When you open a betting forum you will inevitably come across at least ten topics in which experienced punters are trying to produce a mathematical model which predict who will be the winner in a football match. In this post I will try to express my opinion on how this is simply not possible and how football is not suitable as a sport for creation of mathematical models.
The main argument I have against statistical and mathematical models for betting predictions on football matches is related to the very nature of the game. This is a sport in which often a single goal decides the match and with pure statistic is quite difficult to predict whether any particular shots will be realized as a goal, will be saved by the goalkeeper or will hit the crossbar.
Of course, it’s easy to make statistics on what number of goal attempts are needed to score a goal (in the Premier League statistics show that around 7.5 goal attempts are needed for a goal) , but unfortunately this is not enough to make a really worthwhile betting prediction.
Whichever other item to add to this mathematical model, you again will come to the moment that it is a pure luck will а shot become a goal or not.
The same goes for tennis. We often have matches in which both players have equal number of scored points in the match, but at the end one of them win by 6-4, 6-3. How mathematics or statistics can predict which of them will be the winner?
That’s why I believe the only option in which such statistical models can be successful is when they are applied in sports, where we have many points scored. These are mostly handball and basketball. In these sports the statistics is crucial for each betting prediction and the large number of points scored reduce the element of chance in modeling the stakes.
Spread betting options are extremely popular lately as they offer greater opportunities for profit then the so-called fixed odds. It should be noted that this way of betting is also much more risky and can lead to serious losses of money for the players.
The main difference between spread betting and fixed odds is in the fact that when betting on fixed odds the player knows what kind of possible profit or loss he or she will have at the end of the match. However, when betting with spread betting options it won’t be clear until the match is finally over.
This is because unlike betting on fixed odds where the player just says will an event happens or no, in the spread betting stakes the player buys a difference between the actual result and the line previously announced by the bookmaker.
Here is an example of the difference between the two betting option which will make the topic clear.
Let’s have as an example the match between Boston and LA Lakers from NBA. The proposal of the bookies like bet3265, William Hill and bet-at-home for total scored by both teams points is 200.5. So the player must bet will the actual number of scored points be over or under this bookie’s line.
In fixed odds betting, if you bet on Over 200.5 and the match ends with 210 total points scored, for each pledged Euro you will get 1.9 as a win. If the match ends with 230 points scored by both teams you will get the same profit. However, if the match ends with lower than 200.5 total number of scored points, you will lose your bet.
However, in spread betting you buy the difference from the bookmaker line and the actual result. So, here is our example. Let’s say you bet one Euro per point with your bookmaker which could be bet365, William Hill, bet-at-home or someone else. So, if Boston and LA Lakers score 210 points and you have bet for Over, you would win 9 Euro. If both teams score 215 points, your profit would be 14 euros.
Conversely, if you bet on Over 200.5 points, but both teams score 190 points, you would lose 9 Euro. If you have the bad luck and they score just 170 points, your loss would be 29 euros.
This example clearly shows the opportunities that spread betting betting offer, but it also shows the bigger risks, which you also have to calculate when choosing this type of betting.
Without any doubt, the most interesting match of the 25th round of the English Premier League will be between the teams of Chelsea and Manchester City. The first against the third in the current standings and most probably the two teams that are the actual candidate to win the Premier League this year, will play against each other on Monday night.
A quick look at the table shows that an eventual victory for City will give them a 6 points gap from Chelsea. This is a margin which 13 rounds before the end of the championship would most probably be decisive.
Jose Mourinho has shown so far that prefers to play safe and without any risk when playing against the top teams. Usually in these matches, Chelsea plays with many players in the midfield, barely allowing the ball to get near to Petr Cech. This solid system has its cons and they are mostly in the fact that the team suffers in the attack, something which is generally a problem for the team from London this year.
Manchester City on the other hand has no problems with their forwards who score near 3 goals per match, although in this match they will most likely play without Sergio Aguero. With that news in hand, it is curious will Manuel Pellegrini choose to play again with two strikers or he will decide to use Negredo or Dzeko as a sole attacker.
Whichever option to choose Pellegrini it is clear that it is unlikely for City to have many goal attempts, given the Chelsea’s ability to defend. All this will make this match even more interesting and difficult for a betting prediction.
Usually in such matches the draw can be the bet, but we must remember the fact that both teams have players who with just a single touch can make the difference. This is why my prediction for the match between Chelsea and Manchester City will be for a draw, but with a small bet.