How I Wager on Soccer
Before I get into this, I am not a professional bettor, or punter, as they say across the pond. I’m just a guy who watches a lot of soccer and likes to place the occasional wager on a match to make things more interesting. It is very easy to start betting too much and lose money that you cannot afford to lose. So, if you think that may be something you would have problems with, stop right there. You don’t need to wager on matches.
However, if you do not see this being an issue for your, then jump on in; the water is fine.
I first started wagering on matches years ago when I watched a lot of basketball, specifically the Golden State Warriors. I’d place small bets on them to win games because they won all the time. However, the ROI betting the money line at the start of games was minimal. They were heavily favored to win every game. So I altered my approach. I would wait for them to fall behind in the game and then place a live bet to win, especially if they were losing at halftime.
If you know anything about that Warriors basketball era, they tended to EXPLODE in the third quarter. Whether they were trailing or already had a substantial lead, the third quarter always seemed to be where everything would click, Offense, defense, transition. The third quarter is where they won a lot of their games. They knew if they could take off in the third quarter and leave the opponents with twelve minutes to play catch-up, it was a wrap.
Specifically in the 2019 WCF, in games two, three, and four, the Blazers held the lead over the Warriors at the interval. The Warriors outscored the Blazers by at least eight points in those games in the third quarter. The Warriors swept the series, and although I do not know the exact amount, they made me probably about $200 just in those three games.
Now I know $200 isn’t anything worth writing home about; however, I wasn’t placing massive bets. I was making bets of anywhere from $10 to $50. That’s it. Part of being successful in wagering sports matches is setting yourself limits that you are not willing to go beyond, so you don’t lose more money than you are ready to.
With soccer, my approach is somewhat similar. I enjoy live betting games that I’m watching because you can feel the game’s momentum and get a feel for what might happen.
For example, when Manchester United played Tottenham on March 12, I wanted to place a bet. However, I had no idea what would transpire in the match at kickoff. Ronaldo opened the scoring in the 12′; then Harry Kane equalized in the 35′. Ronaldo gave United the lead again shortly after that. At halftime, I turned to my friend Sean and said, “here’s what will happen; Tottenham will equalize again, and then Ronaldo will win the game and complete his hat-trick.” In the 72′, Tottenham equalized; rather, Harry Maguire equalized for Tottenham. I knew what to do. I opened my browser, went to my sportsbook, and placed a $40 wager on Ronaldo to score the next goal at +675, meaning that if I wager $100, I will win $675 plus my bet.
As fate would have it, Ronaldo scored the game-winner in the 81′ of the match. Sean and I exploded. I couldn’t believe that I had called it, yet I had. I think this gut feeling came down to seeing the hunger Ronaldo was playing with that day and the history of Tottenham.
Ronaldo won me $300 off of a gut feeling. Thanks for the free drinks, Cristiano.
Essentially, my approach comes down to listening to my gut and basing my thoughts and opinions on what’s happening throughout the game. On Saturday this past weekend, I made a similar wager with Arsenal and Bukayo Saka. About thirty minutes into the match, I noticed that Saka was playing very well and seemed the most likely player to score a goal. So, I listened to my gut, placed a $10 wager on the Gunners to win, and $10 on Saka to score a goal. Both happened, and it won me $40.
I don’t win every bet I place, but the thing is, you don’t need to. Place bets that have good value. Here’s an example of a losing bet that I perceived to have good value.
I kept track of the Manchester City Crystal Palace game back on the 14th. City were the favorites, and I felt they would win this game. However, they were -220 on the money line at the beginning of the match. Which means I would have to bet $220 to win $100. That isn’t great value. I waited until about fifteen minutes left in the match when the line moved to better than even money. I placed $10 on them to win at +118. They ended up drawing the game, and the bet lost. However, I would’ve made more on the bet than if I had placed the bet at kickoff if they scored. Another factor in making this bet is that I have been reading “Leading” by Sir Alex Fergusson. At the end of the book, there are a bunch of graphs about his time spent at Manchester United.
Notice that United scored an overwhelming amount of goals during his tenure came at the end of either half. Late in the game, teams get tired, and the cream rises to the top. So, this was on my mind, and I thought, “this is a good bet; City are sure to win.”
However, I was wrong, but I still love the principle behind the wager I made.
Why I Quit Playing Video Games
Ever since I was about five years old, I have been obsessed with video games. Particularly sports games. I can’t quite say why that is, but the fascination has always been there. When I think back throughout my life, that has been the most consistent thing—spending too much time playing instead of living. It wasn’t that big of a deal when I was in high school. I got okay grades, mainly A’s and B’s, with the occasional C. However, after I got out of high school and went to college, it became a huge problem that I did not want to address. It held me back from living life and getting good grades in school.
Most weekends, while my friends were meeting people and making memories, I stayed in the dorm room playing FIFA. Part of that was because I didn’t have the money to go out, but that brings me right back to the issue that was really at hand; spending too much of my damn time playing Xbox. I didn’t want to get a job because that would take gaming time away. I didn’t want to go to class for the same reason. It was a vicious and endless cycle. There have been times I would sell my console, start to focus on myself and my life more, but ultimately come right back to it. This cycle has happened more times than I can count.
So here we are now, almost eight years after I first went off to college. Over the past few months, I thought, “if I can make it as a streamer/content creator, I can play all the video games that I want.”
If you check out my YouTube channel, you’ll see some FIFA videos I made, and funny enough, those videos have more views than any other video I made. But here’s the thing: I didn’t feel fulfilled doing this. It took the joy out of playing games. It made me unhappy.
We as humans aren’t meant to spend hour after hour sedentary staring at a screen (ironically, that’s what I’m doing in writing this). We’re meant to be active, to find fulfillment, and improve ourselves. Am I improving myself by sitting and playing a game marketed to children and teenagers?
So a few months back, I sold both of my Xboxes (yes, I had two of them). This isn’t the first time I’ve done this, but it should be the last time. I’m more focused than I’ve ever been before. I’m actively taking steps towards my goals and my ideal lifestyle. I feel free from the chains of my childhood.
Now, I’m not saying video games are inherently wrong for you. It just so happens that they are bad for me. Every time I have sold my consoles in the past, I start to become a better version of myself. Then I repeat the cycle, buy a new one, and fall into the same bad habits. So, if you’re reading this and think, “I don’t have a problem with games, I’m happy with where my life is and my relationship with gaming,” I’m very happy for you. Some of my best memories from high school are of nights spent playing Call of Duty with my best friends.
This photo was from a night spent at my friend Sean’s house during our sophomore year of high school. We stayed up until, god knows how late, playing the new “Call of Duty” and drinking way too many Mountain Dew’s. But the thing for me, life is about progressing and striving to be more than what you were the day before. Am I living up to that idea if I’m still acting like a teenager in my mid-twenties?
Again, I enjoy playing video games, FIFA especially. However, I’m just not at a place in my life to make it a priority. I want to think that eventually, I can play again, but I have a lot of work to do to get to that place. And I have to have the discipline to put the controller down and not spend too much time playing. I have lofty goals in place for my life, and Xbox will not help me get there.