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football | Thursday, August 12, 2021 11:50 AM
The All-Time Premier League Betting Awards: Who Are The Most Profitable Clubs To Bet On?
The All-Time Premier League Betting Awards: Who Are The Most Profitable Clubs To Bet On?
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Ok let’s get the disclaimer out of the way first. Yes, the title says “All time Premier League Betting Awards”. However, the data in this analysis covers the last 23 Premier League seasons, from season 1998/99 to season 2020/21. Not the Premier League in its 29 season entirety.

Yes, people did bet on football before 1998. But the modern age of online betting began in the late 90s and for the purposes of this article (and to be honest, for the purposes of a title far more tempting to the click) the data will cover the last 23 seasons of Premier League football, a total of 8,740 matches played, 46 teams competing and 23 titles won by six clubs..

The data considers 1X2 odds for each match played with odds averaged across available bookmakers and adjusted to a standard 4.5% market margin.

The results of the analysis are based on hypothetically betting at ‘even stakes’. Or in other words, betting £1 on each outcome.

For example, in the 1999/2000 season Sunderland played 38 matches, winning 16, drawing 10 and losing 12. So betting on Sunderland at even stakes of £1 that season for each match outcome, win, draw or loss:

  • if you had bet £1 on Sunderland to win every match, you would have made a profit of £1.27.
  • If you had bet £1 on Sunderland to draw in every match, you would have lost £5.12.
  • if you had bet £1 on Sunderland to lose every match you would have lost £7.16

Each club is then ranked based on their betting profitability in a range of categories.

And so now, on with the analysis.

In this article:


The Most Profitable Premier League Club To Bet On

The table below lists every team to play in the Premier League since 1998/99 and their total results betting at even stakes to win, to draw and to lose in every match in which they played. The table (as with all tables in this article) is sortable, so feel free to play around with the data and scroll through the pages.

Crystal Palace tops the list as the most profitable team to bet on since the 1998/99 season.

Betting £1 on Palace to win in each of their 342 matches played would have seen you take a profit of almost £41, a return on the investment of £342 of almost 12%. Over their nine seasons of play in the Premier League during this time, Palace were profitable to bet on in five of those nine seasons.

Burnley were just behind in second place, earning a profit of almost £40 for backers across their 266 matches played.

Of the big 6 clubs, only Manchester United feature near the top of the list and are the only of the big 6 group to be profitable across the last 23 seasons. If you had bet £1 on Manchester United to win each of their 874 matches played during this time, you would have seen a profit of just over £28, a return of just over 3% on your £874 investment.

Of United’s rival Premier League giants, Chelsea came in 25th, Manchester City 27th, Liverpool 29th, Arsenal 34th and Tottenham 37th. While they did not record profits, each of these clubs, excluding Tottenham, performed above the 4.5% market margin.

Man United’s performance against the market is quite staggering. For the club to outperform the market over such a long timeframe while also being one of the league’s most heavily backed teams, is testament to how dominant they were. United recorded an even stakes profit in 15 of the 23 seasons played, including a run from season 2001/02 to season 2009/10 where the club recorded eight profitable seasons out of the nine played.

Overall a total of 12 Premier League clubs recorded a profit when backing them to win at even stakes the last 23 seasons, with, as you might expect, 23 clubs performing above the 4.5% market margin and 23 performing below.

The worst team to bet on the last 23 seasons? Fulham. If you had bet £1 on Fulham to win every of their 570 Premier League matches during this time, you would have taken a loss of almost £89, a negative return on your £570 of over 15%.

The best team to bet against? Sheffield Wednesday. Had you bet £1 on Sheffield Wednesday to lose each of their 76 matches played, you would have earned a profit of £22. In second place in this category goes Manchester City. Despite their success over the last decade, had you bet £1 on City to lose each of their 760 matches the last 23 seasons, you would have won almost £16.

How about betting the draw? Now, I don’t know what this means exactly, but…..the three best teams to bet on the draw the last 23 seasons were Aston Villa, Birmingham and West Brom. Hmmm. At the other end of the spectrum, Manchester City and Manchester United were the teams least profitable for betting the draw. In total, just eight clubs were profitable when betting the draw.

In terms of pure return on investment, the award goes to Blackpool, who despite their one unsuccessful season in the Premier League during this time, earned a profitable return for optimistic backers of almost 26%. The club won just 10 matches during the 2010/11 season, but defeated Liverpool twice including a win at Anfield when entering the match at odds of 10.07. It was one of their five away wins that season.


