Thursday, 17 December 2020

Close Draws and College COVID Caution

While the Fulham v Brighton and Hove Albion game did stay outside the "Toss-Up" range, it was a qualifier in the "Close" category and finishing as a perfect Draw stopped the losing sequence for "Close" bets at 17. 

With only 27 Draws in the EPL so far, the strike rate is one of the lowest (fourth lowest in the EPL era), due to the highest rate of goal scoring in the top tier since the swinging '60s. 

There's a long way to go this season, but the Away wins are on course for a record season, currently over 40%, far higher than the previous record of 33.68% set a couple of years ago. First goal-line technology and VAR, and now no home crowds, and Home advantage seems to have vanished entirely.

The median fair price of 4.07 on Draws this season is much higher than pre-COVID's 3.67, so even when there have been Draws, they have tended to be longer priced. The second longest priced winner was the 12.6 for the Manchester City v West Bromwich Albion game at the weekend where Manchester City were the 13th team to be sub 1.10 and the third to fail to win at that short a price. 

With all the uncertainty caused by COVID-19 at the start of the College Football season, I decided not to spend the time on this sport this season. 

With a lower profile than the professional major sports outside the US, it's often not always the easiest sport to get a bet on, even if you focus on the 'bigger' Division 1A matches, but the challenges of COVID seemed to me to make this 'amateur' sport even more likely than the pro sports to be seriously impacted. 

The players are technically students, and it seemed to me that even if games went ahead, there was a decent chance that key players would be missing and without crowds, it would all be a bit of a lottery, and I don't like betting in such circumstances. College Football, unlike the NFL, has no requirements on teams to produce injury reports. 

Over the years, as in the NFL, Small Road 'Dogs have performed very well, until this season as seen in the chart above. Winners have exceeded losers for 19 consecutive seasons, although three seasons would have resulted in a loss backing at 1.952, but this season so far, it's a different story. 

The five-thirty-eight web site has an interesting article on the 2020 College Football season which is worth a read. The title is Losing Money Betting On College Football This Year? You’re Not Alone.

It was a quintessential 2020 college football betting story. During a season that we weren’t sure should have been played, things have been rendered even more complicated for people outside the game, whether they’re just betting for fun or rely on it to make a living. Results like this go beyond tough beats and into a realization that, in yet another way, this year is not normal. The sport has been uniquely difficult to predict for those trying to find a reliable edge.

Sometimes, the decision not to get involved is a good one.

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