Friday, 17 January 2014

Merger Time

Rather than running two blogs I thought I would merge the two together. Sporting Value has always talked about the Narrow Victories element of my betting so I feel mentioning research and the reasoning for some selections could benefit readers, and just as importantly, myself. I often find that fully explaining my bets can help the process and diminish errors.

So as an introduction to the merged blogs I thought I would go through the definites, probables and possibles for Saturday’s bets. I also want to show the different ways I can place these bets and how I have enhanced the prices with experience.


Marseille vs Valenciennes (Ligue 1, Saturday 16:00)

Marseille were one of last season’s bankers for this system and results look like they are returning to pattern. Marseille have only had 3 home games where they have been priced at less than 1.7 this season and they have won 2 of them by 1 or 2 and lost the other (luckily backed Reims in that match, cheers Stewboss!). In 12/13, there was 11 such matches of which 6 were won by 1 or 2, and 5 were either drawn or lost. So in not one of these 14 matches did OM win by more than 2 goals.

Valenciennes have a similar profile on the receiving foot. This season there have been 3 matches where they are the considerable underdog and they have drawn or won 2 of these and lost by 1 to Bordeaux. Again last season gives a more convincing argument, with 6 relevant matches and 5 of those they lost by less than two.

Having read James from Summer of Football’s interview with Tipsters Mind, I really like this quote and feel it is similar to how I choose my selections for Narrow Victories:

Our service specialises in picking value around the evens mark. I am basically looking for games where I feel the outcome is more than 50% likely to occur. If we can do this then over the long run we will make profits.

James Power, Summer of Football

So can we get a price around evens? When I first started I used to dutch the 1 and 2 goal winning margin prices on Oddschecker:

Dutching 3.6 and 4.6 (although can’t get on at Ladbrokes gives a price of 2.02.

I then developed a simultaneous equations method of combining the win price with an Asian Handicap +2.5 for the opposition, which generally gives a slightly better price. If you want more of an explanation, read this.

So the win price is 1.6 and Valenciennes +2.5 is 1.15. If I just copy in the Excel line from my spreadsheet, in this case you can see the price is the same.

Team 1 Team 2 Stake Win +2.5 St1 St2 Loss1 Loss2 Profit
Marseille valenciennes 100 1.6 1.15 126.37 175.82 -100 -100 102.20

Staking £126.37 at 1.6 and £175.82 at 1.15 leads to a profit of £102.20 if both situations win. As only one can lose, a maximum of £100 can be lost.

Now we can see both these prices are the same so might as well just back the ditched winning margin bets with less money required. Where we can improve the odds again (in most cases) is to look at the English Handicap markets, in particular the draw element.

While the -1 draw (same as a 1 goal winning margin) is the same, Unibet are offering 5.00 for a 2 goal winning margin, giving dutched odds of 2.09.

And what I have found in the last couple of weeks, the fun does not stop here! BetButler seem to have quite generous EH draw prices.

They offer 3.9 for a draw (+1.0), which after a 3% commission gives a price of 3.81 and combining that with Unibet (or 888sport’s) 5.0 for +2 draw, gives a price of 2.16.

[Now 3.8, 3.71 after commission now 2.13]

It definitely pays to shop around! Obviously I am not going to go through all the explanations and screen grabs for all the selections today, but hopefully you will see where I get the odds from.

AC Milan vs Verona (Serie A, Saturday 19:45)

AC Milan are not having a great season but one aspect of last season’s form is still there. In 12/13 Milan won 9 of the 15 (60%) matches where they were priced at 1.7 or less by a 1 or 2 goal winning margin. This season they have won 3 out of 5 (60%).

Verona were promoted last year so no relevant data but this year when a considerable underdog, they have lost 3 out of 4 by less than 3 goals (75%).

There has been a change of manager at Milan but I believe the fundamentals won’t change instantly so better than 50% chance rule stands, now just a matter of getting a price of evens or better.

The best win and +2.5 prices of 1.5 and 1.23 gives us a price of 2.08. Dutching the 4.1 at BetButler for +1 (3.95 after comm) with 4.8 at Unibet gives an enhanced price of 2.17, which fits the bill perfectly.

Standard Liege vs Oostende (Belgian Jupiler League, Saturday 17:00)

Standard sit top of the Jupiler League but have only won one home match when priced at less than 1.7 by more than 2 goals. In fact 63% (5/8) have been by the magic one or two goals. Last season they won 50% of their relevant home matches  in this way.

Oostende were promoted this season and look to fit the bill quite well with 50% of their relevant away matches being lost by 1 or 2, and only 1 going over that.

Pricewise, the Asian Venn diagram of win and +2.5 gives a price of 2.04, while the best we can do with Dutching winning margins is evens (4.0 and 4.0).

Team 1 Team 2 Stake Win +2.5 St1 St2 Loss1 Loss2 Profit
Standard Oostende 100 1.29 1.4 158.37 145.93 -100 -100 104.30

So given a nominal stake of £100 (max loss), £158.37 @ 1.29 at Pinnacle for Standard win and £145.93 @1.4 with Bet365 is the way here.

