Summer Loving: It’s Amateur Hour! Part 2: Bookie Blunders: Spot Value Early & Reap the Rewards

There are a few keys to betting success:

  • Forget About Accumulator Bets.
  • Focus on Singles.
  • Look for Potential Mismatches.
  • Find Bookie Mistakes.
  • Look at obscure leagues where all the data used to price up games in ‘major’ football leagues goes out of the window. 

One thing I have learned over the last few years is that you need a bit of luck to go along with studious research. If you have correctly identified a bookmaker blunder but the side you bet on scores two goals from 45 shots and misses two penalties, there isn’t much you can do.

For the last few years, I have chosen to stay away from high-end football leagues and now focus on amateur games. The danger is obvious; amateur teams have low-quality strikers, so there WILL be matches where bets disappear because of woeful finishing. However, in the long term, profit becomes exceedingly likely when you stay off the beaten path.

Since May 2015, when I first implemented this new strategy, I began winning with regularity. The problem of course was that bookmakers soon got wise to my betting patterns, and success, and began restricting me. There are a few ways to prolong your account such as not withdrawing winnings (always a risky proposition) and adding in the occasional foolish punt but ultimately, betting on summer leagues will lead to a restriction at some point. 

Therefore, it is important to try and profit as quickly as possible! 

For years, I laboured under the false impression that bookmakers were almost infallible and you needed to get lucky to beat them. Today, I know that’s complete rubbish as I have been battering them almost constantly for close to four years. Their only recourse was to restrict my bets to pennies or ban me outright.

My crime? Consistently beating them by avoiding big leagues and accumulator bets. Once I focused on single games and single bets in obscure leagues and countries, a funny thing happened.

I won… A Lot!

The reason why amateur leagues, in particular, are so lucrative for punters is that bookies lose their element of control. Almost anything can happen, but it IS NOT a matter of luck. Bookmakers don’t always research these leagues correctly yet still offer betting opportunities at sometimes crazy odds. 

I believe that one of the reasons is the hiring of low-quality traders. When it comes to the more egregious errors, I like to joke that it is the fault of the ‘work experience kid.’

Without further ado, here is how to identify some matches with profit potential.

Beating the Odds – Finding Consistently Good Bets

Although I am now restricted on Bet365, I like to use it to find games because it has an easy to use interface and offers hundreds of matches most days. I also change the odds to decimal which makes it easier to calculate the odds. The main goal is to focus on possible mismatches which is done by checking the match odds. I like to look at games where the favourite is at odds of 1.25 or less as a starting point (although there are great matches for goal bets where the teams are evenly matched).

When you become more accustomed to this form of betting, you will get to know the best leagues, and I will show you some excellent resources in Part 3. Various sites show you the list of fixtures for the day, but I tend to use Soccerway as a starting point. 

To be clear, it is a LOT of work. I sometimes take up to an hour on extremely busy days when there are hundreds of games to choose from. However, in most cases, it takes me 20-30 minutes every morning. Most punters looking for a wild accumulator will probably take a similar amount of time. 

By focusing on mismatches, you eliminate over 90% of the immense number of games and reduce your time expenditure. The idea is NOT to lump several games together in a short-priced parley bet. Instead, your goal is to find out if certain teams are capable of beating the handicap or scoring the requisite number of goals. 

Bookmakers habitually underestimate high-quality amateur/lesser known league teams. More importantly, they tend to overestimate garbage sides. Unlike professional players who spend their entire lives dedicated to their sport, amateur sides collapse all the time and are often at the end of some very embarrassing scorelines as a combination of lack of fitness, and lack of quality bite hard. 

Of course, bookmakers know all this which is why the odds for huge scorelines are almost always extremely long. While it is true that the odds on amateur leagues achieving the feat are far shorter, there’s a decent chance of it happening. In any case, we don’t always need big scorelines to achieve profitability as the following examples from last season’s summer leagues show. 

A Trip to Estonia


The Estonian lower leagues sometimes offer splendid opportunities. The Esiliiga B is the third division and usually features the ‘B’ and even ‘C’ teams of premier league sides such as Flora Tallinn’s ‘C’ team above (B teams are apparently U21s, and C sides are U19s). However, the more interesting game was the Tallinna JK Legion vs. K-Jarve JK-Jarve match where the home side was 1.22 to win, or 2/9.


Legion looked like a shoo-in as they had won all 18 matches that season. Even the odds of 1.22 to win are reasonable, but I tend to edge towards bets at Evens or higher.


