The online gambling industry has been on the rise ever since the turn of the decade. While gambling was usually associated with horse racing, the rise of online bookies has put forth football/soccer as a viable alternative for betting on, specialy in England and Europe. A wide range of markets are available from picking the winner to the number of corners in a game. Football betting is by no means a new phenomenon but it’s popularity has risen outside Europe only in the last few years. What we are hoping to achieve with this article is to help the new bettors from the African continent to understand the basics of English Premier League bet tips for African bettors.
Rise of Football Betting in Africa
It is estimated that nearly 40% of the population in Africa are below the poverty line, so why exactly is the sports betting market blooming in the dark continent? One of the reasons is the popularity of the sport itself. The top 5 European football league have a faithful following from the continent with English Premier League (EPL) being the pick of the lot.
The other factors which have contributed to the rise of football betting include unemployment, poor regulation of betting laws and reasonably cheap availability of the internet. Football betting in Africa is now very real, big punters are blooming.
English Premier League Betting
The English Premier League or simply known as EPL is English football’s premier football division. Founded in the year 1992, the division is contested by 20 of the top clubs from England and Wales. Why exactly is the Premier League a favorite among the punters?
It’s the unpredictability. In no other European League would you see a club like Leicester move up from fighting for survival in one season to winning the title in the next. Leicester winning the title season last saw bookies pay out as much as £25 million as winnings, the largest single payout in UK gambling industry .
The competitiveness of the league from top to bottom ensures that you can land some really good bets if you know whats happening in the league. We’ll first go through some Premier League basics such as – how the league works, the importance of finishing in top 4 and the relegation dog-fight. After which we’ll provide you with some crucial stats associated with the league and finally finish of with some sure fire bets which should work for most English Premier league games.
English Premier League Basics
- The EPL is contested between 20 of the top teams from England and Wales.
- Each team plays a total of 38 games each season, facing every other club in the league 2 twice – Home and Away.
- The team with the most number of points at the end of the season wins the English Premier League title.
- If the teams are tied on points then it’s comes down to who has the better goal difference as in the 2011/12 season.
- The top 4 clubs each season will qualify for the Champions League next season. The teams finishing from 5th to 7th are eligible to compete in the Europa League.
- It a team outside the top 7 wins the League or FA Cup, then they will qualify for the Europa League instead of the 6th and 7th placed teams in the league.
- Three teams with the least numbers of points will get relegated to the Championship, the second tier of English football.
- The top three teams from Championship will gain promotion to the Premier League.
English Premier League History
It’s important to know some history about the league before betting on it. Almost all the crucial premier league facts, the best players, clubs and insights into some of the best Premier League seasons are included in this article.
Stats & Facts for EPL Punters
To understand how the Premier League has changed over the past 24 years we are taking into account the statistics from 4 different seasons. The inaugural English Premier League season – 1992/93. The first season of the 21st century – 2000/01. The last two EPL seasons – 2014/15 & 2015/16.
All statistics courtesy of myfootballfacts.com 
The inaugural season of the English Premier League saw a total of 22 teams competing in the top flight. The league would revert to 20 teams only after the 1994/95 season. Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson emerged as the 1st Premier League Champion with a tally of 84 points. Aston Villa finished as runners-up, 10 points behind United. Teddy Sheringham won the Golden Boot with a tally of 22 goals having played for both Nottingham Forest and Tottenham in the same season.
Total No.of Games : 462 (42 Gameweeks x 11 Matches per Week)
|Total No. Of Goals Scored : 1222|
|Goals/Game Average : 2.65|
The first season of the 21st century saw Manchester United winning the EPL title for the 7th time. Only Blackburn in 1994/95 and Arsenal in 1997/98 had been able to win the title apart from United since the start of the Premier League. The Red Devils won the title by accumulating 80 points while Arsenal came in as runners-up with 70 points. Chelsea’s Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink won the Golden Boot with a tally of 23 goals. Manchester City were relegated to the 2nd division for the second time in the English Premier League era.
