Football Form Guide: How to read form in football and improve your bets

Football Form Guide

Using football form to improve your bet choices is a core practise of any experienced bettor – but the form isn’t the only stat available to punters seeking to place football bets.

Form guides showcase the recent results of teams in a league or tournament and are there to indicate which clubs have hit a purple patch, and which are floundering.

The use of form as a metric for football betting is commonplace among punters. Yet for those new to the sports betting community, it can be hard to know how much importance to put into a team’s past results.

After all, does form outweigh head-to-head records, home advantage or squad value? Well, we’re here to help with our football form guide, which aims to tackle these issues head-on, so you can bet with confidence today!

How to read the form in football

Football form comes in many guises depending on the publication or website you’re reading. Generally, the form is displayed to the right of each team in a league table and runs left to right with indicators for Wins, Draws and Losses. Form tends to span a team’s last five or six fixtures and can read something like this WWDWLD.

In this instance, the team in question has won three of its last six games, drawing twice and losing once. It is also on a two-game winning streak.

Why form is important for betting

Much like in horse racing where punters rely on form as a core indicator for quality, football betting form is a credible factor to judging whether a team will be successful or not. After all, a team hitting a purple patch is more likely to win, right? And likewise, a team facing a fifth loss on the bounce is more likely to lose their next game.

Form is important for giving punters an overall view of a team’s recent successes and failures. And this can be invaluable if you’re betting on an uneven game, and realise the underdog is in great form. For example, wagering on a relegation-threatened team, that is unbeaten in three games, to avoid defeat against the newly-crowned champions who have nothing to play for could be a moment to exploit the uneven odds, and back that underdog.

However, form can also be deceptive. For example, form doesn’t always tell you the quality of a team’s past opponents, and the standard of competition they were competing in. Say you plan to back Iran to beat England, and see that Iran are on a five-game winning streak. That form looks great but doesn’t tell you that Iran’s wins all came against nations ranked outside the top 75 in the world.

In club football punters often slip up when using form to bet, because they forget that clubs play in tournaments such as the FA Cup and Football League Trophy. These competitions can positively and negatively affect the overall recent form of a team, without showing the detailed picture.

How to use the form when betting on football

With this in mind, it’s worth treating form as one of a string of useful variants to deploy when considering a football bet. Form is great for revealing the likely temperament of a team – if they’re on winning form, the players will likely play positively; if they’re in losing form, the players may lack the unity required to secure a result in their next game.

Other factors to consider alongside form are:

The necessity of the result – Does the team need this result to, for example, avoid relegation? Perhaps this will overshadow the recent form

Rivalries – They say form doesn’t matter in a local derby and perhaps they’re right. A game is likely to be closer if there is local pride riding on it.

Head to head form – You can study the recent head to head form at LeoVegas and look back at the historic results between two teams. This will give you something of an indication of what could happen

Upcoming fixtures – Form looks back at results, but looking forward to upcoming fixtures can help your football bets too. After all, if a team in good form has a Champions League semi-final to prepare for, they might decide to rest players for dead-rubber Premier League games

Home advantage – In England, between 43% and 46% of all league results go in favour of the home team. It may sound obvious but many punters back home teams to win solely because they’re hosting a match.

Night games – Home teams are more likely to win midweek night games than weekend fixtures that kick off around noon. The reason for this is the crowd, which is always more hostile in night games. So backing a home team to win in midweek is a factor to think about

Best bets for football form

Fans usually focus on the match result when they look at football form. But the stats go much deeper than that! You can explore the form of individual payers and then wager on them to score during a game. It may be worth looking at the disciplinary charts and calculating which players are most likely to receive a yellow card. And perhaps you’re ready to dig deep into the average number of corners a team has won recently, in order to wager on their corner count.

These sorts of statistics interweave with form – and a good punter is one who recognises when a outlying stat is a characteristic of a team or just a recent trend.

Here are some top bet types to consider when looking at specific form:

First goalscorer – If a player has scored first in more than 30% of their last 10 games, that might be worth a wager again at decent odds

Red card – Discipline is usually an issue for teams in crisis. If you’re betting on a game involving a team in the relegation zone, in bad form and with red cards in their most recent games, perhaps another red is just around the corner.

Total goals – Some teams hit purple patches and just cannot stop scoring. This often happens to teams that dominate Leagues One or Two for a season and secure automatic promotion. Backing them to score +2.5 or +3.5 goals is probably something the goalscoring form stats back up

FA Cup and form – is it a myth?

Pundits and football betting guide writers love to say that “form goes out of the window” in both local derbies and the FA Cup. But is this a myth? Well, there is actually some truth to it in the FA Cup. Recent studies found almost one-in-four FA Cup fourth round games end in an upset against the football odds.

That’s a big discrepancy when you think about the gulf in class between many of the teams matched together in the FA Cup’s early rounds. But it’s enough for punters to take a chance on underdogs.

What’s great about cup competitions, in particular, is that form – which is traditionally built in the league, between teams of a similar standard – morphs for cup ties. For example, a Premier League team would be expected to beat one from League One. But what if that EPL team is rock bottom of the top flight, with no wins all season? And what if the League One team is flying high and unbeaten in six games? Suddenly the weighted odds seem pretty good for the League One outfit.

Remember, at LeoVegas you can check out the league tables and head-to-head form of all upcoming matches in tournaments such as the Premier League, Champions League and Nations League!