Saturday, 8 November 2008

Are Odds Really That Significant?

The question above was posted on the Betfair forum by 'deeper in debt', and is perhaps not (quite) as daft a question as it first appears.

I have a rating system that I use for football. Pre-game I calculate what I consider the odds to be, and if they are out of line, then I have my selection. I let this bet run, and the odds here are clearly very important.

But once a game is in-play, do I 'know' that after 10 minutes, the price of 1.62 on say the over/under 2.5 goals is correct? No. I assume it is, because football is a sport with years of historical data available, and the market on the betting exchanges is efficient, but I really don't know if 1.62 is the 'correct' price, or should it be more like 1.59?

If I am placing the bet with no intention of trading out, then in the long run, if I am backing at 1.59, but unders wins less than 62% of the time, then I will lose.

But if I am trading, do the odds themselves matter so much?

All I need to know as a trader is that if I am matched at a certain price, I will be able to trade out for a profit later. If I back at 1.62 and trade out at 1.59, I make the same as I do if I back at 1.59 and trade out at 1.56. However, the price will drop faster in the first instance than the second, meaning that one is at risk of a goal for longer, so again, the odds are important. Just not quite so important.

Back to the efficiency of the football markets, and I think this is why I struggle to make any money in-play on them. I have no edge. But in faster moving markets where perhaps there is less expertise, I find value presents itself a lot more often.

1 comment:

Steve said...

Now you see I would say that they are significant where you have the situation of one company giving much better odds than another.

For example in live soccer I used to think that Betfair ruled the roost when it came to giving the best odds but a friend put me onto betonlive who for some reason only do live soccer odds. In the past two months I have consistently come out better through the latter. They also charge no commission or charges and their limits seem pretty high as well through what I can tell.

So where my 1.62 on befair would normally have done the job, I can in a lot of cases get 1.64 on betonlive and pay no fee's (a real gripe of mine sorry).

Just my thoughts but I do think that odds are important but as you are they correct. Who knows only the bookies?