The traditional football season may now have come to an end, yet there is still plenty to bet upon when it comes to the beautiful game – and none more so than the ever popular Football Manager Betting Markets.
With vacancy signs hanging up at West Brom, Chelsea, Liverpool & Aston Villa and with rumours swirling around the bosses at Norwich, Wigan, Blackburn & Swansea – effectively 40% of this year’s Premier League teams could see a change at the top in the close season.
…And for the shrewd gambler, this means only one thing. Potential winnings to be made.
Likewise for those that are unprepared, these markets can be the ruin of you, so knowing the who, what and how of betting on next managers is key.
So to help you with this, I have put together my own simple 5-point guide to Football Manager Betting Markets.
1) Consider laying ‘hotshot’ favourites at short-prices
The Chelsea manager market has been a dream since they fired AVB in March as 2 1/2 months down the line they still haven’t confirmed his successor. During this time, Di Matteo, Capello, Mourinho and Benitez have all traded below 2/1 at various points.
We also saw in the recent Wolves manager race, everyone from Steve Bruce, Alan Curbishley and Walter Smith trade at odds-on before the gig was given to Terry Connor.
One simple strategy is to lay those managers that come in to very short prices as everyone piles in a ‘sure thing’. The belief being that you are risking very little and often you will be able to trade the lay back once the price goes out again.
Bear in mind as well that a lot can go wrong in next manager negotiation, especially if a new boss is being headhunted from a club reluctant to let them go. Take nothing for granted until you see an official announcement.
2) Play the long game
The very best manager markets are those where a decision on who the next boss is might take some time to become apparent. This allows the opportunity for plenty of different favourites to appear, with rumours and counter-rumours ensuring an ever-changing market, which is ideal for trading.
Of course it’s impossible to know for certain exactly when a manager market will be a drawn out affair, but it helps to read between the lines. The likes of Chelsea have always taken their time and Liverpool have sacked almost all their senior staff, suggesting it might take a while for everything to be put in place.
3) Watch out for rumours and false gambles!
New manager markets are renowned for seeing false gambles whereby a sudden move for an outsider can see a rush of money in no time at all. Sometimes these are based on nothing more than a bookmaker slashing the odds on a manager (for no real reason) to kick-start a false gamble.
They are also used as negotiating tactics for potential managerial targets to get better contracts. How often do you see an up and coming manager refuse to rule out leaving to a club with a vacancy, only to then sign a ‘new improved’ contract a few days later? Too often!
One prime example was Reading’s Brian McDermott who was linked heavily with the Wolves job before the Royals chairman got the hint and gave him a fat new contract!
4) Think like the board
As was pointed out to me yesterday on Twitter, putting yourself in the shoes of the board appointing the manager can help. One particular twitter user backed Roy Hodgson to be the next England manager by imagining himself as the FA big-wigs surrounded by managerial CV’s. His logic was that Roy’s CV would far outweigh that of the overwhelming betting favourite – Harry Redknapp. He was right!
It can also help to listen to what the Chairman of a manager-less team says and gauge the type of appointment they are looking for. John W. Henry of Liverpool is on record of saying they ideally wanted a young man for the Anfield hotseat before Kenny Dalglish and someone not ‘controlling’. That kind of logic suggests the likes of Fabio Capello and Rafa Benitez need not apply.
5) Betfair often has the best prices
This is not always the case on every market but Betfair often has the best value on next manager markets, far ahead of what the bookies are offering. Yesterday for example, William Hill were 5/4 on Andre Villas-Boas for the next Liverpool job, yet he was 5/2 on Betfair.
Working down the favourites list on the Anfield job yesterday, I could get 10 to 20% higher (and more) using Betfair than the best priced bookies, making it the place to play them. Consider Betfair before you fall for a hyped-up bookmakers prices.
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