The World Cup and the European Championships offer some great opportunities for betting success. The trouble is that any betting system you choose is based on the limited knowledge you have of the teams at the start of the tournament. Although every team will have been playing international friendlies and qualification games these are usually tests of different formations and approaches rather than accurate replicas of a team’s true approach. However, if you’re willing to invest the time and effort needed to understand each team’s chances of success then you should find that the group stages offer some great bang for your buck.
To set the scene, each tournament is divided into groups and each group contains four teams with the top two in each group proceeding to the next round.
Our first strategy is simply to pick two teams from each group that you feel should win and then placing sixteen accumulators to cover every possible combinations of success. This is very similar to our football fourfold strategy which you can read here. This diagram should show the layout we suggest:
The problem with this approach is that if you choose a team with odds that are less than even, then you run the risk of returning less than you staked. For example, if you picked four teams that all won at evens, you would win £16 for your £1 accumulator but that would be exactly the same as the total amount you bet making it a particularly pointless exercise. Whilst we can accept a single selection in a group that is less than evens the other group’s selections must be significantly over 2. We suggest working out what the lowest returning accumulator will be before you place your bet. Alternatively you could just include 1 team from the group with the low priced favourite giving you only eight accumulators but it's the insurance you get from choosing two teams that we particularly like from this approach.
Advanced Tournament betting strategy
In this approach you need to pick two teams from each group again but this time you need your favourite and the team you believe has no chance. In the world cup this is simple as you can pick from a wide range of groups, but in the European Championships, where there are only four groups it is far harder.
Once you have made up your mind, you need to place reverse forecasts on your favourite team and the two other members of their group with the exception but not the team you believe is going home. You then need to combine them in the accumulators we previously detailed. This diagram should explain:
Let’s take Group D of Euro 2012 to serve as an example; the group includes England, France, Sweden and Ukraine. You believe that England are most likely to progress and that the Ukraine are most likely to leave at this stage. You would select the reverse forecasts of England/France at odds of 2.37 and England/Sweden at odds of 7. By choosing these two bets you are effectively covering the results of England/France, France/England, England/Sweden and Sweden/England. In effect, you’ll be winning as long as England finish in the top two and as long as the Ukraine finish outside the top two.
This approach offers both better odds and better insurance however it only works if your bookmaker allows you to place reverse forecasts into accumulators. It also only works if they offer reverse forecasts on group results - if you tried to place the bets with straight forecasts then the number of single accumulators goes up to 256 which is neither cost effective nor fun to place.
Whilst this second system offers no guarantee of success, and whilst it also has the risk that should the two favourites in each group progress you'll only treble or quadruple your stake, it also offers some serious upside. During Euro 2012 we used this system, placing 16 £2 accumulators with the highest successful one offering returns of £1433.26.