Betting Soccer without all of the markets
I recently had a conversation with a new SoccerPicksClub member. He only has access to a couple of sportsbooks in his state and they both only offer very basic options for soccer. He has the 3-way moneyline (home win, visitor win, draw) and total goals (over/under 1.5, 2.5, 3.5). We happen to bet a lot of asian handicaps and asian totals as well as PK or draw, no bet lines (a refresher on what all of these bets mean can be found here). Our conversation was around how he could use our plays and still be profitable. It was a great conversation and one I thought I would share here as I'm sure there are many others of you in this same position. I know when I travel to Las Vegas, for example, I struggle to find many of the markets I would normally have access to through my online sports books.
The Asian Handicap
One of the bets we happen to make a lot are a team -0.25 goal. When we make this bet we are placing half of our bet on the team -0.5 goal (same bet as the 3-way moneyline on that team) and the other half on that team PK or Draw, No Bet. This means if the game ends a draw, we will get a push on that half of our bet.
Example: We bet $100 on Aston Villa -0.25 +100 (even money)
We've just bet $50 to win $50 on Aston Villa -0.5 and $50 to win $50 on Aston Villa PK
Aston Villa Win = $100 (+$50 for the -0.5; +$50 for the PK)
Aston Villa Draw (Tie) = $-50 ($-50 for the -0.5; +0 for the PK)
Aston Villa Loss = $-100 ($-50 for the -0.5; $-50 for the PK)
This member only has the 3-way moneyline available to him. So what does he do? He still has a great option actually!
The moneyline is -0.5 in soccer remember, since the draw isn't a push, it's a loss when we are betting the standard 3-way money line. Because of this, going from -0.25 to -0.5 bet should gain him some where in the neighborhood of 35 cents of value (this will vary of course but in our modeling each 0.25 goal is worth approximately 35 cents). So the money line should be Aston Villa +135 (+100 plus 35 cents).
If he bets the moneyline in this spot every time, he will lose more than us on the games that end in a draw, but when Aston Villa wins, he gets paid 35 cents more than we do (+135 vs +100). Let's play this game out 100 times and assume the following results:
Villa Wins 45 (42.6% is the expected for a +135 line), Draws 32, Losses 23
Betting Villa -0.25 +100 every time, SPC is +6 units on this bet (+45 on Wins, -16 on daws, -23 on losses)
Betting Villa ML +135 every time, the member is +5.75 units on this bet (+60.75 on Wins, -32 on draws, -23 on Losses)
The key, like so many things in sports betting is consistency! Betting it the same way every time should come out pretty close.
You might be asking yourself, if there's not a huge edge to betting the -0.25 line, why do we do it? That's a complicated question but we will share 3 things that go into our analysis:
35 cent rule
We touched on this earlier, but we value most 0.25 goals at 35 cents. In this scenario, if Villa was +135 on the moneyline and we could get -0.25 +105 we would most certainly take the the -0.25 line as we think we are getting an extra 5 points of value which can significantly add up over time.
How likely is the draw?
We can evaluate this a couple ways - Based on how often draws occur in a certain league. For example, Spain La Liga and La Liga 2 have a higher likelihood of draws than say the Bundesliga in Germany. Part of this also has to do with how high scoring a league is. In general, the higher the total, the less likely the draw is.
Is our team home or away?
Road teams will find it harder to win (hopefully this seems obvious) but also will be much more likely to be happy to play for a draw as the game gets into the later stages
Let's talk about totals next. 2.5 is the most common total in soccer and almost every book will have it. But sometimes it can be priced with a lot of juice on one side or the other based on the matchup. As such, we can also bet a lot of Over 2.75 (Half 2.5 / Half 3) or Under 3.25 (Half 3.5 / Half 3). The 3 is such a key number for soccer totals, I cannot stress this enough.
For this example, let's say we are betting Aston Villa vs Liverpool Over 3 +100. Remember, this member only has 1.5, 2.5 and 3.5 as his options for totals. He likely will have Over 2.5 -170 (remember 35 cents per 0.25 goal so 70 cents for 0.5 goal) and Over 3.5 +170 (70 cents the other direction of 3).
Here he could simply create his own asian total by betting half a unit on the Over 2.5 and half a unit on the Over 3.5. In this scenario, we would recommend risking the same amount on each half of the bet. So $50 on each.
This game plays out 100 times like this:
Over 3 - 38 times; Push 3 - 30 times; Under 3 - 32 times
SPC finishes +6 units on this bet (+38 on Overs; +0 on Pushes; -32 on Unders)
This member finishes +5.29 on this bet (+43.47 on Overs; -6.18 on Pushes; -32 on Unders)
Same principals apply here. Be consistent and it will work out pretty well over time! In fact, if the Over comes through just a little more often in this scenario, he could come out ahead over time since the Overs pay him $14.41 more than us.
Bottom line is this, if you think your way through the betting markets you have available to you and you use some consistency in how you play it, you can still be very profitable even if you don't have access to all the numbers / markets.
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Nate - SoccerPicksClub