Thursday, January 27, 2011

The totals market in soccer

With hockey dead for the next few days, I decided to maybe look into my resolution to no longer pick soccer games/outcomes and determine if there is not a strategy I could use in picking over/under in soccer games.

For assistance, I've first looked into a journal article called "ARE BEHAVIORAL BIASES CONSISTENT ACROSS THE ATLANTIC?: THE OVER/UNDER MARKET FOR EUROPEAN SOCCER" by Rodney Paul, et al.

Coming from the Journal of Gambling Business and Economics (September 1, 2009), Paul looks at several European Leagues from 2005-2007 to determine if the under is underbet in soccer. He does determine that it is and that, as a strategy, if a bettor were to bet theunder in a soccer game, they would lose less money overall than if they bet the over. Not the greatest endorsement to attempt to find a strategy in picking soccer totals, but if the under loses less often, then perhaps we can find a way to target the unders most likely to occur.

So, using data from , I've determine how well the under performs as opposed to the over. Well, for this year, I don't know if somethign special has happened since 2007, but the over is doing MUCH better than unders. Overs, generally, are occuring as frequently as unders, but winning(losing) more(less) units. Only a handful of leagues have Unders markets that are fine. Generally speaking, it appears the under is actually valued at lower odds than the overs. So even int he leagues where the under occurs pretty frequently, unit wise it does pretty terrible.

Here's some data, so far, of the more interesting numbers:
EPL: Over/Under is 52/48%, but units are -6.5/-21.5
English Championship: Over/Under is 52/48% but units are +0.96/-41..2 (wtf, right?)
English 1: Over/Under is 54/46% but units are +6.73/-42.49 (crazy)
English 2: Over/Under is 49/51% but units are -9.63/-28.7 (whargarbl!)
Scot 2: Over/Under is 62%/38% but units are +6.7/-17.96
Bundesligue 1: 63/37 and +11.38/-33.7
Segunda Division: 45/55 and -9.31/-22.98
Serie B: 43/57 and -17.38/-17.21
French League 1: 42/58 and -11.59/-14.18
Portugal: 47/53 and +.81/-17.28

God help you if you were following Paul's observation this year. Judging by how low the odds are of an under happening, it looks like bookmakers are finding people now betting on the under more than the over. So, if that's not the way to go, perhaps I can find a way to mine out the likely over/under. I'm thinking of looking into methods involving poisson distribution of goal differential between 2 teams.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

12-13, +3.76

I forgot a cardinal rule: Never pick against Vancouver. Goddamn me. Well at least I'll have the all-star break to stew over tonight's events. I'm mean it when I say that I'm NOT picking soccer games again. Well, at least I finished the week on the positive side of the unit scale.

11-11, +4.51 Units

I'm writing this as I see Tenerife is tied against Granada in the 77th minute. Needles to say, I think Soccer is not working out very well for me in terms of picking.

...and Tenerife finishes in a draw, cementing that thought in my head.

I'm going to forget this sport now and go with hockey. Hooray for hockey!

Tonight, I like Nashville  to win (+155) against Vancouver. Phoenix to win (+125) against Colorado, and Florida to win (+175) at Boston.

My gut says to never pick against Vancouver, but my gut is also wrong a lot. And full of tacos. Nashville is a fairly good team with a few more losses than Vancouver. Neither team is on anything akin to a winning streak, but Nashville is 7-3 in their last 10 games while Vancouver is 4-6. Nashville is 16-13 on the road.

Phoenix is 14-12 on the road while Colorado is 14-13 at home. Phoenix may be startng a little mini slide, losing their past 2 in a row, but over their last ten games both teams are 5-5.

Boston is 12-12 at home this season. Florida is 11-13. The panthers are 4-6 over their last 10 games however I'm just counting on a true upset happening. By all reasonable measure this team shoudl not win tonight, but this is why they play the games. Their opening line was +220 and teams with lines that big not named Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa, New Jersey, or New York have a positive unit return for most of the season.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

10-7, +6.86 Units

Montreal completely crapped the bed, but I am developing a severe man crush on the capabilities of Minnesota to perform as the underdog. Amazing work these guys turn in when their back is against the wall. Anaheim got the quick 2 goal strike int he opening 5 minutes to allow them to beat Columbus 3-2.

Soccer killed me this day, but that's part of the hand dealt to me. Lets look at some games happening around Europe  tomorrow and pick a few.

In the premiere league, I like the Liverpool-Fulham game to go over (even) 2.5 goals. In the premiere league, overs that are the underdog by <0.3 average difference in odds points in the english odds system happen 60% of the time.

