Category Archives: Sports Betting


2016 Ronaldo’s Magic Year


Goals: 35 (34 for club; one for country)
Games: 58 (50 for club; eight for country)

This was the year then-Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo really emerged as a true world-class talent — with 35 goals in 58 games in all competitions for club and country.

Ronaldo turned 23 early in 2008 and went on to a clean sweep of the young and senior PFA and FWA Player of the Year prizes in England, win a first Golden Shoe as Europe’s top scorer for 2007-08 and then take his first Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year awards.

There were goals in the round of 16, quarterfinal, semifinal and final as United won the Champions League [although he missed a penalty in the decisive shootout against Chelsea]. There were also persistent rumours about a move to Real Madrid, although that transfer was postponed for 12 months.


Goals: 30 (29 for club; one for country)
Games: 49 (42 for club; seven for country)

Ronaldo began 2009 by again scoring in each of the Champions League knockout rounds, before being frustrated as United were beaten in the final by Lionel Messi’s Barcelona. He did however win a third straight Premier League title before joining Madrid in a world record £80 million transfer.

On arrival at the Bernabeu, he became the first player to score in each of his first four games for Los Blancos, but injuries and some issues settling in Spain meant that he finished 2009 with *just* 30 goals in 49 games across all competitions. And he was *just* second in the year’s Ballon d’Or vote behind Messi.

So far in 2016, Ronaldo has scored 51 goals in 54 games and won the Champions League and Euro 2016.


Goals: 48 (45 for club; three for country)
Games: 59 (48 for club; 11 for country)

Ronaldo’s first season in Spain ended without a trophy, but he was boosted by fellow countryman Jose Mourinho arriving as coach at the Bernabeu. In October he scored four times in a game for the first time, against Racing, as he accelerated towards a final total of 48 goals in 59 games over the calendar year — 45 for Madrid and three for Portugal.

Yet there was also disappointment at the World Cup in South Africa, where Portugal lost out to eventual winners Spain in the round of 16 — and Ronaldo was pushed off the Ballon d’Or podium as Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta were recognised alongside clubmate Messi.


Goals: 60 (53 for club; seven for country)
Games: 60 (52 for club; eight for country)
Shots: 300 (121 on goal; 16.0 percent accuracy)
Assists: 15
Chances: 78 (1.8 per game)

2011 saw Ronaldo ramp up his goal scoring for both club and country, reaching the 60-goal mark for the first time in his career — including 53 in 52 Real Madrid games and seven in eight for Portugal.

Personally, he won both a first La Liga Pichichi prize and a second European Golden Shoe (his first had been with Manchester United) — and, at the age of 26, he became the first player ever to score 40 times in a Spanish top flight season.


Goals: 63 (58 for club; five for country)
Games: 71 (58 for club; 13 for country)
Shots: 366 (154 on goal; 14.5 percent accuracy)
Assists: 11
Chances: 91 (1.8 per game)

The next year saw Ronaldo score 63 goals, 58 for Madrid and five for Portugal, in a total of 71 games — the most matches he has managed in one season.

That May brought success for Jose Mourinho’s Madrid team in La Liga, the only Spanish title Ronaldo has yet won, although nemesis Lionel Messi nabbed the Pichichi and Ballon d’Or awards again as the Argentine somehow managed an incredible 91 goals all season.

Looking just at La Liga and the Champions League — 2012 was the year in which Ronaldo took most shots [366] and had the most chances [91]. Although he was also relatively wayward as just 14.5 percent of his shots hit the net.


Goals: 69 (59 for club; 10 for country)
Games: 59 (50 for club; nine for country)
Shots: 313 (134 on goal; 16.9 percent accuracy)
Assists: 13
Chances: 75 (1.7 per game)

While the first half of 2013 saw Ronaldo finish as the Champions League top scorer for a second time, it was not a happy time at the Bernabeu due to Mourinho leaving as coach in May.

Things turned around under new coach Carlo Ancelotti, and Ronaldo ended the year in probably the best form of his entire career — including a wonderful hat trick in the 2014 World Cup playoff against Sweden — earning his second Ballon d’Or trophy. He finished with a total of 69 goals in 60 appearances for club and country, his highest year-end goal tally, and appeared to be scoring more goals from fewer attempts.

Ronaldo won the 2014 Ballon d’Or, the third time he has claimed the award


Goals: 61 (56 for club; five for country)
Games: 60 (51 for club; nine for country)
Shots 266 (138 on goal; 19.2 percent accuracy)
Assists: 16
Chances: 80 (2.0 per game)

Madrid reached their holy grail of La Decima and a 10th European Cup win, with Ronaldo famously removing his jersey after scoring a late penalty in a 4-1 extra-time win over Atletico. He also set a new record of 17 goals in one Champions League season.

His total goals over this 12-month period were 61 — 56 in 51 games for Madrid and five in nine for Portugal — with the total slightly down from the previous year. But 2014 saw his highest ever chances per game (2.0) across La Liga and the UCL as well as most shots on target (138) and a career best conversion rate (19.2 percent).

Injury hampered his contribution — especially during Portugal’s early World Cup exit as they failed to advance from Group G — but when he was fit, this was peak Ronaldo. The stats certainly show how he earned his third Ballon d’Or prize.


Goals: 57 (54 for club; three for country)
Games: 57 (52 for club; five for country)
Shots: 329 (127 on goal; 16.1 percent accuracy)
Assists: 17
Chances: 79 (1.6 per game)

It was an up-and-down year for Ronaldo, with Madrid failing to win any trophies. But he finished as joint-top scorer in the Champions League (alongside Messi and Neymar with 10) and won both the 2014-15 La Liga Pichichi and European Golden Shoe trophies.

