It is easy to overlook the fact that nine of Brazil's squad (who won the 2013 Confederations Cup) ply their trade in Série A. Fred, who finished as the tournament's joint-top scorer with 5 goals, plays his club football for current league champions Fluminense, while Neymar only recently transferred to Barcelona from Santos and Paulinho, who was awarded the 3rd best player of the tournament, played for Corinthians until his transfer to Tottenham.
Given that domestic players now make up an integral part of the national team it is worth researching the important players in the Brazilian League to give you an edge when betting on a niche market such as Série A. As a key player such as Fred – until now a relative unknown to the average soccer fan – finished as the top scorer of the league last season. A player that influential could greatly affect the odds of his club Fluminense should he be absent.
With the 2014 World Cup in Brazil fast approaching, there is likely to be much more media attention on the country's domestic league – for example BT Sport have recently purchased the rights for coverage in the UK. This means that players outside of the Brazilian national team will become more accessible and easier to research their individual strengths and weaknesses, which can aid your betting.
Série A Format
The league is made up of 20 teams, with the top four teams all qualifying for the Copa Libertadores (the South American equivalent of the Champions League). The top two enter the following year's tournament at the second stage, while the teams qualifying 3rd and 4th begin in the first stage.
However unlike most European leagues, another Copa Libertadores spot is awarded to the team that wins the Copa Do Brazil (the Brazil Cup). Teams that finish in 5th-12th place all qualify for the second stage of the Copa Sudamericana. The teams that finish in the bottom four are all relegated to the Brazilian Série B.
The league runs from May until December with teams playing outside their domestic season to compete in the Copa Libertadores, which runs from January to July.
Betting on the Brazilian Série A
Brazilian Série A markets include the basic soccer bet types: 1x2s, handicaps and totals:
This is the most common bet type. You simply bet on whether a team will win, lose or draw a match. It is worth noting that the 2012 Brazilian Série A season saw 28% of games finish in a draw, a higher percentage than three big European Leagues – La Liga (22%), Serie A (25%) and Bundesliga (25%).
For example, looking at the odds for the 2013 Brazilian Série A season match between Internacional (1.543) and Vasco da Gama (7.220) with the draw at 4.110.
If you staked £10 on Vasco da Gama to win away, you would win £72.20 although that would include your initial £10 stake. Therefore your profit would be £62.20. You would win nothing if the result ended in a defeat or draw for Vasco a Gama.
A £10 bet on the draw would have returned you £41.10 (£31.10 profit and your £10 stake); while the same bet on Internacional to win would see you pocket £15.43 (£5.43 profit).
Handicaps are useful when one team is heavily favoured over the other team, as you can bet on who will win a match, with a set number of goals taken off the favourite's score.
The handicap for Internacional is -1 (2.020) and Vasco da Gama is + 1 (1.901).
If the result was 2-0 to Internacional bets on Internacional would win as 2-0 covers the -1 handicap.
If the result was a draw, or a loss for Internacional then bets on Vasco da Gama would win as they would cover their +1 handicap.
If the result was a 1-0 win for Internacional then bets for both Internacional and Vasco da Gama would see money returned, as both sides would have drawn 0-0 with handicaps applied.
The Totals market sees the bettor predict whether the total number of goals for a match will be over or under a set amount.
For Internacional and Vasco da Gama, the total goal mark is set at Over 2 and 2.5 (1.893) and Under 2 and 2.5 (2.010).
If you bet £10 on the game to be Over 2 and 2.5 goals and the result was 2-1 (a total of three goals) you would make a return of £18.93 (£8.93 profit), while you would have won nothing if you had bet on the goals total to be Under 2 and 2.5
Brazilian Série A betting tip – using HFA
Calculating Home Field Advantage is important when betting on Série A games. The average HFA for the 2012 season was 1.72 points per game, which is higher than eight other major domestic leagues.
Bettors should be cautious when betting against home teams in the Brazilian League, for example last season Atletico Mineiro didn't lose at home.
A good method of working HFA for handicap and 1×2 bets is to calculate the number of goals a team scores more than their opponents at home.
The formula to calculate HFA is below:
HFA = Goals scored at home - Goals conceded at home/ Number of home games.
Atletico Mineiro HFA = (42 - 15)/19 = 1.4
To put this into context Atletico finished 2nd in the Brazilian Série A with a HFA of 1.4 goals per game, the same as Premier League winners, Manchester United and Italian Serie A winners, Juventus.
What this could highlight is that Atletico performed as well as European league winners, or that the Brazilian Série A league is not as competitive. Like all statistics however, it’s important to put this into context to fully understand what the data is showing, so further research is needed.