Let’s face it, anyone—even non-soccer fans—can predict some games correctly. All they have to do is pick the most popular team and there is always a high chance that their guess will turn out correct. However, being able to predict matches with no clear-cut underdog is an art on its own.
Soccer fans are always eager to know the outcome of a game—especially when their favorite team is playing. However, that enthusiasm has grown in recent years even among those that are not fans of the game.
With the explosion of sports betting companies, the anxiety and desire to be able to predict a soccer match have reached a new high. With the rise in sports betting companies, there has also been an increase in the number of companies offering predictions.
Perhaps, you already know Paul the Octopus. The animal oracle is sought after by many during major tournaments like the World Cup because of its ability to predict the winner of a game with a high probability (85.7% success rate).
Make no mistake, Paul was not the only animal that correctly predicted the outcome of matches. There is also the Mystic Marcus (a pig that predicted Trump’s victory and Brexit) and Suzie (a psychic pig that made some correct predictions at the Euro 2020).
Is there really a way to correctly predict the outcome of a soccer match? Is it possible that all the predictions we have seen in the past are all wild guesses?
We will dig deep into the act of predicting soccer matches correctly and let you know if it is real or a wild goose chase.
How to correctly predict a soccer match?
The large number of correct predictions we have seen over the years means that there is more to being able to correctly predict the outcome of a soccer game than just luck. One thing we do know is that for you to correctly predict a soccer match, you need to have a good knowledge of the game and the teams.
Billions of fans tune in week-in week-out to watch the top leagues in the world (Serie A, Premier League, Bundesliga, Ligue 1, and La Liga). Therefore, the stakes and price for being able to correctly predict a soccer match have blown off the roof.
Some people will be willing to pay you a life fortune if you can consistently give them correct predictions. So, whether you are a fan of the sport or not, correctly predicting soccer matches is a skill that everyone should strive to have.
Yes, we called it a skill because practically anyone can learn it, whether you are a fan or not. All you have to do is to follow the guides below.
1. Build your soccer knowledge
If you are not a soccer fan, the first thing you would want to do is to build your knowledge of the game. This includes knowing all the rules of the game as well as knowing all the teams participating in the tournament you want to predict.
When it comes to the teams, you should have a historical background of their performance. Dig deep into their performance in the last 10 years.
When you do, ask questions like how has the team developed over the years? Have they changed their coach and tactics over the years? Is there an exceptional player on the team that anchors all the other members?
Go a step further by looking at the head-to-head performance of the teams that are about to play. For example, if you want to predict a game between France and Brazil, do your homework and find the results of all their previous encounters.
While looking at previous records, some of the things that you should consider are who won the most times and the number of times the encounters ended in a draw. Also, take into consideration the home and away wins.
Most teams have an intimidating home record. In the EPL, Chelsea holds the record for having the longest home win record.
From March 2004 to October 2008, Chelsea did not lose any home game amounting to a total of 86 unbroken home wins. This statistic is not something you should ignore if you want to make a correct prediction.
If possible, head to YouTube and watch a highlight of their recent games while paying attention to their formation, current form, and game style.
Having all this information at your fingertips will improve the accuracy of your predictions. When watching a highlight of a team, some of the things you should pay attention to include;
- Analyze how frequently each team made goal attempts and from what distance
- Pay attention to how much ball possession each team has in their games
- How early or late each team scores
- Note how often each of the teams comes from behind to draw or win the game
- What is the average quantity of goals that each player scores?
- Study the lineup of both teams
2. Use your head, not your heart
Soccer is a very emotional sport. Every true soccer fan will want their team to win. Therefore, even when the odds are not in the favor of your team, you will allow your emotions to overshadow your judgment.
When you allow your emotions to overshadow your judgment, what happens is that you become biased in your analysis and background research.
To make sure you don’t run into such an awkward situation, we would advise that you predict games only when your favorite teams are not playing. This is particularly important if you are staking money on the bet.
3. The intent of both teams
Sometimes, what it takes to correctly predict if a game will end in a win or a draw is by looking at the intent of both teams. There are times when all a team needs to win the league or to move to the next stage of a tournament is a draw.
If both teams need a draw to move to the next stage of a competition, there is a likelihood that they will be unwilling to exhaust themselves.
