Non League Football Betting 3
IT'S A KNOCKOUT Cup betting involving non-league teams falls into two categories, non-league teams against League clubs in the FA Cup and all-non-league competitions.
While greater knowledge of clubs at this level can assist you in finding big-priced cup giantkillers, the real money is to be made in the national knockout competitions for the minnows - the FA Trophy and FA Vase.
Bet365 and Skybet have pioneered betting on these competitions and this is an area where hard work can really pay off. Use the lower-league tables available on the internet or in the Non-League Paper to find out the strengths of teams. Using Tony Kempster's excellent site (www.tonykempster.co.uk) enables you to see how the various lower-level leagues compare. For example, Fisher Athletic in the Dr Martens East Division are a Step Four club in the Pyramid (Conference is Step One, Conference North and South are Step Two, and so on), while Ramsgate in the Go Travel Kent League are a Step Six club (ie, they would need to win two promotions to play at the same standard as Fisher).
Many people may presume the difference in standard between two teams they have never heard of is negligible. In reality it can be vast. Changes in the relative strengths of the lower leagues can evolve over time, so assess the performances of one league's clubs against others in earlier rounds for use later on in the competition. An example of this came in the FA Vase fourth round in 2003-04. AFC Wimbledon, spurred on by the hype surrounding the spin-off of the league club, were massively odds-on at home to Colne of the North West Counties League Division Two.
Colne were 9-1 despite their league being at the same level in the pyramid (Step Six) as that from which the Dons came.
The price was huge for two teams of similar standing and Colne duly won 2-1 away on their way to reaching the semi-finals. But don't assume the biggest value bets will all be at fancy prices. These competitions often serve up a host of 10-11 shots who should really be 2-9.