I'm quite a fan of so called mug bets when you are getting decent odds.
If you wish to check out every type of bet (mug or sensible) please visit the betting school article on all types of bets used in sports.
Correct score bets are one of the most popular bets in football but many would call them mug bets and although that can be true in some instances, decent money can be made from certain types of correct score bets.
Odds v Chance
As with all good bets, the odds of the bet winning should be better than the chances of the bet winning in order to make it a value bet. In general terms the smaller the score the shorter the odds, the bigger the score the bigger the odds in correct score betting.
Most bookies price up the correct score bets based on the odds of each team winning rather than how many goals they tend to score which is where you can gain an edge over the bookies.
Teams that have an equal chance of winning are likely to have the same odds on each score yet they may have very different scoring habits meaning the correct score odds are ‘incorrect'.
The table below is from the EPL, but most of the bigger European Leagues have these type of percentage results over a season.
These are the most common scorelines.
Concentrate On One Type Of Scoreline
Even though the odds on smaller scorelines can be much smaller, in my opinion, they offer better value.
If you are sure a game is going to be low scoring there are only 4 possible scores, 0-0, 1-0, 0-1, and 1-1.
If you think a game is going to be high scoring the permutations are almost unlimited, even if you think a certain team will win and both teams will score you are still looking at 2-1, 3-1, 4-1, 3-2, 4-2 and so on.
A bet on a favourite 1-0 will usually get you odds of about 6/1 whilst the odds on a 3-2 will be around 25/1.
I'd bet that most punters have more than 4x better success rate picking 1-0s than 3-2s which would make the 1-0s better value.
Bore Draw Refund
Another reason to concentrate on smaller scorelines is the bore draw refund many bookies offer. This results in your stake being refunded if the game ends 0-0 and if you are betting on a 1-0, or even a 1-1, the main threat to your bet being a winning one is likely to be the 0-0 scoreline so to get your stake back if that is the outcome can be a huge help to your profitability.
Bet365 often offer this concession on matches whilst many other bookies will offer it on selected games and even though they make counteract the offer by offering slightly worse odds it is still worth taking those slightly reduced odds in most cases if the 0-0 looks a possible outcome.
Look Far And Wide
If you look at the Premiership fixture list and try and pick several correct scores you are going to find things extremely difficult. For one the games in the Premiership tend to be open games with goals at both ends so low scoring outcomes can be quite rare and hard to pick.
Certain leagues and nations tend to have much tighter matches and these can be the ones to concentrate on.
Although some of these have opened up in recent years some of the lowest scoring leagues can be found in Italy, France, Greece, Poland, Israel, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Turkey and Slovakia amongst other countries.
The lower leagues in these countries can be particularly low scoring so it's worth checking which leagues are covered by your preferred bookmakers and then studying all of those leagues for bets.
Because you will be looking for low scoring games in probably 30-40 leagues in total you can be very selective and only pick the strongest bets.
It's no good finding a team that has won it's last 6 games 1-0 if they are playing a team that has 3 or 4 goals in it's games each week.
Ideally the form figures should look something like this if you are picking the most likely team to win 1-0.
P6 W4 D2 L0 GF4 GA0
P6 W0 D2 L4 GF0 GA4
Form figures for a fixture that perfect rarely occur but they do happen and anything that looks remotely like that in terms of goals for and against is likely to be a great bet for the better team winning 1-0.
If you are in doubt about the outcome then it's probably not worth a bet unless you are sure about having narrowed a game down to two scorelines, in which case you may want to consider covering both outcomes or placing some cross doubles (see below).
Two correct score singles on the same match can be a sound strategy in some cases but since the combined odds you are going to be getting is about 2/1 you need a great strike rate for those sorts of bets.
When looking at the form each week you might come across a few matches that you think are very likely to be either 1-0 or 1-1. One of the best bets for these can be cross doubles:
Match A 1-0/1-1
Match B 1-0/1-1
Cross doubles will be 4 bets and you will win at combined odds of around 30/1 (a conservative estimate based on the odds you will be getting) and don't forget if your games are covered by the 0-0 refund offer you effectively have three outcomes covered in each match for just 4 bets.
I have often found that combing correct scores with another so-called mug bet, such as a lucky 15, it can be quite effective.
When you place a lucky15 you get the bonus of double the odds on one winner (can sometimes be triple the odds if you have a generous bookie).
If you back 4 1-0 correct score bets in a £1 lucky 15, all at 6/1, and you get just one winner, you only lose £2 on your bet.
That's not bad considering how big the returns can be if you pick 2 or 3 correct results. In about 100 or so attempts I've only ever got all correct once an the returns for that were huge (4 fold alone paid about 3500/1) but I've got 3 correct several times, 2 correct plenty of times and my least common result would definitely be no correct.
Whether you are only finding one good correct score bet each week and placing a single or finding four and sticking them in a lucky 15 backing low scores in the correct score market can be a great strategy, especially on the league they know less about.
Live Correct Score Odds
For a full list of correct score odds and the best prices from a range of bookmakers check the OLBG Football Tipping Pages.Correct Score Odds
Unfortunately, the bookies have wised up in recent years and in some leagues offer pretty shocking correct score odds but you can still find decent correct score bets at reasonable odds if you do enough research.
I've made it pay, hopefully, with this advice you can too.