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What is form? How to use football betting form to decide your next wager

How to find football betting form? Can you use form to create the best betting options? Learn another definition of form and improve your selections.

Published on
Updated on 06 October 2018

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What does form mean in football?

It took a while to write this post, as I wasn’t sure if I had enough information and I didn’t know if this would cause a few people to be upset by my definition.
Most people categorise form as being one (or a combination) of the two points:

•    The recent results by one team and their opposition

•    In-match data between one team and their opposition

Detailed in-game data, such as how a team performed within a specific match is not always 100% representative of the overall performance and therefore, the in-match form of the team and the generally accepted view of performance may be different.

The in-match form could completely different to football betting form linked to previous results, as the number of goals scored, shots on target, yellow cards, corners, etc will all contribute to provide details of the overall in-play form.

Why soccer pundits should be ignored?

Football pundits are great to assess footballing ability, but they’re watching the match from a technical perspective, whereas you should be more concerned with the exact numerical performance and not a subjective opinion of technical performance.

How can you tell the difference between objective and subjective opinion?

One is based on fact whereas the other is based on an opinion of fact.

For example, if you one team had a lot of shots on target, you could subjectively say:

The team dominated the match!

…but on the other hand, an objective view would be:

The team had a lot of goals scoring opportunities and the same team missed a lot of goal scoring opportunities.

Your aim is to find betting opportunities that offer a realistic chance of you gaining a profit over the long-term rather than identifying the teams that are dominating the mid-week football news. A fantastic goal from the half-way line is not nearly as important as the individual player and team performance and how this affects the next match.

Subjectivity is the grim reaper of value bets

A team may not have the ability to convert numerous chances into goals, which would affect the traditional view of form. Whereas, if we were to really study in-game team performance we could demonstrate how teams provide their opponents with a competitive match. This could be considered as a form indicator, but it would be irrespective of the final score line!

Taking a helicopter view of any match is one way to approach team form, but this makes it much more challenging to identify teams that provide a ‘surprise’ performance and shock pundits with a win against supposedly superior opposition.

Why the final score is not always the best form indicator?

Form based on the match results is something that could offer slightly different metrics depending on how you judge football form.

If we consider the last 6 Head to Head results of Team A vs Team B and place their results in a list:

1.    Team A 1 - 0 Team B = Team A Home Win

2.    Team B 1 - 1 Team A = Draw

3.    Team A 1 - 1 Team B = Draw

4.    Team B 0 - 1 Team A = Team A Away Win

5.    Team A 1 - 0 Team B = Team A Home Win

6.    Team B 0 - 1 Team A = Team A Away Win

This fictional results list shows that Team A has won 4 matches, Team B has lost 4 matches and there were 2 draws.

If we use this as a simple basis for form, it would not be fully representative of the Head to Head form, as wining Home and winning Away are two different propositions. An Away win is always a more difficult result no-matter the teams due to soccer home advantage.

How can you recognise a team in form?

You can review team form to a greater level by researching the performance of each team and calculate the relative team performance, so you can understand the overall ‘difficulty’ of each match when it was played!

You can then understand when you can use football history to understand team form and when you must consider more general betting trends, such as betting tips and tricks of the pros.

Another approach is to use the soccer statistics database to check out the Match Rating of each team. This indicates the relative rating before each match. You can then determine the optimum time to place bets…

What does SP mean in football?

SP or Starting Price is the early odds offered from bookmakers ahead of a football match. Sometimes the odds are provided a week or more before the event, which is normally before team selections and injury news provide more detailed information about the likely team.

The Starting Price (or early odds) are commonly used when soccer punters use the early bookmaker betting markets to research early betting odds and what they mean for future events. This is more and more common for the big events, such as tournaments or cup competitions.

Have you ever thought why early odds for the winner of a world cup or any national league, such as Spanish La Liga or English Premier League exist many weeks before the start of the season? The bookmakers cannot possibly know how the real performances of the teams, so they’re basing their judgements on previous season performance, previous league placing, end of season performance, pre-season matches and transfers.

As you can imagine, some of the more popular leagues may be fairly accurate, as they tend to be dominated by a handful of clubs, but this is not the same with the equally contested regional leagues within the different nations.

Starting price and team form do not always correlate

Sometimes the SP cannot be accurate as the bookie uses information and data from previous performances to model the likely future outcome.

The difference between the starting price and your estimated probability of a low risk outcome will indicate where the odds prices could be incorrect, so you can calculate your odds payout.

The odds are prices offered to punters, so that we know how much we’re agreeing to buy a certain result from the bookmaker. Therefore, the original SP of each outcome is the bookmaker agreeing to sell their option at the agreed price.

Remember if you believe odds are in your favour, this means you can buy the result cheaply and the bookmaker is losing money selling you that specific outcome (i.e. offering too high odds), which means it makes sense for you to place a wager according to your betting plan and bankroll management plan.

You’re parting with your money, but in reality the bookmaker or the punter on the betting exchange will return your original stake and the betting profits if your bet is correct.

So, if you have the starting price what happens next?

Combining football betting form and starting prices

You can use data within the soccer stats pages to give you an advantage over the bookmakers and other bettors that are not taking the time to seriously review the soccer data.

You can quickly identify if selections are overpriced and offer a good option to place bets and you can also quickly identify the most competitive team with the most appropriate value and expected value.

All of this may help you to get more betting options before the rest of the market has decided to look at a fixture.

Good Luck!

Tags: betting strategy

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