Archives for June2014

Group D Betting Preview: World Cup 2014 odds, predictions

Group D may be the second strongest group in the tournament and three teams have legitimate World Cup betting odds to win it.

Uruguay was not impressive in qualifying, but they have a dynamic offense and were semifinalists in 2010. Italy wants to forget their disaster of the last World Cup and England has made it past the quarterfinals just once since 1966.

Costa Rica is the major long shot on most World Cup betting odds menus and with good reason with their lack of world-class talent.

Odds to win group: +163

Odds to finish bottom of group: +1400

Odds to win World Cup: +2500

Uruguay is a solid squad, especially up front, that almost missed out on playing this summer and had to win an intercontinental playoff tie just to qualify.

Luis Suarez, who has the third best odds to win the top goal scorer, Edinson Cavani and Diego Forlan are the heart of the dynamic attack, but the squad has issues in the midfield and on defense.

When Brazil last hosted the World Cup Uruguay won the tournament. In facing teams in the South American qualifying process Uruguay was 3-2-1.

Odds to win Group D: +163

Odds to finish bottom of group: +1200

Odds to win World Cup: +2500

Italy really was embarrassed after their terrible showing in the last World Cup and this time around they have the squad to go far this summer. Mario Balotelli is one of the most temperamental players in the game, but can be one of the best in the world when he is on. He will need to lead the Italian attack, which is not a dynamic one.

Italy went undefeated in World Cup qualification and in a couple of tune up friendlies they played to a draw against Germany and only lost 1-0 to 2010 WC champion Spain.


Odds to win group: +225

Odds to finish bottom of group: +800

Odds to win World Cup: +3300

England, once again, has a solid squad, but there are many questions for the ThreeLions. Can Joe Hart be a No. 1 goalkeeper? Can Wayne Rooney shine on the world stage?

Can the squad break their streak of advancing past the quarterfinals just once since way back in 1966? Big questions.

The Three Lions have a solid offensive attack with Rooney and Daniel Sturridge and Steven Gerrard is the leader of a good midfield, but the defense and goaltending are concerns. Hart has to be THE guy in goal and play like he can, not like he did in the middle of the season for Premier League champion Manchester City when he was benched for a spell.


Odds to win group: +5000

Odds to finish bottom of group: -500

Odds to win World Cup: +250000

Costa Rica has a great FW in Bryan Ruiz and a defense that went 476 minuses in WC qualifying without giving up a goal, but not much else. They are really outmatched by the other solid squads in Group D and they not only have the worst World Cup betting odds to win Group D, but the overall tournament as well.

Read More

Live Soccer Betting – How bookings can affect the outcome of a soccer game? – Part Two

How cards impact on a manager’s tactics

When a team loses a player to a red card, the manager must react to the situation and change his tactics accordingly. Like a manager, a bettor should judge how important the player sent off is to the team, how the card impacts the shape of the team, what can be done to mitigate the situation and what bearing the sending off will have on the opposition.

A perfect example of how a red card affects the game can be seen when analysing the last 16 Champions League second-leg game between Manchester United and Real Madridin 2013.

The Reds were controlling the game – United nullified Madrid’s potent attack by using Danny Welbeck to restrict Madrid’s most creative player Xabi Alonso – after Sergio Ramos had scored an own goal to give Alex Ferguson’s team a 2-1 aggregate lead.

However, the game turned when United winger Nani was sent off for a dangerous challenge on 56 minutes. Not only did United have a man less, but they also had to move Welbeck to left midfield, in order to preserve their second bank of four – allowing Alonso to roam free and become more creative.

Known for reacting to situations quickly, it took Madrid’s manager Jose Mourinho just four minutes to make a substitution – replacing Alvaro Arbeloa with Luka Modric, and swapping Sami Khedira to right back.

The change turned the game as Modric controlled the centre of midfield with intricate passing sequences, and scored the equaliser with a long-range strike. After equalising, Real were in theascendency and retained the ball superbly, scoring their second goal within 13 minutes of Nani’s red card.

Ferguson had the better of Mourinho when it was 11 vs. 11, however the red card changed the game and after the sending off Mourinho reacted both immediately and intelligently.
Are away teams at a disadvantage?

It is known that teams playing at home perform better than away – read about Home Field Advantage here – but how much help do they get from the referee?

Studies highlight that the probability of receiving a red card is different between home and away teams. Data collected from the Champions League from 2002-2007 showed that in only 24.3% of games did the home team incur more yellow cards than the away team.

In that period home teams received a red card in 6.42% of games, while the away teams received them in 11.82% of games. This means that away teams picked up red cards 84% more often than home sides. Interestingly, in 82.89% of games there were no red cards.

Research on the Bundesliga (Anders & Rotthoff) from 2004 to 2009 highlighted that the effect of cards on the home team is different to that of the away side.

