Football Betting Stats: Why This Season Has Been So Strange (& The World's Worst System!)

This weekend sees the start of the 1st round of the FA Cup, which is always a good point to reflect on the first few months of football betting action this season.

…And if you like a few other punters I have spoken to this season have had a tough start to the season betting-wise, today I have some really interesting stats that might well help you! (plus details on possibly the worst football betting system)

With the help of the Winbobatoo football service, I have compiled betting data for the season so far, which show a huge bias depending on whether you have been backing predominantly home or away football teams.

For example, if this season you had simply backed every single home side in the top 5 English leagues and the SPL, you would actually be showing a 21.93 pt profit (at single 1 pt stakes) and a Return on Investment of 4.01%!

This is because there have been 7% more home wins this season than last with 46% in 2013/14 compared to just 39% in 2012/13.

Conversely if only backing away teams, you will have made a 68.01 pt loss (-13.36% ROI) with the key stat that there have been 7% fewer away wins this season compared to last (27% compared to 34%).

Sounds like the world’s simplest system doesn’t it? Back homes and lay aways…and effectively so far this season, those of you backing away sides (and I know many of you do focus on this) will be doing very well to stem the losses.

Here is the actual profit and loss figures so far this season if blindly backing all home, away and draws…

Where these stats become very interesting is to compare the exact same period (up to the 5/11/13) with that from the 2012/13 season (up to the 5/11/12)…where we actually see the complete opposite happen.

During this period, backing home teams would have made a significant loss of -61.99 pts, whilst away backers would have been in clover to the tune of 91.97 pts! Suddenly my simple back home, lay away system might well lay claim to being the worlds worst!

Here is the comparative table of home, away and draws from last season…

What these tables help to highlight is the volatility and randomness of football results over a short period of time.

It’s not as if new rules have been put in place this season to give home teams a 1 goal head-start every game…yet reading these stats could well make you question what is going on?

One easy comparative figure is also the strike-rate for wins. In 2012 the away team strike-rate was 34.07% (169 wins) whilst this season it is just 27.31% (139 wins). A full 30 less away victories can make a major difference to your profits!

Compared To The Long-Term

These early season quirks are highlighted best by comparing them to the long-term performance if we combine all the results since the 2006/07 season.

Whichever way you back teams (home/draw/away) each of them make a loss via these recorded odds over 17411 bets.

So whilst short-term we might see these fluctuations in performance and what appears to the best football system ever, the reality is that over time it all evens out.

So if you are banging your head against a brick wall in frustration as to why your football betting has not been as lucrative as usual this season, perhaps this helps explain why.

Coping With Bad Betting Form

Whilst these stats are all well and good, often as gamblers it can be very frustrating if we are on the wrong side of a bias like this.

Here are just a few tips on how to help handle them…

  • Consider using Asian Handicap markets where you can smooth out the risk of your bets.  I.e. instead of backing Fulham to beat Liverpool at 14/1, you can back them with a +2 goal head-start at 4/5 instead.
  • Make sure you set-up at the onset of the season with the right size betting banks. They can help absorb losing runs and dramatically reduce the risk of going bust during freakish runs of form!
  • Avoid temptation to read too much into the performance of bets over a very short period of time. Often the stats sample is much too small to draw any significant conclusions from.
  • Develop the long-term mindset so many professional gamblers adopt whereby they focus on a minimum of 6 or 12 months results before making judgments. Focus on seasonal rather than weekly or monthly performance.

My thanks go to Winabobatoo for their help with these stats, which are based on the best odds available from Bet365, Totesport, Coral, Ladbrokes and Hills at midday Monday for midweek games, and midday Thursday for weekend games. Included matches are from when a team reaches game seven of each season. Fixtures covering the first six league games are not included.

If interested in reading more on this topic, I have posted a full rundown of stats and results for each season between 2006/07 and present day on the Smart Betting Club Forum.

On the forum you can also find some similar analysis as provided by the Football Investor service on this home/draw/away bias.

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