If you’ve mastered the basics of football betting, you may feel ready to take it to the next level.

While there is no such thing as a sure-fire system, there are a few golden rules you should follow if you want to become a truly successful punter.

In football betting (and other betting for that matter), good value occurs when bookmakers’ odds offers a reward which outweighs any risk. To figure this out, you need to:

Estimate a side’s chance of winning

Find the best decimal price for your bet

Multiply the chance (%) of a win against the bookie’s odds

Any result of 1.00 or more means the bet has value (and may be worth a punt!)

Example:

So if you think that Swansea City have a 50% chance of winning at home, then you will only make the bet if you can find a price better than 2.00. This is because 50% = 0.50 * 2.00 = 1.00 (fair value).

If you continue to make bets with a value of less than 1.00, you will actually lose money over the course of the season.

It is widely accepted that football teams tend to perform better at home than if they were away. If you look at pretty much every football league season, you’ll see that teams score more goals at home than they do away over the course of a season.

Example:

Let’s assume that in a Premier League season, the total number of wins by home sides is 179 over the course of a season. Let’s also assume there were 86 draws and 115 defeats. It’s clear from these figures alone that the home advantage is very real.

But how much is this advantage? You can work it out by taking the number of home wins and home defeats and divide them by two (179 + 115/2).

First, add up the home wins and home losses, and divide by two. So in this case: (179 + 115) / 2 = 147. This number is the expected number of wins if there was no home advantage for any team.

Now, divide the total number of home wins by the expected number of wins without home advantage (179 / 147 = 1.21). This result tells us that in the league, home teams had a 21% advantage over away teams.

Recent form

Another great way of assessing the wisdom of certain bets is to look closely at recent form (rather than that over the whole season).

The thinking here is that a team on a winning run with a totally fit squad will be full of confidence. This in turn may give them the edge over a historically better team suffering from a short run of bad results.

Injuries

Injuries can have a hugely negative impact on a side, even if the absent player is part of a strong squad.

Central defenders and goalkeepers often tend to be the difference between winning and losing. If one of those players is missing, then that’s a sign that they could be due a dip in form. This is especially true if the missing player is also the captain.

As we said before, football betting isn’t an exact science. Yet keeping a close eye on these different aspects of the game can give you a better chance of guessing the match outcome correctly.