By December, he made it to 57 goals for club and country over 57 games — 54 in 52 for Madrid, and three in five for Portugal. Looking at the stats for La Liga and the Champions League, after turning 30, he was again taking more shots than the previous year (329 in total) but his conversation rate had fallen to 16.1 percent.

2015 also saw some barren spells followed by gluts — with five-goal hauls against both Granada and Espanyol, but by the autumn he had overtaken Raul Gonzalez to become Madrid’s all-time leading goal scorer. Raul had scored 323 in 741 games; Ronaldo managed 324 in just 310.

Cristiano Ronaldo is the winner of the 2016 Ballon d’Or, the fourth time he has received the award.


Goals: 51 (38 for club; 13 for country)
Games: 54 (41 for club; 13 for country)
Shots: 258 (108 on goal; 14.7 percent accuracy)
Assists: 14
Chances: 59 (1.4 per game)

In early November, Ronaldo signed his new long-term deal at Madrid and proclaimed it to be his best year. In terms of team trophies, it most certainly has been — with Madrid winning the Champions League and Portugal stunning even themselves by winning Euro 2016.

This has also been Ronaldo’s best scoring year for Portugal — as he netted 13 times in 13 games for his country. But across La Liga and the Champions League, this has been his lowest scoring year since 2008. Injury has been a factor in this — his 38 La Liga and UCL goals have come in just 41 club games — but perhaps more worrying as he nears 32 years of age is that he is also getting the lowest tally for chances per game (1.4).

*Stats compiled by ESPN Stats & Info and Dermot Corrigan (ESPN)



The numbers behind El Clasico

El Clasico is arguably the biggest game in club football each year, but just how does it rate against other big matches? Plus, how do Barcelona and Real Madrid compare with each other, as well as with other clubs?

When El Clasico is on, the world really is watching. The most recent Barcelona-Real Madrid clash, in April 2016, aired in more than 90 countries around the world.

Here’s a sense of how El Clasico compares with the biggest events in other sports. While more people watch when Barcelona and Real Madrid meet, it’s more expensive to go to the NFL’s biggest game, though the resale market has a major effect on ticket prices for both events. (Super Bowl 50 global viewing figures were unavailable at the time of publication.)

When it comes to supporters inside the stadium, El Clasico is unparalleled. Last season, more than 30,000 more fans attended Barcelona’s games with Real Madrid than any other game between major football rivals. The first meeting, at Madrid’s Bernabeu had an attendance of 81,044 while the second, at Barcelona’s Camp Nou, drew a crowd of 99,264.

According to Forbes, these are two of the top three most valuable sports clubs in the world. Only the Dallas Cowboys are ahead of them.  After Barcelona and Madrid, the next club on the list is Manchester United at $3.3 billion.

Neither club is averse to spending big money to get the players they want. In fact, between them, they have broken the world transfer record eight times. The two most expensive players in the current Clasico squads are Neymar and Gareth Bale, although the latter will miss Saturday’s game through injury.

Playing for these clubs is lucrative. According to a Sporting Intelligence survey covering all sports, Barcelona are fifth-placed in terms of total annual salaries paid, while Madrid are ninth. Only Manchester United place above them among football clubs; the Cleveland Cavaliers of the NBA are the top-paying team. Their best-paid player is LeBron James, who earns almost $31m per year. Compare that to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, both of whom earn almost $24 million, or $450,000 per week.

Measuring just how many fans clubs have around the world can be tricky but, based on a recent survey of shirt sales, Barcelona and Real Madrid trail only Manchester United in terms of global popularity.

These two lead the way when it comes to biggest followings on social media and also boast some of the most popular players. Cristiano Ronaldo has almost 250 million followers across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Neymar has almost 148 million. (Lionel Messi narrowly trails his teammate, despite not having a Twitter account.)

When it comes to silverware, the two clubs are on top of the world. In terms of La Liga and the European Cup, Real Madrid have 32 and 11 wins respectively — both competition records — while Barcelona have 24 and five.

Both clubs have plans for expensive renovations to their home ground. Barcelona’s Camp Nou will be ready for the 2020-21 season, the same year that Madrid’s Bernabeu update will be completed.

Source Credits: espn


The US versus the UK betting market

The United States has a very large gambling market. Las Vegas in Nevada is one of the most famous gambling locations in the world and almost every state in the U.S. has its own casino. However, when it comes to sports betting, the situation isn’t so bright. Nevada, Oregon, Montana, and Delaware are the only four states in which sport betting is allowed and that is only due to special laws. New Jersey famously tried to join the sports betting states and failed after athletic leagues went to court to overrule their state legislation. However, the battle is not over. Despite being considered a Western, liberal country, the U.S., officially, is on the conservative side when it comes to gambling.

However, this says nothing about the demand for sports betting in the U.S. Many Americans simply turn to the internet for their sports betting needs. Online betting in the U.S. started in 1996, and became a huge market. There are no official numbers about the size of the market but modest estimate i around 12 billion dollars, while pretentious estimates are as high as 400 billion dollars. This stands in stark contrast to the second-largest gambling market after the U.S. – the U.K. In the United Kingdom sports betting have been legal since the 1960s. There are around 9000 betting shops in the U.K. where people can place bets with a licensed bookmaker. Yet the U.K. gambling market is estimated at around 6 billion pounds, a modest number in comparison to the U.S. The differences in market size can stem from different causes such as the much larger population of the U.S. the fact that British are much more careful spenders then American, and that they spend less time on the internet.

