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3/10/2008 No.51
Kevin Pullein
Fri Oct 3, 2008
One of the fundamental rules of gambling is that you should bet at the best available odds. The time at which those become available on football matches will differ from team to team and market to market. This means that the timing of a bet can have a significant impact on profit or loss over a season.

When betting opened on a 2006 World Cup tie, the following prices were available on Betfair: 1.72 Germany, 3.8 the draw and 6.4 Poland. As the referee blew his whistle to kick off, they were rather different: 1.46 Germany, 4.9 the draw and 8.6 Poland. The example illustrates how in general the prices available for favourites are likely to shorten as kick-off nears while those for outsiders are likely to lengthen.

It follows that if a strong team are being offered at a good price, bettors should get on as quickly as they can. If a weak team are being offered at a good price, wait. They are likely to be available at a better price later on. A large number of bets are placed shortly before kick-off and most of them, naturally enough, are on the most fancied competitors.

In non-result markets - bookings, corners etc - the best policy is nearly always to bet early. These are the markets in which bookmakers are most likely to have radically different opinions and someone will be wrong.

The first bookmaker to release prices in a market will not know if they are very different from those of every other bookmaker. As other bookmakers release their prices, the initial bookmaker gradually becomes aware their odds are out of line and they have made a mistake. As time goes on, out-of-line prices tend to disappear.

Professional gamblers say betting at the best available odds can be the difference for them between profit and loss over a campaign. Every punter can profit from this knowledge by betting at the right time.

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