Updated: October 2019

How to Bet on Cup Competitions

2 April 2019

One of the most difficult things to bet on within football is cup competitions, as there are always upsets and shock results but one of the big teams will usually still have a great run and lift the trophy or reach the final.

How to Bet on Cup Competitions

Betting on cup competitions is slightly different to betting on league football matches, as several other factors come into consideration.

Team Selection

A lot of managers will prioritise the league over cup competitions and are likely to rest key players for cup matches, especially in the early rounds of a competition and if drawn against a team from a lower tier of the league format.

This can make it difficult to compare the two teams involved as the higher ranked team may be fielding players who haven’t been involved in first team football for a while or even youngsters getting their first taste of being in the senior team.

Nerves, rustiness and a lack of match fitness can then result in a disjointed performance and the lower league team may end up causing a massive shock. So, betting on that lower league team may well end up giving you a decent profit.

Just be mindful of the fact that managers will make changes for cup matches and ideally hold off putting a bet on until the team sheet has been announced. That way, you avoid coming unstuck because you backed a so called bigger team who are fielding their youth team.

Cup Format

The format of a cup competition can play a big part in the mentality of a team preparing for a cup match. In domestic competitions, especially in the UK, most cup matches are a straight knockout with a winner having to be found on the day. Extra time and penalties are used to separate teams who are level at the end of 90 minutes and replays are played in the early rounds of the FA Cup.

The League Cup semi final, as an example, is played over two legs with a winner being determined by an aggregate score. This may mean the away team in the first leg being happy with a draw and playing defensively, maybe trying to nick an away goal on the counter attack.

European cup competitions are usually played on a round robin format, with a two-legged knockout stage after that until a one-off final in which a winner must be found. Teams may give it everything, field their strongest available starting line-up and look to dominate in the first few round robin matches, but may take their foot off the gas once qualification to the knockout stage has been gained.

All of these factors need to be considered before placing a bet.

Team Mentality

The mentality of a team is another factor. Teams involved in a relegation scrap and on a long losing run in the league may field a full strength team for cup competitions as a way of trying to pick up a morale boosting victory and getting a bit of confidence into a team suffering from poor league form. Other teams, especially those at the top of the table or on a winning streak, may see the cup competition as somewhat of a distraction and therefore not give it their all.

Teams who have had good cup runs in previous seasons and possibly reached the latter stages may look to go even further next time and focus mainly on the cup competition as a way of bringing success. This is especially true of those teams who finish mid-table in the league every season and want to give their fans something to celebrate.

Team selection, cup format, and the mentality of a team all play a part in determining how a team will perform in cup competitions and should all be taken into consideration before placing a bet.

Special Betting Offers

Once you’ve taken all the above factors into consideration and decided which teams to bet on in cup competitions, you need to try and get the best out of your bet. Some bookmakers, especially online, will offer special cup deals.

This may be in the form of price boosts, boosted accumulators, or free bet / money back offers if betting on a selected team or match. Our advice is to shop around to find the best odds available and take advantage of any special offers provided by bookmakers for cup competitions.

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