Tuesday 13 February 2024

International Draws Update

Although neither final in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations and the AFC Asian Cup resulted in a win, both competitions did end up in profit, and if you bet the Draw in third-place playoffs you would have had a winner.

In Asia the profit from the 15 knockout matches was 3.13 units, an ROI of 21%, while in Africa the profit was a more modest 0.38 units, an ROI of 3%

The Africa Final was one of those rare matches where the favourite was the Draw, and while the sample size in International matches is small, it's a scenario where I don't feel the Draw is likely to be value.

In the 9,000+ EPL matches for which I have prices, not a single one has ever had the Draw as favourite, I wrote a post on the Draw as Favourite more than 10 years ago in which I attempted to explain why this scenario should never be the case. 

I did mention that where special circumstances exist, e.g. a Draw would suit both sides, the Draw could be favourite, but mathematically this shouldn't be true and in a knockout tournament, this situation wouldn't apply anyway. 

Some leagues do have the Draw as favourite relatively frequently, for example in the Spanish Second Division has had 131 such instances in the past six seasons, but backing the Draw in these matches would have lost you 5% of your money, which is worse than the 1% loss when blindly backing the Draw in all matches.

The International elimination games where the Draw has been favourite are:
None of the four matches involving African countries ended as a Draw.

Back to third-place playoff games, and with the D.R. Congo v South Africa match on Saturday finishing 0:0, backing the Draw in these games in International tournaments is now slightly in profit both in Africa and overall, which is somewhat surprising given that none of the combined 11 World Cup and Copa America third-place games have never ended as a Draw. 

The overall record for all active international competitions (elimination matches excluding the Draw when favourite) now stands as shown here:
Why the CONCACAF Gold Cup is such an outlier is an interesting question. I'm of the opinion that it's due to the teams being relatively imbalanced with a 'Big Two' of Mexico and the USA - who between them have won 16 of the 17 tournaments and comprised seven of the Finals - and a chasing trio of 
Panama, Canada and Costa Rica.

When these five countries meet in elimination games, the results are interesting and backing the Draw is actually quite lucrative, with an ROI of 50% from 20 matches. There was also a draw in the 2015 playoff match between the 2013 and 2015 Gold Cup winners - you guessed it, USA and Mexico - for a place in the 2017 Confederations Cup, so the results are actually slightly better but I don't have any odds for this game. 

There's no Gold Cup until next year, so while it might be tempting to skip this tournament completely, it may be worth keeping an eye out for the matchups just mentioned.

1 comment:

weirimdi said...

inspired by your work I collected the data for main international domestic cup tournaments. The results are impressive. I analyzed the data from main competitions in Europe, Asia and South America.
I looked for the results from 2017/18 up to the latest one this season.
The best performing ones:
Turkey +160 Units (mostly in early stages, but there might be a reason for that)
Korea +70 Units
Japan +50 Units
French Cup +100 Units
Spanish Cup +75 Units

Now I started looking at data depending on the respective leagues of the teams involved.
I think there are some angles that are worth digging deeper into.
Keep up the great work.