3...DOING YOUR HOMEWORK: STATS AND RESOURCES
5...THE PREMIER LEAGUE WINNER MARKET ON BETFAIR
7...THE PORTFOLIO APPROACH TO WINNING ON BETFAIR
9...THE MATCH ODDS MARKETS
11...THE OVER/UNDER 2.5 GOALS MARKET
15...FIRST GOALSCORER AND TO SCORE MARKETS
17...THE RELEGATION AND ROCK BOTTOM MARKETS
42...WEST HAM UNITED
by James Pacheco
The best odds, thousands of markets and great liquidity – put simply, Betfair is the best place on the internet to do your football betting.
There are loads of football punters already on Betfair and this large community of punters is good news for you for two main reasons.
Firstly, competition among layers is so strong that they usually have to offer you a slightly better price than anyone else if they are to get their bet matched. Market forces therefore ensure the Betfair price is almost always bigger than those other bookmakers are offering. By the same token, there are plenty of people looking to back bets, which means you are always likely to find someone willing to take the opposite view to you.
The second is that because so many people are on Betfair, there’s a lot of money waiting to be matched, especially on the more popular markets. High-street bookmakers very often limit the amount of money you can have on any given bet to a few hundred pounds, but on Betfair you can generally wager a few thousand on any big match odds or over/under 2.5 goals market, not to mention any winner market amongst the major leagues.
And if you’re happy to take a price that’s a couple of ticks shorter as a backer (or longer as a layer) there is plenty more waiting to be matched. When big Premier League or Champions League matches come around it’s not unusual for there to be hundreds of thousands of pounds at a particular price on either side of the bet – if those are the sort of figures you like to deal in!
Betfair is also among the market leaders when it comes to offering in-play football markets. These are markets that you can bet on whilst a match is in progress and are available for every match played in the Premier League, Champions League and many more.
Though Betfair is not widely known for betting on ‘specials’, these are also available from time to time. Specials markets that always attract a lot of attention are Premier League “Next Manager” markets, so much so that newspapers and websites often quote Betfair prices as the most reliable source of assessing a candidate’s chances of ultimately landing the job.
This book is solely concerned with betting on Premier League markets. If you’ve never placed a bet on Betfair before you’d be advised to read “Betfair for Dummies” for a thorough explanation of how it all works, from depositing money into your account, to the difference between backing and laying and how to ensure you win on a market whatever the outcome, also known as a “green book”.
The 2009/10 season promises to be a cracker on the pitch and should, as ever, make for exciting betting prospects on Betfair. Whether you prefer to stake your money on season-long bets such as the Premier League winner market or prefer to get involved on a match-by-match basis, this guide should hopefully point you in the right direction so you’re fully prepared when all the action kicks off on the 15th August.
DOING YOUR HOMEWORK: STATS AND RESOURCES
By Tobias Gourlay
It does matter more when there is money on it, Sky Bet, but you don’t mention that it is also likely to cost more unless research is done into where to put that money.
As the new football season approaches, the most serious – and successful - punters are preparing to take a long-term view on the Premier League. Not for them the last-minute wager on the match they are about to go to the pub for. Well, occasionally, perhaps, but only once some homework has been done.
Playing a long game means being prepared to assess your P&L line on a seasonal basis. Whether a punter makes 25 bets a season or 2,500 bets a season, the principle of value remains the same.
Briefly, Betfair’s odds on a particular outcome reflect someone’s view on how likely that outcome is. For example, odds of 1.25 – Manchester United’s price to win their opening-day home game against Birmingham – suggest the bet will pay out 80% of the time; if the match was played 100 times, United would win 80 times.
If someone has an idea that United would actually win that match 90 times out of 100, they should take that bet because, if they are right, after the 100th game they would have a profit equivalent to the payouts from the 10 extra matches they won (therein lies the holy grail of value). Assuming – quite reasonably, experience tells us – that no one makes the right bet all of the time, following the value seems to be the surest way to long-term profit.
