Sports betting guides
Sports betting is massive in the UK and here at Bet FC we not only cover football betting but all major sports. We’ve made sure we’ve got all the key information on sports bets covered in our handy guides. These include the best places to bet on the different sports all the best offers and detailed explanations of the available markets. We belief that an educated punter will profit more than a novice punter – arm yourself with the right info and you’re on the right track.
Sports betting guides
Football betting is what we know best at Bet FC so we’ve got your back if theres anything you need to know when betting on the football. We’ve got everything from the best sites, the best offers and the best tips and stats on selected markets.
Horse racing betting – If you’re not familiar with Horse racing betting then our guide will help show you the way. We’ve got all the important stuff explained like reading form so you can impress your mates with your knowledge. We throw out an occasional tip from time to time too!
Cricket betting – From test match betting to 20:20 theres loads of different betting markets on offer for Cricket betting. There’s also a couple of decent sites that if you’re betting on the cricket you’ll want to use + free bets to get you started.
Golf betting – From the Masters to the Ryder cup Golf betting is exciting and can be profitable with lots of golfers making the top 4 from long odds. Our golf section includes full previews of all the majors.
Tennis betting – In tennis betting you can bet on everything from the tournament winer right through to each point as it happens in play. We really like sets and correct score betting in tennis.
Boxing betting – Betting on the big fights have become more and more popular and in our boxing guide you can learn about the different markets and sites to bet with.
F1 betting – I’m a massive F1 fan and think its a great market to bet on. We’ll have previews and betting tips for every race as well as the constructors championship.
As well as a guide to all the different sports betting markets we’ve got reviews of all the major bookmakers!
Betfair review – Betfair and Paddy Power are a combined betting super power but keep their sites and brands separate. The Betfair sports book is a great place to bet on horse racing and football.” panel_color=”enigma_panel-blue”/]
bet365 review – Bet365 are the worlds most popular betting company and we have covered everything you need to know about their site. You’ll soon see why they’re on of our top recommended sites for all sports betting.
Bet Victor sports review – Bet Victor lead their sports betting offering on one main thing – best odds on football betting. The site is crammed with markets and offer and there’s a lot more too them than just the football betting too.
Coral sports review – Coral’s advertising is every where, but what is there platform actually like? Here’s our review of all the key things you need you know.
William Hill review
Guide to betting on sports
Whether it be horses, greyhounds, tennis or football, betting on sports can be a complex past-time.
However, whatever the sport, there are basic principles of betting that remain the same, regardless of whether you are a casual punter, professional gambler or arbitrage trader.
If you are taking your betting seriously you must keep good records for many reasons:
- It allows you to keep track of the bets you make and cross reference them with your bookmaker accounts. Mistakes do occur, on both sides, and it is important that you know what bets you have made and with who.
- You will be able to look for trends in the types of bet that win for you and which ones lose, so as to avoid repeating losing type bets. For example, if you find that every time you bet accumulators you lose more often than you win, you may decide not to bet those again in the future.
- You will be able to keep track of whether you are making a profit or not. This is the most important factor, as obviously without good record keeping you don’t know how much you are winning or losing.
Firstly set aside an amount of money, that is separate to your day to day finances and that you can afford to lose, as a betting bank. This is your starting point, and you then need to decide how you are going to approach your staking. There are many different types of staking plans, below are a few basic ones.
Fixed Staking – betting a fixed amount on every bet, this should be a small % of your betting bank to enable you to ride out losing streaks. E.g. For an initial bank of £1000, a fixed stake of £20 – £25 would give you a minimum of 40 to 50 bets.
Percentage Staking – betting a variable amount depending on what your bank stand at. For example a 3% staking plan on an initial £1000 bank would see the first bet at £30. If that bet won at 10-1, your betting bank would then stand at £1300, so your next bet would be 3% of £1300 – £39.
For a successful punter, percentage staking can be a very lucrative way of increasing your bank quickly, as the more you win, the more you stake. This can lead to you betting high amounts that you wouldn’t normally bet, but with the prevailing thought that the increased part of the stake is funded from previous winnings.
For an unsuccessful punter, percentage staking can be a way of keeping your betting bank alive by betting smaller and smaller amounts as your bank decreases.
