What Were The Odds Of That?


With another weekend of football fast approaching, today on the blog Ed Malyon takes a look back at last weekend's results and what we can learn moving forward in season 2012/2013.


Drawing the crowds

Finally, La Liga has thrown up a weekend with some real surprises. This column had begun to notice that bookmakers seemed to have the Spanish league fairly well-judged but the latest matchday saw some big turnarounds outside the top three, whose incessant thirst for victory saw all three of them coming in sub-1.3.

Levante were the only other odds-on favourites to win this weekend, with Athletic Bilbao kicking off as short as 1.74 before losing at home to Getafe and Celta Vigo drawing with Depor in the clásico gallego.

Most interestingly though, we saw the return of the stalemate, with three of this weekend’s fixtures ending level. In the last four weeks we’d seen a total of just four draws, which is remarkable few when you consider that Italy and Germany had 8, England 12 and France 13 in the same period of time – obviously with the Bundesliga having fewer teams.

It’s hard to think of any particular reason why draws might be so infrequent in La Liga this season. The obvious answer would be the disparity in quality between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’ with Barcelona and Atletico Madrid both having won eight of their nine games. Elsewhere in the league there are around six-to-eight mid-table sides that know they could be in the continental mix if they overachieve – much like Levante did last season – and therefore it could be said that they’re adopting an all-or-nothing approach with this in mind.

What better example than Real Zaragoza, who are 4-0-5 from their nine games, or Getafe who are 4-1-4? Only three sides have drawn more than two games this season whereas in the Premier League that number is eleven!

So what does this teach us, when taking into account what we have learnt in past weeks about favourites being generally well-selected?

Well, not enough yet, as this could be simply a consequence of a small sample of one-sided fixtures, but they are trends worth monitoring with a view to a strategic change in your betting – perhaps involving handicapping.

To be continued…

Travellers’ woes

In Serie A this weekend the main headline was that Juventus pulled even further clear of their rivals and extended their unbeaten streak in the league to an astonishing 49 games. They already look a shoo-in for another Scudetto and they have Atalanta to thank for beating Napoli this weekend despite an average pre-match price of 3.16.

Napoli were one of three Serie A sides – excluding Juve - to begin their games as favourites this weekend yet none of them walked away with all three points as Palermo held Milan at the Renzo Barbera and Parma beat Zdenek Zeman’s swashbuckling Roma in another game with over 4.5 goals – as discussed last week.

Roma have now failed to win their last two games despite starting as heavy favourites both times, and it is a consequence of Zeman’s style that they will likely spend the entire season encountering a huge flux in their form; marking them out as a side to be avoided at short prices despite their firepower.

Madness at the Mad Stad

A dramatic second half of Premier League action in saw some huge prices being turned and then overturned in a crazy draw between Reading and Fulham. The Royals went 1-0 up, 1-2 down, 2-3 down and then level again at the death to give some in-play backers the potential for enormous wins.

Even without betting in running there was potential for huge gain, with the 3-3 draw seeing £16 matched at 660.0 on Betfair, and the pre-match 15.0 available on over 5.5 goals touching 100.0 on the exchanges.

Elsewhere in the Premier League there were four draws at prices north of 3.0, five wins for favourites and just the one defeat for a fancied side, with Chelsea losing to Manchester United in what we will call ‘controversial circumstances’.

Bayern munched

Following weeks of telling you about increasingly microscopic odds for leaders Bayern, it is with great joy that we inform you of their defeat last weekend at the hands of Bayer Leverkusen.

Major bookmakers had the hosts as short as 1.22 on the back of their 100% Bundesliga record but even this shock result (12.0 best price at kick-off) hasn’t affected the bookies’ opinion of Bayern too much, with them around 1.35 to win away at Hamburg next time out.



Follow Ed on Twitter : @eaamalyon

You can read more of Ed's thoughts at The Mirror

Writer. 23. Mainly DailyMirror & Mirror Football but also Guardian Sport, ESPNFC and Betfair Sports. Surname rhymes with Galleon.