The Most Profitable Premier League Club To Bet On At Home

The award for the best team to bet on at home during this time goes to Stoke who secured a profit of over £34 when betting £1 on each of their 190 home games. The rest of the top five is a tight group of Burnley, Newcastle, West Ham and Tottenham.

The worst team to bet on at home? Aston Villa. If you had bet £1 on Villa to win every one of their 380 home matches during this time, you would have suffered a loss of just over £59, a dismal return on investment of almost -16%.

The best team to bet against at home? Crystal Palace. If you had bet £1 on Palace to lose every one of their 171 home matches you would have earned almost £34 profit. This figure was almost double that of the second worst team, Leeds, who saw doubters earn a profit of over £16.

The worst team to bet against at home? Arsenal. Betting £1 on the Gunners to lose each of their 437 home matches the last 23 seasons would have seen you take a loss of almost £136, a damning return on investment of over -31%.


The Most Profitable Premier League Club To Bet On Away

The best Premier League club to back away from home was Crystal Palace. Palace won 48 of their 171 away matches, delivering a profit at £1 stakes of almost £60, a mighty return on investment of almost 35%.

The worst team to bet on away from home? Fulham. Away from home Fulham returned a loss at even £1 stakes of over £103 across their 285 away matches played, a diabolical return on investment of over -36%.

The best team to bet against away from home? Liverpool. Betting £1 against Liverpool in each of their 437 away matches during this time span would have earned you almost £41, a return of over 9%. Second place in this category goes to Manchester City, delivering doubters almost £38 at even stakes. Both Liverpool’s and City’s returns in this category were almost three times that of third place Watford.

The worst team to bet against away from home? Manchester United. If you had wagered £1 on United to lose each of their 437 away matches since the 1998/99 season, you would have lost £53, a return of over -12%.


The Most Profitable Premier League Club To Bet On - Single Season

So which club holds the record for the best season for those faithful (crazy) enough to bet on them to win each match?

West Ham.2015/16.

West Ham won 16 of their 38 matches that season, and had you backed £1 on them to win each of those 38 matches, you would have scored a profit of over £36, a staggering return of 96% on investment, almost doubling your money. The giant slaughtering campaign saw a string of unlikely results including away wins over Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool, Everton and home wins over Chelsea, Manchester United, Tottenham and again both Liverpool and Everton.

Not one of the big six clubs feature in the top 20 most profitable seasons while West Ham, Blackburn, Newcastle and Leicester feature twice while Crystal Palace features three times.


The Most Profitable Premier League Club To Bet Against - Single Season

So which club saw the best season for those who wished to oppose them in every game?

Manchester City 2019/20

Had you bet £1 against City in each of their matches that season, you would have scored a profit of almost £49, a return of almost 128% on investment. While the circumstances of the season need to be taken into account, City lost nine games featuring peculiar results such as an away loss to Norwich, an away loss to Southampton and losing both at home and away to Wolverhampton, .

The only of the big 6 clubs not to feature on this top 20 is Tottenham, while Chelsea feature four times, Liverpool and Manchester United three times, City twice and Arsenal once. It’s clear that those shrewd enough to pick their moments can profit betting against the bigger clubs of the Premier League.


Each Premier League Club’s Most Profitable Betting Season

Below we have listed the best seasons for each club that has played in the Premier League the last 23 seasons.

Of the 46 clubs that have played in the league during this time frame, 40 have enjoyed seasons where they delivered a profit at even stakes, with only Derby, Bradford, Coventry, Brighton, Nottingham Forest and Wimbledon were unable to stay around long enough to enjoy such a season.


Most Profitable Premier League Club To Bet On - Season By Season

Lastly let’s take a look at the best performing clubs season by season.

Aston Villa are the ‘defending champions’, leaving the 2020/21 season with an even stake profit of almost £22.

Only one club has managed to go ‘back to back’, Bolton in 2003/04 and 2004/05, while four clubs have also managed to finish top of the league twice: Aston Villa, Blackburn, West Ham and Wolverhampton.

Of the big 6 Premier League clubs only Chelsea in 2016/17 and Manchester City in 2007/08, prior to their days as a Premier League giant, have been the best club to bet on in a single season.


What can we take away from this for the upcoming Premier League season?

While data analysis such as this is far too broad to suggest backing any specific club or clubs heading into the 2021/22 Premier League season, it should be quite clear that the value is to be found in the clubs few expect to perform well.

While the clubs expected to dominate the league, such as Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United and specifically this season, Manchester City, may well indeed dominate in expected fashion, as the data shows, it’s one thing to dominate the league on a flat track. It’s another thing entirely to outperform the market.

Whoever you’re backing this season, good luck.


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