Sunday, 12 August 2012

Spreading Those Wings

SoccerDude has had some nice words for my blog and other articles in the past, and his blog contains some great articles on topics such as Poisson for Dummies and the Correct Score market which are well worth reading, but that doesn't make him immune for a little gentle prodding.

He writes that:

Most people seem to expect the Charity Shield will be a draw, but since 1990, only eight matches have ended full-time as a draw, with the remaining 14 matches seeing a positive result inside 90 minutes.
'Only' eight matches from 22 have ended as draws? That would put the implied price of a draw at 2.75, a price that is rarely seen outside of late season Italian matches. And why look back at the last 22 matches? It's not exactly a round number, so could it be because games 21 and 22 were both draws? 6 from 20 (3.33) or 9 from 30 (3.33) are also both true, suggesting the 22 figure was somewhat cherry-picked, but anyway, the nature of this game has changed in the recent years. Certain matches tend towards having their own personality, and the Community Shield is one of these. SoccerDude sums up the probable reasons:
The last three years have seen a surfeit of goals too, so perhaps it's a chance for the top teams to spread their wings, unencumbered by any real expectations or any real dangers (a loss in the Charity Shield doesn't really "matter", so to speak). In that time, there have also only been two 0-0 scorelines, the most recent when Man Utd played Portsmouth, who may have played more defensively than most teams tend to do.
I think he hits the nail on the head with the appearance of Portsmouth in this game in 2008. They are the only team outside of the 'Big Five' (Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United) to feature since 1997, and it's reasonable to assume that it meant a lot more to them than it did to any of the Five. Perhaps not as much as avoiding extinction, but a lot, even in those heady days.

SoccerDude continues with this:
Anyway, I have no real clue about scores, but I wouldn't be surprised if a goal or two was banged in later today, and I will be trading with that in mind. The beauty of trading, of course, is that it doesn't really matter whether the goals go in or not. Trading is not guessing. It's simply taking a position for a defined period of time.
"I have no real clue about scores". That statement seems to me to be incorrect. SoccerDude does have a clue. He has already identified that with two big teams in a game of this character, neither is going to care too much about the result, and the probable 'spreading of wings' means a higher expectancy of goals than in a competitive game.

If Soccer Dude has identified that the market's expectancy of goals is lower than his, then my approach would be to bet (punt) accordingly, and walk away. (I prefer my sport to be meaningful). With probably thousands of people 'trading' this game, it seems to me that identifying in-play trading opportunities is at best difficult, and that you are better served to let the bet run. Not all matches will play out as your research suggests of course, but no one with any understanding of sports betting expects that, but the key is to be right more often than the odds suggest you should be. Value.

Somewhat related to this topic is whether you should trade out of a position late in a game. As you read yesterday, the first Classic selection of the season was a winning bet before a late (90') Lille goal spoiled the party. Last season, I experienced this six times, one match in every 26, so it's hard to argue that greening up at sub 1.04 is a wrong move. Whether or not that price is value at the time it is available is another thing, but it's not likely to be far off.

I took a look at how often the HT 0-0 bet is scuppered by a late goal, and not surprisingly (there is less time added on at the end of the first half) the total was lower at 3 (from 156 matches). Only 8 matches saw a first half first goal come later than the 40th minute. The evidence from this small sample suggests that the conventional wisdom that teams are happier to play out the last few minutes of a drawn game at half-time rather than full-time has some merit.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at First Pitch

There was one more Classic XX Draw selection today, which was newly promoted Stade de Reims v Olympique Marseille. Classic selections are 2 for 2 for the 0-0 at Half-Time, but unfortunately the second halves have been frustrating. Marseille scored relatively late (77') to secure a 1-0 win, which resulted for a win on four of the five markets I suggest (HT 0-0, U1.5, U2.5, U3.5) but a loss on the one that the selections are measured by, the Match Odds Draw.   

An interesting web site for Elo fans is the one at - interesting because it's always interesting to compare my ratings with others. While the top four are the same for mine and ClubElo, I have Barcelona top instead of Real Madrid, and my fifth rated team, Liverpool, don't even make ClubElo's top 13. This is what happens when a team's results don't align with their 'behind-the-scenes' efforts!

In baseball today, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim were a very, to put it mildly, short 1.38 to beat the Seattle Mariners. Neither team is in form right now, the Angels 3-7, Mariners 4-6 in their last 10 games, and in a game where any team can beat any other on any one day, that price, one of the shortest I have seen, was worth opposing. Seattle won 4-1.  


SoccerDude said...

I've posted a retort on my blog. Hope you take in the jesting, frivolous manner in which it is meant.


AL said...

i thought we were going to get the holy grail of when to trade out of your position - a future post maybe?

Little AL