Gent vs Kortrijk (Jupiler League, Saturday 19:00)

This season Gent are running at 67% (4/6) and last season were at 50% (5/10). Kortrijk are losing to our circumstances at 67% (2/3) and 60% (3/5) in 12/13.

This time the Venn diagram method gives us a price of 2.15 (1.7 and 1.14). while ditching Unibet’s 5.4 for +2 draw with their 3.85 for a +1 draw gives a price of 2.25, which looks the way to go here. Obviously the 1.7 price is absolute borderline but I prefer this bet to a -0.75 handicap as neither Gent or Kortrijk have been involved in larger victory margin matches at these prices.

Celtic vs Motherwell (Scottish Premier, Saturday 15:00)

Celtic have a very strong home trend this season with 7 of their 9 matches in this price bracket (who am I kidding, they are all in this price bracket!) being won by just 1 or 2 goals. Not one of their home matches has gone over that mark! This is a different story to their away matches, maybe like Bayern they feel secure at home and don’t need to push.

Motherwell lost their only relevant match away (also to Celtic), 1-0 and have only conceded 11 goals in all 10 of their away matches this season.

Given these stats I would not want to take the even money handicap mark of -1.5, but will try to maximise my 1 to 2 goal margin. Using the win/+2.5 prices of 1.34/1.3 gives us 1.94 but dutching the best winning margins of 3.96 (Betbutler +1) and 4.3 (Betbutler +2) gives 2.06.

That covers the definites, next on to the probable. I will most likely back these but might try to get team news, conformational predictions elsewhere from sites like whoscored etc. and go over them again in Football Form Labs to be sure.


Arsenal vs Fulham (Premier League, Saturday 15:00)

Historically Arsenal haven’t fitted the bill for this type of side but are now running at a 57% strike rate, with only 1 match – back in October against Norwich – going over a 2 goal winning margin.

Fulham are a trickier side to evaluate, especially with Hull 6 Fulham 0 still in the mind! This season they are 2 losses by 1 or 2 and 2 by more, but those two were their last two, Liverpool and Everton.

Certainly Arsenal’s forward problems would point towards a narrow victory but not quite convinced yet!

Pricewise, the win/+2.5 is currently paying out at 2.08 and the ditched winning margins at 2.2 which might be enough, but as an Arsenal fan might just hold fire.

Betis vs Real Madrid (La Liga, Saturday 15:00)

Real Madrid on the road have been good to this system with 6 out of 9 of their away matches in this price range have gone our way and only 1 has gone over. Certainly the impression is that goals are harder to find for Real, but at the same time their defence is quite sound.

Betis, on the whole keep it quite close for a bottom side with only Barcelona, a different proposition on these rules, winning by more than 2.

Looking at the markets you can get 2.26 combining the win (1.33) with the +2.5 (1.45) but 2.3 dutching Betbutler’s 4.7 on each (4.59 after comm).

This is one of the reasons it is beneficial for me to write this as I had this bet as a probable to start with, I now think it is a definite!


These are the ones that have a small sample size but an element of temptation or slightly negative stats but momentum in this direction. It is unlikely I will back these ones, it is just to get a feel.

Manchester City vs Cardiff (Premier League, Saturday 15:00)

At first glance this is not a fixture I would think to look at in much detail, but 43% of City’s games in this bracket fit the bill. A lot of their big victories are against rivals who play more like Arsenal, Spurs and United. Yes Norwich did get thumped 7-0, but Palace and Hull have kept them to 1 and 2 nil.

Cardiff have a 2/3 record here and the Chelsea 4-1 loss was dubious at best with the Eto’o keeper incident and Cardiff did take the lead.

Priced at around 2.25 either way you do it, there is temptation but not enough for me. If Cardiff can keep the score down it would make City an option in the future as they would be a 50% team – last year 60% of their home matches when under 1.7 ended up narrow victories.

Lierse vs Club Brugge (Jupiler League, Saturday 19:00)

Away favourites do work very well on this system, unfortunately there is not quite enough data for this to work for me. Brugge have won 2/3 away matches in this price range by less than 3, but as last year the record doesn’t fit (2/3 by 3 or more) I will leave it alone.

One of the major problems of deciphering away favourites is that there is much less data on the home teams as there are many fewer examples where they are major underdogs at home. Lierse have only encountered this situation once this season and lost 5-0 to Anderlecht. Last season, again, it was only once and they drew 1-1 with the same team!

I hope I haven’t bored you all to tears with this, and even if I have it has been very useful for me. I will try to return on Saturday with Sunday’s picks but no guarantees as my wife is away in Budapest and I am home alone with the kids.

So in conclusion the definites are:
Marseille @ 2.16
Milan @ 2.17
Standard Liege @2.04
Gent @2.25
Celtic @ 2.06
Real Madrid @ 2.3

And the Probable is Arsenal @ 2.2

Good luck all this weekend

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