Football League Betting 2

The basement division is tough to weigh up. A high turnover of players can often transform a team from also-rans to championship contenders, and League Two is arguably the toughest to predict.

One of the golden rules, no matter what division, must be to bet each-way, particularly if you are doing a yankee or other seasonal multiple. The place money is usually good enough for a fair return and it also protects against the agony of backing a team who have already gained promotion easing off in the final weeks rather than pushing for the added bonus of the trophy.

The play-offs are usually referred to as a lottery but one eye-catching fact comes out of the League Two end-of-season shenanigans. Since the play-offs began, in 1988-89, through to 2003-04, the team that finished in the highest regular-season position were promoted 11 times out of 16.

MATCH BETTING The best way of sussing out value on a football coupon is to price up the matches yourself, a principle that applies from the Champions League right down to the Football League.

When you have so many fixtures to assess it is impossible to be able to work your way through the congestion without doing your own prices. At first it could take a couple of hours but eventually it will become second nature and it is a method used by most professionals to make money.

Don't go flying into bets whenever your prices differ from the bookies. Give it a test run for as long as it takes you to feel comfortable with your strategy and even then keep asking yourself why your prices are different.

Only then, when all possible avenues have been explored, should a bet be considered. If you make a mistake, learn from it. Analysing where you went wrong is just as important (if not more so) as patting yourself on the back for putting one over the bookies.

As far as backing favourites goes, a senior odds-compiler once told me after a round of weekend fixtures: "Yet again we did it in big time on the Premiership where all the good things won but we got it back and some more on the Football League games.

"Time and time again these short-priced favourites get turned over and still the punters, particularly those in our betting shops, stick them in accas. Thank God for those results."

It all comes down to the fact that Football League divisions are more competitive than the Premiership and backing these odds-on favourites on a regular basis is a quick way to the poor house.

An example of this comes in the form of Wimbledon, who are now known as Milton Keynes Dons. They finished bottom of Division One in the 2003-04 season with just 29 points (eight wins), yet if you backed them each week to a £1 stake you would have been in profit to the tune often pence.

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