Wednesday 21 February 2024

Second Leg When Up / Down By 3+ Goals

With an early second leg match today in the Europa Conference League, and the remaining 15 matches in this tournament and the Europa League tomorrow, I thought a look at how the market views second leg matches - in ties that appear to be decided - might be of interest.

The data below is from the Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League games going back to the 2003-04 season. 

In matches where the first leg resulted in a Home win by three goals or more, the market overrates the probability of the Draw in the return game, and thus offers value on both the Home team and the Away team. 

I suspect a couple of factors are at play here - the Home team doubts their ability to recover from such a large deficit whatever the club's public pronouncements may say, and that the Away team feel that the job is done, whatever their comments might say. 

Both teams may also be tempted to make some changes to their starting line-ups making the game more difficult to evaluate.

As much as I enjoy a nice Draw, I'm quite selective in the profile of matches I select from, and the results suggest that opposing the Draw in these matches is a solid strategy. 

When a goal is scored, and only two of 65 such matches have finished 0:0, the tie is either effectively over or, depending on how much time is left, a consolation goal that the Away side aren't too concerned about.

Of those 65 matches, only 10 finished as Draws and in matches where one team was a fair-priced odds-on favourite, just two of 22 ended as a Draw. 

It's a similar pattern in the reverse situation, where a second leg Home team comes into the game with a 3+ goal advantage. Just seven of 46 such matches end as Draws, three being 0:0 draws, with profits to be found backing both Home sides and Away sides. 
Don't get too excited about the large ROIs when the sample size is so small, but definitely something to keep an eye on.

Moving on, and with the NBA at its mid-season All-Star Break, it's a good opportunity to catch up on how the systems for that league are faring so far. The basic system is up just 2.56 units (an ROI of 0.8%), with the more selective sub-systems up 5.17 units (4.7%) and down 5.82 units (-14.5%) for the smallest of profits, boosted by the Totals system which is currently up 5.5 units (3.9%).  

It's a similar story of meagre profits in the NHL which had its mid-season break a couple of weeks ago. Here the basic system is up 2.52 units (0.7%) but it's clear that the days of double digit returns on our investments are a thing of the past:
Since 2015, the Basic ROI is just 1%, with the Premium currently at 3.3%

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