Sports Betting – How to Theory

Winning with Unders and Overs

When getting initiated into the sports betting world, a large majority of punters prefer placing bets on head-to-head match results. This is quite natural too, as these are the most commonly known bet types, and everyone’s familiar with it. It takes some time for these punters to venture into alternative markets like under/over bets on point totals or goals. If you’re one of these punters who has just started exploring these bet types, following are some very important tips that can help you maximise your betting returns:

Last week’s results don’t hold much value
Although recent form of a team/player definitely needs consideration, it isn’t as significant as it is made out to be by many punters - at least when you’re trying to outwit the odds set by the bookmakers. Very often we see punters referring to how a particular player or team has performed during the last 3-4 weeks, but should they actually be doing it?
Nothing denying that a team may have scored several points or goals in the weeks running up to the concerned game, but do you think it really gives you an accurate idea of how a team or a player would perform on that particular day? No, it doesn’t.
In order to correctly gauge a team or a player’s potential of scoring on a particular day, you’ll need to dig deeper and take a long-term view of the situation. You’ll have to take into account the last 20 games of that player/team, or perhaps even more. It would also actually depend upon the exact league or sport you’re betting on, and the frequency and number of games being played.
We aren’t saying that you shouldn’t pay any heed to the recent form of a team/player. However, what we’re trying to emphasise here is that it’s pretty easy to get seduced by a team/player’s recent run of low or high scoring games, and allowing it to make you lose on your under/over bets.
The naive betting population often falls prey to such recent form, and that provides tremendous opportunities to seasoned bettors who understand the true potential of a team/player. These punters never base their betting decisions on knee-jerk reactions, which are based on few weeks’ performances of a team/player.

You must keep track of the occurrences and not the averages
Something that’s again seen pretty too often among people who like quoting the scoring averages of teams/players when assessing their betting chances in a particular game/match.
It’s alright to take averages into consideration when you are analysing a fairly large sample size that has score lines with limited variations. However, the main problem is that one single irregular result can skew the average/s, even if you are taking a sample size of say 15 games under consideration.

Let’s go through the following imaginary example:
– Presuming that Manchester United has played 20 home games and a total of 60 goals were scored in all those games collectively. This gives an average of 3 goals scored in every match. The under/over 2.5 goals bets are paying even money. This may seem very tempting considering the Manchester United’s form when playing at home.
– Let’s say 3 of those 20 games were very high scoring, for instance, 6 – 1, 5 -1 and 5 – 2 type of results, witnessing 20 goals scored in total by both the teams. Such irregular results majorly distort the averages, which, in this case, would otherwise be 2.35 in the remaining 17 games.
– So what seemed like a great betting opportunity initially to wager on the over 2.5, seems far less attractive all of a sudden.

What we want to highlight here is that although averages can generally prove helpful in case of large sample sizes, it is best to track the occurrences instead. You should follow the number of times a particular player/team has gone under or over a certain total.
In the example above, even though the average goals scored per match over 20 home games is an attractive 3, but if you take out the distorted results out of the sample, the actual number of games in which the goal total had gone beyond 2.5 goals may well be below 50%.
If you delve deeper, you may find that the actual Manchester United home games that went beyond 2.5 goals were only 9 in number. Would you feel comfortable betting on the over market even if the average number of goals scored per match was 3, and the actual occurrence rate was this low? Probably not.
Following is a rough table you can refer to when considering the number of games in your pre-bet under/over analysis. Obviously your betting strategy would also depend on the exact tournament or league under consideration, and the timing of the games in the season. For instance, it may not be a good idea to include games played in the last season, while analysing a team/player’s chances at the start of a new season. This may be because the team/s or player/s may have undergone many changes post the last season. This situation can be easily dealt with by studying the recent games instead. They’ll give you a far better idea than the games played in the last season or the ones played during the early part of the current season.
Hence, for instance, if you were to look at Chelsea’s performance in the English Premier league, you’d be better off studying their last 20 games, as they’ll hold twice the value compared to the 10 games they played before those 20. So, if you were to consider their last 30 games in total, you’d have to give more weightage to the 20 most recently played ones.

Sport   /   Number of games you should consider
Baseball   /   40 to 60
Ice hockey   /   20 to 30
Basketball   /   15 to 30
Soccer or Football   /   20 to 30
Rugby or American Football   /   10 to 30

Avoid falling for the exotic
Whenever you bet on under/over bets, it’s important that you don’t get too smart too soon. You must keep your under/over bets in the range of 2.5 goals (when betting on football games) or closer to the even money line for a given match/game, normally anywhere from 2 to 3 goals, keeping in mind the specific league and/or the teams involved.
The most important fact you must consider is - where is the exact value?
Agreed that the bookmaker may offer you odds like 5.00 for over 4.5 goals, however, the sports books that normally offer odds like that tend to pocket a larger than normal commission.
At the same time, you must remember that betting value exists wherever you’re able to locate it. And in case you’ve managed to crunch the numbers and have successfully identified excellent value in a particular lower/higher than normal goal total line, you should take advantage of it no matter what.
However, we’d normally encourage you to stay true to the basics and stay focused on even money under/over lines. This way, you’ll see your results turning out to be far more consistent. On the other hand, when it comes to analysis, it’s much easier to lay your hands on historical odds data sources on the Internet for these markets, for analysis purposes, compared to the more exotic things.

Identify and bank on the true scoring potential
You must analyse the scoring lines by all means. But if you’re serious about improving under/over betting chances, you must bury yourself in some deeper statistics. Whatever analysis you indulge in, the main idea is to ascertain a team’s actual potential in a particular contest/match. And simple score lines and goals aren’t normally the ideal way to go about that.
Hence, you should dig deeper and work out an analysis which incorporates different statistical categories that can provide you with a much better idea of a team’s actual scoring potential and its base form.
You should consider all shots on goal (against/for), shot into goal conversion rates, shots on target (against/for) etc. As regards the goals, they’re slightly problematic as they can sometimes be inconsistent and exhibit wild fluctuations.
Furthermore, the general populace normally bets on the basis of score lines and the sports books usually base their odds on the expectations of the regular football bettors. Gaining proper understanding of scoring potentials of different teams can provide you with a major edge and help you reap major rewards in sports betting.

Pay heed to the situation
The importance of situational analysis cannot be stressed enough whenever you’re betting under/over. You’d need to consider how competing clubs have been performing under similar circumstances. Whenever a specific team/players is touted as an underdog in an away game, have they produced lower or higher scoring games? Do they normally run up the score or prefer going through the motions and get just enough goals to score a win, when playing against inferior teams?
It’s not enough to simply glance at situational trends of specific teams. You must delve deeper and dig out league wide trends. Have the matches been high scoring in the initial stages of the season or more towards the end?
All such aspects are important for overall analysis, and may provide you a major angle and edge, which may not be available to the general betting public.