Updated: December 2019

How to Predict Football Matches

22 May 2019

Since the first time someone placed a bet on a football match, people have been trying to work out a foolproof way of predicting the outcome of football matches in an attempt to bag their fortune.

Unfortunately, there are no guarantees when it comes to football betting tips. There are far too many variables, shock results, teams resting players ahead of more important matches, influence of weather, and other factors that mean it’s impossible to correctly predict the outcome of every match.

However, we do have a few tips to give you at least some hope of being able to better predict the outcome of football matches on a regular basis.

Predicting Football Match Results

The most popular bet when it comes to football matches is the match result. This is the market where a punter bets on whether the outcome will be a home win, away win, or a draw.

To work out the percentages of each possible result, we must take into consideration recent form and other statistics to work out the most likely outcome.

The easiest way to do this is to look at the last ten or fifteen matches for both teams, only including home form for the home team and away form for the away team. This is because one team may be far superior at home than they are away and including home form for a team who struggles on the road will give you a false probability of them winning an away match.

So, lets take a match where the recent form for the last ten matches is:

• Team A – W 5 D 1 L 4
• Team B – W 2 D 2 L 6

We add the home wins to the away losses, away wins to home losses, and draws together. We then divide this number by the total number of matches, in this case twenty, and then multiply by 100 to get a percentage. This percentage is the probability of a particular outcome.

So:

• 5 + 6 = 11
• 2 + 4 = 6
• 1 + 2 = 3

This then becomes:

• (11 / 20) x 100 = 55%
• (6 / 20) x 100 = 30%
• (3 / 20) x 100 = 15%

As you can see, going on recent form gives us a 55% chance the home team will win. The least likely outcome is the draw at 15%, and there’s a 30% chance the away team will pick up the win.

If you are still unsure after calculating the percentage of probability, you can either choose to not bet on the match or you can use the teams last five matches to see if it gives you a clearer difference between potential outcomes.
The percentages above may be enough for some people to confidently predict a home win, whilst others may choose to only bet on teams with a probability of over say 60%. Remember, this is just a guide and the variables in football could easily end with the match result being different.

Predicting Football Scores

Other than the match result market, many people hope to win big by correctly predicting the final score of a football match. This is even more difficult than correctly predicting an outcome of a match, but people have several methods they use.

One of those methods being to work out a teams average goals scored and trying to convert that into a scoreline.

To do this, we must study statistics for each teams recent matches in the same way we did for the match result probability.

So, lets say Team A (home) has scored 25 goals in their last ten home matches and conceded just 8. Team B (away) has scored 11 and conceded 12.

To work out an average, we must add the home teams goals scored to the away teams goals conceded, and vice versa. We then divide this number by 20 to get an average.

• 25 + 12 = 37 which is then 37 / 20 = 1.85
• 11 + 8 = 19 which is then 19 / 20 = 0.95

This doesn’t really help that much because a football match cannot finish 1.85 – 0.95. But, you can use this information to make an educated guess. By rounding up or down to the nearest number, we would predict a 2-1 win for the home team.

Using this method can also be good for markets such as over/under a certain number of goals. By adding the average number of goals for each team, it will give you a number that may allow you to win on the over/under market.

In this case, the total is 2.8. So it gives us an indication that there will be over 2.5 goals in the match. You could even hedge your bets a little and have a bet on the over 1.5 goals market, which seems a banker given the average goals for each team.

Football Prediction Formula

A more complex, but probably better way of predicting the score of a match is to use a method known as the Poisson Distribution.

For this, you have to look at past match statistics and calculate goals scored and conceded for each team in order to get an average. You can then go into most spreadsheet applications, including Microsoft Excel or similar, and use the following equation:

=POISSON(x, mean, cumulative)

Using our example above, with the home team having an average of 1.85 and the away team having an average of 0.95, we can work out a percentage for each team scoring a certain number of goals.

To work out the percentage of the away team scoring one goal, we use the formula:
=POISSON(1, 0.95, FALSE)

We use FALSE in the cumulative section in order for the probability of an event has a value equal to X.

The result is 0.3674, giving us a 36.74% chance of the away team scoring one goal.

You can then use this formula to get a percentage for the away team to score from 0 goals (38.67%), up to say 4 (1.31%).

Again, this is not a foolproof way of predicting football scores but it does give you the chance to use your head and decide if a bet is worth taking on. If a team is given a particularly high percentage for a certain number of goals, it may be worth betting on that team scoring that number.

This can also help with over/under betting markets and the match result market.

How to Predict Football Matches

Remember, the above methods can help punters get a statistical look at the potential outcome and scoreline of a football match in order to help them make a more informed prediction. It isn’t foolproof and there are no certain methods for predicting football matches.

As well as using the above methods to make a prediction, you also need to take into account variables such as:

• Team selection – A team may be missing star players through injury, suspension, or they are being rested for a more important match in a few days time. Pay attention to team selection because teams will perform differently without key players.
• Importance of match – As mentioned, a team may rest key players for certain matches if there is a more important match coming up. Not only that, but the teams approach to the match may be different if they have their eyes on another prize.
• Weather – It sounds strange but weather can play a big part in football. A team who like to play one-touch football on the ground, may come unstuck on a wet, windy Tuesday night with the pitch being soggy and uneven. Adverse weather conditions may give the underdog an advantage, especially if they like to play route one football and punt the ball upfield to their tall striker.

All of these things, as well as other factors such as off-field problems, can play a part in negating the probability percentages you have worked out through using our methods. In cases such as these, it is recommended to steer clear of betting on that particular match and save your money for matches you are more certain of being able to correctly predict.

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