In the Scottish Premiere League I like Aberdeen to win (+165) against Inverness and Motherwell to win (+170) against St Johnstone and the over (+125) in that game. In the SPL, away teams with average odds of 2.5-3.0 (english odds numbers) win 59% of the time. Overs that are underdogs by an average difference of 0.5-0.7 in english odds numbers win 80% of the time.

Finally, in the Seguda Division, I like Tenerife to win (+110) against Granada 74.  In the Segunda Division, home teams that are favorites against the road team by an average odds difference of 1-1.5 points win 53% of the time.

Picks: 8-6, +5.16 Units

Thank you Aston Villa for being able to take a 2-0 lead and use that 1 goal cushion to win effectively. Livorno couldn't find a win even with a 3-1 lead half way trhough the second half. A pox on their house. Hartlepool had the 1-0 lead in the second half but couldnt help but conceed a goal and then neither them or Notts could find the game winner throughout the entire half. Walsall fell behind early. East Stirlingshire proved my upset pick correct and after a sluggish first half Dumbarton and Forfar Athletic were able to get the over to prove that prediction right.

Seriously, 3-1 lead in an Italian league and Livorno couldn't hang on. WTF?

Moving on to Hockey for the evening. I like Anaheim to win (+105), Montreal to win (+160) against Philadelphia, and Minnesota to win (+165) against Chicago.

As much as I'd like to pick either The Islanders, Ottawa, Toronto, or Edmonton tonight, and I really want to believe what my math says, which is any team not New Jersey or The Islanders that are underdogs by more than 180 you should pick, I can't knowing how bad all 4 of these teams are.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Picks: 5-2, +2.611 units

With the score tied 3-3 in the third period Toronto must have attempted a controversial strategy of pulling their goalie with 7 minutes left in the game b/c thats what it seemed like watching the score of the game move in Carolina's favor. So, I said earlier not the trust Toronto right?

The Rangers pull off the stunning upset that saved my bacon this evening, winning their game against Washington on penalty shots. Way to save my cred guys!

St. Louis hung close with Colorado for most of the game, but, sadly, could not get a lead.

At least I was correct guessing Calgary would beat Nashville. They're a solidly reliable team that wins the games they're supposed to win, and lose the games they're supposed to lose.

I'm looking at some soccer picks for tomorrow. I pick Aston Villa to win (+130) against Wigan. Walsall will win (+160) against Oldham Athletic   I like Hartlepool to win (+125) against Notts County and pick the over (-105). Livorno will win (-105) against Padova. I like the over in the Dumbarton vs Forfar Athletic game, and form the 3rd Scottish division, I've noticed big underdogs (English Odds > 3.5) win 50% of the time this season. Ok, so only 4 games have had underdogs with spreads that big, but, still, lets take a chance and pick East Stirling to win (+525) against Arbroath.

Picks: 4-0, +2.961 Units

Nail biter for me as Bochum broke a 0-0 game with a goal in the 88th minute. Then proceeded to score a second time. Thanks guy for showing up late!

Athletic Bilbao got things rolling early with a goal, then nothing happened for a long long time. Midway through the second half Bilbao picks up a second goal and virtually locks up the win. They'll later get their 3rd goal to take a 3-0 lead and seal the pick for the over.

Maritimo and Sporitng Lisbon had a 0-1 score at halftime. After the half Lisbon helped guarantee that I wouldn't be wrong, yet, today, by taking a 0-2 lead and soon afterward guaranteed I'd go 4/4 on my soccer picks when they took an 0-3 lead. Hooray Lisbon!

Now onto NHL picks. I take the approach that I have to outsmart the oddsmaker than actually predict the game. The reason being that oddsmakers have already doen the homework of comparing teams to each other. So I look for odds that the oddsmakers are having trouble handicapping and attack those ranges.

Underdogs perform alright when the odds open at 115/-135. So I pick St. Louis to win against Colorado. Colorado is 13-13 at home and on a 2 game losing streak. St Louis is 7-13 on the road and on a 2 game losing streak.

Normally, if the odds open 140/-160 you have a chance of coming out ahead as that range is at +3.30 Units from October to December, but when Toronto is involved I know better than to pick the Maple Leafs. Toronto is 19-28 facing a Carolina team that is 23-25. Both teams are on a 1 game losing streak. Toronto is 9-12 on the road and Carolina is 12-10 at home. Aw screw it, Toronto is alright. I pikc Toronto to win.

The Rangers are opening at 165/-185 against Washington. While my heart says not to do this, my head and science says pick New York to win. Washington may be 16-10 a home this season, but the Rangers perform well on the road and are 16-10 away from New York. Both teams are not sporting any sort of meaningful winning/losing streak.

The chance to pick Nashville to win against Calgary is tempting. But when the odds are 110/-130 you are looking at a losing proposition as that range does not produce any consistent winners. Calgary has a knack to win when it's supposed to and lose when they're the underdog.