Friday 23 May 2014

Ligue 1 - 2013-14

After that very childish previous post, here's a more serious one reflecting on the draws, or more specifically general lack of draws, in the top leagues in Europe last season.

We'll start by looking at the draws by numbers, relative to the 10 years and 5 year averages for each league.

Very strangely, the percentages of matches finishing as draws is down in every league, when compared to both that league's five year averages and ten year averages. Ten measures, and every one was down.

Emma Pilling, also known as Andrew, commented:
Very strange results regarding the draws this season in the main leagues. What parameter effects all leagues? What is your opinion on the affect of the World cup on the individual players psychology for this year?
What parameter indeed? It is a World Cup year of course, but so were 2006 and 2010 and no such pattern was seen in those seasons. Quite the opposite in the Bundesliga where the 2005-06 season was a record high for draws in the Bundesliga with over 31%, and the next high season was 2009-10 with 28%. France's low of the last ten years was 2009-10 (25.5%) while 2005-06 was the highest in 2005-06 (27.6%) and the lowest in England (20.3%). In other words, no pattern - draws were up in some leagues, down in others, which is how averages like these usually work.

As for the psychological effect of the World Cup on individual players, I'm not sure there is much. Players in contention for a place need to play well during the season of course, but they need to play well every season at the top level. The risk of injury might cross a few minds as the season winds down, but top players play a lot of big matches whether it be Champions League, World Cup, European Championships or domestic games. I'm not convinced the mindset is any different in a World Cup year, and I certainly can't tie in a lack of draws. I think it's just one outlier of a season.

Looking at the leagues one by one, we'll start in France, where the percentage of drawn matches was highest at 28.7%, and closest to the longer term averages. Overall, one could have done a lot worse than backing the draw in every Ligue 1 match. The 380 bets at Pinnacle Sports prices would have resulted in a loss of 3.0 points, by far the best return of the five leagues. What is unusual here is the absence of the favourite-longshot bias already reported on in England and Germany. If we look at 380 matches in five groups of around 76 each, the draw returns break down as follows:
The money makers were those in the 40-80 percentile bands, and with the benchmark I proposed for the XX Draws being any draw priced at under 4.0, this made the benchmark in Ligue 1 hard to beat.
In fact, the XX Draws in France were just not very good. It wasn't that the percentage of matches finishing as draws was particularly bad - it was more that the matches ending as draws were for the most part not the likeliest of matches to end all-square.

The Unders fared better though. Backing the Under 2.5 goals in every match would have lost you 3.58 points, while the XX Draws backed as Unders made a profit of 1.52 points. A very strange league last season.

Next up, Serie A.

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