Total No.of Games : 380 (38 Gameweeks x 10 Matches per Week)
Total No. Of Goals Scored : 992
Goals/Game Average : 2.61
The 2014/15 was the 23rd season in the English Premier League. Chelsea went onto win their 4th EPL title and their 3rd one under Jose Mourinho. The Blues had accumulated a total of 87 points, 8 points more than runners-up Manchester City. Argentine Sergio Aguero won the Golden Boot with a tally of 26 goals.
Total No.of Games : 380 (38 Gameweeks x 10 Matches per Week)
Total No. Of Goals Scored : 975
Goals/Game Average : 2.57
|1||First Half Goals||460||47.18%|
|2||Second Half Goals||515||52.82%|
The 2015/16 English Premier League season saw one of the greatest underdog stories in the game. Leicester City who had been fighting for survival in the previous season came out as the league champions with relative ease. The foxes accumulated a total of 81 points while 2nd placed Arsenal could only manage 71 points. Tottenham’s Harry Kane won the golden boot with a total of 25 goals. The season also witnessed Aston Villa being relegated from the Premier League for the 1st time in their history.
Total No.of Games : 380 (38 Gameweeks x 10 Matches per Week)
Total No. Of Goals Scored : 1026
Goals/Game Average : 2.70
|1||First Half Goals||457||44.54%|
|2||Second Half Goals||569||55.46%|
The 25th anniversary of the English Premier League promises to be the most tightly contested season in it’s history. As many as 6 teams are seen as potential title contenders. Manchester City currently leads the table heading into Gameweek 5. The season have also seen a lot of high scoring games and away wins have surprisingly been high.
Total No.of Games : 40 (Upto Gameweek 4)
Total No. Of Goals Scored : 106
Goals/Game Average : 2.65
|1||First Half Goals||44||41.51%|
|2||Second Half Goals||62||58.49%|
Popular FT Scoreline
As listed above 2-1 and 1-0 are two of the most popular scorelines in the English Premier League. The trend has remained the same over the past 24 years with around 25% of the games producing either of the two results. A good number of matches have produced four or more goals with 2-2 and 3-2 being the most popular scoreline for high scoring games.
1-0 has mostly come during away wins featuring a top half club against a bottom half club. 2-1 happens more often when two equally matched teams are in the fray.
While it’s commonly said that 0-0 is a popular scoreline for Half-time bets. We can safely say it’s nothing more than a myth. However around 60% games that head into half time 0-0 produce less than 3 goals in the game, a useful statistic for over/under betting.
Goals per game average
No.of Games: 9366 (1992/93 to 2016/17 – Gameweek 4)
Goals Scored: 24704
Goals/game average: 2.64
The average goals per game has remained almost the same over the past 24 seasons. Rarely has it gone below 2.5 or has it ever gone beyond 3 goals/game. This is a cumulative statistic but more than 50% of the games do produce more than 3 goals per game. The high scoring games often include teams in the top quarter of table and teams in bottom quarter of the table.
Cards Per Game Average
No.of Games : 4180 ( 2005/06 to 2015/06)
|Sl.No||Particular||Total Number||Card/Game Average|
The Premier League has gotten more physical as the years have gone by. The no.of red cards issued have remained almost the same but the yellow card tally has increased considerably over the past decade. It’s rare to see a game nowadays which doesn’t have atleast 2-3 cards issued.
The Home Advantage
It’s as good as it sounds. The home teams do have an upper hand in the English Premier League as in any other football league across the globe. Part of the reason as to why clubs do so well at home is down to their own supporters who more often than not work as the 12th man. Perhaps the club in the current premier league who utilizes their supporters to full effect is Crystal Palace. The atmosphere created by the supporters is second to none and most clubs hate visiting the Eagles.
Coming back to the numbers, almost 50% of the games each season result in a home win. While the percentage has dipped from the high 40’s to the low 40’s it remains one of the more bankable bets in the market. As to who are the most successful at home? It’s certainly the teams in the top half of the table especially the defensively sound ones.
Golden Boot Winner
On first look this is a pretty hard bet to land. Almost every club in the division has a quality striker in their ranks and you can never count out someone like Jamie Vardy stepping up. On taking a closer look at the previous golden boot winners it is pretty evident from which of these teams the winners have come from. Since the inaugural English premier league season only 5 times has the eventual winner come from a team outside the top 4.In fact from the 2000/01 season onwards the winners have come solely from the top four.
