Saturday, 4 July 2015

Price Boost

Daily25 had a good post this week on the importance of getting the best price possible. It's obvious of course, but perhaps not so obvious is the difference it can make over a season. Steve concludes his analysis with:
I believe I cost myself in between $20,000 and $30,000 profit this year because of my laziness. The fact that I only made a total profit of $38,533.30 means I could have added an extra 78% profit and ended the season on a much better $68,533.30.
That Steve bets are in a different league (often literally) to those of most of us is irrelevant. What is relevant is the percentage difference it can make. Steve mentions that "Pinnacle usually has the top price", and while that may be true overall in the markets Steve bets into, it is certainly nowhere close to being true for football.

In the EPL last season, Pinnacle were the top (or joint top) price on 27 homes, 43 draws and 47 aways - a total of 117 out of 1,137 (10.29%). The big plus for Pinnacle is their willingness to take a bet, and with their average total book of 1.02%, they are usually very competitive. In reality, the "best price" is often not available to us, or maybe but for only a limited stake, but for all the FTL entrants last season, the return of every single one would in practice have been better than the numbers recorded.

Using Steve's idea, and I have seen Joseph Buchdahl run the same experiment on tennis, the best prices on the XX Draws from last season's EPL would have boosted the total profit in that league from 13.87 to 15.64 points (+12.76%), with Pinnacle being the top price on just five of the 95 selections. The EPL was the best of the five leagues the XX Draws cover, the worst last season was not surprisingly in France where the 10 year average for Draws of 30.18% plummeted to a record low of just 23.16%. The XX Draws were obviously not the only system to suffer, with TFA Graeme noting in his Euro Draw System review:
As you can see, France was a major issue. My ratings obviously favoured this league for Draws due to the low goal expectancy historically but last season, the strike rate dipped massively in this league. The underlying ROI for backing draws in France was -18.4% which meant you were always going to take a bath backing draws in this league.
Away wins were the primary cause, a trend that continues across all nine leagues I watch, (last season's 30.39% was a record), but in Ligue 1, Home wins were also at an 11 year high. The odd thing was that the average number of goals was only up a little on its five year average.

Draws are a more volatile statistic than average goals, and thus more susceptible to luck which in the short term tends to dominate. To paraphrase Nate Silver, sometimes luck will obscure reality, even over the course of a whole year.

Thanks to the disaster in Ligue 1 (-21.99 points) and the loss of -12.71 in Serie A, the XX Draws overall lost 7.68 points to Pinnacle prices, or -0.06 points to Best prices. Serie A had plenty of Draws (31.6% was the highest since 2004-05) but ~47% were matches where the stronger team was at home. (Usually some 60% of Draws are where the Away team is 'stronger' ,e.g. in the EPL, it was 59.1% last season). 

Blindly backing every Serie A game to end in a Draw with Pinnacle last season would have made you a 72.29 point profit (83.72 points if you can back at the Best price). Backing draws priced over 4.0 is historically doomed, yet last season would have made 42.87 points (with Pinnacle).
The draws in the Big Five leagues last season were at least up on 2013-14's record low, but only by a little, and the trend towards more Away wins continues to exceed the ten-year average of 26.97% .
Europe has always had three distinct cultures - work hard / save hard (North), work hard / drink hard (East) and take it easy / whatever (South) -Vive Charlie

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