What Were The Odds Of That?
Another weekend of football betting comes to a close with a few surprise results and a few not so surprising. Today on the blog Ed Malyon takes a look over all the odds from the weekend's results.
There’s no real question over the biggest overturning of the odds this weekend in the Premier League as Arsenal took the short flight (yes, really) to Norfolk only to return from Carrow Road with no points.
The Gunners went with Olivier Giroud after his confidence-boosting goals against West Ham and then on international duty in stealing a point against World and European champions Spain, but despite a sprinkling of nice touches from him and the likes of Santi Cazorla this game reeked of a return to old Arsenal problems – an impressive yet fragile team that will get beaten by those more plucky and industrious than themselves.
Grant Holt and Wes Hoolahan were ceaseless in their running, the former was a brutish, careering monster that popped out of the bedroom cupboard of each Arsenal defender while Hoolahan was waspish and tenacious in his pressing. The goal came from a mistake by Arsenal’s third-choice goalkeeper Vito Mannone, but even with him looking slightly ropey in goal over recent weeks, their form has been very good and they were as short as 1.45 pre-game to win this one.
Credit must go to Chris Hughton, who has some fairly substantial shoes to step into at Carrow Road but in getting his first league win at the club he has pulled them out of the relegation zone – even if the season is only really at the glint-in-the-milkman’s-eye stage.
Turning over odds as big as 7.25 to win this game was impressive from the Canaries, and in fact, Saturday’s win was the biggest reversal of odds this season in the Premier League.
The average prices from Fecha 8 of La Liga suggest that – as this column suggested a few weeks back – the bookmakers are getting very confident in their assessments of the teams in the Spanish top flight. Obviously the coincidence of fixtures played its part, but it is incredibly unusual to see every single game have an odds-on favourite.
In Fecha 6 there was the rare occurrence of every single favourite winning their game – also meaning there wasn’t a single draw – but despite the odds suggesting that this weekend should have been equally clear-cut there were big reversals in Madrid and Andalucia when Getafe and Granada respectively lost their games.
As an aside, Barcelona obliged with a win at their average mark of 1.3, but it was far from straight-forward in a memorable 5-4 win at the Riazor. Deportivo La Coruña simply refused to give up, and if you had this one down as a goalfest in advance (you prescient genius) then you probably enjoyed prices of around 14/1 for over 6.5 goals and Betfair’s 36.15 for over 7.5!
Ten games in the Italian top flight this weekend. Nothing unusual there. Seven home wins. Nothing particularly unusual there. Only two favourites didn’t win, but they were both odds-against. Get the picture?
In summary, Serie A saw a fairly run-of-the-mill and predictable weekend of results even if that doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story. Roma were the only away side to win in the eighth round and it was a game that was absolutely typical of Zdenek Zeman and his ludicrously attacking – read: entertaining – approach to football management.
Roma flew out at breakneck speed, pressing Genoa and blitzing about in search of regaining possession as near to the opposition goal as possible. This is Zeman’s philosophy, a cavalier, attacking approach that has won him legions of admirers over the years and spawned phrases such as Zemanlandia, initially to describe the miracles he achieved with Foggia in the 1990s.
For the last two seasons, the team that he has managed have had the highest goals:games ratio in Italian football and this year with Roma looks like following the same pattern.
But just as he is notorious for his potent attacks, the leaky defence is an unavoidable side-effect and with such offensive intent it is unsurprising that the back four of his customary 4-3-3 is often breached. In the northern port of Genoa on Sunday the same old story played out and the visiting Romans were 2-0 down inside fifteen minutes and staring at a pasting.
Only, with a Zeman team you always fancy them to be able to get back into it. And, as the earlier spoiler betrayed, they did – running out 4-2 winners in a brilliant game that more than anything was simply great fun to watch.
Such is his reputation for goals that the unders (2.5 goals) were priced at an average of 1.45 pre-game. Some bookmakers were as short as evens for over 3.5 goals – perhaps unsurprising given that Roma games in Serie A this season have seen a par of 3.88 goals each.
The lesson: where Zeman is concerned, never be shy on the overs.
Not a weekend for the short stuff in Germany
The Bundesliga is already looking alarmingly like a foregone conclusion despite just being eight games in as Bayern’s unstoppable monster trampled a few more high-rise buildings and let out another victorious roar in winning yet another game and maintaining their 100% record.
As it happens, while the townspeople run screaming from their homes to avoid Bayern’s emotionless, destructive path, it turns out punters can’t get enough of the Bavarians and once more they steamed in, pummelling Bayern into tiny prices – even away from home as they were this weekend in Dusseldorf.
They were the only odds-on winners in Germany over the whole matchday though, with the well-backed trio of Dortmund, Leverkusen and Hoffenheim all letting down punters that had got on below 2.00.
Follow Ed on Twitter : @eaamalyon
You can read more of Ed's thoughts at The Mirror