Saturday 14 September 2013

Below Average

With 'only' 3.8 rounds of matches completed in the EPL, any worries from 'fans, pundits and punters' over the drop in goals this season might seems a little premature, but 38 matches represents exactly 10% of the season. Right now, the average goals per game is 1.92, while the average over the last three full seasons is 2.8.

Peter Webb discusses this in his post today and while the current rate is certainly below average, it should be noted that the last three seasons have seen more goals than any other period in Premier League (20 team) history.

Over 18 completed seasons, the average is 2.64, ranging from a low of 2.45 (2006-07) to a high of 2.81 (2011-12), so 1.92 is well out of this range with exactly 10% of the season played.

Strangely the percentage of draws is lower than might be expected with a lot of binary scores, currently at 23.7%. Only six teams have seen a team score more than two goals, Arsenal (twice), plus Aston Villa, Cardiff City, Crystal Palace, plus both Manchester teams, and only five teams have an average goals (total) per game exceeding the long-term average - Arsenal, Aston Villa, Manchester City, Sunderland and Swansea City. It won't last, but will the average of recent years be reached? Probably not.

The remaining 342 matches would need to see an average per game of 2.89, a total not reached in a full top division season since 1967-68 when the average was 3.03.

I have no official prices yet for today's games, but backing the Under 2.5 goals over the first 30 games this season would have seen a profit of  11.5 points (using average prices), with 27 Unders (71.1%). As a comparison, last season saw just 44.2% of games stay Under 2.5 goals.

Unfortunately knowing what Unders backing would have returned is of academic interest, and turning this data into money is quite another matter. Peter generously suggests that:
At this stage we’d cautiously suggest that ‘unders’ represents slightly greater value for the next few weeks. However, there could be real value in ‘overs’ from weeks 11-20, as the bookies might over-react to the low scoring start. This is also historically the most profitable quarter of the season for backing ‘overs’ (there tends to be a slight drop in goals in the third quarter, while ‘overs’ gets priced in during the fourth quarter).
I somehow doubt that the bookmakers will overreact to a low scoring start. Unless there is some intrinsic reason for the drop off in goals, a change in the offside law that I missed or a reduction in the size of the goals, the goals will pick up soon enough, although as I said earlier, probably not by enough to match the averages of the last three seasons.

1 comment:

Emp said...

It's too early to know if this is a trend or just variance, but to me an "intrinsic reason" for the drop in goals seems quite plausible.