As this column is compiled in a voluntary capacity, there is no particular pressure to come out of the season with a profit (it has done every season it has been in existence); although P&L figures will start to be posted a few weeks into the season. That being the case, we may attempt to make some money betting on some “contrarian” views throughout the season.

Most evidence in sports betting, and the study of sports results, points to the idea of “form” being a totally unreliable means of predicting what may happen in future events. Granted most such research has been carried out on elite level sports results, and in several League of Ireland seasons, teams who have won the league appear to have done so “at a canter” or “with their eyes closed”.


It is with this in mind that sports betters should always seek to win money by going against the majority. If the majority was always right, bookmakers would find it extremely difficult to make money – instead they are posting vast profits, and not all of it from tax havens and internet gaming.

This week, the intention was to tip Shamrock Rovers to win away to Shelbourne at 1.7 (7/10 in old money) with Ladbrokes – a price that certainly looked big at the time. Needless to say, this price was backed as people noted Shelbourne’s poor start to the season and mounting red cards. Shamrock Rovers started strongly in the Setanta Cup, are yet to concede a goal this season, and won’t be too disappointed in the way their ten men hung on for a point against us on Monday.

They are rightly favourites but we have to evaluate what price we would back them at. If you didn’t get the 1.7 with Ladbrokes earlier in the week, it is not advised to take the best price of 4/7 now. Shels have started badly but will not keep losing games indefinitely – their first points will come soon and may even be this Sunday. Back them with a half-goal start at 57/40, to put on a show for the tv cameras on Sunday afternoon. 19/40 +1.5 will cover you in the event that they lose by one. Both bets are with Bet365.

Another team whose stock it is possible to “buy low” this weekend is Giovanni Trapattoni’s Ireland as they travel to Sweden. While the manner in which we were totally outclassed in Poland last summer was depressing, Trap has an impressive record in crunch qualifiers and it’s tempting to point out to people that despite the sublime Zlatan Ibrahimovic having his best season ever, there is little reason for some of the excessive pessimism around the Ireland camp at the moment. People will always disagree with a manager’s selections, and seeing how Keane and Long link up will be exciting – whatever about Paul Green. Again, get on the underdogs with a half-goal start at 8/5 with Bet365.

As the reams of column inches on the fallout from the Sweden-Ireland game are being digested, our own league action this weekend sees us travel to Inchicore to take on Liam Buckley’s St Pat’s. We don’t have too bad a record in this fixture in recent seasons. We’ve mentioned in previous columns that although Pat’s have strengthened, they look short to challenge for the league again. This Bohs team has proved that it can get results against teams who are challenging for the league, so although Pat’s are a useful side, they will draw a lot of games this season, and at 5/2, this surely could be one of them.

Elsewhere in the league, bankers are thin on the ground and the weather will conspire against many bets. Sligo’s start has been impressive but Limerick’s home form promises to be solid. Dundalk will have their backers at 5/4, but it might just pay not to back road teams in a week during which they have already played a game – in Dundalk’s case, a convincing home defeat to Sligo.

While we don’t have a “banker” this week, Waterford are joint favourites for the First Division, and are 8/13 with Pinnacle to beat Mervue at home this weekend. The same bet is 4/7 with Powers. As Paddy Power are typically the bookmaker who know more about Irish football than any other, we can at least be confident that we may be getting a sliver of value, even if [like any bet] there is no guarantee that the bet will win.

Shelbourne +0.5, 1pt 57/40 (Bet365)
Ireland +0.5, 1pt 8/5 (Bet365)
Bohs – St Pat’s draw, 1pt 5/2 (Skybet)
Waterford, 2pts 8/13 (Pinnacle)

Website by Simon Alcock