The term “safe bet” is a bit of an oxymoron. Merriam-Webster defines “safe” as “free of harm or risk”. The second part, “bet”, means “risk something, usually a sum of money on the outcome of a future event”. The two halves of the phrase contradict each other. So, there are no safe bets in the literal sense. When punters speak of safe bets, they really mean the least dangerous bets.
Granted, if you had something like a BoyleSports free bet or a similar bookie bonus, there wouldn’t be any financial risk. However, you still have to find a favourable betting opportunity at the right price. This is where diligence and an understanding of sports betting come in. In particular, the types of bets that offer the best chances of winning.
Some of the Safer Football Bets
Those who are new to football betting and want to know what the safest bets are can start with the following five wager types. Not only are they among the most common and safest bets, they are also the easiest to understand.
Draw No Bet
Draw no bet is perhaps the easiest way to bet. Whether it’s the safest way is debatable. A draw no bet simply requires you to pick the winning side. You can wager on Team A to win, or Team B to win. If your team prevails, then your bet wins. If they lose, well, tough luck! However, if the game ends in a draw, then it’s considered a push and you get your stake back.
1X2 bets can be a little riskier, but you can still keep the probabilities on your side. These bets are similar to draw no bet wagers. The main difference is that 1X2 bets account for the possibility of a draw occurring. Instead of having two doors to choose from, 1X2 bets present punters with three doors. They can bet on Team A to win, Team B to win, or bet on the draw. The upside to these bets is that the odds are always higher.
Double chance wagers are essentially 1X2 bets with a bit of added safety. With double chance, bettors still have only three options which are wagering on Team A, Team B, or the tie. However, you get to cover two of the three potential outcomes. For example, you could bet on both Team A and Team B to win. In this situation, the only way to lose is if the game ends in a draw. While this does make the wager a lot safer, you have to consider that the potential payout is usually significantly lower.
The concept of wagering game totals, team totals, and other totals propositions is the same. The bookmaker assigns a projected total, and punters wager on whether the final result will go over or under that projected total. Generally speaking, wagers on goal totals are more or less a 50/50 proposition although the odds are often priced at around 10/11.
Half Time/Full Time
One of the biggest drawbacks to wagering on heavy favourites is heavy juice. For instance, you might want to back Atletico Madrid on a draw no bet against Club Brugge, but the odds are a paltry 1/8. Well, why not bet on Atletico to win both halves? Now your odds are around 21/20. Safer? Not necessarily. More balanced risk vs reward? Certainly.
Betting odds, in theory, are directly tied to the probability of winning. From a math standpoint, a team listed at 1/8 is much more likely to win than its opponent who would be priced at around 11/2. Therefore, betting on the team at 1/8 could be considered the safer bet. However, it isn’t necessarily the smart bet or the right bet. You have to balance a variety of factors over and above risk versus reward.
The importance of researching the football matches you want to bet on cannot be understated. It’s through this process that strong betting opportunities come out from the shadows and reveal themselves. Quite often, punters who analyse stats in an attempt to justify a certain wager come across other angles that they didn’t previously think of. This happens a lot, but it can’t happen unless you do your homework. The most successful bettors dedicate a lot of time to carefully analysing information with the aim of staking informed bets.
The Bottom Line
Safe bets aren’t always the right bets just as informed bets aren’t always winners. It doesn’t matter if you’re betting on football, playing poker, or engaging in any other type of betting, you have to take chances. That’s the nature of gambling. Don’t be afraid to bet the longer odds if you can justify it. You may not win as many bets that way, but the ones that you do win will reward you with a greater sense of satisfaction.