One of the best ways to make attractive picks on major soccer tournaments like the World Cup or European Championship is with tournament long prop bets that are offered before the tournament starts. There are a wide range of options available to the soccer bettor, and if you are willing to do your homework you can usually find some that offer very nice value. If you aren’t careful though, you can lock up a whole lot of your money without a shot at real profit down the line. In order to maximize your chances on these soccer bets, you will need to be strategic. Here are six factors for sports handicappers to consider when looking to make successful soccer tournament prop bets:
Be choosy – Sports bettors quickly see that there are countless options on offer. Some types of props will be available at every major sportsbook, while others will be unique offerings. The most important part of successful prop betting is shopping around to find the props that make the most sense and avoiding all the bets that lack value. There are some bets that are particularly attractive. For example, I favor betting on which player will lead each team in scoring, and others that just don’t make any sense at all. The only way to know where a particular prop fits is to handicap it and look for value.
Consider the tournament path – This is a huge mistake sports handicappers make when betting these props – they look at how talented a soccer team is on paper without considering what they face in the tournament. A team that isn’t particularly outstanding could be very attractive if they are in an easy group and if their early game in the elimination round is likely to be manageable. On the other hand, a pretty good team could be unattractive if they face tough matchups in their preliminary round and tough potential games through the elimination rounds. A lot of the outcome in these major tournaments has been determined before the tournament even starts by how teams are drawn into their groups.
Where is the public bias? – The sports betting public will have definite preferences heading into tournaments. They’ll back the public teams, teams that have been successful recently, teams with major international stars and popular longshot picks. They likely won’t give enough respect to teams that are talented but anonymous. Experienced sports bettors understand where the value is likely to be and know where they have to look harder for attractive value and where it could be relatively easy to find.
Is it worth locking your money up? – When you make a bet on soccer tournament long props, your money is tied up throughout the tournament. This means you can’t use it to bet on other games or prop bets along the way, and that your bankroll is smaller for tournament action as a result. There is nothing wrong with tying up money if there is value to be had, but you need to be sure that there is enough value to make the lack of flexibility worthwhile. In fancy terms you need to make sure that the potential return exceeds the opportunity cost of locking your money up.
How much of your bankroll do you want to tie up? – Once a soccer bettor is comfortable that there is value in making a prop bet they then need to determine how much of their bankroll they want to tie up in these bets. There are a number of factors that go into that calculation; the amount of value in the bets, the number of different prop bets that are attractive, the size of your bankroll, your goals for the tournament and whether you like to have bets on individual games.
Is there a better way to make a similar bet? – Sometimes there are ways that you can make a bet that is essentially the same as a prop bet without having to tie your money up. You may be able to find a more attractive return as well. For example, if there is a team in a group that is clear the best and is very likely to win the group easily then you are unlikely to get a very attractive price to bet them to win the group because they will be heavily favored. Instead, you could take the amount you would bet on the prop bet and bet it on them to win their first game. You could then parlay the winnings onto the next two group games. You would likely get a similar return, and maybe even a better one than the prop bet. You would also be able to hold off on betting on a game if the team isn’t playing particularly well, or if they have injury or penalty issues that will affect their play.