Now, where would someone get such an idea about the value in United’s price? They might be a fan who makes a leap of faith every time he places a bet. They might have done some qualitative analysis and decided that the Darren Fletcher-Anderson midfield axis is underrated and will be to the fore in the coming campaign.
Better, perhaps, they might know that Manchester United have won 18 of their last 20 similar matches. In which case, they take the 1.25 price because (assuming all other factors are constant) it is better than the 1.10 they think it should be.
Some punters will be prepared to wade through every Premier League game ever played to find a riveting stat like the one above.
That’s great, but for those with less time on their hands – perhaps they have a job or a girlfriend – there are internet resources to help them out. Football-data.co.uk, for example, provides free spreadsheets containing information that can help identify value bets across many markets.
BettorLogic.com releases statistically based betting recommendations each week, as well as titbits of quantitative information about the importance of individual players to their clubs, in the hope that readers will then pay them for more comprehensive data.
The free scraps hint at trends that others in the market might have missed and can form the basis of value bets to be made again and again through the season.
Betfair’s own www.stats.betradar.com/statistics/betfaircom/?language=en page will provide basic statistical support (or not) to those with pre-conceived ideas about how a match will go off. Reckon that Tottenham’s opening-day home fixture with Liverpool is going to be a low-scorer? It is easy to find out here that 13/19 league games at White Hart Lane produced -2.5 Goals last season, just like 11/19 of the Reds’ away matches. Those numbers suggest 1.60 would be a fair price. Closer to kick-off, the price will probably settle around 1.90. That’s some value right there, if the numbers on their own convince you.
There’s a nagging question, though. How can you know whether a statistic is relevant or not? In short, you cannot. But you can make sure you have the best possible idea about its relevance. If you found out that those 13 low-scoring games at White Hart Lane came at the beginning of last season, would the bet be as appealing if Spurs were on an unbroken run of 13 straight home games with -2.5 Goals? You decide. This sort of information is easily come by at many different websites, including the official Premier League site.
There are also qualitative factors that must be taken into account, even if they cannot be quantified. If, heaven forefend, someone didn’t know that Liverpool sold Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard to Manchester City yesterday, and the rest of the market did, they would probably find the Reds’ longer-than-usual win price rather appealing.
ESPN’s Soccernet tends to get this sort of news right and early, and that helps it stand apart from some of the UK-based sites whose pedigree is not so obvious. Official club websites vary in usefulness, but once a good one has been discovered, it can become a very useful source of team news and the like.
A small investment of time in crunching the numbers and researching the details will help maximise your chances of a good return on your financial investment in the coming season.
THE PREMIER LEAGUE WINNERS MARKET ON BETFAIR
by James Pacheco
Great League, even better betting opportunities
It’s no surprise that every year the Premier League Winner market proves to be just about the most popular football market on Betfair.
After all, the English top flight is the most exciting in the world, boasting some of the hottest talents in the game and captivating fans with its fast, attacking football.
It also makes for a good betting platform. True, since the creation of the Premier League in 1992 there have been only four winners: Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Blackburn Rovers. However, there is a genuine belief at the start of every season that each of the Big Four are in genuine contention to win the title. The betting certainly backs this up with all trading lower than 10.0 – remember, close contests always make for good betting opportunities. Better still, Premier League campaigns have, in recent years, had quite a few twists to them and most have only been decided on the last couple of days of the season, meaning the “traders” have had plenty of opportunities to lock in profits.
Of course, tying up your money for 10 months until the market is settled isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and some prefer to bet on individual matches and collect after 90 minutes. But as far as long-term market betting goes, this is a good one.
The 2009/10 winner market
The usual suspects dominate the market with Manchester United - bidding for a fourth consecutive title - at the top of the market at odds of 3.1. Sir Alex Ferguson knows what it takes to win this competition and has mastered the art of putting together an irresistible championship winning run, often from around Christmas through to the end of the season. With money to spend on new players every summer, United remain the team to beat.
