Friday 5 August 2016

Steaming Away In The EPL

As had been promised a few days ago, the long awaited Pinnacle closing prices appeared on Joseph Buchdahl's Football Data web site yesterday. Wonderful news, except that my weekend plans will now have to be postponed, and possibly those of next week too.

I started off by taking a look at the EPL, interested to confirm a theory I had about backing the Draw in matches where the market had no clear favourite.

I found that no less than 50 favourites at the time of the first price scrape ** drifted to outsider status by kick-off in the four seasons 2012-16. Of these, 16 of the new favourites won, 17 of the former favourites won, and the remaining 17 matches finished as draws with an ROI of 16%.

That was good news, although a dozen bets a season isn't going to interest too many people.

The second thing I was interested in was the difference in returns for shorties which is a boring but consistently profitable strategy in certain top leagues.

Backing selections with an implied probability of 0.7 or more at the first scrape has an ROI of 3.4%, which is better than the results if you wait until kick-off when they drop to 2.4%.

"But what about big movers?", I hear you ask.

Update: I managed to screw up the results, here are the actuals:

Backing Away drifters (10%) was actually as good a strategy as backing Away steamers which is something I'd missed in the original post. Worth noting that blindly backing every Away team would have resulted in a 13.00 point profit. Not all Implied Probabilities are created equal though:
Backing the draw in the (conveniently exactly) 1,000 matches where the implied probability of the Draw was 0.25 or greater at kick-off would have boosted your account by 49.22 points, and you can all work out the ROI% on that. (+50.33 from 1,017 selections if you bet early).

I'll take a look at other leagues over the next few days but this post should give some of you pause for thought as the new season rapidly approaches.

** Regarding the first 'scrape times' about which a few readers have asked, Joseph's website states that "Fixtures and betting odds for upcoming games are also are made available, collected Friday afternoons for weekend fixtures, and on Tuesday afternoons for midweeek games." 

Joseph has clarified via Twitter that the actual times are on Fridays (for games being played Friday through Monday) between 3pm and 5pm UK time, and on Tuesdays (for games being played between Tuesday and Thursday) between 10am and 12pm UK time.
This does mean that there will be significantly less time between 'first scrape' and closing for Friday night matches than there will be between 'first scrape' and closing for the Monday night matches.


Brian said...

Interesting post Cassini and this along with my recent reasonable amount of early success following the money with my horse racing market movers ( has prompted me to trial something similar in English Football, again using betfair's exchange.

I previously thought that the odds movements for football would be far less signifcant than in horse racing but your post, albeit analysing pinnacle's closing prices, gives me hope. Findings from our football betting so far have shown that selections priced 2/1 and above are where the majority of value can be found and mostly in away selections.

So to begin with I'll be looking at homes and aways that have come in by 1% or more (with signifcant enough liquidity) that are priced over 2/1. Odds will be collected every 30 minutes in the lead up to kick off. I'm not sure something that moved by just 1 percent is necessarily a steamer though and will go with the tres basique name of 'Footy Movers' for this profile.

I actually think 1% might be too low and trigger too many bets and so will incease this number if necessary. The profile will be here if anyone is interested:

I can easily amend to set a similar profile up for the draw if you or anyone else has any ideas for criteria that you think could be of interest.


Smithlondon said...

"Backing the draw in the (conveniently exactly) 1,000 matches where the implied probability of the Draw was 0.25 or greater at kick-off would have boosted your account by 49.22 points, and you can all work out the ROI% on that. (+50.33 from 1,017 selections if you bet early)."

As always your blog is an interesting read. The above caught my attention. I don't currently bet on football but I'm always looking for new systems to add to my portfolio. I believe diversity is important, so naturally those numbers piqued my interest, and with the season starting I decided it was worth a few hours of my time to have a look at. Even if it was more in hope than expectation. So I data dumped the sheets from football-data (excellent website) and went to work. I took the odds of five of the bookies listed (B365, BWIN, Lads, Hills, VC) for the last 10 seasons. I used those as they seemed to be the only ones listed for the complete 10 years. Averaging the odds and then applying your criteria (Back the Draw when implied prob > 0.25) gave me a return of 7.73 points from 1134 for the last four seasons, but a loss over the 10 seasons of -96.16 from 2937. I got closer to your four year results when I adjusted the average odds to represent a 100% book (my proxy for exchange odds). In that case I got a 39.81 point profit off 1005 (while applying a 5% commission) but I still registered a loss of -26.35 over the 10 seasons(2689). While I'm not suggesting your approach or numbers are wrong, a longer term view dampens the enthusiasm somewhat although I'm still searching for your filter.