What is your most common football betting mistake?

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Re: What is your most common football betting mistake?

Postby mathsbet » Wed Feb 01, 2017 12:30 pm

Take bookmakers for example. They make money because they offer odds below what they calculate to be the probability. Those odds are only moved by changing probability ( in-play ) or weight of money ( again, the numbers ). Winners are easy to find. Winners where the odds are more generous than the probability, are not.
This is a critical point, and while I think your statement that bookies "offer odds below what they calculate to be the probability" is absolutely true most of the time, they are actually so busy trying to do this for the well-known and consequently well-backed teams, that they often leave value on the other side of the book.

The reason they do this, in my view, is because they would rather be exposed on the underdog than on the favourite. I used to believe that the bookmaking industry was a purely probability based business, but since I've been pricing up games myself using my own statistical tools, I can see that the market is distorted by the mob especially when it comes to certain teams.

As an example, and without getting into too much self-congratulation, I tipped Setubal on the +1.25 Asian Handicap against Benfica last weekend. Benfica, one of the most famous clubs in Europe, and probably a favourite of the accumulator coupon because of the name and the (usually very) short prices. They were priced at 4/11 to win away at Setubal despite the fact that they couldn't beat Setubal in the home head to head earlier in the season (despite being priced at 2/11 to do so). Setubal won 1-0.

Arsenal last night were priced at 2/9 for the win and Watford could be backed on the +1.5 handicap at 5/4. Like most other people, I expected Arsenal to win, but I had them at 2/5 for the win, and would never have had them odds on to clear the -1.5 handicap. Arsenal have won 33% of their home league games this season by more than 1 goal, yet there was an implied probability of 60% in terms of the market's estimation that they were going to beat Watford by more than one.

There is a similar issue in the prices for Man Utd tonight. I make them 4/11 favourites for the win; the market has them at 2/11, and unbelievably, they've actually shortened from the opening price of 1/5, and the famous Old Trafford outfit are at 1/2 to win by 2 or more, and only a shade odds against at 13/10 to win by 3 or more.

Man Utd have won 3 of their 11 home league games this season by more than one goal, a 27% ratio, yet the market has them at a 66% probability to do so tonight. United have won just one of their home league games this season by 3 goals or more, a ratio of 9%, yet the market gives them a probability of 43% to do so tonight.

Those prices are designed to ensure that Man Utd don't cost bookies money, and yet incredibly, the market is happy to back them into an even shorter price. After all, everybody loves a 'sure thing'.


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mathsbet
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Re: What is your most common football betting mistake?

Postby mathsbet » Wed Feb 01, 2017 12:47 pm

It's all just number play. It's essential that many lose at this game so that a few can win, for example. Paradoxically, the more we help each other to win ( if that's what we eventually do ), the more difficult it will get. The odds will get skinnier and skinnier. Just numbers.
I used to share this assumption, but I no longer hold this view. The reason being that the betting markets are not entirely rational. They are influenced by opinions and sentiment, and you only have to stand in a bookies for five minutes to realise that, for many if not most, of those punters, there is nothing rational about it at all.

Not to put too fine a point on it, the guessers will always outnumber the more meticulous bettors, simply because it takes more effort than most people are willing to expend to come up with the tools or skills to price markets accurately enough to take advantage of inefficiencies.

There are many reasons for this, and I will mention just two: fans and addicts. Although most serious bettors have a rule against backing their own team, that is simply not the case for many gamblers, especially because they may feel they have more information, or are better informed, because they watch their team a lot, whereas all they really have is an opinion clouded by the eternal optimism of the diehard football fan.

The addicts are probably the biggest source of income for bookies, and there are more than enough of them losing their wages every week to cover any amount of shrewd punters. The fact that people go in their droves to Las Vegas despite the iron-clad fact that the casino cannot be beaten is a testament to the innate irrationality of the gambling mindset. In my opinion, there will always be more than enough gamblers to keep this from becoming a purely probability based business, and so long as the bookies have to contend with the irrationality of the mob, there will always be opportunities for value betting.

Just my two cents, so to speak.

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Re: What is your most common football betting mistake?

Postby Inquisitorem » Wed Feb 01, 2017 2:18 pm

Can't disagree with you, mathsbet. You've put my generalisation under the microscope and found anomalies. I would have put money on there being some.

:win:
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Re: What is your most common football betting mistake?

Postby mathsbet » Wed Feb 01, 2017 10:04 pm

I didn't mean to disagree as such, just to give a more optimistic take on how the bookies can be beaten. The Arsenal and Man Utd games on this round were both perfect examples of how profitable it can be to oppose the famous clubs at the opportune moments. I literally couldn't believe the Man Utd price, and no doubt many 'mug punters' as some call them, literally can't believe how their 2/11 shot didn't come in tonight either!

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Re: What is your most common football betting mistake?

