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Interpreting a Shocking Loss in Football Part 1

Handicapping is all about making accurate, reliable sports predictions.  But part of the thrill of sports like football is that we cannot always predict what is going to happen.  Sometimes, in fact, the exact opposite of what we expect is what unfolds on the field.  A clear favourite is matched against a total underdog that nobody thinks has a snowball’s chance in hell at winning … and the underdog emerges victorious.  It’s what we call a shocking upset, and if you had your money on the favourite, it can shock you too.


What happens now?  Well, before you panic and change all your plans for the remainder of the tournament, you need to ask yourself a few key questions.  Analyse what has happened and see if you can reach an understanding of why things happened the way they did.


The pivotal question is, “Why did the favourite lose?”  Was there a fluke which decided the outcome of the game, either at the end of somewhere in the middle?  Or was the reason tied to strategy?  Is it an outcome that could be repeated if these two teams faced off again?  Are other teams in the future likely to be able to exploit the same weakness based on their own strategic strengths?


You should also take a look at the team’s overall well-being.  Are there a lot of players injured or sick?  If so, was that tied to the performance problems that cost them the match?  What about the psychological health of the team?  Are players and managers getting along, or is the team divided over strategy or locker room issues?  Problems like these will continue to affect the team’s play going forward, and may even get worse.  Injured and ill players may be prone to further injury and exhaustion.  Conflicts between players can intensify as the tournament progresses. 


Also take a look at what the press is saying in their coverage of the event.  Do not take everything that the media says at face value; your analysis may be much stronger than theirs if you are doing the research and you have a more thorough interpretation of events.  But know that what the press is saying is going to influence others, including the betting public.  This can move the betting lines in the future.


This value change may have an impact on how you bet over the remaining games of the tournament, even if you find that you still want to place your money on the same team.  Though in many cases, this could easily play to your advantage. 


These are just a few of the issues to consider when you are analysing a shocking upset in football.  There are a few other important considerations which you should take into account before you wager on the rest of the tournament.  Be sure to check out Interpreting a Shocking Loss in Football Part 2 to learn more about the possible impact of a shocking loss on the remainder of the football tournament as well as some tips on handicapping a team after a major loss.


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