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Taking some time to look at the recent form of a team can go a long way to making a good soccer pick. If available, look at match reports for recent games. If match statistics shown are good for one team and poorer for the other but the better team lost then the loss was obviously not because of bad play per se but perhaps the hand of luck or a better goalkeeping day for the winning side.
Team news is always important, as here you will find out which players are benched or suspended. The loss of a key player can have a serious effect on the outcome of a match. You will want to know how good the reserve players are in such cases. In addition, you will want to keep an eye-out for long term injuries and players coming back from injuries. Long-term injuries or new injuries since the last match can spell doom for some teams especially those that build around one or two key players. Returning players will not be in the best match playing form.
Motivation of a team goes a long way to producing results. When betting on soccer you will want to check the standing of the team whether on the domestic or international front. Do they need points? Where do they lie in the standings? What are their interests – do they put emphasis on the domestic cup or are they focused on international success. Is the upcoming match important to them?
Player motivation—particularly a big name – is hugely important but perhaps one of the most difficult things to measure when handicapping soccer. However, some indicators can be useful. Media is a great source of gossip. Soccer players, coaches and clubs in general will garner the attention of their local/domestic media. Conflicts within a team, whether between players or a coach and a (or some) player (s) can be indicative of where a player’s motivation lies with respect to performance. Trade rumors, a player unhappy with his current assignment, a major disagreement with coaching tactics or any manner of internal strife can be a sign of trouble for a team.
Team schedules vary. Some months are busier than others are, particularly when domestic cup competition coincides with qualification for international competitions. When the two collide, teams may face more time on the pitch. Checking to see when the team last played. How much they have played can be a good sign whether they are in terms of playing form or how tired they are.
Looking at head-to-head statistics is perhaps the most common tool in handicapping any sport. Checking the history between two soccer clubs is a good benchmark when making soccer picks. Also, compare home and away records between them and if they share an extraordinarily competitive history. Recent humiliating outings and crushing losses can be great motivators for revenge on the pitch particularly when there is the added plot twist of a deep and longstanding rivalry. It can work in reverse by giving a team confidence in replicating a winning performance.
Some teams play better at home while others play better away. The lucky few – or typically known as powerhouses – play rather well under most circumstances. Statistics for home and away matches are suggestive of where the team’s chances will lie. (In some instances in European soccer, teams share a stadium so you will want to keep an eye out for that as well.)