For example, in the group stage of a tournament like the World Cup, when a team has won their first two games and is assured of qualification into the next round, the coach will usually rest key players and possibly use the second 11 for the games.
You will notice a similar decision among coaches when the team is participating in multiple competitions within a season and have to play 3 or more games per week. The coach will rest key players for competitions they deem inferior and this may often make the supposed better team lose the match.
When this happens, the next game will likely end in a draw or a loss if their opponent needs a win to progress. The likelihood of a draw is even higher if both teams need a draw to progress to the next round.
A similar scenario played out in 2011 when Manchester United won the league. In that game against Blackburn, Manchester United needed a draw to win the league while Blackburn needed the draw to avoid relegation.
Blackburn first scored and Manchester United had to come from behind to equalize through a controversial penalty in the 73rd minute. Afterward, there was visibly no drive among the teams to score more goals. Some of the key factors you should pay attention to include;
- Do both teams desperately need a win?
- Are both teams playing their best 11?
- How will the outcome of the result affect future fixtures?
- Expected number of goals that each team needs to advance to the next level
4. Follow the club or team’s news
Staying up to date with team news will tell you when there is a conflict in the team. Sometimes, what a team needs to win games is high morale.
A team is as strong as its weakest player. Therefore, check if there is any member of the starting lineup that is having a personal problem or problem with the coach or the entire management.
A good example was displayed when Arsenal’s coach Mikel Arteta was having a misunderstanding with Aubameyang. There was an obvious decline in Aubameyang’s performance following the misunderstanding and the striker only seemed to have found his motivation and scoring form after leaving the club for Barcelona.
- When you follow club news, some of the things you should pay attention to include;
- Did some of the players in the team recently travel for international engagements?
- Is the team facing any injury concerns?
- Is there a misunderstanding between members or between the players and their coach?
- What is the team’s current form?
You can learn a lot about the atmosphere in a team by following the team and players’ social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) rather than relying on public media alone.
Most times, soccer players are not allowed to speak to media outlets. Consequently, some will take their feelings to their social media accounts.
For example, in 2020 Pierre Emerick Aubameyang took to his Instagram page to publish a string of tweets highlighting how his teammates were poorly treated upon arriving at The Gambia for the African Cup of Nations qualifier.
Gabon later lost the match 2-1 to The Gambia and it is hard to dissociate their treatment from the loss. To make matters worse, Aubameyang was later fined $10,000 by CAF for what they termed ‘degrading social media post’.
5. Rely on tipsters
Perhaps, if you don’t have good knowledge of soccer and the time to research the teams, you can rely on tipsters to correctly predict a soccer match.
Tipsters use tools that pull up different statistics about the competing teams. Based on the data they get, they can predict which team has a higher chance of winning between the two.
Bookmakers use these special tools to calculate the odds for each game. However, we strongly advise that you should always do the research by yourself because bookmakers also get it wrong sometimes.
It is always better to predict a game and get it wrong than to rely on someone else who eventually gets it wrong too. In the first case, you will easily take responsibility while in the latter, it may feel as if you were deceived.
One thing you should know is that even the most experienced predictors often get it wrong. Unless the match was fixed, there is always that small chance that your predictions can still be wrong.
Soccer is a dynamic sport where underdogs often pull off a great upset against the so-called big teams. For example, France was clearly the underdog at the 1998 World Cup finals when they faced Brazil, the defending champion.
Inasmuch as all the odds and predictions were in favor of Brazil, France was able to win that contest by 3 – 0 to the surprise of pundits. Four years after winning the World Cup, France lost their group stage game to Senegal by a lone goal.
Soccer is a crazy game—but that uncertainty adds to the passion and growing interest in the game. So, don’t beat yourself up on the days the predictions don’t go your way.
There are times when you can predict that a certain team will win because they are obviously the best among the two. However, the weaker team ends up scoring by a fluke stunning all the pundits. Some teams play well but still fail to win.
If you are predicting soccer games for fun, then that is OK. However, if you are predicting soccer matches for betting purposes, we strongly advise that you never bet more than you can afford to lose because soccer often pulls off surprises that beats all statistics.
Hi there, I’m Jay.
Soccer is everything in my life! My friends and I have created this blog with all our enthusiasm, passion, and understanding after years of playing pro soccer. Hope you will enjoy it!