Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics...

Lies, damn lies and statistics... I hate to say it but Disraeli was right! It is also an 'issue' in betting and trading for many punters.

Do stats matter in football trading (or probably any sports trading for that matter). The answer is 'Yes' and 'No'.

How many times have you researched a bet, only to find that the result is the opposite of what you predicted?

How many times have you heard phrases like: "Not betting in the French League (French League 2) goals" or "Dutch and Swedish leagues produce lots of goals.." etc. It's largely irrelevant - all market prices are largely correct and most people wouldn't know value if they saw it. Is a 0-0 draw value at 8.6 but not 8.2? Are Man Utd value to win at 1.42 but not 1.36? Few can really take advantage.

In the leagues / teams with fewer goals in them, the odds on goals being scored are higher and vice versa.

The average punter may as well forget about stats.

So why bother betting or trading at all if stats offer only limited advantage and there is scant value around? Critically, most of us have the ability to watch football matches. If you can read a game - you can get your edge. (Not forgetting pre-match traders but that's another blog post..:)

Do I use stats? Simplistic answer, yes. I use stats to model (in an unsophisticated manner) the match or event. If the 'behaviour' in play is as, or close to, what I have predicted pre-event, I go with it. If not I am likely to exit. I suspect though that there are many in-play traders who don't even bother with stats and do very well - they just go by what they see. I like to have some kind of plan.

The other night I was trading in the 'Under 2.5 goals' market in Celta Vigo v Barcelona (why you might wonder! Ok, Messi wasn't playing and I know Celta can be tight in defence - but even without these stats I still would have looked at the game!) Celta's previous three La Liga matches at home finished: 2-1, 0-4, 0-1. Barcelona's previous three La Liga matches away finished: 0-5, 1-5, 0-1. Last season the corresponding fixture finished 4-1 in favour of Celta Vigo. Did I think the game would go over 2.5 goals? Almost certainly. So why trade the Unders? Simply because the odds 'decay' from kick off and I could watch the game, deciding when to enter and when to exit.

From memory the odds on offer at the start of the game were around 2.72. I watched for a few minutes and then got in at 2.6. It was all Barcelona but Celta were holding there own in defence. Then Celta started launching their own attacks - the game began opening up and I started coming out of my position. This was around the 20 min. mark and I was laying at around 1.98. A couple of minutes later Celta scored. I would have been on for about a 30% profit. The goal just game a bit soon / I didn't exit quickly enough - so it was a scratch trade 0.00. No profit, but I was able to avoid a loss by exiting when I felt things were about to go against me.

The final score was 4-3 to Celta Vigo!

The important message here is not to limit yourself by eliminating leagues or teams for one reason or another. Odds are a great leveller - pretty much every football league offers the same opportunities for profit. Choose a market that suits the match that you are watching - sit back and enjoy the game!

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