Maximum Exposure – this type of staking plan is tailored more towards the layer but can be used by a backer as well. The amount that is staked varies on each bet, depending on the required liability (for laying) or return (for betting).
For layers this gives the benefit of not having a huge exposure if your selection has high odds.
For those who use this method for betting it gives the benefit of reducing their stake on higher priced horses (which in theory may have less chance of winning).
Value Staking – this involves analysing each bet to determine whether there is value in it. I.E. Is the price you can get unevenly matched with its chance of winning. When you find a bet where the price is in your favour you would increase your stake, when a bet is not in your favour you would decrease it.
This type of betting is more complicated and requires a lot of analysis and research. For more information do a web search for any combination of “John Kelly value staking”
Dutching – dutching is a method of betting multiple selections at different stakes with a view to a obtaining the same return should any one of the selections win. his doesn’t work on all types of selection – the prices have to be right – there are sites that offer free dutching calculators which tell you how much to stake and what your return might be at different prices. An example can be found at www.oddschecker.co.uk under the “power tools” drop down box at the top of the page.
The topic of horse selection and the factors that go into it, is far too large a scope for this website. At this stage though, I would strongly recommend that you acquire a good guide to race horse analysis prior to commencing betting, to ensure that you understand it properly. It is very tempting to pick up a copy of the Racing Post and look for a horse with a good jockey or gets a good write up. However, in the long run this will be a quick way to losing your betting bank.
When making selections there are two different methods you can use
Systems are formed by analysing historic data and seeing which are the common factors that run through the winners and losers of each type of race. By doing so, you can look back over time and see whether betting certain types of horses would have made you a profit or loss, and then use that information to bet / lay horses that fit that criteria in the future.
Systems can be very time consuming to construct as in order to be good, they need to have a fair sized history to check against, which involves a lot of data entry into something like an Excel spreadsheet. Alternatively there are various software packages that are available to purchase that already contain many variable factors, which you can then select to see what impact they have on a system.
Obviously the factors that are used are the key and that is where having a good knowledge of horse racing will help you know which things influence a horses performance the most.
On the internet you will find many sites that offer horse racing ratings, some are free, and some you have to pay for. In our experience, you get what you pay for, the subscription sites are able to charge as they significantly better than the free ones, that said, if you are a casual punter the free ones would probably suffice. Check the historic results of the sites to see if they are any good. If they are good, they will publish all of their historic results.
Many systems have been created using these types of ratings, some of the best examples of these are:
www.racing-edge.co.uk (subscription site – a well respected ratings site that has a very good track record)
www.racingpost.co.uk (free ratings and an excellent source of all racing information)
The Racing-Edge website has a free downloadable database that holds a lot of racing information which you can then run through different racing scenarios. It is an excellent tool and is recommended. By selecting different variables, you can run a report which will then tell you how many points you would be up or down if you had bet those types of selection, it can then be adjusted and re-run to see if you can improve the return.
Once you have a good system, they can be very lucrative and a lot less time consuming to compile your selections each day. The downside is that systems are normally rigid and all of your selections should be bet each day otherwise the previous historic returns that you are hoping to see again could be missed.
For example, you create a system that has a 40% strike rate (that is an average of 4 winners out of every 10) and one Saturday there is 10 selections all fitting your systems criteria. If you only bet 5 of the 10 selections you are running a risk that the 4 winning horses you are hoping to see, are amongst the 5 horses you don’t bet, in which case the system will fail very quickly. Remember winners can also arrive in any order – none for 20 races and then 12 on the trot for example.
Lastly, don’t be put off by having to subscribe to ratings services. The best ones are not usually free, but will easily earn you the subscription costs each month by helping you make better selections.
The other, more traditional, way of choosing your selections is to analyse the previous form of each of the horses in the race. In this way, you are paying a lot of attention to each horse looking for advantages that will help the horse to win. This method is more time consuming on a daily basis than the system method, but does allow for small details to be picked up on, and for “gut feel” bets. Sometimes a system will produce a selection that you just know isn’t going to win for a number of reasons, “systemites” would bet the selection anyway, however form readers would simply ignore the selection.