First placed teams have produced the most number of winners in 7. 2nd, 3rd and 4th placed teams have jointly produced the same number of winners (7). The key to picking an eventual winner is to choose someone who has a creative midfield behind him and see if the player himself can stay fit for the whole season. The first quarter of the season should give an indication as to who is the front-runner is and the odds should still be good enough to make a bet.
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Bets to Make
1. Cards Per Game – Over 3.5
As we had already mentioned betting isn’t limited to picking the winner of a respective game. It’s almost always easy to predict the number of cards issued per game. Betting on the exact number is a bit of a “gamble” but the over/under betting is a useful market for this one. Almost every premier league game nowadays produces 2-3 cards and if strong rivals go at it then the number will only increase. Over 3.5 is a safe bet in this regard and should give you a return more often that.
Keep any eye on the trio of Chelsea, Everton and Arsenal. These three clubs have the worst disciplinary record in the English Premier League Era. Derby games are also a strong favorite to produce a high card count and is a good bet to produce one or more red cards.
Total Booking Points
This is similar to over/under betting with the difference being that instead of the number of cards issued per game, the total booking points are considered. This is a bet predominantly provided by Skybet and more details of the bet can be found here . Simply stating the system allocates 10 points to every yellow card and 25 points to every red card and you simply have choose whether the total booking points will over or under a certain pre-determined total which is different for each game.
2. Over/Under Goals – Over 2.5 Goals
The average number of goals per game has slowly but surely increased over the last few years. The statistic by no way means that every single game will produce 3 or more goals but it more often than not does. This is a fairly easy bet to predict and a favorite bet for us. You’ll see in most of our weekly predictions we include this bet because it has given us a return in almost 70% of the games. As you should know a win percentage of slightly more than 50 should give you a decent return in the long run.
Games which produces more than 3 goals more often than not: –
- Derby Games – Especially games between the teams in the top half of the table
- Relegation Struggle – Games between the relegation contenders produce 3 or more goals consistently.
P.S: Keep an eye out for the boring ones (Under 2.5) – West Brom, Chelsea (Against the top teams) and games involving a stubborn lower half team against a top 6 club.
3. Home Advantage
The advantage of playing at home has already been discussed in detail. Betting on top clubs such as Chelsea, United, City, Arsenal or Liverpool to win at home almost always guarantees you a return, however the odds on offer for these teams to pick up the win will be depressingly low. If this is the case who should you pick to get home wins?
- Mid-table clubs who are defensively sound should have more luck at home than away.
- Back the club who plays at home when two equally matched teams from the top half face each other.
4. Handicap Betting
What is Handicap Betting? A detailed description with examples can be found here.
Suppose Chelsea are playing at home against Burnley this week. The odds on offer for a Chelsea win will be really low. Hence it’s not worth gambling on Chelsea and you would have to look at other markets to make money of this match. With Handicap Betting you can still make a profit out of this game by backing Chelsea. How?
In Handicap Betting, Chelsea will be given a handicap i.e; the bookmakers will start the game with Chelsea being a goal down. In order for you to win the bet Chelsea will have to register a win over Burnely by two or more goals. The same bet can be done the other way around with Burnley being given a one or two goal lead at the start of the game and even if Burnley lose by a goal, the bet will be a winner.
Back on bets where the non-favorites are given a two goal advantage against the top 6 clubs.
1. Manchester United
The Red Devils have undoubtedly been the most dominant club in the English Premier League era. United’s hold over the competition has been waning since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson but the club are now under the capable hands of Jose Mourinho who should turn them into contenders once again.
Manchester United has never lost a league game at home after leading at half-time
An astonishing piece of statistic considering the fact that United have played over 450 home games in this period. Not only have united not lost any of these games with a half time advantage but they’ve also gone onto win over 90% of these games. How can you use this statistic to make some money? In-play betting and the markets are open till half-time.
2. Leicester City
Despite every logic telling you it ain’t gonna happen there always will be an underdog who’ll surprise everyone each season. Leicester City’s title win last season was the epitome of an underdog success. Before Leicester it was Swansea City who exceeded expectations with 8th place finish in the 2014/15 season. In the 2013/14 season it was Southampton, in short – in every season there will be a club who will punch above their weight.