Chelsea come next at 3.55. The Blues are no strangers to winning Premier League titles, having won back-to-back titles as recently as 2004-5 and 2005-6 under Jose Mourinho. Their squad looks as strong as ever and new boss Carlo Ancelotti has no shortage of transfers funds but how the Italian adapts to the Premier League remains to be seen. Just look at Luiz Felipe Scolari.
Why Liverpool are yet to win a league title since the start of the Premier League is a mystery given the quality of players and managers that have been through the door, their levels of support and success in other competitions. They’re 4.2 to break their duck this season so the layers clearly aren’t taking too many chances.
Doubts continue about Arsene Wenger’s transfer policy but suffice to say that at the moment it’s not working with Arsenal’s last league championship coming back in 2004. The Gunners are the title outsiders of the Big Four at 9.8.
This may be one season too soon for the richest club in football but if anyone is going to break into the big four it’s Manchester City. Craig Bellamy, Robinho, Roque Santa Cruz, Wayne Bridge and Shay Given are just a few of the big names to have joined since the start of last season and the spending is unlikely to stop. If Mark Hughes can get the new players to gel as a team those odds of 23.0 may look generous at some stage of the season.
The Ronaldo Factor
Betfair’s Premier League winner market reacted immediately to Cristiano Ronaldo’s £80 million transfer from Manchester United to Real Madrid. Hovering around the 2.6 mark prior to the news, United drifted to a market high of 3.25 with all their rivals’ prices coming in a few ticks. Does one player’s exit really justify moving a whole market in such a dramatic way? Only time will tell but the key to the 2009-10 season may well be the quality of players Fergie brings in to replace the prolific number seven.
If you think Man Utd will win a fourth consecutive title, it may pay to bide your time before backing them. Over the last couple of seasons they have been slow starters, taking just two points from their first three matches of the 2007-8 season and just five points from their first four matches last season. Wait a few weeks before backing them or better still, lay them at the off and re-back them a few weeks into the season at a bigger price for a nice green book.
THE PORTFOLIO APPROACH TO BETTING ON BETFAIR
by Gary Boswell
Portfolio betting means taking a number of positions on a single market, usually a long-term one. On Betfair, these could be a number of backs, lays or a combination of both.
Given that it is an approach generally associated with long-term markets, it is not recommended for the punter who likes a quick flutter and who is keen to collect his winnings the day before yesterday; this is the marathon rather than the sprint.
As mentioned above, the chief characteristic of this technique is having several bets on the one market; these backs and lays can be hedged at any time as prices become favourable. That is one of the fascinating aspects of this approach. Not just trying to predict ultimate outcomes but predicting short term ones too.
The 2009/10 Premiership Rock Bottom market
This is an ideal market to construct a portfolio in. Who is destined to become this season’s West Brom and get themselves adrift at the bottom early in the season? If you can predict that, there’s good money to be made in backing them at pre-season price and laying back after six games.
The two teams to concentrate on in the 09/10 season are Burnley and Hull who lead the market at 3.1 and 5.1 respectively. Owen Coyle’s Clarets could be a massive price at 3.1 given that they have games against Manchester United, Everton, Chelsea and Liverpool in their first six – two of those away from home.
A realistic prediction for their first six games is a maximum of four and that should see them rooted early. The old maxim that solid defence is paramount for Premier League survival is likely to be of concern at Turf Moor. They conceded 60 in 46 league games last year – the worst defensive record in the top six – and you have to think that Birmingham’s 37 in 46 is more like the requirement necessary for survival.
For the Clarets, much will depend on whether Danish goalkeeper Brian Jensen can repeat his Carling Cup heroics against Chelsea and Arsenal. The ‘Beast’ must get off to a good start to prevent the heads going down. Thirty-five-year-old defender Graham Alexander is also key as his experience was undoubtedly the holding factor in their Championship campaign last season.
Can he really be expected to repeat that against the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea though? Those tough opening six games make them a good bet to be bottom after the early exchanges. Likewise Hull would have been rock bottom by a long way last season if proceedings had started in January. Back these two pre-season, watch their price come in and then adjust your position accordingly.