You can of course combine systems and form – the historic results of the system would no longer be an indication of what you could hope for going forward, but you would have the system selections as a starting point before examining each one closer looking for the best selections.
The beauty of betting in this way is that it reduced the time taken for the initial selection process by using the system selections, but if you don’t like a particular race, you just leave it out as you are not following a rigid system.
Types of bets
There are many different ways to bet on horses. Some are far easier to win than others, and therefore most bets strike a balance between the potential returns and the probability of winning. Below are listed the most common types of bet and how they work, however you first need to understand the two different types of price.
Early Prices and Starting Prices
When betting with a bookmaker you can normally choose to take either an early fixed price or a starting price (SP). An early fixed price is a price offered before the race and to which you are tied to. The starting price, is the price of the horse at the time the race commences. Which price you go for will depend on what you think the betting public think of your horse.
For example – an hour before a particular race there may be an early fixed price of 4-1 for Horse A. Whether you choose to take the early price or not will depend on whether you think the horse will be popular in the market or not:
- If a lot of people think the horse is going to win and place bets on it, the price will come in to maybe 3-1. In this instance it would have been wise to take the 4-1 as a fixed price.
- If however another horse in the race proves more popular and the demand for your horse is low, then the price may well drift to 5/1. In this case it would have been wiser to take the starting price (SP)
Depending on how much money you are betting and how much time you have, you could hedge your bets and put half of your stake on early at a fixed price and then the put the other half on at SP.
There are internet sites that help you find the best early prices. www.oddschecker.com will list the prices being offered (real time) on most sports from around 20 bookmakers, to enable you to compare who is offering the best price – why take 4/1 with your normal bookmaker, when another bookmaker is offering you 9/2? Oddschecker also indicates which horses are coming in in the betting and which are drifting out.
Different Types of Betting
Betting to Win – as the name suggests this is a straight bet, at fixed odds, for your chosen horse to win the race outright.
Betting Each Way – this is effectively two bets.
- A bet for your horse to win
- A bet for your horse to be placed
If your horse wins – you win on both sides of the bet, if it is placed, you will lose the “win” part of the bet, but win on the place part of the bet.
The odds that you get for a place bet are a percentage of the horse price and the percentage and also the number of places that are regarded as a winning place bet will vary depending upon on the type of race and the number of runners – these are as follows:
|2 to 4 runners||Win only|
|5 to 7 runners||2 places||1/4 odds|
|8 + runners||3 places||1/5 odds|
|12 – 15 runners||3 places||1/4 odds|
|16 + runners||4 places||1/4 odds|
Be wary of non runners, it is common for there to be a non runner in a 16 horse handicap race, that means that the place market will then only pay out for 3 places and not 4. This is not the case on Betfair, where the number of places paid out in the place market does not change.
For Example If you bet £10 each way on a horse that was 4/1, in a 12 runner handicap race you could get the following returns
|1st Place||£10 x 4/1 = £40 for the win part of your bet plus your stake returned|
|£10 X 1/1 (1/4 of 4/1) = £10 for the place part of your bet plus your stake returned|
|Total return = £50 profit and £20 stake returned (£50 Profit)|
|2nd place||You would lose your £10 win bet.|
|£10 X 1/1 (1/4 of 4/1) = £10 for the place part of your bet plus your stake returned|
|Total return = £10 profit and £10 stake returned (No profit/loss made)|
|Lost||You would lose your £10 win bet.|
|You would lose your £10 place bet.|
|Total return = £0 (£20 loss is made)|
Place Bets (Betfair) – In Betfair the place market is different, you bet for your horse to finish in a place position (See previous table). It differs to betting each way in that it is a single place bet only, betting for your horse to finish in a place position. There is no “win” part of the bet which would lose if your horse came 2nd. With Betfair if your horses comes first you would receive the same payout as you would if it came 2nd.
In the above example, the specific returns would depend on the odds offered in Betfair, but for illustrative purposes lets say the odds offered were Evens in the place market, and you had placed your £20 stake in Betfair. If the horse came 1st, 2nd or 3rd your return would be £20 profit and £20 stake returned.
You could therefore say that the Betfair place market is therefore a more averaged return – I.e. – the maximum you can win is £20 regardless of whether the wins the race or is placed. An each way bet returns a maximum of £50 profit if the horse wins, but just returns your stake money should it be placed.