The best thing to do is stay away from them. For sure identifying them early on in the season and banking on them will give you some great returns but it’s a bit too risky for our liking. To be fair it will be a long time for us to see another team like Leicester winning the league title.
3. Derby Games
|1||Northwest Derby||Manchester United v Liverpool|
|2||Manchester Derby||Manchester United v Manchester City|
|3||Merseyside Derby||Liverpool v Everton|
|4||North London Derby||Tottenham v Arsenal|
|5||Tyne Wear Derby||Sunderland v Newscastle|
Of all the 380 games that gets played each season, there are only a few games as unpredictable than the clash between local rivals. Heading into a derby game the form books go out the door and the better team on the day usually prevails. The passion and the desire to gain bragging rights over their rivals brings the home advantage to the fore as well.
The Merseyside derby contested between Everton and Liverpool have produced more red cards than any other English Premier League fixture. The North London derby has produced the most number of goals of all the derbies. The card count and the number of goals scored are almost always high in derby games, So to make some money of derbies?
- Over 4.5 Cards per Game – Mostly in Merseyside Derby, Northwest Derby & Tyne Wear Derby.
- Over 2.5 Goals per Game – Everyone single one of the derbies expect the Tyne Wear Derby.
- Home advantage is a key.
P.S: As Newcastle are in the Championship this season there won’t be a Tyne Wear Derby in the league this season.
Like the derby games, there are a handful of other fixtures which produce the same amount of passion, cards and goals. Arsenal v Chelsea, Liverpool v Chelsea and Manchester United v Arsenal are the fixtures that stand out. The betting tips on these matches are the same as that for the derby games but keep in mind Arsenal’s woeful record against the other big guns in recent times.
5. Bogey Teams
It’s a real thing! Every top Premier League club has a club in the bottom half of the table against whom they struggle on a consistent basis. It’s crucial to know these teams otherwise you are in for cruel surprise after backing a heavy favorite heading into a game.
|1||Arsenal||Stoke||Arsenal has failed to beat Stoke in any of their last 6 visits to the Britannia Stadium.|
|2||Chelsea||Sunderland||Sunderland have won three and lost just two of their last 6 meetings against Chelsea. One of Sunderland’s win came at Stamford Bridge in the 2013/14 season.|
|3||Everton||Crystal Palace||Everton have won just one of their last 6 meetings against Palace. The Eagles even managed to register back to back wins at Goodison Park in 2014.|
|4||Liverpool||Crystal Palace||Palace have won three and lost three of their last 7 games against Liverpool. Palace seems to get a result against Liverpool, when the Reds are desperate for the 3 points as in the 2013/14 season.|
|5||Manchester United||West Ham||West Ham was United’s bogey team for the 1st decade of the Premier League Era. The Hammers was once again proved to be the Red Devils’ bogey team in the last few years registering 3 draws and one win in their last five meetings.|
|6||Tottenham||Liverpool||The Reds have won five and drawn three of their last 8 games against Spurs.|
P.S: Liverpool by no means are a bottom half club but their recent record against Spurs is astonishing.
Sometimes a certain team winning the game is a given and as a result the odds on offer will be low. You also think that the team are gonna score 2 or more goals but once again the odds on offer for the bet is poor. Despite being confident on both the outcomes you are hesitant to place a bet simply because the odds are poor for each bet individually. What’s the solution?
Combine the bets! The betting markets especially for the English Premier League games do provide plethora of such bets and odds are greatly improved from the original bets.
- Match Result + Over/Under Goals
- Both to Score (BTS) + Over/Under Goals
Manchester United v Burnley
Manchester Win – 1.18 (Decimal Odds)
Over 2.5 goals – 1.32
Combining the bets:
Manchester United Win + Over 2.5 Goals – 2.25
Improved odds and greater winning off sure fire results.
 telegraph.co.uk, Leicester’s title win and Bookies’ loss
 myfootballfacts.com, Data from 1992/93 to 2016/17
 skybet.com, Understanding Total Booking Points