The perceived wisdom amongst punters is to back the lower league team when they play at home against a top division side, but this doesn’t always ensure a long-term proﬁt. Market makers will offer cramped prices when an in-form Championship side hosts a below par Premier League team, with the added factor of a weakened line-up from the latter affecting the odds even further. Reversing the strategy, though, can prove rewarding as compilers don’t appear to take the same view.
The 2007/8 Carling Cup proved just how lucrative backing the lower league team when they travel to a top division club can be. Coventry defeated Manchester United at Old Trafford, landing odds of 10-1, and Leicester beat Aston Villa at Villa Park, where 5-1 was available. Only ten ties in the competition that year came under the category of ‘Premier League at home versus lower league’, giving backers a 50 per cent return on their money.
The previous season, four from 13 ties went to the lower league club, including Notts County’s 11-1 win at Middlesbrough and Wycombe’s 17-2 success at Fulham. Again, the bet was more than worthwhile for level stakes backers. ‘There is a considerable body of evidence which says that, contrary to the general perception, winning the toss has very little effect on the eventual result in the one day game and none whatsoever in ﬁrst-class games of three or more days.’ – cricket betting expert John Ize.