In recent years it seems to have become pretty easy to predict which football teams are most likely to win as we're all much more aware of the strengths and weaknesses of each.
After all, we're always looking at all the info that's available on TV and online about football and it's pretty easy to choose which player will score first or which team will be ahead at half-time.
Take Luis Suarez - you really didn't need to be an expert to see that every time he played for Liverpool in the Premier League, he seemed to score a goal. Given this, you could back him to score in every match at an odds-against price.
Well, not really. It's just an idea of how many people bet on the football and why so many of them are out of pocket after each season as they usually bet with their hearts.
Over the past few years football has become the most popular form of sports betting by far, however the majority of us still make basic mistakes every time we place a bet on football.
Football is such a popular and nationally loved game, with nearly every man, woman and child following it to some extent, that nearly everybody thinks they're an expert.
Football Betting Online
A problem is that odds are usually not in our favour. The margins against the bettors means that we have to outperform the bookies in order to have any chance of winning. To start with, the odds of the win, lose and draw outcomes in a football match should equal 100%.
This of course makes perfect sense, but the three prices the bookies put up - for example, 7/2 win, 9/4 draw, 4/2 away win - can ensure that the margins vary between anything from 107% to a massive 116% to always allows the bookie to make more profit.
The best thing is that you can still beat the bookies and make money from free bets even if odds are against you. For more successful football betting we've out together 5 top tips:
1: Specialise in Lower Divisions
All Premiership teams are in the constant glare of the media, with 24/7 news coverage detailing everything that happens to them. If a leading player is injured, suspended or falls out with their manager, you'll know about it within minutes.
Now think about what you know about Gillingham's match with Brentford in League One?
If Gillingham's top striker is injured the day before the game, do the bookies find out about it quickly enough to change the odds when they've got dozens of other high profile matches to keep an eye on?
Clubs in the lower divisions don't get the same level of news coverage and if you do a little research you can often get news before even some of the UK's best bookies have time to change their odds. Look at papers online as they always have this kind of information.
2: Bet on Asian Handicaps
Betting on Asian Handicaps can be one of the best ways of betting on football. Basically an online bookie gives the team they think will be less likely to win a head start while the team they think will win are given a handicap which are described in goals or fractions of goals.
Now that the draw option has been removed from the mix, the bookies have to have smaller margins. In normal options the percentages would be around 107% but Asian Handicap bet percentages are only around 103-104%.
These are the best you're likely to find on offer anywhere in the market.
With Asian handicap betting you become 3% more profitable this could be the difference between being up or down at the end of the season.
3: Find Teams Playing Above Themselves
Again, we all love the big teams with good reputations and have previously done well. This doesn't mean they will play well this season.
The high-profile clubs such as Man United and Arsenal start at extremely short odds no matter what their current form, while the over performing smaller clubs get underestimated.
Last season, for example, West Ham and Wigan have shown themselves to be two of the most competitive teams in the Premier League table.
When the market eventually noticed this, punters refused to believe it, and week after week they got odds that had no relation to their current form or league position.
The league table is a pretty decent yardstick and it you want to be a profitable football punter then its best to bet on actual results rather than reputation.
4: Avoid Multiple Bets
It's a common trap and if you go to any bookies for a bet on the football do you think you'll ever find dedicated slips for a single team for the weekend?
Nope - not a chance. Instead all you'll be likely to find are multiple bet football coupons trying to get you to guess a correct-score goliath or a ten-team 'sections list' accumulator.
Online bookies actively promote the most unlikely combinations to ensure they are the winners and while it may look like fun it's one of, if not the worst uses for free bets.
It's bad enough that you have to get their bet absolutely spot on to get the cash but you'll also have to negotiate the bookies margins a few times.
For example, if you're betting to their percentage of 110% for a single, a ten-team multiple accumulators this means you're paying that margin ten times over. Stay away from these types of bet - even if they are part of a great bookie offer!
The temptation of accumulators is obvious, but remember it's not worth it, the best way forward is one at a time if you want to make money in the long term.
5: Asian Handicaps Over Exchanges
Online betting exchanges have been well received and a blessing to most punters, but laying favoured teams in football isn't always the best way to go, especially if your team is playing against a long odds-on favourite.
When this happens, the Asian Handicap can be a whole goal head-start for the underdog, meaning that should your prediction be nearly correct, but the underdogs lose by a single goal, your bet will be a tie on the handicap and you'll get your moneyback.
This is one of the best things about the Asian Handicap bets - there's a safety net of getting your moneyback on certain occasions. You may on the other hand have laid a losing bet at a betting exchange and someone else would be pocketing your money.