Legally, online sports betting in the U.S. is a gray area when it comes to individual people placing online sports bets. The enforcement of laws against online gambling focus mainly on those who process gambling transactions and operators that offer online gambling transactions to U.S. gamblers. The simple gambler isn’t affected by these laws; in fact, no one in America ever went to jail because of online gambling. Despite the different arguments for legalizing sports betting in the U.S., which include the substantial monetary profit for the country, it seems that it won’t happen any time soon. Part of the reason for this is the resistance of athletic leagues to legalization, because they fear it will hurt the integrity of the games themselves.

Despite their athletic leagues’ resistance to legalizing sports betting, the online betting industry continues to bloom in America. In fact, many Americans see betting on a game as an integral part of their sport experience. For example, the most watched sporting event in the U.S., the super bowl, is also a record-breaker when it comes to bets. 4.2 billion dollars were placed in bets on the super bowl 50 (2015), most of it was placed illegally.

The Super bowl is a great example of the American betting market. The most dominant sport in the U.S. when it comes to betting is football, followed by baseball, basketball and hockey. While for our friends across the pond, the most popular sport by far is soccer, followed by tennis and horse racing. This creates two distinct sports betting markets.


Formula 1 and Betting

Globally 425 million people are known to watch Formula 1 races on television a figure which could possibly be boosted by an additional 40% when taking into account people viewing unaccountably via illegal online streams.

No, its audience is not going to numerically compete with World Cup Soccer but it dwarfs the Superbowl’s 120 million viewers the vast majority of which cannot legally bet on the event anyway.

The biggest question is why online bookmakers haven’t embraced the sport with open arms.  After all, research indicates the betting account of a typical Formula 1 fans is worth three times that of a traditionally sourced punter.

Considering eighty percent of the average online bookmaker’s profits come from just twenty percent of their customers, you would imagine the DHL, Allianz and UBS signage would have been torn down long ago and replaced by the likes of Bet365 and Betfair/Paddy Power  …the latest conglomerate seeking to take over the online gambling world. made a big effort with Formula 1 back in 2001 sponsoring the TWR Arrows Team.  But they were ahead of their time.  As were Interwetten, the first company to offer online betting in 1997.  Their flirtation with F1 came in 2012 when they had a few small stickers on the Lotus cars for a few races.

But ours is not to question.  As punters, ours is to take advantage and this is a sport which offers ample betting opportunities within an industry which seemingly employs a limited number of people to recognise statistical techniques when devising their betting markets.

In fact, F1 betting markets ultimately seem to be driven by a good old-fashioned weight of money which pours in on the back of consequences and commentator’s statements.

The consequences include a Ferrari qualifying anywhere near the front of the starting grid at the Italian Grand Prix. The passionate Italian’s always pour their Euro’s on their beloved red cars at prices woefully short of the true probability of them prevailing.


Of course, this revolves around in-running markets, which is a real interesting area of F1 punting.  In the very best traditions of Betfair be very aware, what is described as live coverage is not live more often than not.  There is always a lag, in the UK it ranges between 4sec and 8sec.  Overseas broadcasters deliver their pictures with an even greater delay, up to 30sec in some instances.

Of course, there are very few domestic in-play punters that are not aware of this.  But the 422.5 million other viewers who may decide to place an in-play race bet at any time are probably not so street-wise. But the bookmakers are often caught unaware as quick-fingered diligent punters can often find an angle courtesy of social media.

Put simply, Twitter is an invaluable information feed which can be used in an identical fashion to stock market traders eagerly awaiting news and trading figures down high-speed news wires.

Case in point:  Lewis Hamilton needing a gearbox change following a practice session at the 2012 Chinese Grand Prix.  His team announced the component change, which resulted in a mandatory five-place grid penalty, as soon as they were aware of the problem.

But time-zone differences meant the British bookmaking odds compilers were sound asleep when the news the race favorite had been handed a crippling disadvantage was made public …and their betting markets remained unchanged for hours.

Without knowing the first thing about Formula 1 racing, it is very clear there is money to be made using nothing more than common sense.  In fact having no interest in or knowledge of F1, or any other sport you bet on, is a huge benefit.

Most punters would be better punters if subconscious preconceived ideas were removed from their psyche.  We all have favorite teams, jockey’s, trainers, racecourses etc and we are all guilty of being influenced by those likes (and dislikes). So use every tool in your box when punting on F1.  This includes employing an accurate weather forecaster.

As it stands the major firms price up the proceeding F1 race moments after the cars cross the line but that race could be two or three weeks away.  The markets normally remain pretty much unchanged until the Tuesday before the race.  By that time, you might have just been made aware of a tropical storm which is due to land on the racetrack.

Wet conditions, just like a change in going for a racehorse, can make the form book redundant.


Betfair Trading Management

Successful sports trading in Betfair or any other online betting exchange depends a lot on proper money management. It may only seem important to pick up the online betting odds movements correctly, but applying money management in trading the online betting odds will make money for serious sports traders. If we are just starting out trading the odds, managing our betting bankroll will certainly make us last a lot longer in this trading game.

To begin with we should define a starting online betting bankroll which we will use exclusively for trading and we won’t be upset if we lose it. If that happens, we will consider it as the fee we paid to learn about money management and how to trade correctly. However if we are proven to be good in trading, we would increase our capital without the risk of losing it and actually make money. Whatever the scenario, having put aside a specific figure for our available capital helps a lot in various ways and it looks a lot more professional.

