Plenty of punters will spend the weeks and months before a new tournament or campaign preparing for what's to come.
This research time often culminates in bettors placing ante post bets in long term markets with a view to finding winners over the coming weeks or months.
What is ante post betting?
Ante post betting is simply a way to describe wagers that are placed a day or more before the action gets underway.
Dozens of sporting events are offered in this manner ranging from football competitions to high profile horse races, golf tournaments and much more.
In some circles these bets could be called "Futures" because, as the name suggests, they are picks that often relate to an outcome that could still be weeks, months or even years away from coming to fruition.
As opposed to match-by-match betting, this is an opportunity for bettors to gauge their long-term opinion about a certain event against that of the odds compilers, sometimes with each-way terms available.
While not every ante post market offers big prices, the fact that many of these markets contain dozens of potential winners such as the winner of a 20-team league, 32-team tournament or hundreds of Golden Boot candidates means that the potential pay-off for identifying an undervalued bet can be attractive.
That was certainly the case for those who backed Leicester City to win the Premier League at odds of up to 5000/1 in 2015-16. While the Foxes’ shock win is an exception rather than a rule, some markets regularly throw up big priced winners.
What markets are available?
Modern bookmakers now offer a vast array of betting markets before the start of most events, especially in football.
Before the start of a new domestic season it's not unusual to see over 100 ante post markets available covering a range of outcomes, some focused on one or two teams such as a head-to-head match up, while others relate to the entire field.
Some of these - such as who will win the Premier League - will often be on offer before the previous campaign has even finished because the firms in question already have a view on who the contenders for the following season will be.
Aside from who will end up being crowned champions, popular markets from the top flight of English football include; top goalscorer, which teams will be relegated and who will finish in the top four.