What Were The Odds Of That?
Another weekend of football betting is in the books with a few suprising results to reflect upon. Today on the blog Ed Malyon surveys the carnage and gives us some betting pointers to take into next weekend.
Brendan blues for the Reds
It’s been mentioned in this column before but Liverpool’s consistent underpricing is simply a gift for punters.
It’s important to remember that this side has won just seven Premier League games in 2012, a win percentage of under 25%, yet the weight of reputation (and therefore, money) sees their price pushed too short time after time.
They have been pre-match favourites for eight of their games this season, yet they’ve only won two of those fixtures. Their average pre-match price during favouritism is 1.83, which includes fixtures versus Arsenal and Manchester United.
Yet anyone who has watched Brendan Rodgers’ revolution at Anfield will know that seeing them odds-on virtually week-in, week-out is inexplicable. Their failure to bring in a goalscorer on transfer deadline day has completely ruined their chances of success this season, and despite being just minutes away from signing Daniel Sturridge their failure to do so has left Luis Suarez – a doubtlessly talented player – to do too much on his own.
Granted, Rodgers has improved the aesthetics of the side and Joe Allen receives much praise for his contribution, but the Welsh midfielder’s pass completion rate of 91.7% is irrelevant when you consider that he has only contributed an average of 0.8 key passes per game in the Premier League (statistics from WhoScored). Allen is terrific at recycling possession and finding teammates but without the requisite quality around him to create and finish chances, Liverpool games tend to follow the formula of:
Dominate possession -> Get frustrated -> Hope Suarez conjures a goal from nothing.
Indeed, following so much focus on their short-passing approach it brought a smile to see Liverpool equalise from José Enrique’s agricultural punt downfield on Sunday afternoon, which Suarez – who else? - ludicrously managed to fashion into a goalscoring opportunity.
Expect another defeat this weekend to Chelsea
Inter the title race
There is no doubt where the big story was in Italy this weekend. As well as being the biggest story, it was the biggest reversal of the odds as Juventus’ 49-game unbeaten run came to an end in front of their own fans, having been outthought by talented young manager Andrea Stramaccioni.
As always against a side of Juve’s quality, Inter needed a bit of luck, but Inter deserved their win for Strama’s brave decision-making in his starting XI and then the conviction and foresight to make the right tactical changes in the second half, something that doubtlessly won them the game.
Inter were a best price of 6.47 before kick-off, but this was far from the biggest shock this season with Sampdoria’s win over Milan, Siena’s win at Inter and Udinese’s victory at Roma all being bigger average prices, and the biggest of the season being Bologna’s victory over Roma which was nearly 9/1 pre-match.
Saints and Sinners
St Etienne provided another top-of-the-table turnaround on the continent this weekend as they beat their billionaire hosts at the Parc des Princes.
Top of the league and boasting the strongest squad that Ligue Un has ever seen, it is not hard to see why PSG were hitting prices as low as 1.44 before this one. They have been favourites for every domestic game that they have played this season, only avoiding odds-on prices on their visits to Lille and Marseille.
As it happens, it is likely that next weekend they may be outside 2.00 once more as they go to reigning champions Montpellier – a side that are still respected despite busting favourite prices on eight out of ten occasions this season.
What a Piti
Rayo Vallecano provided La Liga’s biggest upset this weekend in a weekend that is only otherwise notable for not seeing a Falcao, Ronaldo or Messi goal – the first time that’s happened for over a year.
The Vallecas side enjoyed not just a nice weekend on the Costa del Sol but also a great win over Champions League Malaga. The Andalucians had a couple of injuries but there should be no credit taken from the visiting Madrileños who won through two goals from experienced midfielder Piti.
He had been a staggering 25/1 to open the scoring before netting in the eleventh minute and Pinnacle Sports had his side out at 8.75 to beat Malaga at La Rosaleda.
Follow Ed on Twitter : @eaamalyon
You can read more of Ed's thoughts at The Mirror