UK & Ireland Football

Using the stats to profit on in running football

Matt talks stats RSS / Matthew Walton / 03 March 2008 / Leave a comment Free £25 Bet

"Magical" Matthew Walton tells us why keeping a spreadsheet by your laptop during in running football matches can allow you to find huge vale - take Evertyon's win over Portsmouth yesterday ....

Over the last couple of weeks we've discussed football betting in terms of the 90 minute game. Formulating a couple of strategies (on team selection and HT/FT results) which can be implemented pre-match and then let to run their course as the game unfolds.

However, should you place your bets minutes, hours, even days before a match and then simply wait for your fate to be decided, you're missing one of the great advantages of Betfair. Namely, the in-running markets.

This is because there are statistics which can be collated pre-match which often have as much use, and offer as much profitability, when applied during the game as opposed to beforehand. It's all a question of applying them to the right market at the right time.

You can sit watching the match, have your facts and figures at your finger-tips and then bet accordingly. When something happens you can look up the related figures and make your bet (whether that's following the trend or opposing it) on the grounds of statistical evidence.

Too many punters will bet on emotion, a knee-jerk reaction, when here we're trying to be a little more sophisticated than that. We're playing the percentages, they're not, and long-term these should stack up in our favour.

Take, for example, the weekend match of Everton against Portsmouth. Prior to kick-off Everton were traded around (2.0). You may well have considered them a decent bet at the odds.

Mind you, as soon as Yakubu headed them into the lead in the first minute, those odds had plummeted to (1.31). Pompey drew level before the break and as the second half wore on the home side drifted out past (2.25), (2.5) and were even traded as big as (3.1) before a couple of late goals saw them win the match 3-1.

In keeping with our in-running discussion, a few sets of figures could be applied to this match to highlight our point. The example we're using here is the record of Premier League sides when they score the first goal in a match.

The table below illustrates the respective record of sides so far this season.

You'll note the performance of Everton. In terms of percentages, when the Toffees score first in a match they go on to win it 88% of the time (second only to Portsmouth themselves who have a perfect 100% record).

Using this information, even if you hadn't taken the quotes of (2.0) before the match, you could argue that the offer of (1.31) after Yakubu had scored was still very good value.

Everton have won 88% of the matches when they score first and that figure suggests they should have been around (1.13) to win as soon as they took the lead.

For sure, it's not a very difficult argument to make - i.e. the side who scores first tends to win the match - but when you look at the figures, along with the odds available, it really does show the value which is on offer.

Furthermore, if you wanted to be extra greedy, having lumped on David Moyes men at (1.31) once they had gone 1-0 up, you could have gone in again at much bigger odds even after Pompey drew level.

Why? Because the statistics show that Everton win 88% of these matches. That includes matches where the opposition don't score at all or draw level (even if they go ahead). They still win 88% of the matches - that's the percentage at full-time and that's the figure you should remember.

This second point, please note, is an interesting one to consider and one we'll come back to in greater detail in the near future.

And just look at the table again. For every Portsmouth or Everton, who win a very high percentage of the matches in which they take the lead, there is a Derby or a Fulham (who have won just 1 of 11 games when they have scored first, a lousy 9%).

Sides who score first should be looking to win at least 75% of their matches and clubs such as Wigan (63%), Newcastle (60%), Middlesbrough (54%) and Birmingham (45%) all come in way below that mark. Spurs as well at 53% are very poor in this respect. Ill-informed backers on the exchanges may jump on falsely short prices as soon as a side goes in front, this table suggests otherwise.

We'll return to other in-running markets in future weeks and then we'll add further evidence to the opinion that the right market, the right information and the right opportunity are the perfect recipe for Betfair success.

Become familiar with the statistics that matter and don't be afraid to use them.

Tags: Everton football club, football statistics, in running football, Tim Cahill

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