Which is the best method depends on your own attitude to risk and whether you think the horse has a good chance of winning the race or just finishing in the place money
Forecasts / Tricasts – This is where you choose the horses that will come first and second (and third) in a race in the correct order. This is obviously a lot harder to do than just pick the winner but the returns are a lot better, as the wins of each bet are rolled up and applied to the next horse. Scroll down for our full guide to this popular market.
Reverse Forecasts /Tricasts – This is the same as a forecast / tricast but the horses do not have to be in the correct order. The bet is effectively permutations of the straight forecast / tricast (that is, betting all combinations of the forecast / tricast). The stake will be higher for a reverse forecast / tricast.
Accumulators – (Doubles, trebles etc) – choosing a horse to win in more than one race. These have potentially large payouts depending on how many races are accumulated, but are statistically a lot harder to win and are therefore heavily promoted by bookmakers.
There are various “all combination” types of accumulator promoted by bookmakers, some examples of which are:
- Trixie – 3 selections are chosen across 3 different races and then all combinations of doubles and trebles are bet – 3 doubles and 1 treble. You need any 2 horses to win to get a return.
- Yankee – the same as a Trixie but with 4 selections – 6 doubles, 4 trebles and 1 4-way accumulator. You need 2 horses to win to get a return.
- Super Yankee / Canadian – the same as a Yankee but with 5 selections – 10 doubles, 10 trebles, 5 four-way accumulators and a five-way accumulator.
There are more of these types of bet – Heinz (6 selections), Super Heinz (7 selections), Lucky 15, etc. Some people like these types of bet as they see it that you only need two of your selections to win in order to get a return, with the potential to get a big payout should you get a higher amount of winners from your selections.
Statistically though, the chances of getting a high amount of winners is low, so in order to decide whether this type of bet is for you, you need to look at the returns you could receive for getting the minimum amount of winners required for a pick up, and then compare it to the amount of money you are staking and the actual chances of winning.
Scoop 6 – The Scoop 6 is a six race accumulator that is run on Saturday, across six chosen races. For a £2 stake, you choose one horse in each of the six races. If you want more horses in the races then your stake will go up accordingly. The prize of winning the Scoop 6 is usually high, and if it isn’t won one week, will roll over to the next week etc. In this way the prize fund can sometimes achieve many hundreds of thousands of pounds.
In addition to the win fund, there is place fund whereby if your selections are placed in each of the six races you would receive a place dividend.
Should you be lucky enough to win the Scoop 6, there is also a Bonus Fund which the previous weeks winner is able to choose a horse in one specified race, in order to win a bonus amount. If the bonus fund is not won, it is also rolled over to the next week.
Laying – Laying is a new concept that came about when Betting Exchanges were launched (See Betting Exchange Section) and has become more and more popular over recent years.
The laying section goes into more detail about laying, however the concept of laying is that you use a betting exchange to act as a bookmaker, offering odds on a fixed amount of your choosing, for a horse to lose. If the horse loses you collect the backers stake money as your profit, if the horse wins, you pay the backer the amount of the stake you multiplied by the odds you offered.
Traders – using a betting exchange, traders trade both sides of a bet as the price changes, so as to create a profit margin. This means that they may lay a horse for £100 at 2/1 (with a liability of £200) on the expectation that the horse will drift in the market. If the horse went out to 3/1 they could then bet £75 back. By doing so, they are now in a no lose position –
- If the horse wins – they pay out £200 (£100 @ 2/1) for the lay bet, but win £225 (£75 @ 3/1) for the win bet. Making a profit of £25.
- If the horse loses – they collect the £100 stake from the lay bet, and lose the £75 win bet. Making a profit of £25.
Obviously the trick of this type of betting is predicting which way a market may move, which comes with knowledge and experience.
Fixed Odds Traders – this is the same as traders, except the trading of the horse is between the bookmaker and a betting exchange to create a profit margin. E.g. taking an early price in the morning of 4/1 with a bookmaker with the expectation that the price will shorten throughout the day, and then laying it back at 3/1 on a betting exchange in the afternoon. A trader may do this if there is not enough liquidity in the exchange market in the morning (see section on Betting Exchanges).
