In an ideal world we’d price up every betting outcome on an individual basis using all the variables that might affect the outcome. In reality this isn’t possible, especially for the mere mortals amongst us who don’t possess superior maths skills. Sometimes pricing things up so accurately can lead to bias too and you can end up including things that don’t make as much difference as you think. Or at least, giving them too much significance. A good example of this is a football team missing their star player and it not affecting the result as much as you’d imagined.
It can therefore be very helpful to use average percentages of outcomes to give you an idea if a selection is likely to contain value or not. For example, when you know that 63% of all men’s favourites win tennis matches, you can be confident that you are unlikely to be getting value on a sub 1.2 shot. Of course there are exceptions but as a rule it’s better to be on the right side of the averages.
It’s particularly helpful to use averages in markets that are difficult to price up, that aren’t often fully formed and that are somewhat illiquid. The correct score market in football is a perfect example. Odds will and should vary for different match ups but football is such a low scoring game that scorelines can be very random at times and luck plays a big part. This is why it makes sense to use the average percentages as a guide. You also get a lot of casual punters wanting to lay scorelines they don’t see as being very likely or even possible and they’re not too price sensitive.
When you position yourself on the right side of the averages, you are often going against the grain and the general view of a particular strong market, so you can find yourself getting ‘lucky’. Except it’s not really luck, just being on the right side of the average prices. It might not look like your average match up but quite often matches play out as closer to the average than the market expects.
Below are the average percentages for the standard correct score markets from over 120,000 European football matches and making up over 90% of scorelines. I’ve compared these to those of the Englis Premier League only and they differ very little (usually much less than 1%). There will be leagues that differ more but by allowing someone to price up the markets and jumping in front of their prices if they are still well above average is a good plan. You’d want to increase the odds to factor in an additional 5% for commission and then possibly a further 5% margin to allow for errors and to give yourself a decent buffer for not getting all bets matched etc.
Probability and odds of correct scores in football
|Scoreline||AVG %||AVG odds||+5%||+10%||Betfair Odds|
The first couple of correct score markets that I’ve looked at on the betfair exchange since starting this post were perfect examples. Bohemiams were a huge underdog to Beat Cork away from home in the Irish Football League last night and all scorelines resulting in an away win were unexpected by the market. The match finished 0-1 (to Bohemians) and what is on average a 12/1 shot, could have been backed on betfair at 40/1!
It was a similar story this morning when Heidelberg United beat Perth 1-0 at home. Another scoreline that the market didn’t expect. This time a 9/1 on average scoreline was available to back at 30’s.
Obviously not every market will work out like this but if you keep getting matched at above average value, you stand a great chance of showing a long term profit.
Doing this manually is very time-consuming but it’s also a lot of fun when watching a match unfold. You can program a bot to do the work for you but you don’t really want to be first to market as you’ll get matched on a lot of average prices that aren’t value for that specific market and you want to get the best price you can by queue jumping.
There was a betfair forumite who deployed a very similar strategy but I believe on only the unlikeliest of scorelines. I think he got matched on over 1,000 bets a week and after making £250,000 eventually became subject to the 40% premium charge. Losing streaks can be long if you’re not attempting to cover all socrelines and using 0.5% of your betting bank or less is recommended.
You can trade out as goals go in to try to maximise your profits but this is more work, bias may come in and so you’ll probably do better to keep backing value prices and just letting them run.