Saturday, 10 January 2015

Backing The Draw In-Play

Drawmaster Peter Nordsted recently posted an entry on his blog titled Would Backing The Draw be More Profitable as an In-Play Strategy?

The answer to that question is Yes - if it is possible to obtain better value odds in-play than pre-game, and No if it is not.

My opinion is that once a game is in-play, most home-trading individuals are going to struggle to find value. Football is so well studied and analysed these days that it's hard enough to find value pre-game, never mind in-play where you no no longer have the luxury of time and fewer available betting options.

Simplistic systems based on events in previous matches involving other clubs, in other leagues and other lifetimes just won't give you an edge, and there's no logical reason why they should. Of course, sometimes you will win, sometimes you will lose, maybe for an extended period of time, but in the long-run you will lose.

Other important disadvantages of trading in-play are that there is far less liquidity, especially on less important matches, and the money available is smarter. You might find get your £2 matched on the exchange at a close to fair price, but when it comes to £2,000, probably not. There is also the not inconsiderable downside of having to actually watch the games and spend close to two hours in front of the laptop.

It was suggested to Peter that he look at his past selections and see how many had an early goal, a suggestion which of course makes no sense at all. Selecting a draw is about finding matches where the goal expectancy is lower than the market's expectation, and any goals, whether early, late or somewhere in between, are impediments.

While it is true that goals beget goals, a discovery that is neither new nor secret, in general the lower the expectation of goals, the fewer goals will be begotten by that first one. In other words, if your model is good and you have identified value, an early goal is not necessarily fatal. A late goal is more of a problem!

For my own XX Draws, I looked at the time of the first goal this season, and one-third of matches have seen an early goal (1-20 minutes), and for backing the draw, these matches are up 6.83 points so far.

The true test is that after the match has been played, are Peter's Drawmaster selections finding value or not, and right now, they are.

Over the 149 matches selected, Peter has found value betting pre-game on the draw and an ROI of 4.7% isn't too shabby, and in reality is higher given that the recorded prices are those of Pinnacle Sports, and usually beatable.

Peter's conclusion on the question posed is rather vague, starting with a statement that could be applied to anything:
I still am a firm believer that if you have an edge then backing the draw long term is an excellent strategy. 
Yes, we all know that IF you have an edge, then betting it any way is an excellent strategy, but the question was Would Backing The Draw be More Profitable as an In-Play Strategy? Peter gets to this with:
However the idea of an In-play Drawmaster could be even better, especially if you are dealing with matches in the big European Leagues where prices are keener and there is not the problem of getting matched.
In other words, Peter is claiming that for the more liquid games, in-play offers better value than pre-game, and by extension that for all other matches, pre-game is the way to go. Certainly I agree that you're not going to find value too often trading a League Two match on a Saturday afternoon, but I'm not convinced that higher in-play liquidity on bigger matches, still less than in the pre-game markets, means greater value. Not many of us at home have the resources to compete with the big players in this field, and my opinion is that it is delusional to think we can.

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