Thursday, 23 July 2020

Play-Off Home Pressure

It was quite an exciting finish to the Championship last night with Swansea City overtaking Nottingham Forest and grabbing a play-off spot by virtue of winning by three goals and Forest losing by the same margin, while at the bottom end of the table Barnsley (who beat Forest on Sunday) beat promotion chasing Brentford to secure a remarkable escape at the expense of Wigan Athletic and poor old Charlton Athletic who joined Hull City in the relegation places. All three were Premier League clubs in fairly recent history. 

With six matches to play, this was the bottom half of the Championship:
None of the bottom five ended up being relegated although with the 12 point deduction hanging over Wigan, the table doesn't tell the whole story perhaps. 

As this Tweet from Jake Sanders pointed out:
Barnsley were in the relegation-zone every week from 15 September until the 91st minute in the final game of the season and survived. Charlton were in it for one week all season and got relegated.
The play-offs are thus set, and begin on Sunday with the possibility of an All-West London Final, or an All-South Wales Final.  

Historically, the play-off markets at this level (since the 2003-04 season) place too much confidence in Home teams. 

Backing Away teams in the first leg has an ROI of 23.7% while in the second leg it is 32%

The idea that the first leg, hosted by the higher seeded team, is usually a close match is borne out by the statistics which show a healthy profit from backing the Draw over 100 such matches across the top three play-off tiers, but it's the under-performance of Home teams which is striking.

The table below should be fairly self-explanatory. The Stage is Tier Level 1,2 or 3 (Championship, League One, League Two) and the SF.x is the first or second leg. Odds are from Oddsportal and are adjusted to a 103% over-round. The raw over-round is as high as 113% in earlier years.
While Home sides generally do better in the second leg, an overall ROI of -17.3% from 200 matches is pretty bad.

Laying the Home team is clearly where the edge is, but with only four games per tier each season, any one year can easily see a four unit loss from this strategy, so don't go silly.  

Of course it's possible that the pressure of playing in front of demanding supporters is to blame, in which case maybe this edge evaporates for a season with no one there!

In case you were wondering, the last time all four Home teams won in the same season was in 2004.

For anyone following me with my $TSLA investment, there was more good news yesterday with NPR reporting:
Already a Wall Street superstar, Tesla turned a profit for the fourth straight quarter, an important milestone that will make it eligible to join the S&P 500 stock index for the first time.
Even though its main factory in Fremont, Calif., was closed for much of the time, the electric-car maker brought in more than $6 billion during the second quarter, well above analysts' expectations. Tesla reported a profit of $104 million, a reversal from a year earlier when it lost $408 million.
Tesla's stock has enjoyed towering gains this year, going from $430 a share at the start of 2020 to nearly $1,600 at the close of trading Wednesday. It's the biggest automaker by market value. Even its CEO, Elon Musk, has called the company's stock overvalued.
If Tesla joins the S&P 500, as expected, many investment funds will be obligated to buy it, which means it will become part of many people's retirement savings.

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