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Hi, and welcome to The Gooner's BASIC BETTING strategy page.
Now - if you are an experienced football punter who is making a regular profit then this page will NOT tell you anything new - you might want to move onto the ADVANCED Betting Tips, or try my Advice on SPECIAL BETS or ASIAN HANDICAP betting advice sections - but I'd still glance through this page.

I've had a few questions asking me about how to make profits - or at least to limit losses - so here are some basic rules that I use to make sure that my betting doesn't get out of hand. But please be careful out there - and do NOT bet more than you can afford to lose. The bookies usually have an edge on prices - and you have to be a very good player to consistently make a profit.                                                                                                       Good luck!                  

Basic Betting Tips - Part 1 of the Gooner's Betting Toolkit

online sports betting tips and advice

So - you're a football punter eh?

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This is the simplest rule to understand, but the hardest rule to stick by for most punters. Every gambler who has hit a winning streak or a losing streak has fallen into the trap and gambled away money they couldn't afford to lose. DON'T DO IT !!

It is very easy to fall into the trap that because you are winning, then bigger stakes won't hurt (after all - it's the bookies money right?) or if you are losing then you think that you put a little bit more on this 'certainty' you can get  your money back. DON'T DO IT !!

It is the gambler's curse. Win or lose this time, it will lead to disaster in the long-term. Bigger stakes on a winning streak are a sure way of guaranteeing that the bookies get back every penny you won off them - and a lot quicker than even they anticipated. DON'T DO IT !!

The safest way to get as much enjoyment out of the gambling experience is to work out how much money you can afford to lose before you start. Betting big when you are losing is a sure-fire way to lose your rent, food money for the week. DON'T DO IT !!

Remember - before you place a bet - imagine how you'll feel if/when the bet loses.  If the thought of losing it makes you feel sick ... then  DON'T DO IT !!

It is hard enough working out who will win a football match without complicating things still further by betting on an event when you know nothing about the teams or the league. Don't be tempted to place large amounts of money on an obscure match in the Mexican or Peruvian League just because you read one article on it.

If you consider the people involved (Ie. the players, the referees, the managers) that means more than 30 variables (with substitutes). That doesn't even include variables like the state of the pitch, international call-ups, long-term injuries, financial implications, transfers, legal and disciplinary procedures etc..

Exotic games seem exciting - until the bet loses. And when you find out (after the match) that a star forward was rested or great goal-keeper was out injured then you'll feel stupid. The bookies knew - that's why they set that tempting price.

I make 80% of my money on the English Premier League and Italian Serie A because I get to see extended coverage of EVERY game. And my most profitable team is ARSENAL, because as a fan I follow every move very closely.

Do the research on YOUR favourite teams ... learn about your bets !!

A 50/1 shot is a long shot for a reason. If the bookies are prepared to give you 50 for every 1 you wager, then this horse, golfer or football team is probably not going to win during your lifetime.

That's not to say that 50/1 shots never, ever, ever come in. But they don't win often.

Remember that the bookmaker likes to take between 5% and 10% profit from each transaction, and the higher the odds the more "juice" they take so its reasonable to say that only about 1% of 50/1 bets actually win.

There is a very good reason why bookmakers are very successful businesses - and it is not because they are charitable or give money away.
Rule 1:
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So, you want to gamble on football? Actually - if you're reading this then it's likely you already bet on football.

How did you go last season?  Did you pick Barcelona to win the Champions League? Did you know that Liverpool would win the FA Cup at the start of the season ? How about picking Chelsea to win the Premiership?

You probably picked some of those - but, despite all your great predictions, I suspect that you still ended up losing money over the season?

Just how did that happen? Usually it happens because you take bets when you didn't fully understand the situation or what you were betting on. Here are some good rules to help you turn good predicting into good gambling.
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Rule 2:
Just because your friend is convinced that the only way to beat the bookies is backing your selections in a 'Dundee Shuffle' doesn't mean you should follow them.

Unless you know exactly what a Dundee Shuffle is (it's a type of bet, honest), then don't even attempt to invest in one. You'll only end up disappointed. The bookies have created these more complicated multiple bets for a reason -  to take your hard-earned cash off you.

It is worth remembering the old Chinese proverb 'every journey starts with a single step', when you place your first bet. Try a single bet. A small profit is better than any sized loss.

  Learn how to place a bet 
  Learn how the odds work
  Learn how difficult it is to pick one winner
  Learn and enjoy the feeling that collecting the
    "payout" gives you

An easy and cheap way to learn without making expensive mistakes is to read books on betting. Learn, Learn always Learn. Visit the local library or buy a copy from Look at my Betting Library for suggested reading.

Be a smart punter - do your homework!

There are plenty of people who are keen to give you information that will, according to them, make you a fortune.

Whether it be through websites that claim to have the perfect formula to win on the football pools, to premium rate telephone lines claiming to be experts, to websites that charge for information to help you 'take a fortune off the bookies'.

My advice is to never pay for advice.

If people are making money on their advice then they should be able to give it away for FREE.

By all means read the websites (like and ask questions ... but remember you need to decide to follow the advice - or not ... nothing is ever 100% certain ... don't follow any advice blindly ... not EVEN MINE!!

Cruiser, Monty, John Dow, Censor and myself plus the other specialist writers at try hard to give you the best advice but in the end it is your money, and your decision. You are best off developing your own technique, gambling what you can afford.

Trust your own instincts.

Don't forget to have fun when you are gambling. The more serious you take it, the less likely you are to get anything out of the experience. Later on I'll show you how to get serious .. :-)

If you enjoy the experience, the exhilaration of cheering home your selection - no matter which - and boasting that you knew best ... then you are more likely to have fun!

Want more? ...
If you'd like to read more then perhaps you're ready for the Advanced Betting Tips.

Good luck!
Never bet what you can't afford to lose
Don't try and be too clever!
Bet on what you know
Beware "hot insider tips"
Long shots are high payers for a reason
Have fun!
Updated: 3 January 2013
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Getting started as a profitable football bettor - tips and advice from independent punters - part of a series of pages in our Online Betting Toolkit