Monday, 5 July 2021

Copa América Draws

This year, the Copa América tournament is proceeding simultaneously with the Euro tournament. In the past the Copa has usually been played in odd years, with the 2016 tournament a one-off centenary celebration.

Effective from 2020, CONMEBOL have now aligned their tournament with that of UEFA in even years, but of course the COVID-19 pandemic delayed both tournaments.

For those of you backing the Draw in the Copa knockout matches, and this is historically a good strategy for the same reason it is in other major tournaments, we are in profit after the Quarter-Finals with a very unusual winner in the Paraguay v Peru game. 

This was the text book example of a "toss-up" game with the Draw actually the favourite at prices varying from 2.7 to 2.86. 

The Draw should never be favourite as I explained in 2013:
The probability of a draw is clearly highest when the expectancy of goals is low. Of the under 1.5 goal outcomes, one-third (the 0-0) results in a draw. Add another goal and one-third of the six possible outcomes results in a draw, but add one more goal, and the draw probability drops precipitously. The draw outcomes from the Under 3.5 goal markets total two from ten.

So unless the goal expectancy in a match is two or less, the draw will never be favourite, but the closer to zero the goal expectancy is, the more probable the draw is. The relative lack of interest in the draw as a betting outcome does, in my opinion, make the draw a value bet when the market’s expectation of goals is higher than it should be.
Some books had Peru as second favourite, others had Paraguay, and the result was indeed a Draw, although if the market was expecting few goals, they might have been shocked with the 3:3 final score! 

Starting with the 2007 tournament, backing the Draw in the knockout stages of Copa América tournaments has an ROI of 45% with Quarter-Final matches at 75%, but as with the Euros, in Semi-Finals the value is historically on the favourite with an ROI of 20%.  

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