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In the realm of sports betting, where strategy and insight reign supreme, there are phrases that gamblers like to quote when bets don’t go their way. The most popular tends to be accompanied by a picture of ghandi, “never back the early kick off”, closely followed by “never back your own team”. But do these superstitions carry any validity or simply another example of the gamblers fallacy.
The allure of the early kick off has long captured the imagination of punters and sports fans alike. Picture the scene: a crisp morning, the stadium bathed in the gentle light of the late morning sun, and the excitement of a new day’s fixture list. Yet, beneath the surface of this romantic imagery lies a strategic challenge that demands careful consideration.
As a seasoned sports bettor, I invite you to join me on a journey into the world of early kick off, where the game begins well before the first whistle. Below we will run through why people believe the early kick off should never be backed, dissecting the factors that can influence outcomes as well as possible exceptions to the rule.
Early Kick Off Times to Avoid
If you are new to sports and football betting, then you may be wondering what constitutes an early kick-off. Once the season gets under way and more so when it’s in full swing, there is pretty much a game played every day. But as there are only really two days that have early fixtures.
The most prominent early fixture is the Saturday lunchtime kick off, usually around 12:30. You may think the other day would be a Sunday, with games spread throughout the day. But it’s actually on a Thursday, when the Europa League fixtures take place at around 6pm, which have their own contributing factors above the kick off time.
The Challenges of Early Kick Offs
While the allure of an early fixture can be tempting, the reality is that these matches have a set of distinct challenges that can significantly impact outcomes. Let’s take a closer look at these and the effects they can have on a football match.
Limited Preparation Time
Early kick off matches often disrupt the usual routine of teams and players. Unlike mid-afternoon or late evening games, where ample time for tactical and nutritional preparation exists. This abbreviated timeframe can lead to teams being less well-prepared and players having insufficient recovery time from previous matches.
Unpredictability and Form Factor
The early kick off can be a great equalizer, rendering team form and momentum less predictable. The compressed schedule can result in surprise results outcomes, especially for the European fixtures, as teams that are ordinarily dominant may struggle to maintain their usual rhythm.
The nature of these fixtures injects an element of uncertainty that challenges even the most seasoned bettors’ predictions.
Weather and Pitch Conditions
The earlier hours of the day often bring with them varying weather and pitch conditions that can sway the course of a match. The cooler air might affect ball movement, as well as the conditioning of the players in the middle of winter. Teams that thrive in certain weather conditions may find themselves out of their element.
Impact on Player Performance
The psychological aspect of early kick offs cannot be understated. Players may find themselves dealing with altered sleep schedules, potentially affecting their focus, energy levels, and overall mind-set. The atmosphere within the stadium might also have a more subdued ambiance.
There is also a physical aspect to players to consider. Most professional athletes follow strict diet and nutritional plans, which requires a period of carb loading a set amount of time before kick-off. Patrice Evra was always vocal on how tucking in to a bowl of chicken pasta first thing in the morning always took its toll. Which is why he hated an early kick
How Bookmakers Factor in the Early Kick Off
It’s not just punters who have to factor in the never back the early kick-off principle. Bookmakers can also fall foul of taking it in to consideration when setting their odds. Most bookmakers will base their odds on aspects like team form, quality of squad or home field advantage. Often they overlook the same issues that can affect the outcome of an earlier game.
But that’s not their only concern when it comes to the early fixture. They also know the majority customers are hesitant to place bets on this game. So to combat that, some bookmakers like to offer early bird specials.
These can be in the form of enhanced odds or an insurance promotion. For those of you who like to throw caution to wind and back the early kick off, these bookies tend to offer enticing bonuses on those games.
However, there are opportunities to be had with the early kick off if take the right approach. But we will go through those later on.
Use Statistics to Make Informed Choices
If you are seasoned gambler who is going to go against the never back the early kick off rule, then you’re likely going to need to do a stats deep dive. Most gamblers who consider themselves more than just a casual bettor, are big on statistics
In the world of football and sports betting every pass, tackle, and goal is meticulously recorded at sites like opta. Knowing how to utilise this data can give you a big advantage, or the very least put you on a level playing field as the bookies.
Below we’ll give you a brief summary of the type of data you would need to analyse for the early kick off.
