to a lesser team (the underdog) who have been expected to lose the match.
Laying the underdog by betting on a draw means gambling on the favourite recovering by equalizing the score.
But what are the chances of that?
Go to soccerstats.com and choose your league.
Now click on “Timing” and then on “Goal types”.
Here you will find the “equalize” column shows the teams that more often ended a match by equalizing after they had been losing.
Pro betting tip:
You can use this soccerstats form guide together with “Football betting tip 3: Lay the underdog” in Chapter 4.
Win to nil
This market can give you good odds, but you need to find teams that will perform well at both ends of the field.
“Win to nil” means a team wins a match without conceding any goals.
Teams that are strong enough in attack to give confidence of winning, but also have a solid defence to prevent goals slipping through, tend to be the top footballing teams.
At soccerstats.com select your league.
Next click on “Goals”.
Now look for the “WTN” column, which will show the percentage of games won without losing any goal for each team.
Simple Soccer Stats
At simplesoccerstats.com hover on “Stats” then click on “Match Stats”.
Now click on the “BTTS Yes” drop down menu below and select “Win to nil”.
This comprehensive list will show you upcoming games with percentage and odds on home teams winning without conceding a goal.
Pro betting tip:
- Choose teams that perform best in “Clean sheet” stats as well as “Win to nil” and with opponents that have high “Failed to score” percentages.
- It is strongly recommended to only bet on teams playing at home.
Winning at Half Time
Another good way to bet on a favourite team at better odds is the winning at half time market.
This requires identifying teams that reliably perform well in the early stages of a match and are winning at the half time score.
Simple Soccer Stats
At simplesoccerstats.com click on “Stats” and choose “Match Stats”.
Click on the “BTTS Yes” menu and select “Winning at HT”.
The table shows future matches and the percentage likelihood that a team will be ahead in the game at half time.
Home Team to Win at Half and Full Time
This market is another way of getting better odds when betting on big favourites.
Here the home team needs to be ahead at the end of both halves.
You need to choose favourites who have a record of consistent strong play throughout a match without many peaks or troughs.
Simple Soccer Stats
From the simplesoccerstats.com homepage hover over “Stats” and click on “Match Stats”.
Click the “BTTS Yes” drop drown menu and choose “Home teams to win HT and FT”.
Here you will find upcoming matches listed with the probabilities of home teams winning both halves shown as percentages and odds.
Predicting penalties and penalty goals is certainly not easy.
So this market naturally offers high odds.
But help is at hand at Soccerstats to find the best teams to bet on for penalty goals.
From the soccerstats.com homepage, select your league.
Then click on “Goals”.
Now scroll down the page to the final table “Penalty goals”.
It shows you the best and worst teams to place your bet on.
Betting on the number of corners in a game has become an increasingly popular market.
One reason is that bookmakers pay less attention to this statistic – so odds can look good.
Another is that fluctuation of in-play corner odds gives sharp gamblers plenty of opportunities.
Past corner statistics are a helpful guide to predicting the Under/Over corner numbers in a match.
Simple Soccer Stats
With simplesoccerstats.com you can check out corner stats in two ways.
The first starts with clicking the drop-down “Stats” menu at top and choosing “Team stats”.
Now, at the top filter bar, select your league, and finally from the “Goals” menu select “Corners”.
The table there is divided into three groups showing stats for home/away/total matches for each team.
The columns in each group show:
P: Number of games
F: Corners for
A: Corners against
Tot: Total corners
XC: Home team’s corners X the away team’s corners.
The second set of corners data at simplesoccerstats is even more detailed.
It shows you the probability of home team and away team corner totals in each of the Under/Over corners markets:
Go to the top “Consoles” menu and click on “Corners”.
Select your league and upcoming match.
Then scroll down to “Team Corner Lines”.
By default, the two scrolling windows show separate stats for both home and away teams.
The footcharts.co.uk website also offers you the option to check corner stats.
First, click on “Basics” and select “Corners”.
Then select your filters by league, venue (All, Home, or Away), and season.
The table you’ll see ranks the teams by corners won, and shows:
- Number of matches played
- Corners for and against
- Average corners per game.
As well as these numbers, the results are also shown in simple bar chart form.
Yellow/Red Cards Betting
Betting on the expected bad behaviour of a team or player can also offer sound profits.
Predictions of Yellow or Red cards (booking points) being issued during a match can be based on past performance.
For example, some teams and players are known for tough play and regularly receive cards from the referee.
Key result matches, and “derby” matches between long-term rivals, offer good opportunities.
Most bookmakers use a similar “points” system for Booking Points bets:
Yellow Card = 10 Booking Points
Red Card = 25 Booking Points
2 Yellow Cards causing an automatic Red Card = 35 Booking Points
Note: The most a player can get is 35 Booking Points.
Bet365 and William Hill offer bets on “Cards” using the following system:
Yellow Card = 1 Card
Red Card = 2 Cards
2 Yellow Cards causing an automatic Red Card = 3 Cards
Note: The most a player can receive is 3 Cards.
