Sunday, 16 December 2012

It's All Over. Well, 80% Anyway

Although most of you will not be surprised to read that the majority of bets on the Under / Over markets are placed on the Overs, you might be surprised about how lopsided the bets on Overs are. A recent (November 2012) study from the University of Zurich finds that:
...betting volume is highly concentrated on the over bet, accounting for over 80% of the total betting volume.
The study used data primarily from central European based tipico, and studied whether bookmakers, knowing that the more 'desirable' bet was on overs, (most punters apparently find it a more attractive proposition to bet on goals) would adjust the price (offer worse odds) in an attempt to maximise their profits, a strategy that had been suggested by Steven Levitt in his famous 2004 study Why Are Gambling Markets Organised So Differently From Financial Markets? 

The conclusion of the new study is that bookmakers do not distort the odds offered, since:
Bettors can easily compare the odds listed by several diff erent bookmakers and fi nd the best odds through a number of websites such as or, which increases the bettors' price sensitivity. Thus, small price changes tend to have a large impact on the betting volume and eventually on the bookmaker's profi t. If a bookmaker increases the price (lowers the odds) of an over bet, sentimental bettors would switch to a competitor. On the other hand, if a bookmaker lowers the price (increases the odds) of an over bet, he gains additional sentimental betting volume, however, at the risk of substantial losses. We find that bookmakers do not distort their odds in either direction. They o ffer odds that reflect their best prediction of the true outcome probability and add an equally distributed commission, even when bettor sentiment leads to a highly asymmetric volume distribution.
Thanks to Scott (PT) for the link, and Helmut Reul @SportAnalytik for Tweeting it also.

Still plenty of games to come this weekend, but a few FTL contenders are done for the weekend, so I'll update them here. First, Peter Nordsted continues to play down his recent form with:
Well we have fallen a little flat over the past two weeks with none of the selections ending level. This should be expected though as we have had a spectacular run of results recently. Let's hope this weekend we can return to some form.
By my reckoning, Pete has had one winner from three selections for the past two weekends, and continued the trend with Stoke City v Everton this week, so the statement that 'none of the selections' have ended level is not quite correct. Drawmaster continues to perform well, and one winner from three each weekend should see Peter being a little more positive in my opinion.

The Stoke v Everton match was also an XX Classic Draw selection, one of two on Saturday with the other being the 1-1 draw between Reims and Liile.

With the Extended selections finding one from four (Granada v Sevilla 0-0) the hamper is on! Three more matches to negotiate today, but I am salivating already. Or perhaps at my age, drooling is the correct term.

Football Elite found another winner to go with the value Norwich selection already discussed, which was Fortuna Dusseldorf who beat Hannover '96 2-1. One money back draw (Reims v Lille 1-1) and one loss on Granada v Real Sociedad 0-0 rounded out the weekend for FE for an overall small profit. Interestingly, three of the four FE selections were XX Draw selections, and two of them finished level.

Back the Lay The Draw selection found one winner (Nijmegen v PSV Eindhoven 1-1) and after being down as much as 19.7 points, this strategy is now down just 5.65 points. No winners for Talkbet (Jon) or Little Al, but Neil had two winners and two losers, and increased his profits, while Premier Betting also had two winners from two selections, with another to come today.

Premier Edge still has five more to come, but at 3-6 so far, need a strong Sunday to keep the run going. The Bundeslayga system enjoyed Schalke's defeat to Freiburg, while Football Formbook also needs some wins on Sunday to finish the weekend in profit. No selections again from Griff, Tony or CKL.

One comment I've not addressed yet, which was this one from the exotically named Giovannina Bäcker who suggested:
Hey Cassini, Why bother with premium Charge and not just making new Account on your Son / Dad / Wife / Brother / Sister and so on... of course you need to make it a bit smarter (not same address, not directly close your betting, start betting slowly in meanwhile on other account...) - i think if you want, you can avoid at least some major junk of it..
If only it were that simple, but my betting style has become very specialised over the years. Nor do I have a brother. For straight punts, I can of course take my business elsewhere, but Betfair is the only viable option for the specialised markets where I make my bigger profits, and it would take Betair and its algorithm all of five minutes to match my new account fingerprint to my old one. Someone has said, the worst that can happen is that you pay the Premium Charges that you would have paid anyway, but I suspect my accounts (old and new) would be closed, and that is a price I am not willing to pay. With the consensus being that liquidity is dropping across all sports on Betfair, I remain hopeful that the Premium Charge will be modified at some point, or if BETDAQ would get their act together and turn a few markets in-play, that would help!

I read on the Betfair forum that the football markets now total around 80 on a typical EPL game (Norwich City v Wigan Athletic for example) which seems excessive to me, and only likely to spread the money too thin. Several markets are just re-wordings of other markets - Norwich to Score? Wigan to keep a Clean Sheet? and while I know some people like these fringe markets, (First Half Corners Match Bet? - Really?) - for me many of them are a distraction and a waste of time.
And finally, according to Blogger, this blog is closing in on half a million hits, just three months shy of its fifth anniversary. It will be taking a break at Christmas, as will its owner, but 2013 should arrive with over 500k views.

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