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For sports bettors, the probability of winning or losing a sporting event isn’t quite as volatile or biased as a game of roulette in the casino. Thankfully, when a bookmaker sets their line, they serve as a neutral party to the outcome. The goal is to have bettors place an equal amount of wagers for each side, so the book makes a profit.

As a sports bettor, it’s your job to do your own statistical analysis of the teams. Identifying variables that have a strong implication on the outcome of the event is key. Sports gambling winners know to only make wagers on bets that have positive values. The gamble has value when their implied probability holds a lower percentage than the probability you calculated for your personal analysis.

How do you determine that probability? You’ll have to look at statistics like current form, past results, head to head, goals and time to increase your chances of better betting outcomes.

Current Form

One of the most significant statistics to follow is the teams’ current form. A team’s current form will reveal if their confidence is high and morale is low, both of which are key indicators to heed when you want to more accurately predict your betting outcome. Confidence is everything, and when it comes to the morale of the football team, unnecessary mistakes occur and only contribute to taking less chances and landing themselves in a poor performance period.

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Past Results

When you look into past statistics, be careful not to go down a rabbit hole and look too far into the team’s history- possibly no further than the past five games. Because football games occur on a near-weekly basis, five games represent a time frame of more than a month. Many factors can change in a single month of playing history.

Head to Head

Rival teams with a popular history can call for a good head to head comparison when you’re calculating your odds. The competition between teams leads to more heated debates of their outcomes. Usually, rival teams also exist in close proximity to one another, which means travel doesn’t become quite as strong a factor in their performance.

Goals

Every fan looks for the total number of goals won and goals conceded as a strong indicator of the potential outcome for the next game. If a team is high scoring, or if both teams have a strong offence, you may want to place bets over 2.5 goals.

If a team has a powerful defence, it’s a good idea to place a bet under 2.5 goals. Simple research will provide the statistics on how often the football team scores, and give you a clear idea of how to place your bets.

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Time

When a goal is scored or conceded, this represents the time statistic. Each game of football lasts for a total of 90 minutes. You may find that one team, in particular, has a fast start or a strong finish, which is extremely helpful when placing bets. Time statistics are often evaluated in 15-minute increments: 0-15, 16-30, 31-45, 61-75, 76-90, and 90+.

Statistics can be incredibly useful when researching your bets. They give you great insight on how teams are performing; even in the event you cannot watch the games yourself. While helpful, you cannot always rely on statistics to make accurate predictions 100% of the time.  They have the potential to either make a football team look much better than they are, or they actually create an objective picture of how the games were really played.

Being cognizant of these facts about statistics is crucial when you rely heavily upon them for your predictions. Keep an open mind to all the aspects of the games that have been played, and evaluate the factors that could have swayed the performance of the team, one way or the other.