At whoscored.com, choose your preferred league.
Then click on “Team Statistics”.
Now select the “Detailed” tab.
And from the drop-down “Category” list select “Cards”.
The table will show you the average number of yellow and red cards that each team receives per match.
The stats can also be filtered by home and away matches and time elapse within games.
Simple Soccer Stats
Two ways are available to check Yellow/Red card stats at simplesoccerstats.com.
The first method shows tables giving Yellow/Red card totals for each league team.
Use the “Stats” menu to select “Team Stats”.
At the filter bar, first choose the league you want.
Then from the “Goals” drop-down menu, select “Yellow Cards” or “Red Cards”.
These tables list all teams, number of games played, cards issued for and against each team, and total issued cards.
The second method at simplesoccerstats enables you to compare card stats for the opposing teams drawn in upcoming matches.
Hover over “Consoles” and click “Full”.
Now scroll down screen to the ninth section, “Cards”.
Click the option of yellow or red cards and the stats will show for each team:
- The number of cards issued per match on average.
- The highest (most) and the lowest (least) number of cards issued.
Team stats, opposition stats, and home and away stats.
Top Scorers, Top Players and First Goalkeepers (Key Players)
Another of the betting form guide types you need to know is that for “key players”.
If a team is missing one of its star performers for a match (due to injury or suspension), this can have a major impact on team performance.
You probably know the key players in teams such as:
- Real Madrid: Cristiano Ronaldo (top player and top scorer)
- F.C. Barcelona: Lionel Messi (top player and top scorer)
- Bayern Munich: Manuel Neuer (first goalkeeper)
- Juventus: Gonzalo Higuaín (top player and top scorer)
- Chelsea: Eden Hazard (top player)
But you may not be familiar with the lineup when betting on lower or foreign teams like:
- Espanyol: David López (top player)
- Stoke City: Peter Crouch (top scorer)
- Atalanta: Alejandro Gomez (top player and top scorer)
- RB Leipzig: Emil Forsberg (top player)
- Nice: Yoan Cardinale (first goalkeeper)
Use the “key players” stats to help you check if an unfamiliar team is playing to full strength.
This will help you choose how, or whether, to bet on a match.
From the Squawka home page, click on “Stats Centre” and select “Player rankings”.
Now select the league, and next your team.
Scroll down to “View Player Statistics”.
Here you can filter by top “performance score” players and goalkeepers.
Note that the chief goal keeper will be the one with most match appearances.
Click on “Goals Scored” to identify who is the team’s top scorer.
Pro betting tip:
Avoid backing a team if any of these key players are missing from the lineup:
- First goalkeeper
- Top “Performance score” player (number one)
- Top scorer
Use the “top scorers” stat to bet on the “goalscorer” market.
The player with best “Performance score” may also be the top goal scorer.
So check whether the next top player will play.
This section is inspired by the work of Raymond Verheijen, who has studied the impact of inadequate recovery periods for players between games.
Verheijen is a world authority on the conditioning of football players.
As a youth player turned fitness coach following injury, he developed training methods that focus especially on giving players time for recovery after match play or injury.
Verheijen has worked with many top international teams such as:
- Manchester City
- Zenit St. Petersburg
- South Korea
He is well known for criticising managers and coaches for risking poor performance and injury due to stressful training and fixture regimes.
In addition to writing books on player fitness and periodisation, he tested his theories in a major study, Study on Recovery Days (2012), which examined over 27,000 Premier, Championship, and Europa League matches played over 10 football seasons in seven European countries.
The findings showed that teams with only a two-day gap between matches playing against teams with three days of recovery had 39% less chance of winning at home and 42% less chance of winning playing away.
Games between teams where neither received more than two days rest showed away teams were disadvantaged by a 29% reduction in likelihood of winning.
The consensus shown by these findings is that teams cannot achieve full recovery from matches with only two rest days between games.
Therefore, this is a very important consideration when choosing where to place your bets. When you are looking at a fixtures list, always check when a team last played.
The European Factor
Teams engaged in midweek games for the European Championships or Europa League must suffer tiredness from play and travel.
Yet they are expected to perform in Saturday matches against league teams that may not have played all week.
Spurs and Everton are examples of teams that have disappointed in Saturday league games following Europa League matches played on a Thursday.
Statistics from Raymond Verheijen’s study showed teams who played a Champions League match on Wednesday, followed by a league match on Saturday, achieved 0.55 less league points than average.
Those who played on Sunday, after a Thursday night Europa League match, missed out on 0.41 points per game.
A simple calculation shows the cost to a team of playing six midweek Champions League group games, followed by domestic league games each Saturday, is an average of 3.30 points (6 x 0.55).
Playing six Europa League group games on Thursday, followed by domestic league games on Sunday, would cost an average of 2.46 points (6 x 0.41).
These are points to consider when the teams you plan betting on are committed to playing in matches for several trophies.
For example, let´s look at how the 2011/2012 season was affected.
