With a Champion’s League winner and a Europa League winner, 2019 was an unbelievable year for English clubs. It was also a great time for football betting, with millions of punters enjoying a flutter. Here, Peter Watton, from matched betting site OddsMonkey, turns his attention to the big matches of 2020 that promise to be prime profit-turning events.
As we get ready to see out the current year, we can look back on what has been a landmark year for English clubs. Not since the mid to late noughties have we seen Premier League clubs dominate the European stage like they did in 2019. This begs the question: what could 2020 possibly have in store?
The past year has also been huge for the football betting industry, with almost £11 billion worth of bets placed remotely on the sport, according to stats from the Gambling Commission. Quite simply, there’s more fans than ever enjoying a flutter on the UK’s most popular sport.
With this in mind, I thought I’d take a quick tour of what promise to be the biggest football matches in the New Year to help you pick out the best time to turn a profit.
Sunday 1 March 2020 — Carabao Cup Final
Current holders: Man City
Current favourites: Man City (evens), Man Utd (4/1), Leicester (10/1)
Dark horse: Liverpool (12/1)
The Carabao Cup Final is my first pick for matches. Last season it was the first silverware Man City won in their charge to the title, but I’m interested for to a different reason this year.
If you look at the odds, Liverpool — City’s biggest rivals and league leaders — are currently not even listed in the top five favourites for the Cup. This is because the first team squad is jetting off to the Club World Championship the day after their quarter final versus Aston Villa (17 Dec), with a team of young players set to take to the field in their place.
Should Liverpool’s U23 players win against Aston Villa — and they might — there’s a chance that many of the senior players will return for the semi-final. So, in theory, you could pick up a potential favourite for some great 12/1 odds.
Saturday 4 April 2020 — Man City vs. Liverpool
Last match: Liverpool 3-1 Man City (10 Nov 2019)
This fixture last season: Man City 2-1 Liverpool (3 Jan 2019)
Current title favourites: Liverpool (2/7), Man City (4-1)
This match could be the most significant of the season, or it might just be a battle over pride. So far, Liverpool have been unstoppable in the league and Man City have been pretty average by their own standards. Depending on whether the Reds continue their form into the New Year, this home game could be make or break for Man City if they’re still within touching distance.
Looking at the previous results shows how this match could be balanced on a knife-edge. Liverpool won the latest encounter at Anfield, but Man City triumphed at home last season. It could come down to whether Jurgen Klopp can keep his team firing on all cylinders.
Saturday 30 May 2020 — UEFA Champion’s League Final
Last year: Liverpool 2-0 Tottenham
Current favourites: Man City (29/10), Barcelona (13/2), Liverpool (7/1), PSG (15/2), Bayern Munich (8/1)
Dark horses: Chelsea (40/1)
This year’s Champions League sees both Man City and Liverpool within the top three favourites to take the crown in 2020. However, it would take a foolish punter to forget about the threat that teams like Barcelona and Bayern Munich pose. PSG are fancied too, but they lack the experience at reaching the late stages of the competition and have been regular bottlers in past years.
My pick for dark horse is Chelsea, who I think might just shock a few more favoured teams. Led by fresh-faced Frank Lampard and currently under a transfer ban, many assumed this season would be a write-off, but they’ve done very well in the League and have been steady in Europe. If they can get out of their group with a win against Lille, I can see them doing well in the knockout stage. They’re good value at 40/1, too.
Friday 12 June 2020 — EURO 2020
Current champions: Portugal
Current favourites: England (11/2), France (13/2), Belgium (7/1), Netherlands (7/1), Spain (8/1)
Dark horses: Portugal (20/1)
My last “match” to look out for is an entire competition: EURO 2020! Strangely, the hot favourites are England, with the “multi-city” tournament actually being mostly played in the UK (or Ireland) if they progress as expected. However, I think it would be naïve to discount the World Champions France, as well as top sides like Belgium, the Netherlands, and Spain.
It was very tempting to pick Germany as a dark horse at 9/1, as they have a very strong track record at the Euros, but I simply can’t ignore reigning champions Portugal at 20/1. The pundits simply don’t believe they’ll be competing again in 2020 after being drawn alongside France and Germany in their group. However, write Ronaldo and co. off at your peril — many did at EURO 2016!
These are my top picks for football betting in 2020. There’s plenty to get excited about and lots of opportunity to turn a profit. Best of luck!