Value betting uses the philosophy that if you obtain value for money on your bets, in the long run you will come out on top. That is, if a horse is trading at 2/1 but the horses chance of winning in the race actually means that its price should be around 6/4, the 2/1 price is good value, as you are receiving a premium on top of what the horse is worth.
Likewise if a horse is trading at evens and its real value is 3/1, then you are not receiving value. Even if that horse subsequently goes on to win, the return that you receive does not justify the risk of your stake when you balance it against the horses true chances of winning the race.
If you search the web you will find extensive material on the subject of value betting. Mathematical equations that will convert odds into a horses’ chance of winning etc. However, a simple method that can be used, is to watch the live market (the 10 minutes before the race) and monitor how the odds move. The live market is what you could call “the last chance” for the market to find the true price of each horse in the yes of the punter (this may not necessarily match its chance of winning – but is where the laws of supply and demand and “making a book” come into play).
If you time your bets well, as the market moves in you will still be able to find bookmakers that are offering the previous higher price, which will mean that you can quite easily be on the favoured 3-1 horse at a price of 7/2 or 4/1 if you get in quick enough.
Many people run a successful betting plan, on this theory alone, however to be really successful it would really need to be used in conjunction with some sound research on each horse in the market.
Rule 4 Deductions
Rule 4 deductions are applied to the prices of the winning / placed horses when there are withdrawn horses in the race. The deduction effectively reduces the odds and therefore the return that you get on your bet, on the basis that you have been advantaged by the fact that the withdrawn horse did not run and therefore gave your horse a better chance of winning.
The amount of the rule 4 deduction will depend upon the odds of the withdrawn horse at the time it was withdrawn – an outsider over 14/1 would not have any deduction factor as it was unlikely to impact the race very much. The red hot 2/1 favourite would take out 30p in every pound won, as that horse had a good chance of winning the race and therefore gave your horse a big advantage when it was withdrawn.
Whether the rule 4 deduction would apply to your bet would depend on when you bet your horse and when the other horse was withdrawn. If you took a fixed price on your horse, before the other one was withdrawn you would be affected by the rule 4. If you took a fixed price after the horse had been withdrawn you would not be affected, as the withdrawn horse would already be factored into the new price you took.
If the withdrawn was taken out very late, and there was a not a chance for the market prices to be reformed (E.g. It wouldnt load into the stalls) then a rule 4 could also be applied to the starting price.
For more details about rule 4 deductions, you should check the betting rules of your bookmakers website.
Betfair “Rule 4” Deductions
In the same vein as the above deductions, Betfair apply the same percentages deductions to their bets. However it should be noted that they are applied to the higher (digital odds price) so in actual price terms the deductions are larger. For example.
You have bet £100 on a horse at 8-1 and a withdrawn horse causes a 25p rule 4. Your horse wins.
At a bookmaker your 8/1 will be reduced to 6/1 (25% of 8) and your return will be £600 plus your stake
At Betfair your 8/1 (9.0 digital odds) will be reduced to 5.75 to 1 ( 25% of 9.0 ) and your return would be £575 plus your stake (less commission)
In reality, it maybe that the odds you managed to match at on Betfair were higher than the 8/1 you would have got at a bookmaker and therefore you may still be advantaged to bet with Betfair, but you should be aware of the difference in the deduction rule.
Forecast and tricast bets offer some of the best returns in horse racing – and for good reason. To win in this market you will have to correctly predict the leading horses in the right order – so a bit of research before your placing your bets is a must. If you’re feeling confident, one of these bets could be right up your street.
Forecast and tricast bets
The forecast bet involves predicting the horses that will finish first and second in any individual race. The horse must come in the order that you predict although, if you want to hedge your bets slightly, you can opt for a reverse forecast which means that the horses can finish in any order.
The dividend you receive when winning a forecast bet is based on the industry forecast return, which is based on an equation taking into consideration a number of factors including the number of horses running in a race. But because of the difficulty in predicting the correct leaders you will often find good odds right across the wide range of UK race meetings.
