The guide to football relegation betting action

The Guide to Football Relegation Betting

By Dan Tracey - Jan 27th 2023

What goes up must also go down. That is how European football leagues have worked since their invention more than 100 years ago. A fluid concept that allows ambitious teams to move up the divisions and adds further misery for those outfits that slide down the domestic hierarchy.

Unlike North America’s MLS and Australia’s, A-League which operates as a one-tier closed shop, the European promotion and relegation model allows clubs in the lower levels to reach the very top after years of subsequent progress.

However, it is not all one-way traffic in an upwards direction and with whatever number of teams that get promoted being matched by the same number that get relegated, the pitfall to the league below can be a rather serious one.

Which although it can mean a rather tense few months for supporters of ailing clubs, it can lead to a fascinating market to bet on and when we look at this season’s English Premier League, it is arguably the most fascinating of all. This means that in our latest article we will be discussing:

1) Ups And Downs – Relegation Betting Explained

2) All About Timing – When To Place Your Bets

3) A Different Format – How Certain Leagues Differ

1) Ups And Downs

With three relegation berths looking to be avoided, as many as seven clubs currently find themselves looking nervously over their shoulders and this means punters have plenty of options when it comes to placing a wager of this kind.

Teams Are Looking To Save Their Status

In this market you are looking to select which team or teams will finish in the bottom three of the final league table. It is a rather simple bet to place, in that your football predictions are either correct or they are not.

While if we look at the current odds that have been set by the bookmakers, they look like this:

  • Bournemouth – 1.30
  • Everton – 1.61
  • Southampton – 1.61
  • Wolves – 3.40
  • Nottingham Forest – 3.50
  • Leicester – 4.33
  • Leeds – 4.33

This list is not exclusive to just these seven and if you wanted to, you could bet on any other team that competes in the division. However, like any other market that has longshots on offer, the chances of Arsenal and Manchester City suffering the drop are rather slim.

An Individual Basis

Another thing to consider is that you cannot combine three selections into a treble (or two into a double for that matter). There is no ability to combine odds of multiple choices and all relegation bets are classed as independent of each other.

Regardless of how you believe will get relegated, the timing of your bet is vitally important and when you decide to stake your claim could alter just how much profitability is potentially lying around the corner.

2) All About Timing

The odds that you see listed above are taken at the halfway stage of the season and this can be a good time to act on your relegation hunch. At this point of the campaign, you can get an idea of which teams truly are the worst in the league.

They say the table does not lie and when it comes to relegation betting, they would be absolutely right. While betting in the second half of the season makes sense on two levels

  • You have less time to wait before a bet can be declared a winner.
  • You can use the live league table as a key indicator.

Should you place a relegation bet before a ball has been kicked, you may get slightly more in the way of odds, but you are taking a far more considerable leap of faith and one that will likely play into the bookmakers’ hands.

Of course, value is also a key principle when it comes to relegation betting and if you wait until the final month of any league season, the outlook can be a lot clearer in terms of who gets relegated. You may be a winner but there will not be much generosity from those who set the odds.

Eyes On The Table

Which is why you want to bet early in the campaign but not too early. Use the form guide as a navigational tool and this can be a good way to maximise your potential earnings. Then again, you may want to keep an eye out for any changes of manager.

Because of the phenomenon which is the ‘new manager bounce’,  a switch of managerial personnel can also lead to a switch in fortune and any team that looks odds on to go down, may subsequently find their way out of the bottom three.

Who Will Suffer The Drop?

Admittedly a nervous chairman and what he does is not something you can predict but it is certainly worth keeping this in mind and if a club has already made one change during the season, they are very unlikely to make another (although it is not unheard of either)

You also need to consider just how relegation works across each league, as it is far from a one size fits all policy. While the number that move up or down can vary for two main reasons

  • The size of the league.
  • Wherever reconstruction of league size takes place.

For example, France’s Ligue 1 currently operates with 20 teams and after saying goodbye to the bottom three teams in the table, those clubs that will playing in Ligue 2 the season after are replaced by a trio of sides that have topped the same division.

By mirroring the promotion and demotion, the league constantly stays at 20 competitors. However, this will all change come the end of the 2022/23 campaign and with the top tier being reduced to 18, it means four clubs are going down and just two are coming up.

3) A Different Format

An imbalance in the number of teams moving divisions but one that is necessary to facilitate their change to a slightly smaller top tier. That is how it is done in France, but in Germany things differ from the other leagues in Europe’s ‘Big 5’.

With the Premier League, La Liga and Serie A all operating with 20 teams, they also operate in the three up, three down format that used to exist in Ligue 1. Take a short trip to Germany’s Bundesliga and there is slightly more jeopardy involved.

As the German top flight operates with 18 clubs by comparison, the two bottom teams are automatically relegated to the second tier and the top two from that same league the subsequently promoted. However, there is still scope for a third set of clubs to move up and down.

The Ups And Downs Can Differ From League To League

Playing To Survive

This comes courtesy of the relegation/promotion playoff. One which sees the team that finishes 16th in the Bundesliga paired with the team that finished 3rd in the level below. A two-legged tie and whoever comes out on top either stays put or goes up at someone else’s expense.

Which is why you need to be wary of where the relegation play-offs lie, as the last thing you would want to do is pick a team that finishes third bottom in Germany and believe that they are straight for the drop.

Because they could avoid such a fate by winning the play-off tie and subsequently staying up. An act that would be celebrated by the players involved but not by you who has placed a wager on their demise.

This article was written by Dan Tracey on behalf of Kick Off, smart betting made simple.

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