Titman et al. (2012) found that a home red card increases an away teams’ scoring rate by 60% and decreases the home sides’ scoring rate by 17%.

In comparison, a red card for the away team sees the home team’s chances of scoring increase by 69% and the away team’s chances decrease by a massive 42%, which shows the handicap for away teams is more severe.

Final thoughts

This article contradicts the repeated soccer cliché that playing against ten men is more difficult than eleven. Unlike a goal, a red card merely presents an opportunity and a challenge to the respective teams.

Over many games a team will benefit from facing a team with fewer players, but in a one-off game the team need to exploit their advantage, which may require a different tactical approach. Basically, a red card is a potential game changer, but the game still has to change.

The data on the impact of red cards to goal probability should be of special interest to live soccer bettors, as this can be used in conjunction with subject analysis of specific game dynamics to help gainanin-play advantage.

With the knowledge that referees tend to favour home teams when disciplining players, it is important to look at influences on the referee. Because of inconsistencies across individual referees’ tendency for cards, profiling referees is important, however this is more than likely accounted for in the bookmaker’s prices, so investigating influences on the referee themselves could be profitable.

Read More

Live Soccer Betting – How bookings can affect the outcome of a soccer game?

A red card is one of the most significant events that can impact the outcome of a soccer game. This article examines the importance of bookings (both red and yellow), how they affect game probabilities, how managers adjust and why they place away teams at a disadvantage.Read now to understand how bookings affect live soccer betting.
The red card: a soccer game changer

While everyone understands the circumstantial effect of red cards – the immediate loss of a player –statistical analysis helps us better understand the extent to which teams are negatively impacted when they receive a red card.

Unsurprisingly, the team that had a player sent off gained fewer points per game. Over the 60 Premier League games where a team saw a red card in 2012, 20% dropped points at the final whistle when compared to their predicted points (based on the score prior to sending off).

For the 20 teams that were drawing at the time of receiving a red card in last seasons Premier League,65%went on to lose, 30% held on for a draw and just 5% –one team – managed to win.

The negative impact of a red card on a team is also evident in the amount of goals they score and concede. A study by Titman et al. (2012) highlighted that teams playing against a red-carded rival benefited by a 64.5% scoring rate increase.

Previous research looking at a number of Premier League seasons also indicates that the longer teams have a player deficit, the worse off they will be. If a team receives a red card in the first minute, their average goal difference in the game would be reduced by about 1.5 goals. This is reduced to 0.85 and 0.62 if a team is effected by a red card at half-time and 60 minutes respectively.

These figures can enable live bettors to gauge whether live odds have accurately changed to reflect red card incidents, and potentially to measure the significance of yellow cards, the most common precursor to a red.
Don’t underestimate the importance of yellow cards

With the knowledge that red cards can dramatically change the expected course of a match, and given a yellow card can lead to a red, bettors should understand the importance of a yellow card as more than a pause in play.

As yellow cards increase during a game, the in-play probability of a player being dismissed grows. Titman et al. (2012) stated a yellow card to any player on a team in the Premier League more than doubles the hazard of a straight red card to any other player on that team.

Interestingly, Titman also discovered that a team’s booking rate increases by 25% if the opposing team receives a yellow card, which reinforces the notion that referees have a tendency to ‘even up’ decisions during the game.

Read More

Sports Betting – Understanding Point Spreads

When it comes to betting on football and basketball, a bettor must have a solid understanding of the point spread if they hope to have a profitable season.

The point spread is a handicap placed on one team, for betting purposes only, and it is designed to give both teams in any game an equal chance at winning in the eyes of sports bettors.

How the Point Spread Works

When two teams meet on the playing field or on the basketball court, one team is typically better than the other. If all sports gamblers had to do was to pick the winning team in a game, everybody would simply wager on the best team and collect their money.

Using an example from Week 2 of the 2007 NFL season, the Atlanta Falcons were visiting the Jacksonville Jaguars. There was little doubt Jacksonville was the better of the two teams and if all one had to do was to pick the winning team, nearly every bettor would have taken the Jaguars.

What the sportsbooks and bookies did, however, was to create a point spread, to make both teams equally attractive in the eyes of bettors.

In this case, Jacksonville was installed as a 10 point favorite, which is commonly written as Jacksonville -10. Atlanta, the underdog, is commonly written as Atlanta +10.

If you bet the favorite, Jacksonville, the Jaguars have to win by 11 points or more in order for you to win your bet. Remember, the Jaguars are favored by 10 points, so we subtract 10 points from their final score for betting purposes. If Jacksonville were to win 24-13, Jaguar bettors would win their wager. If the Jaguars were to win 23-14, Jacksonville bettors would lose because they did not win by more than 10 points.

If you bet the underdog, the Atlanta Falcons, you win your bet if the Falcons win the game or if they lose by 9 points or less. Because the Falcons are the underdogs, we add 10 points to their final score for betting purposes.

