Sunday 18 June 2023

Two Mountains and a Funeral

Just ten days shy of his 96th birthday, my Dad passed away this week, so Father's Day will be a little different today.

Aside from the football pools and a small flutter on the Grand National every year, he wasn't a betting man, though he does get a mention in the "About Me" section of this blog:

The first system I came up with was a simple one - back the favourite and double up after a loss until a winner. Simple enough in theory, and I told my Dad about it. Not being a betting man himself, he ran it by some of his colleagues, and came home to tell me that it wouldn’t work because a long losing run would mean that the bank would be empty. Then there was always the possibility that the winner would be returned at odds-on, meaning that the total returns would not match the outlay. Not what a ten year old wants to hear!

My interest in betting at that tender age may well have been triggered by Foinavon's win at 100-1 in the Grand National that year, a race I vividly remember watching with him in 1967. 

My Dad was more of a Rugby man, playing for the Old Purleians, now Purley John Fisher, until the late 1950s, and watching home matches in person until a few years ago, but he did take me to two matches at Selhurst Park. 

One was a 0:0 draw versus West Ham for my 13th birthday in 1970 and the other was an Anglo-Italian Cup game against Cagliari the following May which Palace won 1:0. Cagliari have been my Italian club ever since, and they will be back in Serie A next season.  

I'll not be blogging for a while with more important matters to attend to. Along with the funeral, I have another grandchild arriving next week - the circle of life, and my first grandson too - and a much anticipated trip to the Lake District the week of July 10th to climb Scafell Pike and Helvellyn, weather permitting.

Happy Father's Day if you are lucky enough to have or be one, and I shall return in a month or so. Stay safe.

Saturday 10 June 2023

No More Favourites

The Champions League Final tonight sees Manchester City, an especially powerful or domineering team, as the hottest Overdog since prices began in 2004.

Only four previous finals have seen the Overdog (at fair odds) be odds-on, and none have (yet) lost:
Backing the O'dog in all previous CL finals has an ROI of 24%, but the last two have been won by the U'dogs - Chelsea in 2021 against Manchester City and Real Madrid last season against Liverpool. Here are all finals, O'dog listed first:

Monday 5 June 2023

Second Legs

The First Legs of the Bundesliga and Bundesliga.2 Promotion / Relegation Playoff Finals both went to the Home (and Favourite) teams, and both by large margins. 

Stuttgart beat Hamburg by three goals on Thursday, with Wehen Wiesbaden going one better versus Arminia Bielefeld on Friday. 

The Second Leg matches start today and only once has the Home side overcome a deficit from the First Leg, Dynamo Dresden in 2013, and that was a mere one goal handicap, and only once has a team ever previously come into one of these games with a three or greater goal deficit to overcome - Vfl Osnabruck in 2021 (who won 3:1).

The danger of betting in a game where one side has a big lead is around the issue of motivation for the leading side since even a small loss is enough to win the tie, but is this factored into the odds?

While there is almost no data in these specific Bundesliga playoffs, there are 65 matches to look at from the European club competitions where the Home side has faced a deficit of three goals or more, and there are a few profitable strategies. 

Backing the favourite in these games has an ROI of 12%, backing the Home side of 21% and backing the Away side of 18%. However, in a small sample size, that latter number is influenced by four wins at a raw 5.89 or longer.

Needing to score at least four to have a chance for promotion, Arminia Bielefeld are favourites to win the game tomorrow, while Stuttgart are favoured to win in Hamburg.

Home teams trailing from the First Leg:
For the record, simply blindly backing the Away team in second leg Bundesliga play-off games has an impressive ROI of 71% from 28 matches. 

Thursday 1 June 2023

Europa League Final

The odds on the Europa Cup Final ended up not being a three-way tie, but the price movements were interesting to watch. 

While I was matched at 3.05 on Tuesday, the Draw price shortened to as low as 2.5 (and favourite) with William Hill, although I've not been a welcome guest there since around 1990, so the price was of academic interest only. 

The 'official' prices I use are the Average Odds from Odds Portal and these ended up being: 
I was also on the Under 2.5, matched at 1.53, while Odds Portal ended up with a Highest price of 1.39, an Average of 1.36 and Pinnacle at 1.35. Clearly someone was reading this blog:
all six matches went Under 2.5 with three ending as Draws. Under is currently around 1.53.
Short prices don't necessarily mean poor value though, and with a fair probability of 34.9%, the Draw was the shortest in the 1,899 European matches in my spreadsheet. The next shortest? Another AS Roma game all the way back in March when they played Real Sociedad and were a fair-priced 2.94. 

These are the only two matches where the Draw has been sub 3.0, something that has never been the case in the Domestic spreadsheet although in International Knockout matches, the Draw has been favourite three times: 
Almost ten years ago, I wrote a post about the Draw explaining why it is (almost) never favourite: 
Although the markets have changed a lot since I wrote that article, I remain convinced that in certain types of match, there's still some value to be had backing the Draw, and it's a strategy that has served me rather well over the years, although some might say it's a little sad to have spent over a decade getting excited about 0:0 Draws. 

Here are the Europa League Finals since 2004 with the fair Draw prices:
Also, Sevilla's record in this competition is nuts!