Saturday 16 September 2023

Rugby Favourites

I briefly mentioned NFL Totals in my last post, and I've spent quite a lot of time looking into the totals for NFL games and identified some interesting areas where the markets appear to show some bias, and updated the 'sacred manuscript' accordingly. A winner on Monday night followed by a loser on Thursday night, but with an ROI of 10.3% in the 419 selections since 2014, and a win percentage of 56.7%, this is worth following for the long run.

I also took a look at Rugby Union, a sport where the point scoring changes complicate the historical data, and additionally challenging when they are implemented at different times in different tournaments. For example, the Bonus Point rules - which have had a significant impact on the number of tries scored - were included in the Tri-nations since it's inauguration in 1996, the Rugby World Cup from 2003, but not implemented for the Six Nations until 2017. 
They [bonus points] have been used in the Rugby World Cup group stages since 2003 and the English top tier since the 2000-01 season but didn’t arrive in the Six Nations Championship until 2017. Since their introduction, they have had a positive effect on the number of tries scored in the tournament, with an average of 5.12 tries scored per game since 2017 compared to just 3.91 per game between 2000 and 2016.
For the matches where I have prices, results across the three major tournaments show that in the Rugby World Cup, 87% of favourites win their matches, in the Six Nations it's 76%, while in the Rugby Championship it's 74%. 

The World Cup strike rate is higher due to the large number of uncompetitive games in the Pool Stage although trying to buy money on these is risky with 3 of the 48 favourites priced at 1.01 or not backable managing to lose. With 50% of favourites in Rugby Union priced at 1.18 or shorter, these strike rates perhaps aren't surprising. 

The second round of Pool Matches this weekend is typical with six of the eight games having a favourite whose average price is 1.01 (the first three have already won, and good luck trying to get that price on South Africa) and England are an 'official' 1.04 but can be backed at 1.08 on the exchanges. Australia v Fiji is this the only game that could be described as anything close to 'competitive' with Australia currently at 1.42 on average and 1.52 on Betfair. All three Pool Stage favourites at around this price (1.45 to 1.55) have won, but across all three major competitions only 22 of 43 have won. 
More to come on this sport as the World Cup gets into the more competitive knockout stages, although even here, 25% of matches have a favourite at 1.18 or shorter, all of which have won by the way (see above) although two were by just the one point.  

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