The increasing number of short-priced favourites in football
bettingexpert blog editor. Always taking the alternative route to finding the value.
Email : andrew at bettingexpert.com
Are football leagues across Europe becoming more and more lopsided? Can the number of short-priced favourites give us a window into this developing gulf between the clubs that have and the clubs that have not? Andrew breaks down the numbers and shows us what the future of football betting may become.
We all see it. The widening gap in wealth and worth of football clubs across Europe. According to Forbes magazine, the worth of the top 5 football clubs (approx 6.5billionUS) equates to the combined value of the next 15 clubs on the list.
As the wealth continues to localise into the hands of the few and the pool of elite football talent is swallowed up by the clubs that can bid the highest, the natural consequence is for more lopsided matches, or at least, there is the expectation of.
With this in mind, I decided to dig into 10 seasons of odds, across the 6 major leagues of European competition to see how the whithering away of what parity existed in football is impacting upon the head to head football betting markets.
It's a foregone conclusion
Let's begin by taking a look at the total number of short-priced favourites across the 6 major leagues of Europe the last 10 seasons. We will be looking at matches in which the favourite was of odds 1.33 or less, or in other words, where the bookmakers had the favourite listed as a 75% probability of coming away the victors. The leagues we will be looking at are:
- English Premier League
- Spanish Primera
- Italian Serie A
- Dutch Eredivisie
- German Bundesliga
- French Ligue 1
We can see there has been a steady increase in favourites of 1.33 year to year since 2003-2004, with a total of 117 across the 6 leagues in that year, to a peak of 193 in the 2009-2010 season.
We can also see that while there was a steady increase from 2003 to 2008, the last two seasons has seen a rapid rise, with a total of 375 across season 2009-2010 & 2010-2011, constituting just under 27% of all matches involving a favourite of 1.33 or less over the last 10 seasons.
League by League
Let's then have a look at each league and see which leagues have seen the greatest increase in lopsided markets over the last 10 seasons. We will start by looking at the last 5 seasons. Here we will rank each league by which had the greatest share of their short-priced 1.33 or less favourites over the last 5 seasons as a percentage of their 10 season total.
We can see that Ligue 1 has seen the greatest increase over the last 5 seasons, with almost 77% of their 1.33 or less favourites over the last 10 seasons, occurring in the last 5 years. In second place we see the Primera with just under 70% and the Premier League in third place with just over 60% of their 1.33 or less favourites the last 10 seasons, occurring the last 5 season.
The difference however between Ligue 1 and both the Primera and Premier League, is that the total of Ligue 1's 1.33 or less favourites equated to just over 1% of their total matches the last 10 seasons, the fewest of the 6 leagues in our study, while the Premier League saw almost 9% of its total matches the last 10 seasons start with a favourite 1.33 or less and Primera just over 6%. Together they combined for over 41% of all 1.33 or less favourites in the 6 leagues combined the last 10 seasons.
We can also see that just one league has seen the minority of their 1.33 or less favourites occur in the last 5 seasons, the Serie A with just under 48% while the Bundesliga has seen just over 52% occur in the last 5 seasons and the Eredivisie with 55%.
Above we can see the league by league occurrence of 1.33 or less favourites over the last 2 seasons as a percentage of the league 10 year total.
We can see that both the Primera and Ligue 1 have seen over 42% of their 1.33 or less favourites the last 10 seasons, occur in the last 2 seasons. All things being equal, we should expect a 20% occurrence. We also see that the Premier League has seen just under 29% and the Eredivisie with just under 27%.
Interestingly, we see that both the Serie A and Bundesliga showing an occurrence rate below the 20% mark, with the Serie A in particular seeing a drop off with just over 14% of their 1.33 or less favourites occuring in the last 2 seasons of football.
The future of the foregone conclusion
Over the last 10 seasons, across the 6 leagues of study, roughly 6.6% of all matches played have featured a team starting favourites of 1.33 or less. And over the last 5 seasons, it has been around 7.7% of matches have featured a favourite of such odds.
So let's be a little bit fanciful and just for the sake of interest, project forward to the year 2020.
Above we can see the progession of this trend should the average yearly increase of the last 10 seasons of around 7% per season, continue over the next 10 seasons.
We can see that by the year 2020, just over 350 matches across the 6 leagues will feature a team starting of odds 1.33. This would amount to roughly 16% of all league matches in the year 2020.
Now of course, I'm not intending for anyone to take such a projection too seriously. A lot can happen within 10 years in terms of league rules, financial regulations and transfer markets. There's nothing to suggest that this trend would continue unhindered or indeed would continue consistently across each league. But the thought of a world where 1 out of every 6 matches in the major leagues of European football would start with a team considered a 75% or greater chance of winning, sounds a little less than exciting, even if it might make for an interesting betting landscape.
You can follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewBexpert
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Fabulous analysis..Great work done.