Do you ever glance at the weather forecast before placing a bet? If you don’t, perhaps it's time you changed your mind and gave thought into including the weather forecast into your pre-game analysis. Weather conditions tend to affect a lot of crucial aspects, from pitch condition to player psychology and stamina. These factors can significantly affect where you should put your money on. The average bettor tends to ignore weather conditions for a number of reasons.
Most of these punters, especially those who bet on lower non-televised league matches, can never understand how important this piece of information is. They can't realize that the matches are taking place in different parts of the world, where different parameters must be taken into account. Watching the sun shine or the rain fall out of your window is completely irrelevant to a match taking place thousands of miles away. No, we're not saying you should be a meteorologist to place a tenner on a match taking place in a cold rainy night in Stoke, but to simply find some info on a well informed weather forecast website.
Does cold weather affect sports performance?
There are a lot of theories about how weather conditions may influence a match. The most common concerning our predictions is that you should expect many goalless draws when it’s raining, as the poor pitch is bound to kill creative play. However, this only takes into account how the attacking team will perform. What these "prediction experts" fail to keep in mind is that a poor pitch is filled with hazard for the team in defence as well. Wrongly timed sliding tackles, poor clearences, a slippery ball that the goalie will avoid to hold; all of these mistakes are made due to bad weather and are common even among experienced defenders.
The second common myth concerns the temperature and it goes like this: Don’t bet on matches where the conditions are considered severe. This either means low temperatures (below zero Celcius) or high ones (over 35 Celcius). This is an obvious rookie mistake, as it fails to account whether the players are accustomed to these conditions or not. Think about it. A native Russian player will find it easier to play at temperatures close to zero, as they are born and raised in cold temperatures. It’s the same about players born at the tropics and hot weather, Southeast Asians and heavy rain or Scandinavians and snow. Wherever people are accustomed to living under certain conditions from an early age, these conditions will have minimal effect when playing football.
So here's a smart tip. If you should focus on the weather, look out for unexpected conditions like heat in Russia, snow in Spain, rain in Algeria or blinding sun in England. Watch out when players are not accustomed to playing under such conditions. This also does not mean that temperatures should be absolute. 13 degrees Celcius would be considered cold for a Congolese and hot for a Norwegian.
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It’s raining, but where?
Rain is also a common dissuasive factor when it comes to football, but you should take into account where it is ACTUALLY raining. It’s not only about the familiarity to the conditions, but also about the pitch condition. A rain, even a heavy one, would hardly affect an English Premier League club’s pitch, or a Spanish La Liga one, but at the same time a few drops of rain can easily turn an English League Two club’s turf into a mudfest. Of course there are exceptions, but the general rule is that the lower you go into league rankings, the greater effect weather has on the style of play.
Keep in mind that weather conditions can the affect performance of individual players. Some delicate midfield players are not happy when it’s raining, as they find it difficult to give their splitting passes or make their elegant dribbles. On the contrary, stronger players, will take advantage of their huge body especially when chasing the ball, find it easy to play in rain, as their slowed-down opponent’s become more vulnerable.
Heading to different climates
In small-sized countries like the Benelux, significant variations in weather are mainly uncommon. Whether it’s raining or it's sunny the whole state shares the same effects. On the other hand this is not the case in huge countries that lie on different climate zones. In Russia, for example, it might be warm in Sochi and at the same time freezing in Vladivostok. You could find big differences in USA, Australia, China, Brazil or even Chile.
This is more common in international competitions all over the World, both for clubs and national teams. A Maghrebi club heading down to Tanzania has a hard time conforming right away to the different weather conditions. The same apply for a Qatari club going to Uzbekistan, for an Australian club heading to Thailand or a Norwegian playing in Israel in late August. Weather has been a crucial factor in Kazakhstan Football Federation’s decision to leave the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and join UEFA instead. The Kazakhs have complained about extreme temperature variations between their climate and their opponents when playing international matches.
They were leaving the dry steppe to play at the hot Arab peninsula or at the monsoons of Southeast Asia, thus suffering a great number of away defeats. So, you should be more cautious about the weather when it comes to international ties. Look for big climate changes between the two countries before placing your bet. Ultimately, you should remember that looking into the weather info is not meant as a tool to influence where you should place a bet, but rather to prevent you from losing money by backing the wrong choices.