A quick analysis shows that the away side had already lost 4-0 to Legion away that season. At 1.22, it was likely that you could get Legion at a handicap of -2 at above Evens. At this point, it is always a good idea to compare the form of teams against sides of a similar standard to who they play today. 

No one in the league came close to Legion in terms of quality. As for K-Jarve, they are of a similar level to Voru, Nomme United and Parnu. 


Overall, Legion had won 50% of their home games by 3+ goals and scored 4+ 40% of the time. If we focus solely on results against Parnu, Nomme United, Voru and K-Jarve, we can see that Legion had won by 3+ in 3 of the 5 matches or 60% of the time. It is best to be cautious when betting, especially when drawing on a fairly small data sample. As such, we would consider Legion on the -2 handicap if available at above Evens.

This will involve shopping around, and the big pain here is that obscure games usually don’t have many betting options until kick off time. 


2.10 (11/10) is definitely worth betting on here as you appear to have an edge. 


The final score was 3-0 to Legion so congratulations!!! You have a winner. 

Back in Estonia again, another sensible betting opportunity awaited; this time in the second division. Maardu had an excellent home record and were clearly the best side in the league. 


They had nine wins from ten at home in the league that season against a side that has lost six in a row. Yes, they only beat them 2-0 early in the season, but Kalju II’s form had fallen off a cliff. Maardu were coming off the back of a fine 8-1 win while their opponents lost 4-0 at home!



As a result, 11/10 on Maardu -3 and Evens on over 4.5 goals represented excellent opportunities. Disaster struck with an early away goal, but the home side soon got into their stride. 


Over 4.5 goals up before HT and an easy -3 handicap cash out choice if it was available. In the end, Maardu won 10-1! 

The trouble with the vast majority of punters is their propensity to look for ‘jackpot’ wins such as those ridiculous ‘Both Teams to Score & Team X’ to win accumulator bets. With these kinds of wagers, you need a team to win and both teams to score at least one goal; the team you back need to score at least two. So, you are relying on three outcomes for odds that offer absolutely no value. 

It is normal for punters to bet on five-team accumulators using these bets. In other words, they need to win 15 bets!!! No wonder bookmakers are laughing. With the kind of bets, I advocate, you need one outcome which is often in your favour. Sure, an 11/10 winner is not ‘sexy’ but if you win 60% of them, who’s the one laughing? 

In any case, I have won a fair number of longer odds bets too. Occasionally, a bookmaker will make a serious blunder and offers a long-odds bet that doesn’t make sense.  



I could litter the page with such bet details, but there’s no point. The goal of this article is to ensure you enjoy similar success, and I will provide some examples from this season’s summer leagues to date in Part 4.

An Egregious Error

A lot of people turn their nose up at friendlies. Yes, it is often dependant on team news but to deride and ignore friendly betting as ‘unpredictable’ only to waste money betting on League 1, is an extremely puzzling attitude to take. 

There are extremely obscure friendlies often only available on the Betfair Exchange. The trouble is, finding people willing to ‘match’ your bet is a problem. Persevere, and the rewards are outstanding, however. In this pre-season farce, Bochum was a Bundesliga team in Germany while their opponents were in the seventh tier of the German league system. 


It wasn’t easy finding a match for this bet and over 8.5 goals at slightly odds-on seemed like madness. That is until you see that your bet wins before half-time! My £242 investment yielded a lovely £233 profit in just 42 minutes; better than the ROI you get from the bank! Obviously, you need to adjust your stakes accordingly. This game finished 17-0 btw. 

Final Thoughts

Bookmakers want you to believe that they are infallible. If you adopted that attitude during the summer league season, you would miss out on an incredible array of opportunities. When it comes to amateur football, the lower the quality, the better. Once you learn a little more about teams and their leagues, you will be surprised at the patterns you discover.

One season, I made a fortune on a specific team because they had a habit of collapsing late in matches. The bookmakers didn’t pick up on it for weeks, and at that stage, they stopped featuring matches involving that team. In Part 3, I will look at the best places to find the statistics you need for these summer leagues.

Want more articles like these? Have any suggestions/requests on us focusing on a particular market or sport for trading opportunities and strategies? Let us know in the comments below!


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  • How to pick the right matches
  • When to place your first bet
  • When to place any subsequent bets if required
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  • And what to do if the game is not going the way we want
  • How to identify and create value in the markets

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All the best,

Jon and the Football Advisor team

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