Tuesday, 3 November 2020

Not in Kansas Anymore

Early in the 2009-10 EPL season, Betfair Forumite "The Magician" commented on the lack of Draws in that league to that point, and suggested that he was "thinking about backing every draw until the end of the season."

There was some debate about the soundness of this strategy, for example whether this was akin to backing tails after consecutive heads, but the OP was making the assumption that "football has not changed that much" and that the draw price would likely increase in response to their relative scarcity. 

He started his strategy on September 27th with the Sunderland v Wolves match. At this point in the season, there had been four draws in the opening 64 matches, well below the Premier League's 26.9% for draws since 1992.

As it turned out, The Magician was right. Nothing had fundamentally changed with the Premier League, and by the end of the season, the draws were at 25.26%, only one fewer than the previous season and backing the Draw in every remaining game at Bet365 prices would have generated a 7.1% profit.

This season has started off slowly for the Draw also at under 20% for the season, but the big story so far is in the percentage of matches being won by the Away team. Long time readers of this blog will know that I have predicted the decline of home advantage at the top level of the game, and with the implementation of first goal-line technology followed by VAR and now the added factor of no crowd, this 'advantage' has become a disadvantage. 

With one exception, the first season after the Second World War, Away wins in top division in England had never (going back to 1882-83) surpassed 30% until 2011-12. Five of the eight seasons since have seen that level beaten, and as of today the percentage is 45.6%. 

The problem is that unlike in 2009 when nothing had fundamentally changed in football, we can't say that this time. 
In the Bundesliga, Home teams currently have just a 35.2% winning record (a low since 1993 when my spreadsheet for the European leagues begins), while in La Liga home teams are also at an 'all-time' low (38.4%) with Away wins at a record high (35.6%). 

In Ligue 1 and Serie A, it's the Draws which are at an all-time low, with the Away at all-time highs.

In my formative years, the Home team in Division One won around 50% of matches, with 25% for the Draw and Away, but it's a different world now. Good luck if you fancy laying Away teams for the rest of the season. 
One final nibble at Biden's great value odds this morning. The odds will shorten as the day goes on, or at least that has been the pattern for some time now. Hopefully by this time tomorrow they will have shortened a lot more usual. 

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