Turning the CornerMarch 22, 2016
Now that we’re officially a fully-fledged gambling nation, I found it apt to explore ways of keeping up with y’all gamblers and even surpassing you. Last weekend for instance all you could hear were wails and cries about Atletico Madrid, PSG, Barcelona etc. due to them conspiring to fail to win their games yet they had been included in almost everyone’s betslips. Lol. In fact the former two actually did lose, to Sporting Gijon and Monaco respectively. Barcelona on their part threw away a 2-0 half time lead to share the points with Villarreal at the Madrigal. Well, too bad, no team is exactly invincible.
That’s just how tricky gambling on direct win-draw-win scenarios is. That takes me back to June last year during the Champions League final between Barcelona and Juventus. Now obviously being the biggest game of the season it was a bit difficult to call. Admittedly nine out of ten times though one would pick Barca to win and indeed they did win it to become champions. But anything could have happened, so when Peter suggested that instead of betting on the result, we place money on the number of corner kicks, my face lit up.
“That’s genius!” I thought. I mean, why worry about who will win between two teams that you don’t even care about when you could invest in corners, which are almost always assured of occurring? So we staked some cash on ‘Over 9.5’ corners, meaning we would be needing the corner count to hit at least 10 and double our money. So during the game we’d be cheering every time the ball went out for a corner rather than when there was a shot on target, much to the consternation of everyone else. Midway through the second half we counted the tenth corner and stopped really caring for the game. It was a good night.
Of course it doesn’t mean that betting on corners is a sure way of not losing your money, but I tend to think it’s more straight-forward and maybe even a bit easier to analyze and pick the safer options before you place your bet. With corners you can actually draw up trends which more often than not are not bucked. I’ve said ‘more often than not’ which implies that still there’s a chance, however small, that all could go opposite to script. So what are some of those pointers that I’m trying to highlight?
The Serie A (Italian league) is always a good hunting ground for corners – at least this season that I have been keenly looking at them. Almost all games during a matchday usually produce a fair amount of corners. Why? That’s story for another day. Out of the 10 games played at the weekend, in only 3 games was the corner count less than 9. Why nine? Because at least in the betting site that I know offers the corners option, they offer odds on 8.5 corners upwards. Two of those three games involved Fiorentina and Juventus, two teams which traditionally do not amass or concede a lot of corners. In fact, you’d be wise to place money on Under 8.5 in games where they both feature. The other game with less than 9 corners was between Sassuolo and Udinese which ended 1-1 and the six corners were also shared equally. I found this odd because normally Sassuolo at home are pretty reliable, but then again like I said above, there’s always a chance of the opposite happening.
The Milan sides seldom disappoint; Milan’s clash with Lazio produced 16 corners while Inter’s visit to Rome garnered 10. For Milan, the catch usually is whether or not they are playing at home. If so, go ahead and stake on the Over 9.5. For Inter, whether home or away, so long as they don’t play Juve or Fiorentina anything ranging from Over 8.5 to 10.5 could make you money. The Napoli game may have had 12 corners (11-1) but they are usually a team to avoid given how dominant they usually are that the opponents don’t get enough meaningful attacks. An in fact they managed the 11 corners basically because they fell a goal behind Genoa early and had to therefore escalate their attacks to claw back the win. No wonder Genoa had only one corner. Other teams whose games you may want to be opting for the Over 8.5 are Roma, Frosinone, Carpi and the Verona clubs; Hellas and Chievo.
In the Premier League the one team that is always top of my corners hit list is definitely Manchester City. They are a corner-enthusiast’s bread and butter. When City play at home, it’s almost assured that the game will see at least 9 corners and with almost the same probability, that City will get more than 7, whose odds are usually fantastic. For instance in Sunday’s Manchester Derby as I was checking the odds pre-game, City was priced at 2.08 to have 7+ corners. That was a no brainer for me; City at home and in a huge game, I plunged right in. At the end of it all, there were 16 corners with City contributing 11 of those. Easiest money I ever made. Even away City are usually a good bet for Over 8.5 or 9.5. It’s down to how they play. They usually attack in every game and especially through the full backs like Aleks Kolarov, Pablo Zabaleta and Bacary Sagna or even through their wide men, especially Jesus Navas. The opposing team is always going to do much defending of crosses, hence the corners.
Chelsea too and especially at home under Guus Hiddink have become a viable option for corners. Maybe this is due to the fact they attack more while at the same time vulnerable at the back given their famous defensive solidity is well and truly a thing of the past. In their game against the Hammers both plundered a total of 19 corners. Okay, it was a derby played at a very high intensity, but Chelsea’s home games generally tend to follow that script with the Blues getting 7+ more often than not. Crystal Palace games also do produce Over 8.5 corners and especially at Selhurst Park thanks to their wing-play approach to attack involving the likes of Yannick Bolasie and Wilfried Zaha. Liverpool at home are worth gambling on as their famous gegenpress and direct attack play into the corners’ hands. Everton represents a curious case but when they play the ‘big’ games, over 8.5 is usually a huge possibility.
La Liga has also proved to be a solid hunting ground over time. When Real Madrid are at the Bernabeu you know there are going to be two things: goals and corners…unless the opponent is Atletico Madrid. On Sunday they played Sevilla, another richly-rewarding team cornerwise and the total count was 16, 8 apiece. There’s also Rayo Vallecano who like to attack like there’s no tomorrow and given that they are battling relegation are always worth a look. In their match last weekend against Granada who are fellow strugglers, there were 18 corners, Rayo getting 12. Quite impressive considering they were playing away. Barcelona aren’t as much enthused about corners as they are about dominating and winning games, so probably if you want to include them in your accumulator you’d be better off trying the Under 8.5 or 9.5.
So I guess you don’t always have to limit yourself to just the win/draw/win while placing that bet. There are always other ways to double your money or enhance your odds. Turn the corner, won’t you?
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