Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Uniteds Go Under

The Newcastle United v Manchester United 2.5 goals market attracted a lot of interest yesterday, in part no doubt due to a lack of top level fixtures. Not only Free Under Over Soccer Picks, but also Trading Football Markets , Blue Orange and Sports Trading Life all tipped Over 2.5 goals in the Newcastle United v Manchester United game at around 1.94 or so.

Free Under Over Soccer Picks justified it thus:

Newcastle all games UNDER/OVER 15/17
Manchester United all games UNDER/OVER 10/22

Newcastle home games UNDER/OVER 5/11
Manchester United away games UNDER/OVER 4/12

On average Newcastle scores 1.50 goals per game in all league matches this season, while conceding 1.47.
On average Manchester United scores 2.19 goals per game in all league matches this season, while conceding 1.00.

On average Newcastle scores 2.25 goals per game in all home matches this season, while conceding 1.44.
On average Manchester United scores 1.75 goals per game in all away matches this season, while conceding 1.44.

Last 17 league h2h matches UNDER/OVER 5/12
Trading Football Markets went for it based on
"Toon v Man Utd – Avg 4.3 goals pg at St. James’. Toon have failed to score just once from the last 10 of this fixture".
Blue Orange commented that
"My ratings suggest for over 1.5 goals the odds should be 1.12 and are available at 1.31. For the over 2.5 goals they should be 1.36 whereas on Betfair they're 1.96 which is a 22% difference."
Sports Trading Life looks back at previous matches to conclude that
"The goals favour Manchester United who have scored two goals minimum on every visit to St.James Park since 2005 and this has been a fixture the Red Devils have enjoyed down the years. The highlight being a 5-1 victory in February 2008. With Newcastle being Newcastle I can’t see many reasons why we shouldn't see more goals tonight. The price of over 2.5 is hovering around the 1.90 mark but that should easily be evens (2) if you wait just 5 minutes into the game before entering the market. I am looking forward to this game as it should be very entertaining, I will be looking to play the goals markets and enter as soon as the match starts to warm up."
My numbers also indicated that the Over 2.5 goals was good value, but as most readers know, the result was a 0-0 draw.

A few comments on the reasons put forward for why Overs was value. As I have suggested before, is the result of this game back in 2005, or ten rounds ago, really of any significance? I think not. It seems to me far more relevant how a team has performed recently, but even then care needs to be taken as results are not the same, i.e. a 3-0 home win over Blackpool is not the same as the same result v Chelsea. In other words a statistic such as Manchester United score 1.75 goals away this season is easily calculated, but does it mean anything? What is surely of more significance is Manchester United's recent performances away to teams of Newcastle's approximate strength.

Others though take a different approach to form, taking the view that if a team hasn't scored for a while, then they are 'due' a goal. This one really baffles me. Here's an entry from a recent post on the 500 to 5000 blog:
Today should have been a profitable day, but due to a few amateurish mistakes I suffered a loss. Basically, I laid 0-0 at Le Mans v Le Havre hoping for an early goal. Le Mans hadn't scored for 4 games so I presumed they had at least 1 goal in the bag. A goal was scored late in the game after I had laid off my trade. Whilst this was going on I laid 0-0 at Aarau v Lausanne. I quickly decided that this would be a 0-0 so I traded out for a loss, and a goal was scored. I should have left doing anymore until the Le Mans game was over. Something I need to learn for the future.
"Le Mans hadn't scored for 4 games so I presumed they had at least 1 goal in the bag".

It's a crazy enough statement to make in a true probability game such as craps or roulette, but in a sport like football, not scoring for four goals would suggest to me that form is poor and unless a star striker was returning to the line up and the previous four games were away to the top four teams in the league with a home game against the bottom of the table team coming up, I certainly would not "presume they had at least 1 goal in the bag". Sadly for 500 to 5000, he made a far worse decision on the Newcastle - Manchester United game by laying the 0-0 to the tune of four figures. I'm not sure that any supposed edge on a market like this would justify such a relatively large bet pre-game, but each to their own. I've made plenty of stupid mistakes, but none pre-game where value is that much harder to find in the first place, and three figures is more than enough.


NICK said...

shows how many guessers there are about!

Ben Aitken said...

One of those situations where it really did pay to go 'against the crowd'. Sometimes the case when there are so many people/tipsters/punters pointing towards an 'obvious' bet you should just stand up and swim against the tide.....

Free Under Over Soccer Picks said...

We at Free Under Over Soccer Picks are taking much more factors into account when we're selecting under/over picks. What you see here is just a template that we post each day.
There is what we are using:

overall goals scored
overall goals conceded
home goals scored
home goals conceded
away goals scored
away goals conceded
head to head goals statistics
how much goals team scores/concedes when playing a team at the similar position at the league table (we are dividing each league in 3 parts: top, middle, bottom)
how many shots at goal team takes/allows per game overall
how many shots at goal team takes/allows per game in home games
how many shots at goal team takes/allows per game in away games
weather conditions
current offensive form
current defensive form

Those stats by them selves don't mean much. The most important thing was to find the right balance between all those stats. Not all of them are equally important. Last year we were testing different options and at the end of the year we thought that we found the right balance/importance and from the New Years we started posting picks using the final version of the formula.

Our formula will not give 100% sure picks, because there is no such thing, but so far we are maintaining a strike rate around 60% and with average odds of 1.96 it's enough to make a profit. I wouldn't say we are guessers, but of course from time to time our picks will be completely wrong.

Regarding Newcastle - Man U game it's easy to talk now about it, but if you saw the game on TV you saw that OVER bet could have easily won after just 15 minutes. Game started with a lot of good scoring chances and an early goal could have changed everything, but unfortunately there was no goals.