The 2009/10 Premiership Top Goalscorer market
This market provided an excellent portfolio possibility towards the end of last season when the current Golden Boot holder Cristiano Ronaldo was underpriced to defend his crown. He had a serious contender in Nicolas Anelka who did indeed pip him to the title and this season is a baffling 17.5 fourth favourite to repeat that feat in the 2009/10 season. Fernando Torres is 5.0 favourite with Didier Drogba and Wayne Rooney second and third favourites at 13.0 and 16.0 respectively.
Michael Owen is a ridiculously short 14.0 – on the drift though from an early market price in single figures!! – and the sneaky outsider in the market is Carlos Tevez at 34.0. Stoke’s Ricardo Fuller may also be worth a small flutter at a massive 260.0 after his 11 goals in Stoke’s debut season. He can be fancied to build on that again this season and the opening game against Burnley’s questionable defence gives him the chance to be top after game one! Chance for an early profitable hedge!
A lot of money is coming for Andrei Arshavin – currently 34.0 in from 50.0 - after his goal gluts that ended last season’s campaign whereas Peter Crouch – who raced to 11 goals last season but then dried up – is a whopping 110.0 which might also be worth including in your portfolio – especially if he moves to a team that creates more chances for him than he got at Portsmouth.
Portfolio betting across a season isn’t solely about removing your liability at the first opportunity. You can adjust your position accordingly many times. If you decide to back Burnley to finish rock bottom and you manage to lay them off for more than your stake at 1.5, which results in you getting a green position on all runners in the market, your activity doesn’t have to end there. You may decide that Sunderland, who are just two points off the bottom and trading at 2.2 won’t be finishing bottom either so you can then lay your profit on them, thus increasing your green position on the field.
THE MATCH ODDS MARKET ON BETFAIR
by Matthew Walton
Match odds market at the heart of the matter
For the casual or committed punter, football betting is concerned with one question: which team is going to win the match?
Once you’ve decided on this, your view will have a direct bearing on all manner of other related Betfair markets, many of which are discussed throughout this publication (over/under 2.5 goals, first goalscorer, asian handicaps etc).
However, seeing as the match result is at the heart of most of the main markets on the exchange, what better way in which to use this opinion (and profit from it) than by getting involved with the ‘match odds’ market itself?
Playing the odds
Let’s take one of the new season’s opening day fixtures as an example of this market, which of course, involves only three possible results. Hence, at White Hart Lane, we find Spurs 3.50, Liverpool 2.28 and the draw 3.40 as the available options for the 90 minute match result.
When selecting a bet on this market any number of factors can be considered but, whatever the process involved, the final decision is made a lot easier by the limited number of potential outcomes: either Spurs or Liverpool will win, or it’ll be a draw.
It is no surprise that such a simple market is by far the most popular when it comes to the amount of punters betting on it, and thus the liquidity available. Whatever your bet and whatever your stake, you’ll be able to get on. Furthermore, as is the norm pretty much right across Betfair, you’ll find the best prices on offer for any given result - far better than with most fixed-odds bookmakers anyway.
So, think about it. You’ve got the simplest of bets, with the highest levels of market liquidity, added to the best possible odds … playing this market suddenly makes an awful lot of sense!
Even more so when you note that the match odds are always the first set of prices to go up on Betfair about a match. This enables you, as a backer or layer, to secure the best of the early value - possibly trading in and out well before the game itself. Assuming the market moves in a favourable direction as far as your bet is concerned, you may well have secured a “green book”* before the match has even kicked off.
Keeping it simple
A study of this market also highlights a valuable point about betting in general. Namely the benefit which can be had in concentrating your efforts on one specific bet in one particular market. As such, the match odds offer a gentle introduction to the possibilities of Betfair with a market which all football punters know well and can easily comprehend.
Moreover, this starting point comes with a market that has long been the curse of conventional bookmakers. For years they limited match betting solely to live matches, games played within the top divisions or with the ludicrous requirement you backed in trebles!
