If you’re just getting into the exciting world of soccer betting, there’s an important rule of thumb to remember, and it applies to both beginners and experienced bettors alike. The rule? Stick to the basics. It’s also helpful to understand that just because you’re an experienced sports bettor in one sport, it doesn’t mean the same strategies will apply. Here are four simple tips to keep in mind before you make your first soccer bet.

Do Your Research

This probably goes without saying, but it’s the most crucial, absolute first step. In order to be a successful soccer bettor, you should attempt to learn everything you can about the game. There are a few different ways you can familiarize yourself with the landscape of the sport. The first way is by watching a ton of soccer games. The insight and education you gain from watching a few games is invaluable.

Another way you can do your research is by keeping up with a variety of sources. These sources can include televised sports networks, the sports section of the newspaper, social media updates, and online forums. Often, you can get a better gist of what’s going on with a team is in a forum by reading through a conversation thread amongst soccer fans.

Some things you can pay attention to during your research are how leagues are structured, club rankings, standout players from each club, and how individual matchups are determined. Remember, knowledge is wealth. When the goal is to make the best educated guess possible, doing the research will help you to predict winners more accurately.

Go for Value

Contrary to popular belief, sports betting isn’t about picking winners. It’s more about betting value. To put it as simply as possible, you get sports betting value when you find a bet that pays out winners at a better rate than it should.

When you’re searching for value, there are a few key things you should know. Bet on leagues you know well and avoid volatile markets like corners, as they’re too unpredictable.

The favorites to win are typically bad for value because the odds are stacked in their favor. Instead, bet on draws. Draws tend to happen more often than people expect, but it’s not something bettors tend to wager on. Because of this, there’s always money to be found on a draw.

Consider Other Match-Influencing Factors

While knowing a club’s current ranking is important, it won’t tell you everything. There are other critical developments that you’ll need to stay up to date on in order to predict a victory or defeat. The easiest way to distinguish a match-influencing factor is any factor that could affect a team’s overall performance.

Match-influencing factors can be anything from injuries, lineup alterations, weather conditions, and changes in coaching. Team scheduling can also impact betting outcome on a team’s schedule.

While certain details may seem insignificant, small factors have changed entire outcomes for big games in the past. Instead of basing your selections on a club or player’s win-loss record, the more telling stats would be their specific offense and defense stats and the match-influencing factors mentioned above.

Don’t Bet With Your Heart

The emotional ties we have to our favorite teams is admirable, and it’s not something to be ashamed about. Having a favorite team typically means you’ve been invested in them for a long time. The trouble is, betting with your heart can be a big mistake in soccer betting. Favoritism means team loyalty, but team loyalty doesn’t always translate to team wins.

Instead of betting with your heart, bet strategically based on research you’ve gathered. It can help sway you away from wanting to bet on your favorite. Consider your team’s performance objectively and pay attention to the odds and stats. It doesn’t mean that you’re not a loyal fan, it just means you’re betting to win and you’re choosing to lead with logic rather than your heart.

What About Online Gambling in the US?

Almost equally as important as the tips listed above is knowing exactly where you can, and should, bet as a beginner soccer bettor. Finding out where you can place your sports bets and locating maximum wagering value is a vital piece in the puzzle of successful betting online. Knowing where you can and can’t bet from in terms of location is also just as crucial.

Being able to gamble online for real money in places like the US is still a bit of a complicated scenario. It requires a bit of research to make sure you’re remaining compliant on your end (based on what state you live in). There are a few states where online gambling is legal, but it’s important to pay attention to what types of online gambling are fully legal.

As of 2018, a few states have legalized different forms of online sports betting. These states include New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Nevada, Iowa, West Virginia, and Rhode Island. States that received legislative approval and plan to launch online sports betting in or around 2020 include Oregon, New Hampshire, Illinois, Tennessee, and Michigan.

The tips above are simple but valuable for beginners to refer to when placing soccer bets online. You can avoid the struggle of betting as a novice by having a few easy, effective strategies set in place, while avoiding any trouble by knowing where to legally place bets.