If the Jaguars were to win the game by exactly 10 points, 24-14, it would be a tie or a push and all wagers are refunded to bettors.

Jacksonville did defeat Atlanta as expected, but the Jaguars failed to cover the point spread when they won by a score of 13-7.
Money Lines Versus Point Spreads

In the case of football and basketball, not only will you see a point spread, you will usually be given the option to also wager on the game with the money line in which all you have to do is pick the winner of the contest. There is one drawback, however, and that is if you want to bet on the team expected to win, you can find yourself risking much more than you stand to win.

Deciding when to bet using the point spread and when to use the money line is just one of the decisions bettors have to make on an ongoing basis.

Read More

The Reality of Winning at Sports Betting

Walk into a Las Vegas casino and you’re surrounded by bad bets at every turn. The house has an edge at every game they offer, and it’s usually signifi cant – a 5% edge on roulette, from 1.4% to 16% on craps (depending on the bet), and typically between 1% and 3% for blackjack. The house edge in blackjack can be signifi cantly lowered through card counting and skilled bet sizing, but it’s considerably harder to count cards and get away with it than you’d think from television and movies.

The house edge describes the expected value (EV) on a wager. With perfect basic strategy, the house edge can be reduced to about 1%. This means they pay out an average of $99 on a wager of $100. Statistically, the house wins on every hand regardless of the outcome, which adds up to millions of dollars when applied to the thousands of bets placed every day.

There are two types of bets in a casino where the house edge can be overcome. The fi rst is the poker room. The house takes a rake – a capped percentage from every pot which is essentially “paying rent” to the casino for putting the game together. In poker, the players are in competition with each other and not the house, and it is mathematically proven that a skilled player can win enough to overcome the money he loses to the rake each hand.

The second place a gambler can overcome the house edge – you guessed it – is the sportsbook. If you remember from the previous articles in this series, (if you missed them, see the MMA Wagering Guide on MMAjunkie. com, or the back issues of FIGHT!) the house edge is built into sports betting lines via the spread between the outcomes. In MMA, an “even” fi ght would be listed with -110 odds on each fi ghter, meaning you must risk $11 to win $10. If the fi ghters are truly an even match, the house edge works out to 4.54%.

This house edge in sports betting functions much like the rake in poker. The sports bettor isn’t playing against the house; he’s playing against other players (other sports bettors). The bookmaker’s ultimate role is to function as a broker between players betting on either side, and the bookmaker takes a fee for this service. Sports betting lines are set so that the sportsbook gets suffi cient action on both sides of the bet to present a reasonably balanced position for the book. However, while most books would love to get equal action on both sides of a line, it’s just not practical. Books take unbalanced action on almost every bet, but they don’t take so much unbalanced action that they’re exposed beyond the profi t they expect to make from their house edge.

Consequently, you’re not trying to beat expert linemakers or the casino when you’re placing a sports bet, you’re trying to beat the other players in the market. If you can beat the bookmaker’s other customers 53% of the time or more, you can overcome the house edge and make money betting on sports.

Look at the historical house edge in NFL home underdog point spreads – home teams who were predicted to lose outright. Based on statistical analysis of all 6,167 NFL games played from 1983 through 2007, home underdogs have a house edge of -0.18%. As a result, there is a positive expectation for the player just blindly betting every home underdog point spread! By simply selecting and blind betting home underdogs in the NFL, a better can not only overcome the house edge, but actually turn a profi t.

Generally, the easiest way to become profitable betting on sports is to fi nd a sport where you have an edge over the general betting public. This edge is most easily found in smaller and more exotic markets. I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve made good money in the past wagering on women’s basketball, a sport I have no interest in watching. For leagues like the NFL, where millions of dollars are wagered on any given Sunday, the betting market has become highly effi cient and serious edges are hard to fi nd. However, in a relatively young, lower-volume sport like mixed martial arts, it’s much easier to fi nd an edge. That’s right – betting on our favorite sport is actually one of the easiest ways to win at sports betting.

Linemakers are still adjusting to mixed martial arts betting. Combat sports are nothing new to the sportsbooks – boxing and sports betting are old friends. But linemakers still make serious mistakes in setting MMA lines. Recently, linemakers set Joey Villasenor as a serious underdog to Phil Baroni for the fi rst EliteXC on CBS event, when it was clear to the educated fan that Villasenor should have been a solid favorite. Those who identifi ed the mistake were able to easily profi t, as I pointed out in my Performify’s Picks column on MMAjunkie. com. In comparison, try fi nding New England as a heavy underdog to Oakland in the NFL last year – linemakers just don’t make those kinds of mistakes in the major sports.

Additionally, the public still makes tremendous mistakes betting on MMA fi ghts. Ultimately, in sports betting, if someone else is making a mistake, it’s something you can capitalize on.

Read More