I never ceased to be amazed at how many punters have a bet on the basis of hype rather than using a cold, hard, rational approach.

Ok, it’s fine to have the odd small patriotic wager on England in the World Cup, for example, but the advice from all my various professional mentors over the years was never EVER place heavy wagers based on hype, loyalty, or after a skin-full of your favourite tipple.

Let’s take an example: shortly after England’s performance in the World Cup the hype had already started in regards to backing this very young squad for glory in the 2020 Euros. I mean, can you believe it!?

Now, let’s look at this rationally, or from a professional point of view…

England played a total of six matches. They won three, drew two and lost one. Yes, they are a decent young side with a manager that ‘fits in’ with the persona always sought by the FA – nicey-nice.

When it comes to tactics, however, I’m not sure he has the calibre of one who could take a major World or European trophy. Surely, with international managers, that always has to be the main focus – especially with the top footballing countries of the world.

Remember, England were around 14/1 pre-tournament, and played a few teams whose odds were in the 100s: even then, they only beat one of them in injury time!

Ok, so you can only beat what’s in front of you, but making hard work of beating such teams does provide a good marker for how they may fair against stiffer opposition.

We all know what happened when England played the only team shorter than them in the betting – Belgium… Yes, they lost twice! Oh yes, England did beat Colombia (50/1) pre-tournament, but don’t forget, their star player was absent.

A good win against Sweden too, but again, that was far from the best Sweden side I’ve seen.

Next up was Croatia – yes, a decent side with some great players, but then again, they did struggle in the qualifiers if you do a bit of cross-referencing. Then, we all know what happened next – an early goal to England and heads are high, followed by an equaliser and a crisis of confidence set in, which can only be down to the manager and his approach to mental toughness.

Croatia played as a team and continued to rattle England to grind out the win, and that’s the big difference. In my opinion, the present England set up have not got the winners’ mentality to take the big tournaments. Maybe with some tweaking in certain areas they could be great, but can they do it with Southgate at the helm?

They had a big chance to get to the final of this one, and for me it was a big chance wasted.

So next time you feel compelled to place a serious wager on the basis of hype and euphoria, take a step back, look at the cold, hard form, and then decide.

It may well be the hype is justified, in which case be careful not to accept silly prices – in other words, bad value, as no matter how hard you study, if you continually take bad-value prices, then you are doomed to fail long-term. The bookies will make sure of that!

No doubt I’m probably going to get lambasted for my views above, and that’s fine – but for me, when money is on the line, I always take the cold, hard, rational approach.

Until next time!

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