Historical Performance Analysis
Analysing past early kick off matches can unveil trends and patterns that might elude the casual gambler. A teams historical records in 12:30 or 6pm fixtures, including win-loss ratios, goal differentials, and consistency of performance, can offer a glimpse into how the game might unfold. Armed with this knowledge, bettors can make more informed judgments on potential outcomes.
Player Form and Impact
A meticulous examination of key player’s recent form can also be a powerful indicator of a team’s chances. Delve into individual player statistics, such as goal-scoring streaks, assists, and defensive contributions, to assess their potential influence on an early kick off match. Understanding how key players thrive or struggle in these fixtures can provide a valuable.
Early kick off matches often mean that teams have to adjust their formations, tactics, and playing style. Do certain teams opt for a more cautious defensive stance, while others capitalize on aggressive attacking play? Scrutinizing these tactical aspects can aid in predicting how the match might unfold.
Drawing comparisons between early kick off matches and those played at other times of the day can provide valuable context. How do teams’ performances differ between lunch time, afternoon and evening fixtures? Do certain players thrive in the early hours, while others struggle to find their rhythm? By examining these parallels, bettors can draw insights into the unique dynamics of early kick off matches.
When to Consider and When to Avoid Early Kick Off Bets
When it comes to early kick off matches, deciding when to seize an opportunity and when to exercise caution is essential. So knowing what to look for in making that decision is essential.
When to Consider
Clear Patterns and Trends: Carry out your research to identify teams that exhibit consistent performances in early kick off matches. If historical data reveals a team’s ability in these scenarios or a player’s tendency to shine, consider placing a well-informed bet.
Favourable Weather Conditions: Take into account the weather forecast and pitch conditions. If a team excels in specific weather conditions, similar to what are expected, it could provide an edge.
Strategic Advantage: Analyse tactical adjustments and formations that teams adopt for early fixtures. If a team’s strategy aligns with the unique demands of early kick off matches, it might indicate a favourable betting opportunity.
Value in Odds: Keep a keen eye on odds and offers that appear misaligned with your assessment of the match. If bookmakers’ odds seem to undervalue or overvalue a team’s chances this could be your opportunity for potentially profitable bets.
When to Avoid
Unpredictable Situations: Exercise caution in instances where factors like player injuries, sudden tactical changes, or off-field issues could introduce unpredictability into the match.
Lack of Reliable Data: If there is insufficient historical data or detailed information available about a team’s performance in early matches, it might be prudent to abstain from placing a bet based solely on speculation.
Drastic Time Zone Shifts: European competitions played in a significantly different time zone might lead to jet lag and disrupted routines for players, potentially affecting their performance. Approach bets on such matches with caution.
Highly Emotional or Pressure-Filled Situations: Avoid early kick off bets in matches with high emotional stakes or intense pressure. One such example is the Merseyside Derby, as the 12:30 derby game often disappoints.
The Middle Ground
In-Play Betting: Consider in-play betting for early kick off matches. This approach allows you to observe the initial moments of the match before making a decision. Live data and evolving odds can provide valuable insights into how teams are adapting to the early kick off scenario.
The ability to spot opportune moments or exercise restraint is somewhat of an art form. Knowing when to avoid early kick off bets, you elevate your betting experience from mere chance to a strategic effort.
Learning from Past Mistakes and Triumphs
It’s not just the teams or players behaviour that you need to analyse, your own actions should also be considered before making your bet.
Extracting Wisdom from Mistakes
Overconfidence can be a killer for bets. Delve into instances where you heavily favoured a team that stumbled in the early kick off. Analyse the factors that led to your decision, such as complacency, supporter’s bias or underestimation of opponents.
Embracing Lessons from Triumphs
Have you had success in the past with early games? Did you do anything different in those instances, such as analysing teams or players efficiently? Uncover the strategies they you employed as this could have been the key to your success
Look at scenarios where in-play betting played a pivotal role in capitalizing on your bets. Where you able to successfully recognized changing odds and seized opportunities as the game unfolded. Or were you too hesitant to act upon what you could see unfolding during the game.
By acknowledging our own strengths and weaknesses, we can learn when strike with strategic confidence or when to exercise caution.
Summary of Avoiding the Early Kick Off
Whilst early kick off betting is usually frown upon or approached with extreme caution, it can sometimes present an opportunity. Knowing how to spot and capitalize on it can be somewhat of a skill. Hopefully we have provided you with all the tools necessary to correctly judge whether to uphold the never back the early kick off principle, or embrace a hidden opportunity.