Now that we have defined our trading capital, we divide it in 50 equal parts. For example, if our bankroll is €1000, we have 50 parts of €20. The reason behind this is to always risk no more than 2% of our bankroll at any time. Risking that much of our betting bankroll means that we will continue trading even after 40 losing trades. Variance can kill our trading game and we should properly think of our money management plans, so that we can continue testing our method or change it and try something else, but with a sufficient bankroll to work with. We then go on and divide our bankroll left again in 50 equal parts. For every new trading strategy we try, we always start by splitting our trading bankroll in 50 parts. The biggest the risk you want to take, the fewer those parts should be, meaning increasing the percentage of your bankroll you stand to lose in each trade or bet. For instance, you might find more appropriate to risk 5% of your available trading capital in each trade, which would lead you to divide your bankroll in 20 equal parts. However, a bad run of 20 losing trades would wipe out your whole bankroll. My opinion is to always start out with 2% of your capital and to increase your risk after 500 completed trades and a proven winning trading strategy, targeting higher returns and making money.

The next step we should be taking is defining our stop loss, the point that is we would close our trading positions. The stop loss is always defined in comparison with the amount we enter in each trade. Let’s examine an example for better understanding.

Let’s assume your trading bankroll is €1,000, you’ll be risking 2% in each trade and you’ll be trading in-play footbal matches. You have a very basic trading strategy starting by backing the favorite team and want to apply money management. In the upcoming football game between X and Y teams, X team is traded at 2.00 betting odds. You begin your trading by backing €100 at 2.00. Given the fact that you risk 2% of your €1,000, if the odds reach 2.20 you should exit the market since by laying €100 at 2.20 you’d have lost -€20.00 on X team. So, your stop loss is 2.20.

This is not however the whole story. There is a relation between the stop loss and the betting odds movement. If the X team’s odds were 1.50, your stop loss would be 1.70. But moving from 1.50 to 1.70 there are 20 steps, the so called “ticks”. Moving from 2.00 to 2.20 there are only 10 ticks (2.00-2.02-2.04-…-2.18-2.20). So, while in the 1.50 occasion you risk €20 on a 20 tick movement, in the other situation you risk the same amount on a 10 tick movement. That is why we should change our stop loss depending on the ticks’ value. Instead of 2% of our capital we will define our stop loss at a 10 tick movement. You can obviously put your stop loss wherever your strategy tells you better. After defining the number of ticks of your stop loss, you should calculate those ticks’ value to be equal to 2% of your bankroll. If for instance you have 10 ticks as a stop loss, each tick should be valued at €2.

Let’s do a small revision so that we don’t get lost in the money management maze. We have €1,000 as our trading capital, we risk €20 per trade and our stop loss is 10 ticks. Depending on the team’s odds, we now calculate the amount we should be trading according to the odds as follows:

  1. 1.01-2.00: We trade €200 so that a movement of 10 ticks to result in €20 win/loss.
  2. 2.00-3.00: We trade €100 so that a movement of 10 ticks to result in €20 win/loss.
  3. 3.00-4.00: We trade €40 so that a movement of 10 ticks to result in €20 win/loss.
  4. 4.00-6.00: We trade €20 so that a movement of 10 ticks to result in €20 win/loss.

If now we intend to green up  on all the possible outcomes of a game, we can increase the above amounts by just a little, since in the end we won’t be losing €20 but less after greening up. For example, €20 loss at 1.50 would mean that by backing €13.3 we would lose €13.3 whatever the outcome, while €20 loss at 4.00 would mean that by backing €5 we would lose €5 whatever the outcome. In other words, we should be trading with 2.66 (=4.00/1.50) times more money at 4.00 than at 1.50 so that the final loss would be equal.

Because maths can be confusing at times, we will calculate the final amounts we should be trading with, according to the mean price of the betting odds.

  1. 2.00-3.00: 2.50/1.50 = 1.66 times the amount we calculated earlier.
  2. 3.00-4.00: 3.50/1.50 = 2.33 times the amount we calculated earlier.
  3. 4.00-6.00: 5.00/1.50 = 3.33 times the amount we calculated earlier.

In conclusion we will be trading with the following amounts:

  1. 1.01-2.00: We trade €200.
  2. 2.00-3.00: We trade €166.
  3. 3.00-4.00: We trade €93.2.
  4. 4.00-6.00: We trade €66.6.

By trading the above figures and greening up in the end, we will always lose €13.3 in case of losing. We wanted €20, remember? We just have to multiply the above numbers by 1.50 (=20/13.3). So, for a trading bankroll of €1,000 and 10 ticks stop loss:

  1. 1.01-2.00: We trade €300 so that a movement of 10 ticks to result in €20 win/loss after greening up.
  2. 2.00-3.00: We trade €250 so that a movement of 10 ticks to result in €20 win/loss after greening up.
  3. 3.00-4.00: We trade €140 so that a movement of 10 ticks to result in €20 win/loss after greening up.
  4. 4.00-6.00: We trade €100 so that a movement of 10 ticks to result in €20 win/loss after greening up.

Depending on your bankroll, the % you want to risk per trade and the stop loss, you can change the figures above. If you have €500, you halve the figures. If your stop loss is 5 ticks, you double the figures. If you risk 6% of your bankroll, you triple the amounts.



5 questions about Bundesliga 2015-2016


Raphael Honigstein is ESPN FC’s German football expert and poses 5 questions about the new Bundesliga.

The 53rd Bundesliga season starts on Friday night when champions Bayern Munich take on perennial underachievers Hamburger SV at the Allianz Arena.

