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Interpreting a Shocking Loss in Football, Part 2

While handicapping football is the art of predicting results accurately enough to wager on them and win, now and again something happens that hardly anyone predicts.  If you’ve recently bet on a favourite only to lose all your money in a shocking defeat against a team that seemed to have no chance, you need to figure out what it means before you bet again. 

In  my previous article on this topic, Interpreting a Shocking Loss in Football, Part 1, I talked about figuring out whether the team lost because of a fluke or because of a key strategic weakness.  I also talked about how injuries, illnesses, and conflicts between players and managers can harm a team’s chances.  Finally, I touched briefly on how you can review press headlines to figure out what the betting public believes about the future.  Here are a few other issues to consider before moving forward.


First off, how does this loss fit into the overall tournament?  Will it hinder their chances of progressing forward in the tournament?  If so, how bad was the loss?  How anxious will the team be at their next game?  Will the next loss result in them dropping out of the tournament?  A particularly anxious team may either gear up its game and play brilliantly, or they may do just the opposite.  They could panic and play even worse, losing against a team they would normally beat.


Which of these will happen can be tough to predict, but you can review the team’s history and take a look at how they reacted to similar shocking losses in the past.  Did they usually pull it together or let it fall apart?  History may very well repeat itself.  If there have been a lot of management and player changes since then, see if you can find out how those key personnel reacted to similar situations in the past on other teams.


Also check which team they will be playing next in the tournament.  If the shocking loss was the result of their previous opponent exploiting a key strategic weakness, and not a mere fluke, is it likely that the next team will be able to exploit the same weakness?  Take a look at their play style and compare it to the play style of the previous opponent.  If the team has a similar profile, that could make it more likely that the next game will likewise be a loss. 


There are so many complex factors which play into a situation like this where a team suffers a sudden shocking loss.  Looking at the press coverage, you will get a feel for where the betting public stands, but as you will probably notice, the media and the public can both react quite thoughtlessly. 


Don’t join in the panic; conduct your analysis carefully, thoroughly, and thoughtfully, and you will glean a much deeper understanding of what happened on the field and whether it is likely to happen again the next time the team plays.  Make your betting decisions based on your own in-depth analysis, and you will give yourself the best shot at winning when betting online on sports.

You may also find interesting reading my installment on handicapping a team after a major loss.


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