Finding the value in short-priced football betting


There has never been a greater variety of football matches to bet on and the range of different football betting markets on offer within an individual match is incredible, especially when compared to what was on offer in the High Street bookies in the years before the internet came along and changed the way most of us bet.

In the old days, football betting was largely restricted to accumulator bets of at least five results or perhaps having a punt on a correct score.

Today football is the most popular sport for betting in the UK by some distance and bookmakers have a whole raft of offers to attract and retain customers across all platforms.

These typically come in the form of free bets or enhanced odds and are available from just about every major online bookie.  If you are looking for mobile betting offers, there are usually more promotions with Paddy Power App than almost any other bookmaker.

Accumulator bets remain popular to this day, particularly among punters looking to combine a number of short-priced favourites in a single bet to generate decent odds.  The appeal is obvious, but the more selections you include, the greater the risk of losing and it only needs just one of your picks to let you down and the entire bet is lost.

There are a number of markets that provide a decent alternative when a team’s odds are deemed too short to bet on the match result, including backing a team to ‘Win to Nil’ or ‘Win with Both Teams to Score’ (BTTS) and ‘Win with Over 2.5 Goals’.

For example, Barcelona would be around 1/8 to beat Malaga at Camp Nou, but you could back them at 5/6 to win to nil or, taking into account Barca’s defensive fragility, 8/5 to win with BTTS.  Another option might be to go with Barca to win with over 3.5 goals in the match, which would be available at around 17/20.

Asian Handicap betting is another good option when backing a big odds-on favourite.  Sticking with the Barcelona v Malaga example, instead of backing Barca to win at prohibitive odds, you could instead get around even money for them to win whilst covering say, a 2.5 goal start for their opponents.

In terms of your bet, it would result in a win provided Barcelona won the match by a margin of three goals or more.  Were they to win by a two-goal margin or less (or if the match is drawn or Malaga win), then the bet is lost.

With Barcelona generally being a high-scoring team, they always have a chance of overcoming the handicap.  With a team like Atletico Madrid, who tend to be lower-scoring, it might be worth considering backing the opposition on the Asian Handicap under similar circumstances.

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