In Germany, many are convinced that the Reds will win a historic fourth consecutive title to underline their dominance, but there’s also a widespread belief that they will be pushed a lot harder by the competition than they have been in recent years.No such consensus exists about the makeup of the rest of the table, however. The Bundesliga is a league in which financial minnows like Augsburg can finish in fifth place on the back of a £30 million budget and giants are regularly sucked into the relegation fight. As such, after Bayern, it will once again prove incredibly unpredictable. Here are the five key questions for the next 10 months.

1. How will the Pep Guardiola situation resolve itself?

Bayern knew that the Catalan was not an ordinary manager, but they’re still taken aback by the unusual scenario they find themselves in ahead of their third season with the 44-year-old.

The club are sold on Guardiola’s coaching capabilities, perhaps more so than with any other manager in living memory, regardless of public perception. But Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and the other bosses are also frustrated by Guardiola’s reluctance to commit himself to Sabener Strasse beyond next summer.

The culture at the club is one of a frank, blunt exchange of views, with fallouts and makeups, not enigmatic silences and whispered insinuations via intermediaries. Bayern are used to getting their way. Failing that, they much prefer a timely rejection to drawn-out uncertainty.

Guardiola, on the other hand, seems to regard the pressure on him to make up his mind as counterproductive. He’s cut an exasperated figure before the first ball has been kicked in the league, and in turn, his bad mood has only made his superiors more anxious. The squad is so devastatingly good that the fallout on the pitch will be limited, but the impasse cannot go on forever. Every unconvincing performance and poor result will feed into the atmosphere of unease, and a coach short on patience could find it hard to keep the deeply stacked squad happy.

By Christmas at the latest, Guardiola will have to show his hand. Ironically, him leaving might not prove detrimental in the short term. His predecessor, Jupp Heynckes, won the treble after his departure at the end of the 2012-13 campaign was announced in January.

2. Just how good will Thomas Tuchel’s Borussia Dortmund be?

Twelve months ago, Dortmund’s squad was widely rated the best ever, and the Black and Yellows were seen as favourites to win the title in some quarters, too. It played out differently, with Dortmund fighting against relegation for the first half of the season and Jurgen Klopp departing in May.

But Germany’s second force of the current decade are poised to bounce back strongly in 2015-16. The new coach, 41-year-old Thomas Tuchel, is already making waves with his extreme attention to detail and a tactical flexibility designed to make Dortmund’s high-pressing game more sustainable and less one-dimensional.

A very deep squad that hasn’t lost any of its key players (for a change) will give Tuchel plenty of options to rotate and react during and between matches. Players like Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Marco Reus and Ilkay Gundogan look as if they can reach former levels of excellence under the Swabian’s guidance. A long run in the Europa League might make challenging of the title against Bayern a tall order, but Dortmund will provide plenty of thrills. Maybe there will be a bit of silverware as well.

3. Will we see a return of the elite clubs?

1980s big boys Hamburger SV could well continue where they left of in recent seasons and start their campaign by getting hammered by Bayern. Optimism is in short supply in the port city following their embarrassing first-round DFB Cup exit at the hands of fourth-division Carl Zeiss Jena; another nerve-wracking relegation fight might well loom for Bruno Labbadia’s team.

Other big, traditional teams look better placed to get into the right half of the table again. Under new coach Alexander Zorniger, a pressing disciple from the Ralf Rangnick stable, VfB Stuttgart should be much improved. The 2007 champions should have a shot at the Europa League spots. Werder Bremen, perennial Champions League contestants not too long ago, have lost key striker Franco Di Santo to Schalke, but it wouldn’t surprise anyone if Viktor Skripnik were to lead them to a top-10 finish in his first full season in charge.

Armin Veh’s teams tend to either over- or underachieve, but who’s to say that Eintracht Frankfurt don’t go on another one of those crazy runs? And Borussia Monchengladbach, last year’s biggest feel-good story for all neutrals, will surely be hard to shift from the top of the table. The Foals looked really strong in their 4-1 win over St. Pauli in the Cup. This well could be the season when the blue chips hit back against the upstarts like Augsburg, Mainz and Hoffenheim, who have been exploiting the old elite’s poor coaching and player dealings for a few years.

4. Is Andre Breitenreiter the manager Schalke have been crying out for?

Since Huub Stevens’ first spell in charge (1996-2002), no Royal Blues manager has been able to hold the job down for two full seasons. Boardroom upheaval, bad decisions in the player market and plain wrong appointments have prevented the Gelsenkirchen club from fulfilling its considerable potential.

Can new boss Andre Breitenreiter break the mould and take the club forward? The 41-year-old has been given the nod after getting relegated with SC Paderborn, but Schalke have seen past the results and focused on a body of work that suggests that he can combine man-management with tactical knowledge, while having broad enough shoulders to deal with the frantic expectations.

The squad, a fine blend of local talents like Julian Draxler and Max Meyer plus seasoned pros like Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, certainly brims with untapped potential. A simple improvement won’t do, in light of the strength of the competition for the Champions League places, but if Breitenreiter can get Schalke to play as well as Paderborn did — at the very limit of the players’ abilities — a positive season awaits.

5. Will there be a fourth miracle at the Bollenfalltor?

“We don’t belong to the Bundesliga,” SV Darmstadt 98 coach Dirk Schuster said in May. He was wrong: Darmstadt made it back to the top flight for the first time in 33 years. Their thoroughly improbable run (with a total budget was £5.8 million) followed a stunning promotion to the second division in 2014, and a lucky last-minute escape from relegation to the fourth division in 2013.

They were only saved by another side, Kickers Offenbach, failing to get a professional licence. Few people think the “Lilies” will blossom next season, but their defiantly unmodernised, 16,000-capacity stadium and never-say-die spirit could surprise a few people again.



