Non League Football Betting 2
DON'T SHY AWAY FROM AWAY TEAMS One of the biggest opportunities to profit on non-league games stems from the oddsmakers placing too much emphasis on home advantage when setting their prices. Ability and form matter far more in matches at this level than the location of the game.
The advantage to Manchester United of playing in front of a packed Old Trafford is obvious. The benefit a Ryman League team gains from playing in front of 180-odd folk is less easy to see. If you begin to assess matches with a view to backing the away team unless anything you learn persuades you otherwise, you should identify some big-priced winners.
THE HERE AND NOW Current form is critical to non-league bets as with clubs operating such small squads, injuries and suspensions can make a huge difference to the quality of the team you are betting on.
Teams can swing in and out of form throughout the campaign and catching them on the up is a great route to profit. Signing a centre-back who sorts out defensive problems, getting a striker back from injury or simply getting one lucky win which sparks a bit of confidence in the squad can all see form turn around sharply. Confidence is crucial in the lower leagues. Many of the players are those who were jettisoned by league clubs because they had talent but were unable to display it consistently, so when they strike a rich vein of form, get on them.
You'll find that match markets are priced up largely on league positions and spotting a fast riser, or just as usefully, a team in a slump, can produce some great bets. A great resource for this is the footballwebpages site, which provides four-, six- and eight-match form for the Conference and its feeder leagues. If, for example, you spot a team in the lower reaches with three wins out of their last four, take their chances seriously.
WHAT THE BOOKMAKER SAYS Skybet compiler Mike Triffitt admits that informed punters could gain an edge over bookmakers in the lower reaches. "Things change so fast in the non-league and we really have to keep on our toes to avoid being caught out. Punters do best on big singles and we have some shrewd customers who do very well. Often you see a result they have won on and can't work out how they predicted it, then you read the match report and realise you'd missed some important team news. In the cups, we can only do our best to assess the relative strengths of the leagues. We are happy to lay the big teams in the FA Trophy as they increasingly don't seem to take it seriously."