Betting markets that speculate on future player transfers are very popular with football bettors and for those that call correctly, there is some good value to be found. The markets are on offer all year round although they are busier at certain times as we will see.
So, how does transfer betting work and what’s the key to landing a nice profit?
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How It Works
The way in which these markets work is quite simple: They take an individual player and list a set of clubs to which he can move and odds are listed accordingly. For example, at the start of December 2017, Ladbrokes were listing a range of prices next to the name of Tottenham striker Harry Kane who was a reported target for Real Madrid at the time.
Real were listed as favourites for his signature at Even Money but there were other options too including PSG at 4/1, Barcelona at 5/1 and Manchester United at 6/1. With this type of bet there is no specific date set so if you took a punt on Real Madrid in December 2017 and Kane moves there 3 years later then you still get paid providing he doesn’t move to another club in the interim. If that happens, your bet loses and the markets are reset.
There is an alternative bet listed by some bookmakers that allows you to punt on a player moving in the next transfer window. Along with those prices for Harry Kane, you could bet on whether he would leave Spurs in the summer of 2018 and this was priced at 9/4.
Remember, those are just examples from one bookmaker, focusing on one player. All of the best football bookmakers get involved with this type of bet and a huge range of footballers and clubs are quoted along the way.
In order to get the best prices it pays to get in early and time your bet well. The best time to do this is the point that a transfer window closes and before speculation starts to build and shorten any odds that are available.
Harry Kane probably isn’t a good example here because it’s very unlikely that he will change clubs in January 2018 but we could look at another example across North London. Arsenal’s Theo Walcott was given few opportunities at the Emirates at the start of the 2017/18 season and as the January window approached, the former Southampton man was widely tipped for a move away.
At the start of December 2017, Walcott to West Ham United was the most likely switch, according to the bookies and this was priced at a best of 5/1 with Betway. Back in September 2017, that figure would have been much longer although to many it still seems like a good deal.
Naturally as speculation intensifies, those numbers will drop further and in some cases, odds on prices will appear so timing is critical, providing of course that you call it correctly.
In the days before the internet, we would frequently see some shock transfers go through; deals that no-one had predicted were completed simply because there was less media coverage and fewer people to observe and hear about those deals through ‘the grapevine’.
In the modern era, this is much rarer. We may see deals go through that no-one has previously commented on such as the summer 2017 sale of Juan Foyth from Estudiantes to Tottenham Hotspur but for those transfers, it’s unlikely that the bookies would have a market and if you’d requested one, they may suspect that you have some ‘inside information’.
There are, however, a number of strategies that you could employ that may just lead to a winner in markets where the odds are relatively long.
The obvious first step is to read the football news. This can be a mix of hard stories and pure speculation however but in time you will find some newspapers or websites that you trust who have got transfer speculation right on a more consistent basis.
Beyond that it’s possible to do some detective work of your own. Ask, for example, why Theo Walcott would go to West Ham from Arsenal. This could simply come down to a case of basic geography: Both teams are located in London so the player would not have to move home and at a relatively advanced stage in a player’s career, this can be an important factor.
Links to previous clubs can also provide an indicator and as we saw in the case of Wayne Rooney, a move back to his old club Everton from Manchester United seems like a very obvious one in hindsight.
Links to managers can also provide an indicator and if a player has got on well with a boss at a previous club, he may be very happy to play for them again. Similarly, as soon as any manager switches clubs there will be speculation surrounding the players that he intends to take with him, and the transfer odds for those players will start to react.
Reading through the guide makes it easy to see why this market is so popular with the football betting community. There is an element of guesswork in the early stages but betting on transfers really relies on punters’ ability to understand the game while doing lots of research into the potential of the deals in question.
Of course, when a player gets to the point where he is having a medical at a club then the prices in question will drop considerably but if you call correctly and stake early enough, the odds in transfer betting markets can be very strong indeed.