This column is a reader submission from hectorhammond. To learn how to make a submission, click here.
For anyone who’s been to the UK, it’s difficult to miss the signs that Brits always fancy a bet. There’s gambling stores with odds plastered over their windows on every corner in any town. Whether it’s London, Birmingham, Leeds or smaller country cities such as Exeter or Bath, the gambling habit permeates the culture.
And while there are multiple sports in the UK, there’s none more popular than football/soccer. 95% of the country vaguely follows football club in a stat I just made up. 80% of that 95% follow two to three teams and also keep tabs on the European competition and some of the teams in other countries outside of Europe. All in all, there are a million different matches to follow and gambling companies know this.
If you’ve ever hijacked an English stream on Sky Sports you’ll hear the familiar voice of Ray Winstone looking cool and sounding like a mobster who’s going to break your leg if you don’t hop onto the Bet365 app and fancy a wager on the match you’ve pirated. Ray knows you’re watching illegally and he’s saying you should take your savings on chuck it on Aguero to score in the first half against Southhampton away at 9/2 odds. If you followed any of that anecdote, you’re actually eligible for a UK passport, so congratulations.
So what do these betting companies do after you’re intimidated in gambling by Ray Winstone? They create a million different prop bets with payouts that would make anyone’s eyes water. If you can think it, there’s probably odds for it. 1500/1 that an Instagram model goes streaking onto the field at the 33 minute mark towards the center circle as a viral marketing campaign? Don’t mind if I do, I’ll throw 10 pound (dollars) on that. Oh and now that exact scenario has just fucking happened in the middle of the Champion’s League Final? I can basically gamble forever with those winnings. Let the gambling continue!!
These great odds and incredible props and mouth watering accumulators (British for Parlay); however, they don’t hide the fact that gambling on soccer is absolutely impossible. No one is “good” at gambling and anyone that claims they are is a goddamn liar. Anyone who claims they’re good at soccer gambling is an even bigger liar. I legitimately cannot remember the last time I won an EPL/World Cup bet. It might have been taking whoever was playing Tottenham in week 23 of the 2015/2016 season, although even that is a stretch. It’s just hard, there aren’t as many league defining players in soccer or guarantees as other sports. Messi is really the only one in the game right now and even he’s getting up there in age and can’t be a reliable person to bet on week in and week out. He’s not a Patrick Mahomes, who you can pretty much guarantee is going to throw for 300+ yards and a TD or two and that his team will probably cover or take the ML in. It’s so goddamn hard to do that in soccer.
However, there’s a trade off. It makes soccer the most exhilarating sport in the world when you get a bet right and win big. It will happen once every blue moon. You will lose money. That’s not to be disputed at all. But man oh man, the rush when you win is unlike anything else. Sadio Mane after a mazy dribble around 2 defenders and smacking one into the top corner in the 87th minute to win your four team parlay that involved liverpool winning 4-0? You might as well be called Buzz Aldrin for the rest of your life because you’re gonna be on the goddamn moon with the adrenaline pumping through your veins as you sit on the couch at 10:30 AM before the NFL kicks off. That feeling is one of the reasons that makes gambling on soccer so exciting. And it gives you an excuse to be knowledgeable and look worldly and cultured to everyone you know when you can chat about the beautiful game they play across the pond right bruv mandem?
But where is this all going? Well I’m not really sure. It’s more of a PSA if anything. If you’re going to bet on soccer be prepared to win massively big on something very obscure or lose on what you think may be the most surefire bet of all time. Last piece of advice, bet on the Germans (the German National Team) at the World Cup if you really have no clue who to take when you want to impress the cute girl at the USA Watch party in the middle of the winter in 2022.