You can also have a reverse tricast that gives you the option of pick the first 2 horses in any order. To win this bet you just need both horses to finish in the top 2 regardless of which one wins. The odds are slightly lower but this increases your chances of winning. Its great to back this bet and see your 2 battling it out for the win down the final straight knowing that you’ll win the bet regardless.
In some races with smaller fields the forecast is the only option for picking the front 2 as tricasts are only available on bigger fields. On bet365 (our recommended bookie for horse race betting) you need to look below the main card and you’ll see the below box.
For a straight forecast you need to tick the box for 1st and one for 2nd, for a reverse forecast just tike 2 horses in the “any order” section at the end. If you’re new to bet365 get a £200 bonus below.
A tricast bet is similar to a forecast, only this time you have to predict the first three finishers in any given race. Not for the faint-hearted, a tricast bet will give good returns, but to have any chance of winning you need to make sure you’ve done your research and studied the form book.
Tricast bets can only be placed on handicap races containing six runners or more, and as with other types of horse racing betting, the less horses that are running the more chance you have of winning. While tricast bets might seem like a formidable proposition, get it right and it will be more than worth your while – it might even pay enough for you to destress with a nice holiday!
You can, of course, place reverse tricast bets and these are generally the most popular option, even among the braver bettors. This means picking the front 3 horses again regardless of order.
As with the forecast the tricast can be placed in the same way where the field is big enough to allow it. Again the and column is to finish any where in the top 3 places.
If you are lucky enough to win a tricast send us a scene shot on twitter to @teambetfc – we love to share a big winner with our followers!
Our betting guidelines
Below are some general guidelines that may help in day to day betting:
- Set aside a pot of money away from your day to day finances for gambling, and set your stakes accordingly.
- Never bet more than you feel comfortable losing. If you bet outside your comfort zone, there is a good chance you will make a decision based on your own personal comfort, rather than your common sense, or the system you have been following.
- Never chase losses. There will always be another race another day, so don’t bet on a poor race at the end of the day because you happen to be down that day and want to make your money back. There’s always tomorrow.
- A big part of winning is to accept losing. Nobody wins all of the time, your aim is to win more than you lose over the longer term.
- Everyone goes through bad patches. It is long term results that count.
- If you are betting a system, set your stakes low enough that you can ride out the down turns. It is very easy to have a long run of losing bets and stop betting the system, just as the long run of winners arrives.
- Be wary of accumulator bets. They are advertised by the bookmakers as offering high returns for small stakes, but they are pushed so hard, because they are harder to win, and the odds get more favourable for the bookie with every extra selection that you add.
- Don’t bet in every race. Some races consist of very weak runners or a lot of unraced horses or large a number of runners, and these can be just a plain lottery as to who wins. These races are the ones that bookmakers want you to bet. Choose the races you bet in carefully and only bet on the ones you feel confident about.
- Look for value in the price of your horse. A top rated favourite with odds of 2/5, may have a good chance of winning but isn’t worth the risk – plenty of 2/5 shots lose.
- Consider betting to the place and aim for races with 8 to 10 runners in it, which pays out for 3 places. More than 10 runners just makes it harder for your horse to be placed.
- Watch the live market in Betfair. If a horse is drifting in the market, it could be a fair indication that the horse is not in good form. Likewise take notice of horses that come in markedly in the betting. There is information out there that is not readily available to everyone, but will affect the way a horse is traded – watch for it in the live market. If a horse is being heavily bet in, there is a good chance it is running a lot better than its form on paper would lead you to believe.
- Be wary of laying horses that have come in in the market, it can be sometimes be wiser to not lay the horse than to ignore the warning signs and take a bit hit.
- The draw in flat racing is very important. Different courses have varying levels of advantage from the draw over different distances, but some draws can almost rule a horse out of the race completely. You can start to learn these at the Sporting Life website – click here
- Soft going (flat racing) and heavy going (flat and national hunt racing) will make a horses previous form unreliable. Be very wary of betting in these types of going.
- Last minute changes in going due to changes in the weather can again make previous form unreliable.
- Bookmakers don’t make their money by the favourites winning, so never let a big price put you off betting a horse, especially if there has been support for it in the market.
- Personally, I find that Saturdays and evening meetings produce far more unpredictable results than weekday meetings.