The 11 winning rules of betting

#1 Don’t Bet More Than You Can Afford To Lose
It’s the simplest of advices and the most pertinent to any punter. Betting can be approached as another form of entertainment that you spend your money on. You’d never book a £200 per night hotel room, when you could only afford a £100 one, and so you should approach betting with this one governing factor always to the fore. Bet within your means.

#2 Don’t Increase Your Stake After Winning
Unless you are adopting a specific betting method or staking plan, never arbitrarily increase your stake just because you’ve won. Betting shop mugs do this all the time and with very few exceptions their money will only go one way – back to the bookie.

#3 Treat Your Betting As a Business – Your Bookie Does
Businesses can increase profit by minimizing losses and outlay. Your bookie does this, and so should you. The one thing you are guaranteed to do when betting is back a loser. Finding ways to cut down on the losers will greatly affect your potential to make profit.

#4 Don’t Follow The Money
Unless you are in on a gamble right at the start, by the time you get to know where the money’s going all the best prices will be gone. If you dive in at that stage you could very likely be betting at no value or even negative value (the price is shorter than the selection’s actual chances).

#5 Use A Betting Bank
If you’re just betting from what available cash you have in your pocket at any given time you are unlikely to have much control over your betting. Lack of control is one of the quickest ways to get skint. A betting bank lets you know how much you have to bet with, helps you control stakes, and more importantly can let you see whether you are winning or not (in conjuction with #7 and #8 also)

#6 Use A Staking Plan
Using a Staking Plan is a great way to control your betting. Used in conjunction with #6 and #7 (Betting Bank and Recording Bets) this will help you become a smarter punter, one who is control of his/her betting. It won’t guarantee to make you a profit but it should help you in one respect – to cut down on those silly unnecessary bets. Level Stakes is the most popular Staking Plan and a very sensible one too, but there are others. Bank Percentage Plan, Sequence Plan, and others.

#7 Specialize In Just A Few Sports
Bookies will have you betting on everything from the US Election to the X-Factor. One of the reasons they offer so much is because it’s profitable to them. One of the punter’s best tactics is to specialize. Most of us know a varied amount about one or two sports, so when it comes to betting a major plus is to do the research and become more expert in just a few sports. That can give you an edge the bookies don’t have, simply because their oddsmakers have to cover everything. By specialising you gain an advantage, and can better spot potentially good bets.

#8 Don’t Panic In A Losing Streak
As stated previously you are guaranteed to back losers, but what happens when you start to back loser after loser? It’s at this point that the novice or undisciplined punter can start to panic, to question their methods, to start changing methods, and start chasing losses. All of these you must avoid. If you’re organized, have confidence in your methods, and you have a properly sized betting bank to allow for a losing streak, stick with the plan. Stay calm and don’t waiver from your methods. The dreaded losing run is all too familiar to all of us. It’s a part of betting. [**caveat – methods of course can be changed under the correct circumstances, just not under the panic of a losing streak because you’re not best placed to make the right judgements]

#9 Don’t Chase Losses
This can be read in conjunction with #12 Don’t Panic In A Losing Streak. Chasing losses is one of the main contributions to losing made by punters. When the main bet or bets of the day go down, some punters can’t accept a losing day and so go off in search of winners, despite the fact that their earlier studies dismissed the remainder for having the potential for winners. Or a punter bets money he/she couldn’t really afford to lose, then go off in a futile attempt to recoup the loss, and thereby losing more. Know when to walk away and call it a day.

#10 Don’t Look For A Bet, Wait For One
You don’t have to have a bet. Sure, we all like the thrill of a bet and watching its progress, but the punters who tend to lose more are the ones who can’t resist having that thrill, and therefore go repeatedly looking for a bet they wouldn’t normally have done. You’ll see them in betting shops all the time, moving from one race to the next, taking only the few precious seconds there now are between races to try to find a selection. The disciplined punter will have his methods, and if those methods don’t pinpoint a bet on a particular day they won’t go looking for one – they’ll do the right thing and wait till the next day.

#11 Singles Offer The Best Profit Potential
This is one of the obvious ones to the more experienced punter, but to the novice or to those lured in by the ‘bonuses’ and ‘enhancements’ of the ‘big-money’ bets that the bookies keep pushing to your attention (there’s a reason why they keep advertising these bets), it may not be so obvious.

You won’t win big-money with singles, that’s true. But let’s face it how many of you out there have won big-money with multiple bets? With singles you don’t face the furstrating situation where you can lose it. With singles, you don’t get a winner only to have wait on having another winner to have it pay off for you.

Bookies don’t like you betting singles, that’s why you’ll rarely see them advertising them. Singles allows you to shop around for the best price and give yourself the best chance of profit. Multiple bets are for the dreamers.


Asian Handicap

What is Asian Handicap

Asian Handicap betting (named so simply because of its Eastern origins) is a form of betting on football that has gained popularity over the years. The handicaps typically range from one quarter goal to several goals and can be described in terms of half or even quarter goals.

Most importantly, Asian Handicap betting reduces the possible number of outcomes from three (in traditional 1X2 wagering) to two by eliminating the draw outcome. This simplification delivers two betting options that each have a near 50% chance of success.

Asian Handicaps are both good and bad for bookmakers. On one hand, they help bookmakers minimize risk by facilitating trading with parity or balancing the amount of wagering on each side of the match. This enables bookmakers to take larger positions on major matches. On the other hand, Asian Handicap markets are typically low margin offerings that do not contribute as significantly to the gross win as other, higher vigorish betting options like 1X2.

