Early Season Favourites After Major Tournaments

How do quality teams perform when coming off a major tournament like the World Cup or Euro? Do clubs featuring high profile international players struggle to jump out of the gate early in the season? Today on the blog Andrew takes a closer look.

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Late last week on Twitter as we all set ourselves for the opening weekend of the Premier League season, Sean Ingle of The Guardian mentioned that he had spent some time trawling through the early season odds and results of previous seasons.

Why?

Well, Sean had a theory that the early season form of higher quality clubs might be impacted by an off-season that included the demands of either a World Cup or a Euro tournament on its high profile players. In particular, Sean looked at Premier League results in August for teams that were of odds of 2.00 or less.

Sean's theory immediately took my interest. It certainly makes sense that clubs that had players away on intensive international duties throughout the off-season, could return to domestic duties a little distracted and perhaps jaded.

So I decided to break down the numbers to see if the early season August form against the odds of more fancied clubs is distinct in seasons where there was either a World Cup or Euro during the preceeding off-season and seasons when there wasn't.

Premier League Odds-On Favourites since 2000-2001

Ok, so let's begin by taking a look at the results for all favourites priced at odds of 2.00 or less in the Premier League since season 2000-2001 up until the conclusion of 2011-2012. The table below displays these results and the Return On Investment if we bet on each of these teams at single stakes. By 'single stakes' we mean betting one unit on each possible outcome.

Matches Win Draw Loss Win ROI Draw ROI Loss ROI
August
192 66.2% 17.7% 16.1% +3.1% -33.0% -5.9%
Not-August
2264 63.1% 23.1% 13.8% +1.2% -9.2% -20.5%

The first thing we see is that favourites of this kind have returned a profit when betting at single stakes since season 2000-2001. This is rather intriguing in and of itself, but let's not get distracted.

We can see that during August, favourites of this kind have returned a nice return of just over 3%, while outside of August, they have returned just over 1%.

On face value, we might disband our investigation at this point. It appears that favourites of less than 2.00 have been very good performers early in the Premier League season as opposed to our theory which suspects that they may not be. But no, we won't let this theory go that easily. Let's continue.

Premier League Odds-On Favourites In August since 2000-2001

Ok, so now let's distinguish between seasons which were preceeded by either a World Cup or Euro tournament and those that weren't. The table below displays these results.

Matches Win Draw Loss Win ROI Draw ROI Loss ROI
After Euro/World Cup 98 64.3% 19.4% 16.3% +1.3% -24.6% -2.7%
Non Euro/World Cup 94 68.0% 16.0% 16.0% +5.0% -40.6% -9.3%

So now things begin to look a little more interesting. Although both type of seasons have returned a profit at single stakes, we can see a clear distinction between the two. Seasons which were preceeded by a major tournament saw favourites of 2.00 or less return a profit of just over 1% while seasons without a major tournament returned 5%.

We can also take note of the returns for the opponents of these clubs. In seasons preceeded by a major tournament, betting against these favourites saw you suffer a loss of almost 3%, a result better than standard bookmaker commission of 4.5%, while in seasons without a major tournament, doing so returned the inferior figure of a loss of just over 9%.

Primera, Serie A & Bundesliga Odds-On Favourites In August since 2000-2001

So let's then take a look at other leagues to see if we see a similar distinction. Below are the results for favourites of 2.00 or less in August since 2000-2001 for the Bundesliga, Serie A and Primera.

Matches Win Draw Loss Win ROI Draw ROI Loss ROI
After Euro/World Cup 106 50.0% 27.4% 22.6% -15.8% +3.1% +28.4%
Non Euro/World Cup 150 59.3% 24.0% 16.7% -4.8% -9.7% -3.3%

Again, interesting results that go a long way to confirming Sean's theory. Backing favourites of 2.00 or less in August fixtures following a major tournament at single stakes would have seen you suffer a loss of almost 16% as distinct from seasons without a major tournament, where you would have taken a loss of almost 5%.

What is of greater notice is that betting against such favourites in major tournament years would have seen you take away a very handsome profit of over 28% as opposed to a loss of just over 3% in seasons without a major tournament.

Now of course, this could all be a coincidence and have nothing to do whether or not a season was preceeded by a major tournament. However, it does appear that the performance of more fancied clubs is quite distinct in seasons preceeded by either a World Cup or Euro tournament.

Big Four Leagues Favourites Of 1.60 or less In August since 2000-2001

Let's take a look then at firmer favourites. The table below displays the results for the Premier League, Serie A, Bundesliga and Primera for clubs priced at 1.60 or less during August since the 2000-2001 season.

Matches Win Draw Loss Win ROI Draw ROI Loss ROI
After Euro/World Cup 81 65.4% 19.8% 14.8% -7.5% -14.1% +22.2%
Non Euro/World Cup 111 78.4% 12.6% 9.0% +8.1% -44.9% -17.9%

Here we see quite a difference. The results of clubs priced at 1.60 or less in August across the Big 4 leagues are quite distinct in seasons preceeded by a major tournament in which they returned a loss of almost 8% as opposed to seasons that were not preceeded by such a tournament in which they returned a profit of 8%. Quite a noteworthy observation.

Similarily we can see that betting against such clubs was very profitable returning just over 22% at single stakes in seasons preceeded by a major tournament, while in alternate seasons betting against these teams would have seen you suffer a loss of almost 18%.

This Season

At the end of August I will update this post with how this trend performed in season 2012-2013. But so far teams playing against clubs starting at odds of 2.00 or less are doing nicely thanks to win by West Brom over Liverpool and Everton over Manchester United.

Final Thoughts

So it seems that the demands of a major tournament may in fact have a negative impact upon favoured clubs early in the football season and we might do well to take this into consideration when shaping our bets for August football. It will be interesting to note this seasons results at the end of this month.

Moreover, it's hoped that readers are inspired to develop and investigate betting angles of their own and follow this example of how to conduct a simple analysis to determine whether such a trend is worthy of taking into consideration in our betting assessments.

 

 

Follow Sean on Twitter: @SeanIngle