Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Who Needs Jim?

Robin asks "Just wondering if you had seen the Chievo v Sampdoria draw price for the game scheduled this Sunday?". I actually hadn't looked at this weekend's games yet, but thanks for 'drawing' my attention to it Robin. With over £300k traded already - compare with Lecce v Udinese at a little over £3k, one might suspect that we may see two teams not exactly battling it out this weekend.

While Chievo are probably safe, Sampdoria are less so, with eight defeats in the last ten matches, but remaining home games against two of the likely to-be-relegated teams, plus an away game at the hapless and doomed Bari, a draw may well suit both teams. Sampdoria drew their first four away games this season, and once since, and have failed to score in the last seven away matches (including that one recent draw). 0-0 has traded at 3.4, 1-1 at 3.0 and 2-2 at 3.05.

You can do your head in going back and forth over whether to back the draw or lay it, but it often helps to look at history. Over the past two seasons, there have been three Chievo home games with a suspect draw price. In 2008-09, they drew 0-0 with Bologna, while in 2009-10 they drew 1-1 with Catania and 0-0 with Parma. Of the other six 'dodgy' games in the last two seasons, 'only' 50% finished as draws. I shall let you 'draw' your own conclusions from those stats.

Perhaps not surprising that it's the lower to mid-table teams that seem most often involved in these 'settle for a point' games. Chievo Verona, Catania and Bologna most often appear while Udinese in seasons with nothing to play for have a couple to their name.

Another thing, since it's reasonable to assume the referee will be aware of the situation, wouldn't you think he'd want to award a late penalty to someone, just to piss the teams off?

On a similar topic, the possibility of a ban on in-play matches may be of interest to some of you:

The media across Europe is reporting extensively on speculation that football governing bodies FIFA and UEFA are seriously considering a ban on one of the most popular betting channels – in-game wagering.

Both bodies claim that the increasingly popular pastime of betting whilst games are in progress represents a bigger threat of manipulation than the more conventional gambling on results.

Marco Villiger, head of legal affairs at world soccer’s ruling body FIFA, and Gianni Infantino, general secretary of European counterparts UEFA, expressed concern this week over betting on things like the next free kick, throw-in or yellow card.

“These live bets are a problem,” said Villiger. “It’s very easy to manipulate if you contact a player and tell him to kick the ball into touch at the start.

“You would be able to bet on that and it would be difficult to decide if it is an irregular bet or not. We will have to think about whether we should continue to offer such live bets,” he added.

Infantino said the soccer authorities planned to consult with operators, noting: “This is something we want to address. It’s something we haven’t focused on too much since we were always focusing on the result, then you realise it switches much more from the result to the live betting. This is much more difficult to monitor. This is people betting on the next goal, the next throw-in, the next yellow card.”

UEFA president Michel Platini has described match-fixing as the biggest scourge facing the sport, and noted that FIFA is already investigating two friendly internationals played in the Turkey recently where a total of seven penalties were awarded, one of which was taken twice when the first effort was saved.

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