Several Premier League teams participated in the group stages of the Champions League in 2011/2012.
Eight of the worst results for English Premier teams followed two-day gaps between matches:
- Manchester City lost away to both Bayern Munich and Napoli after just two days rest before each match.
- Manchester United drew at home to both Basel and Benfica after only two days rest before each match.
- Similar lack of rest days occurred before Chelsea drew away to Genk and lost to Bayer Leverkusen.
- Arsenal drew with both Borussia Dortmund and Olympique Marseille.
For teams in France, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany, league games occur on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
This means a Thursday fixture for the Europa League will leave only two recovery days for a domestic match on Sunday.
Teams in Spain, Italy, and England will often play on a Monday night.
This, at least, allows a three-day rest from Europa League Thursday matches.
But it seems likely that TV revenue is the main driver of match scheduling, rather than fair play for teams and players.
Pro betting tip:
The statistics appear to prove that the number of days allowed between matches can affect team performance and this may present an angle in betting.
Though, as Verheijen has pointed out, two recovery days before a game doesn´t automatically mean a bad result, but it may help to explain one.
Premier League Clubs in Europa League 2011/2012:
Teams with a strong squad also have the opportunity to keep the team fresh by rotating players.
Nevertheless, it is worth examining a team’s fixture list for indications that they may be liable to suffer fatigue.
Home Fatigue System
LAY the home team, when it has had 2 days or less recovery before an upcoming game and is playing a team that has had 3 or more recovery days.
Away Fatigue System
BACK the home team, when it has had 3 or more recovery days before an upcoming game and is playing a team that has had 2 or less recovery days.
These two ideas on their own are insufficient to represent a long-term plan, but they could be a contributing element in a successful betting system.
Note that identifying teams that have had shorter or longer rest periods might not always be a relevant predictor.
For example, a team playing in the Europa League on Thursday may use younger players from the bench if they have already qualified in the round.
Thus, the first team will be rested for their Saturday match.
The impact on performance of insufficient recovery days isn´t an issue that commands much attention.
It may also not have significant effect on teams that have large, highly-skilled squads.
But it is far more likely to affect smaller clubs that do not have the depth of quality players in their squads to avoid playing a team that can suffer from insufficient recovery time.
Knowledge of this kind can give a powerful edge to a betting system.
This is particularly so when most bookmakers and fans continue to ignore the effect of rest days on fitness and performance.
Preview Analysis Experts
The final football form guide on this list, but no less important, points to match preview analyses available from the game’s renowned experts.
Turning to expert preview analysis of a match can provide important data you may have overlooked or not discovered.
And expert analysis can give you confidence in your betting selections.
Click on the “Previews” page at whoscored.com.
Select your match.
The whoscored preview analysis then covers five topics:
- Probable lineups
- Missing players
- Team news
- Match facts
Four Four Two (Stats Zone)
Enter fourfourtwo.com/statszone for the Fourfourtwo Stats Zone page.
Select the competition, then the season.
Go to your match and click on “Match centre”.
Finally, select the “Pre-Match” tab.
Here you will find the most important match facts from the experts at Fourfourtwo.
Usually, these cover most of the football form guide types that have been explained in this chapter.
The historic statistical form of teams and individual players can provide an excellent guide to predicting matches.
However, one final element to be considered when predicting match form is the input of team managers.
Managers generally have an enormous impact on the clubs they are responsible for.
This inevitably influences both expectations and the way a team actually performs.
Getting to know the style of individual managers can help you understand what to expect from their team.
For example, does a manager favour a particular style of play?
Kevin Keegan was well known for encouraging attacking play, which meant his teams were often thought weak in defence.
“Both teams to score” was therefore a natural bet when Keegan’s team was playing.
In contrast, other managers may insist on developing a strong defence, in which case “under 2.5 goals” may be the safest bet.
Nor is style of play on the field the only way managers can influence how a team is viewed and performs.
Media relations are an important factor in today’s game.
An outspoken or unconventional manager can create headlines, which may not always benefit the club.
Negative headlines, or too much press attention, can distract players.
In this event, betting against such a team when facing a tough match may be the wisest tactic.
Furthermore, the increasingly relevant issue of needing rest days between matches is one that the manager has a great influence over.
Wealthy clubs with big squads may choose to rotate top players, but other teams don’t have this advantage.
Pushing players too hard affects match fitness.
So, when you see teams committed to play soon after an earlier tough match, it may be only appropriate to bet against them.
Managers can also have fixations about certain competitions, which may cloud their judgement.
Leicester City manager, Claudio Ranieri, played an inferior team in the EFL (Capital One) Cup in the 2016-17 season, despite the prospects of winning as top rival Premier teams were knocked out.
Instead, Ranieri focused on playing for the prestigious European Champions League title, even though Leicester faced an outside chance of coming top.
Managers, therefore, have a great influence over their clubs and the way their teams play on the day.
Observing manager behaviour is yet another important guide to football form.
Along with the other guides in this chapter, it will help you differentiate between teams when seeking the best betting opportunities.