The match bet win single remains the most potent weapon in the armoury of the backer (and now the layer) in that the bet is concerned purely with one aspect of one match. Do your research, know your form and evaluate the odds on Betfair and you’ve got an excellent chance of backing a lot of winners.
So you might back Liverpool at 2.28 because you simply think Rafael Benitez’s team are the better side, lump on Spurs at 3.50 because the form is good (Spurs have actually won five of the last 10 home matches against the Reds, making the price a fair piece of value) or you could plump for the draw at 3.40 as being early season, it might be a tight match. The choice is yours.
Some teams have a very good record when it comes to winning matches but they may not be necessarily the best of starters. Look for teams who very often start at odds-on and either leave it late before breaking the deadlock or tend to go a goal behind before they get going. Lay them pre-match and then back them in-running if they go behind or are locked at 0-0 after a while.
THE OVER/UNDER MARKET ON BETFAIR
by Ed Nicholson
Why bet on the over/under 2.5 market?
The over 2.5 goals market has become an increasingly popular over the last few seasons.
There are a number of reasons for this. Firstly, betting on this market, you have less to research than for some of the other markets. For example, in the match odds market you have to consider home and away records, motivation and absences while in the first goalscorer market you need to consider which players will start, who will be on penalty duty or to what extent a midfielder will be rushing to get into the box. Overs/unders are much more straightforward: will there be goals in the match or not?
Secondly, there are just two possible outcomes (under or over 2.5 goals) so pre-match and in-running betting is much easier to play.
Thirdly, the actual ratio of under 2.5 goal games and over 2.5 goal games in the Premier League is very near to 50%, which is always a good starting point for the in-running trader. The table below shows as much.
Year: % of Premier League games over 2.5 goals %/% of PL games under 2.5 goals
How to research the market
As with any bet, the first question to ask yourself is whether there’s value in the selection you’re thinking of backing.
You should take into account recent head-to-head records between the teams. Some fixtures always produce low scoring games while others consistently provide a flurry of goals, though admittedly the prices strongly reflect this.
Recent home results and recent away results should also be analysed as trends may well direct you one way or another. For example, after six or seven games into the season anyone looking at the Premier League table would have seen that Fulham’s home fixtures produced few goals, while Man Utd’s away fixtures also produced few goals. It may be worth putting United’s visit to Craven Cottage in your diary as a good chance to back “unders” should the trend continue, assuming the price is still value of course!
You may also benefit from looking at the number of shots on and off target that each team has achieved in recent games. This, allied to team selection and formation provides more evidence of how a team is playing. For example, when Arsenal drew 4-4 with Liverpool last season, the Gunners actually only had four shots on target, yet when Man United beat Sunderland 1-0 at Old Trafford the Reds had 15 shots on target, and 12 shots off target. These statistics give you a better overall view of the game than just looking at the number of goals that have been scored in recent matches.
M & M
Finally, pay close attention to the two Ms – motivation and momentum. If a team lets in five goals one week, you can be sure their motivation will be skewed to defending the following weekend rather than attacking. Similarly, if a team are playing in the Champions League on a Tuesday night, they are unlikely to field a full strength side against a bottom three team at home the Sunday before. Or if they do, they’re likely to bring off a couple of key attacking players if they go a goal up rather than go in search of more.
If you have reasons to go against the crowd and back the outsider of the two options, then you should have no hesitation in doing so. Occasionally markets are priced up the wrong way, even in markets as liquid as the Premier League’s, so fill your boots when you think the price is wrong.
For example, when a top four club is playing a bottom three team at home it’s tempting to back the over 2.5 goal option almost blindly; sometimes it will be a wise move, but usually the value bet will be to back the under 2.5 goal option at odds against. This is because the away team will come to defend, deploying a damage limitation strategy or, if they’re really fortunate, nick a 1-0 win. A 1-0, 2-0 home victory may also be a satisfactory result for the home team with other future, more difficult/important games on the horizon.
by Tareq Quiroz
An interesting bet out of any match
Asian Handicap markets offer an attractive alternative to simple Match Odds.