The term “Asian Handicap” was coined by journalist Joe Saumarez Smith in November 1998. He was asked by an Indonesia bookmaker, Joe Phan, to provide a translation of the betting method that was termed ‘hang cheng betting’ by bookmakers in Asia.

Football (soccer) is one of the few sports in the world where a tie is a fairly common outcome. With traditional fixed odds, ties are treated as an additional outcome to the game. In other words, bettors lose when they place a wager on either team to win and the game ties. With Asian Handicaps, however, the chance for a tie is eliminated by use of a handicap that forces a winner. This creates a situation where each team has a 50-50 chance of winning; similar to the odds for a basketball or football spread handicap typically offered by Las Vegas sportsbooks.

This system works in a straightforward manner. The bookmakers’s goal is to create a handicap or “line” that will make the chance of either team winning (considering the handicap) as close to 50% as possible. Since the odds are as close to 50% as possible, bookmakers offer payouts close to even money, or 1.90 to 2.00. Asian Handicaps start at a quarter goal and can go as high as 2.5 or 3 goals in matches with a huge disparity in ability. What makes Asian Handicaps most interesting is the use of quarter goals to get the “line” as close as possible. Taken in conjunction with the posted total for the game, the handicap essentially predicts the game’s final score.

Subsequently, many matches are handicapped in ½ and ¼ intervals; both of which eliminate the possibility of a push since no one can score a half-goal. Quarter (¼) handicaps split the bet between the two next closest ¼ intervals. For instance, a $1000 bet with a handicap of 1 ¾ is the same as betting $500 at 1 ½ and $500 at 2. With ¼ handicap bets, you can win and tie (win ½ of wager) or lose and tie (lose ½ wager). The ¼-goal handicap may be expressed by some bookmakers as “0 and ½”, or (especially for bookmakers whose systems are designed for sports like American football and basketball (where bets have a handicap that is designed to make the odds as close to even as possible)) as “pk (for “pick-em”) and ½”.


Asian Handicap Examples

Asian handicap 0:0 (Level ball – Draw no bet – DNB)

Here the game starts 0-0. No advance is given to any team. Draw option is eliminated.

Example : Chelsea vs Liverpool AH – 0:0

Home Odds – 1.90 , Away Odds – 1.95

* You bet 100$ on Chelsea to win 0:0 AH at 1.90 odds. To win your coupon, you need Chelsea to win the game, simply to win. If Chelsea wins, you win 100$ X 1.90 = 190$. Your profit is 190$ – 100 = 90$. If a possible draw occurs, you get your stake (100$) back. No wager, no bet. If Chelsea loses the game, you lose your bet too.

* It is the same with Liverpool 0:0 AH. You need Liverpool to win the game, and if a draw occurs, you get your money back. No Wager, no bet. If Liverpool loses, you lose your bet too.

You may see some bookies offer something like DNB, Draw no bet, or Level ball. It is the same with 0:0 AH.

Asian handicap 0.25

Here the game starts 0-1/4. The underdog team is advanced with a quarter goal before the kick off. Draw option is eliminated. It is more complicated from half AH. You win, win half, lose or lose half stake of your bet. Lets examine it by the example below.

Example : Monaco vs Lyon AH – 0:1/4

Home Odds – 2.00 , Away Odds – 1.90

* You bet 100$ on Monaco to win -1/4 AH. To win your coupon, you need Monaco to win the game. If Monaco wins, you win 100$ X 2.00 = 200$. It means you make 200$ – 100$ = 100$ profit. If a draw occurs, you lose half of your stake (50$) and the other half (50$) is back. If Lyon wins the game, you lose your all stake.

* You bet 100$ on Lyon to win +1/4 AH. To win your coupon, you need Lyon to win the game. If Lyon wins the game, you win 100$ X 1.90 = 190$. It means you make 190$ – 100$ = 90$ profit. If a draw occurs, you get half of your stake (50$) back and win the other half (50$) at 1.90. It means, you win 50$ (back) + 95$ (50$ X 1.90) = 145$. Your profit is 145$ – 100$ = 45$.

Asian handicap 0.5

Here the game starts 0-1/2. The underdog team is advanced with a half goal before the kick off. Draw option is eliminated. In addition, there is no money back in any case. You will win or lose your money.

Example : Porto vs Benfica AH – 0:1/2

Home Odds – 1.85 , Away Odds – 2.00

* You bet 100$ on Porto to win -1/2 AH (we use minus (-) if the team is favored by AH). To win your coupon, you need Porto to win. In any other cases, you lose your money. If Porto wins, you win 100$ X 1.85 = 185$. It means you make 185$ – 100$ = 85$ profit. If Benfica wins or the game ends tie, you lose your money.

* You bet 100$ on Benfica to win +1/2 AH (we use plus (+) if the team is advanced by AH). To win your coupon, you need Benfica to win or tie the game at the end of 90 minute-time. If one of these occurs, you win 100$ X 2.00 = 200$. It means you make 200$ – 100$ = 100$ profit. If Porto wins the game, you lose your money.

Porto wins and Porto -1/2 AH is the same things in Asian handicap betting.

Asian handicap 0.75

Here the game starts 0-3/4. The underdog team is advanced with a quarter goal before the kick off. Draw option is eliminated. It is different from 1/4 AH by a slight exception.

Example : Betis vs Real Madrid AH – 3/4:0

Home Odds – 1.90, Away Odds – 1.90

* You bet 100$ on Betis to win +3/4 AH. (Here the home team is underdog; as a result of it, Betis is advanced by the AH). To win your coupon, you need Betis to win or tie the game. If Betis wins or ties the game, you win 100$ X 1.90 = 190$. Your profit is 190$ – 100$ = 90$. Consider that the game ends by Real Madrid win by 1 (0-1, 1-2, 2-3). Thus, you lose your half stake (50$) and the other half (50$) returns. If Real Madrid wins the game by 2 or more goals (0-2, 1-3, 0-3), you lose your all stake.

