Advanced Football Betting Strategy

Advanced Football Betting Strategy

By Daniel Smyth | Football | June 8th, 2018

Anyone can visit a sports bookmaker and put a bet down on their favourite football team; it takes very little analysis or strategy. However, over the course of a season, it doesn’t make financial sense to blindly back your preferred team simply because they’re playing. Instead, try to get to grips with the premise of ‘value’.

You can work out a team’s value for any given match easily, by following this method:

  • Estimate, as a percentage, what you think the chances are of a team winning.
  • Find the best decimal price for that team to win (decimals are easier than fractions when it comes to the maths).
  • Multiply the percentage you’ve estimated with the decimal price.
  • Any result of 1.00 or greater means the team has value and you should consider a bet.

Spotting Value in Practice

Let’s look at an example from Euro 2012 and the semi-final between Italy and Germany. Paddy Power Sports was offering Germany at 10/11 and Ladbrokes Sports had it at 8/10. In contrast, they had Italy to win at 7/2 and 15/4 respectively.

A lot of inexperienced punters would have viewed these odds and thought twice about backing Italy. However, others will have seen a window of opportunity. If we take the best odds proffered for an Italy win, the 15/4 at Ladbrokes Sports converts to 4.75. At that price, you only had to estimate that Italy had a 22% chance of winning the game to find some value: 0.22 x 4.75 = 1.05.

That’s the equivalent of Italy winning the game only once if it was played five times over. Some German fans may have agreed with this assessment; they were joint favourites with Spain to lift the trophy. However, Italian fans would have looked at their side’s well-earned point against Spain, their steady progression through the group stage and a dominant display against England in the quarters.

Despite the naysayers, Italy were unbeaten and looked dangerous in attack. All of these things will have been assessed by seasoned punters, and the more insightful will have concluded that backing Italy had value in it every single time. In the event, Italy won 2-1 in a virtuoso performance.

Using Mathematics to Estimate Value

Although finding the perfect bet (i.e. the one with the most value) should always be the goal, you need to know where to look and, importantly, what you’re looking for. It’s no good understanding the concept of value and not knowing where to apply it. To this end, you can use an advanced football betting strategy known as Poisson Distribution.

In simple terms, Poisson Distribution is a way of quantifying how likely random occurrences will be over a fixed amount of time. For example, if you know that Arsenal average 1.5 goals per game, you can use a distribution formula to predict how likely they are to score XX goals in a certain scenario. Before you do this, you need to know a team’s attack strength and defence strength.

To determine how strong a team’s attack rating is, you need to establish the average number of goals scored per team, per game (home and away). To find the averages, you simply divide the number of goals scored (home) by the number of games in a season. To find the away goals average, you do the same thing.

Once you’ve established the attack strength, you need to calculate how strong a team is defensively. To work out the defence strength, you take the above equations and change goals scored to goals conceded.

Putting it All Together

When you’ve completed these equations, you should have four numbers:

  • Attack Strength Home
  • Attack Strength Away
  • Defence Strength Home
  • Defence Strength Away

Now you can start to determine how strong a team is in relation to the league average. For example, if Arsenal scored 35 goals at home in 19 games, the attack strength would be 1.842 (35/19). From here, let’s assume the league attack strength (home) from the previous season is 1.492 (i.e. 567 goals divided by 380 games).

With these two figures, you divide Arsenal’s score by the season average which, in this case, equals 1.235 (1.842/1.492). Once you’ve got the home team’s attack strength, you go through the same process to determine the away team’s defence strength.

At this point, you’ll have two numbers. For the purposes of this example, let’s say the opposing team (Chelsea) has a defence strength (away) of 0.881. From here, you can multiply these two numbers by the season average to get a final value:

1.235 x 0.881 x 1.492 = 1.623

What this basically means is, according to the statistics, Arsenal are likely to score 1.623 goals against Chelsea. To test out these advanced football betting strategies, follow our secure links to the best bookmakers and create your first accounts today.

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