At first, they can appear a little complicated but the truth is quite the reverse, they are available on all Premier League games and have a lot going for them.
Asian Handicaps were designed to eliminate the troublesome third option; the draw. There are only ever two options per line, thus making a decision on which way to go a little simpler. A handicap is a way of giving the outsider an artificial head start. The greater the gap in quality between the two teams, the more of a start the outsider is given. When the match ends you take the final score and then apply the handicap to it.
Each match is handicapped to try and produce a line that gives each option a roughly equal chance of winning. Betfair delivers that market but also gives you the added service of a slightly higher and a slightly lower handicap.
For example, if you backed Hull +1.5 goals @ [2.0] away to Chelsea on the opening day of the season and the match ended 1-0 to Chelsea, you’d take the goal Hull lost by, add the 1.5 goal start they were given and Hull would have been 0.5 goals up after you applied the handicap. Your back of Hull +1.5 would therefore have been a winner.
However, Betfair will also give the handicaps either side, which in this case would be the lower line of Everton +0 and also the higher Everton +0.5. To some that will already seem a little confusing but it really isn’t if you give it a few minutes of playing around in the market without placing a bet.
Finding your way around the Asian Handicap
One of the great things about the Betfair Asian Handicap is that if you are not quite sure how a certain handicap line works, then it is very easy to get the answer.
Simply click on the option you wish to back and type a stake into the box. Before you submit, the text below will tell you exactly what your return is for each possibility. Big spenders Man City travel to Blackburn for the first game of the season and the handicap there is Blackburn +0&+0.5. This handicap should make the two options roughly even money.
If you wanted to back Blackburn on that handicap you would see that for a £10 stake at [2.0], if Blackburn wins you would make a profit of £10. If the game was a draw, you would make a profit of £5. And should Blackburn lose then you would lose your stake of £10. Whatever the handicap, the payout explanation is always there in the Place Bets box to help you out before you submit the bet.
One Sided Games
Asian Handicaps provide a betting interest in games where it’s pretty obvious who is going to win. International football throws up greater mismatches than you’d ever get in domestic leagues and therefore bigger handicaps. Teams like San Marino are often given a start of several goals and your task is to decide if they can hold on with that start. When they played England recently they were given a 4.5 goal start which on that occasion wasn’t enough as England put six past them with no reply.
You’d never get that sort of handicap in a Premier League match because no side is deemed so poor that they would be predicted to lose by four or five goals against another Premier League side. That said, when the likes of Wolves travel to Old Trafford this season you might find the handicap at around the 2.5 goal mark.
The principle behind an Asian Handicap is to get the two teams handicapped so they are equal. But don’t get so drawn into the concept that you don’t take advantage of Betfair’s offer of the higher and lower handicaps. You don’t always have to bet on the middle line and there are often better value odds to be had on the other lines. Put in an offer at odds you would like as you never know if that extra quarter goal might just be what gives you the profit you are seeking.
FIRST GOALSCORER AND TO SCORE MARKETS
by Mike Norman
Big payouts and lots of fun
If it’s a quick and sizeable profit you’re after, then Betfair’s “first Goalscorer" and “to score” markets are definitely the ones for you. Get your bets right and the rewards are big. They also represent some of the most fun markets to play.
The beauty of these markets is that they are simple to play, and it really doesn’t matter whether you’re an expert on football or a complete novice watching the game for the first time. You can wager as little as you like (minimum bet is £2), and use any selection process. As mentioned above, as well as being an exciting bet it's also an opportunity to win big for a small outlay.
How does it all work?
The “first goalscorer” market asks you who is going to score the opening goal of the match; there can obviously only be one player scoring first. If you back a player who wasn't on the pitch at the time when the first goal was scored your bet is refunded but this doesn't include a player who started the match and then came off or was sent off before the first goal was scored. That player at least had a chance to score the first goal.
Should the first goal of the match be an own goal, the first goalscorer market will be settled on who scores the second. First goalscorer markets on Betfair list 10 players from ea
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