Postby Inquisitorem » Wed Feb 01, 2017 10:55 pm

Absolutely, mathsbet! I had Arsenal as a 62% chance, but they were priced as an 80% shot! Man United as a 68% chance, but were priced as an 83% shot!
As you rightly point out though, there are goodies to be had. Burnley were the standout for me, against Leicester. I had them as a 59% chance and they were priced at 2/1 ( a 33% shot ).
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Re: What is your most common football betting mistake?

Postby mathsbet » Wed Feb 01, 2017 11:06 pm

Yes, completely agree Burnley were the standout on this round. I've just checked my records, and I had them at 8/11 (a 58% chance); I find it interesting that our estimations were so close and the market so far off. I actually had to double check the price on Burnley when I saw it was 2/1, I thought it might be a palpable error :)

I am guessing that whatever system you use differentiates between a team's home and away form and gives more weight to recent results, probably focusing on the most recent 5 or 6 results. I don't think that the markets give enough consideration to home/away form, and the Burnley-Leicester game was a good example of a team that is very strong at home and a team very weak on the road, yet it was priced as a coin toss.

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Re: What is your most common football betting mistake?

Postby Inquisitorem » Thu Feb 02, 2017 8:51 am

Yes, emphasis on recent form, and although I do factor in home and away, more weight is given to the recent home games (if a team is at home).
I also factor in goals for and against, and I am contemplating using shots / shots on targets, to get an even bigger picture.
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Re: What is your most common football betting mistake?

Postby mathsbet » Thu Feb 02, 2017 8:56 am

I am using a goals system and a separate shots on target system. They seem to work well together, and where they are in disagreement, it's a good sign that a game can go either way.

One word of caution regarding shots on target stats. I would suggest taking them from whoscored.com or another site which uses Opta stats and cross-check them against the official stats, because I have found huge variation between shots on target stats given for the same match on different websites. Soccerway and Livescore are two examples of sites that give incorrect shots on target data, whereas the shots on target stats given on whoscored.com are always the same as the ones on the official league sites.

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Re: What is your most common football betting mistake?

Postby Inquisitorem » Thu Feb 02, 2017 9:09 am

Thanks, mathsbet. I have used KickOff, FootStats and the BBC site in the past. Invariably check out Betfair when in-play too. Will have a look at Who Scored as you suggest.
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Re: What is your most common football betting mistake?

Postby Inquisitorem » Thu Feb 02, 2017 9:18 am

United were interesting last night, when goals were factored. 1.20 to win the game, but 1.80 to win to nil. Hull were struggling to score a whole goal on average, and United weren't conceding a whole goal either. They looked good for a goal themselves, all things considered.
They didn't get their own way in the end, but the shots on target (and shots in general, for that matter) suggested the performance warranted a 1-0 scoreline (if we take a strict 1 goal per 8 shots / 4 on target average conversion rate). That ratio may be different now but it's been referenced in the past.
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Re: What is your most common football betting mistake?

Postby mathsbet » Thu Feb 02, 2017 11:16 am

I think that's spot on, 9 times out of ten (or maybe 8.4 times out of 10 :) ) United's attempts pay off and they win by a single goal, although their conversion rate at home is pretty appalling. I haven't updated my tables after last night's game, but before last night's game, it took them 4.7 shots on target per goal scored. Obviously, it will be around 4.9 after last night. That's the worst home conversion rate in the league by a distance, even though only Tottenham and Liverpool have more shots on target when playing at home. So United get lots of shots on target but convert very few of them, and consequently, there is likely to be value in opposing them on the handicap markets into the future.

Still, in terms of last night's game, United mustered 6 shots on target, so they "should" have scored, even with their terrible conversion rate. A more efficient team, like Chelsea, would score 3 goals from 6 shots on target.

It's worth stressing how much worse United's home conversion rate is than other clubs in the league, because with Zlatan on form, they might not seem like the least efficient attacking home side in the league, but the stats don't lie this far into the season. The next worst is Southampton at 4.1 shots on target per home goal; the most efficient is West Brom (at 1.9 shots on target per home goal scored), followed closely by Chelsea at 2.1 shots on target per home goal scored. Burnley and Leicester, at 2.3 and 2.4 shots on target per home goal scored respectively, are also perhaps surprisingly efficient when playing at home. By contrast, when playing away from home, Burnley only produce a goal for every 6 shots on target, while Leicester average 4.9 shots on target per goal when playing away from home.

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Re: What is your most common football betting mistake?

Postby Inquisitorem » Thu Feb 02, 2017 11:52 am

I hear ya, mathsbet.

Being a Saints fan, I can tell you what it feels like to follow a team that struggles to finish. Let's hope Manolo Gabbiadini fires!
Noticed how efficient Burnley were in coming up last season. Didn't even get close to the other top teams last season, with regard to shots / on target. But they could convert when afforded opportunity.
Last edited by Inquisitorem on Thu Feb 02, 2017 10:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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