* You bet 100$ on Real Madrid to win -3/4 AH. To win your coupon, you need Real Madrid to win by 2 or more goals (0-2, 0-3, 1-3). If Real Madrid wins the game by 2 or more goals, you win 100$ X 1.90 = 190$. Your profit is 190$ – 100$ = 90$. If Real Madrid wins by 1 goal (0-1, 1-2, 2-3), you get your half stake (50$) and win the other half (50$ X 1.90). You win 50$ (back) + 95 (50$ X 1.90) = 145$. Your profit is 145$ – 100$ = 45$. If the game ends tied or Betis wins, you lose your all stake.

Asian handicap -1

Here the game starts 0-1. One goal advance is given to underdog team. Draw option is eliminated again.

Example : Juventus vs Bologna AH – 0:1

Home Odds – 1.80, Away Odds – 2.05

* You bet 100$ on Juventus to win -1 AH. To win your coupon, you need Juventus to win by 2 or more goals (2-0, 3-0, 3-1). If Juventus wins by 2 or more goals, you win 100$ X 1.80 = 180$. You profit is 180$ – 100$ = 80$. If Juventus wins by 1 goal (1-0, 2-1, 3-2..), you get your money back. No wager. If the game ties or Bologna wins, you lose all your stake.

* You bet 100$ on Bologna to win +1 AH. To win your coupon, you need Bologna to win, or a draw. If the game ends drawn or Bologna wins, you win 100$ X 2.05 = 205$. Your profit is 205$-100$ = 105$. If Bologna lose by 1 (1-0, 2-1, 3-2), you get your money back. No Wager. However, any Juventus win by 2 or more, make you lose your bet.


The Betting Overround

The Overround

The fair odds for selecting any particular card from a standard deck of 52 are 51/1, with a probability of 0.0192 or 1.92%. As one might expect, the sum of probabilities for all cards will be 52 x 0.0192, which equals 1 or 100%. To gain an edge over the punter, a bookmaker will reduce those odds, for example to 48/1. These odds are then “unfair”, since their associated probability is now higher, at 0.0204 or 2.04%, than the true chance of picking any particular card. The sum of the probabilities for all cards is now 52 x 0.0204, that is 1.061 or 106.1%. Mathematically, of course, the sum of probabilities for all possibilities must be 1.00 or 100%. The difference between this and the bookmaker’s sum of probabilities represents the bookmaker’s profit margin. A book with a total percentage over 100 is said to be overround. In the case just mentioned, the book is overround by 6.1%. This may be expressed by saying that the overround is 106.1%, or 1.061 as a decimal. That is, for every 100 units paid out to punters, the bookmaker can expect to take 106.1, or a profit of 6.1% on turnover. If a bookmaker offered 9/2 for numbers 1 through to 6 from a throw of a standard 6-sided dice, the overround would be 109.1% (1.091).

Since the true probabilities associated with card drawing or dice rolling are mathematically fixed, a punter would be very unwise to bet at the unfair odds offered by a bookmaker. Initially he may be lucky, but over the long term he would find himself at a loss, the magnitude determined by the size of the overround. In view of this, it is remarkable how many gamblers are still happy to place bets on such games at a casino. When an edge is achievable, for example through card counting, the casino’s regulations will usually prevent such a professional from benefiting from his knowledge. In sports betting, however, the fair odds of a particular event occurring cannot be known exactly, and this is perhaps why so many punters, with a belief that they know more than the bookmakers, are prepared to accept the disadvantage that they face through the overround. For his chosen bets, the punter will hope that the bookmaker has made a mistake in the estimation of the fair odds, allowing him to overcome this disadvantage.

With fixed odds for 3 possible outcomes in a football match bet – the home win, draw, and away win – a typical overround is about 111 to 112%, although some Internet bookmakers may go as high as 118% for the less popular European football leagues. Calculating the overround for any book is a simple task of summing the inverse of the home, draw and away odds and multiplying by 100%. Here, the inverse of the decimal odds for one result, of course, is the bookmaker’s (unfair) estimation of the probability of that result occurring. Of course, whether the bookmaker’s idea is accurate about what exactly the true chance of a particular result occurring is, is open to debate. If his customer disagrees, there may be an opportunity for him to make a profit, provided he is more accurate in estimating the true chance of an outcome than the bookmaker.

Other types of bets attract different overrounds, and it is usually the case that the greater the number of possible outcomes to a sporting event or one of its elements, the greater the bookmaker’s overround. The correct score bet in football can have as many as 24 possible options on which to bet. A typical overround for this type of bet may be anything from 130 to 160%, depending on the bookmaker. In contrast to correct score betting, total goals betting in football, where there are usually only 2 possible outcomes (over 2.5 goals or under 2.5 goals), attract overrounds that are commonly less than 110%.

Punters with a keen interest in keeping the bookmaker’s disadvantage to a minimum may very well be attracted to other 2-way betting opportunities. Asian handicap betting, where the draw is eliminated, generally has a low overround, sometimes as little as 106%. In addition to total goals betting and Asian handicap in football, match bets in tennis, snooker, darts, and in fact any two-player sport where there is no possibility of the draw offer excellent betting opportunities. Standard handicap and total points betting in American sports like basketball, ice hockey and American Football have some of the smallest overrounds available, sometimes even as low as 103 or 104%.