Monthly Archives: June 2014

F1 2014: Austria GP Preview

The Austrian GP presents something of a problem in that it is the first running of the race since 2003. Given the changes in personnel, let alone cars in that time, it is just not possible to use historical evidence as a pointer to what may or may not happen in the race. Given that this seasons predictions for both safety cars and number of finishers are based on historical data, that leaves just an attempt to find a value bet for the race.

As this has been written after qualifying, the adverse result for Hamilton has to be looked at. The question here is whether it was a technical problem that may have an impact in the race, or just a one-off. Either way, Hamilton is down at 5.50 to win the race from 9th on the grid. That seems just a little too long for me. If the Williams get off to a good start, and hold up the other Mercedes of Rosberg, then Hamilton could easily get past the intervening runners to get himself into the mix. Clearly that is not what people expect, with Rosberg 1.90 for the win compared to 4.33 for Massa and a frankly insulting 9.00 for Bottas. With so little else on offer, I would have to go for Hamilton to surge back into the title contention with a win that would rival almost any other of his career.

Summary:

  • Selected Bet
    • Hamilton to win (5.50 with many)
  • No other predictions

2014 Season Totals (based on level stakes of 1 unit)

  • Selected bets: 2 win, 4 lose for -1.12
  • Safety car: 3 win, 3 lose for -1.66
  • Finishers: 3 win, 3 lose for +0.05

(I said it was depressing last time, it isn’t getting any better!)

FIFA World Cup Predictions

With the week getting away from me, the analysis will be short and sweet!

In fixed odds for the tournament win, it is difficult to look beyond the four of Brazil, Argentina, Spain and Germany (ranging from 3.75 to 7.00, and 23.00 for France who are fifth favourites). But I don’t buy into the ‘European teams can’t win in South America’. There have only been four South American tournaments, and none since 1970, whilst football in terms of conditioning, preparation and ‘internationalisation’ has come on leaps and bounds. Whilst the gut thinks that Argentina have the best chance, I would favour Germany for their preparation, good team ethic, relatively kind draw and big tournament experience, not to mention the strength in depth that I don’t think Argentina and Spain have, whilst Brazil are at a premium as hosts.

The other option is the play the exchanges, or spread betting if that is preferred. Belgium are a team I highly rate, but at 26.00 for fixed odds and 28.00 on Betfair to win, there just isn’t much value. Without a major team in their half of the draw having a nightmare and not making it into the second round, it is unlikely that they will come in that much before the quarter final (which is where I would want to be getting out). But they may be worth a risk.

Chile, at 55.00 on Betfair, appear to me to offer good value. I can see them surprising some teams, and those odds should come in as the tournament goes on, enabling some profit to be taken before the quarters.

So, short and sweet – and with a pinch of salt!

F1 2014: Canada GP Preview

The Canadian GP is one of my personal favourites. The track offers pretty much everything that you could ask for, with some very fast sections, and nasty hairpin, ‘chicanes’ and a lovely little booby-trap that has well earned its nickname of the ‘Wall of Champions’. There have been some excellent races there, with more than its fair share of drama whether that is the aforementioned wall, the spectacular crash of Kubica (thankfully with no serious repercussions) or the pit lane ‘incidents’ that have seen the sort of shunt one would expect to be more likely at some inner city traffic lights!

That said, the very nature of the race makes it difficult to predict the possible outcomes from a betting perspective. Naturally there isn’t much that should stop the Mercedes (I can probably cut and paste this in for the rest of the season), but Hamilton is certainly edging out in front in the odds stakes, rated at 1.44 for this race compared to 3.25 for Rosberg. This seems a little unfair, although Lewis will be pushing very hard to make up for Monaco. Nonetheless, the 3.25 represents only a 30% chance for the German, and I think this is a little unfair.

The non-Mercedes market offers both Alonso and Vettel at 3.25. That is too short for Vettel, as this track won’t be a Red Bull favourite, but might be underplaying Alonso’s chances. I still like the FI performances, and ignoring Monaco (which is a bit surreal anyway), I think that 2.10 for both cars to finish in the points is quite a decent bet. More of a ‘punt’ would be for both Torro Rossos to score points at 10.00; that is a potentially decent return and with a race known for retirements it may well bear fruit.

The two traditional markets (as I will call them) won’t offer much value. The number of classified drivers comes in at 2.00 for under 18, 3.50 for 18-19 and 3.00 for over 19. Canada averages 31% retirements which represents 15.18 finishers, but the last race only saw 2 retirements and 20 finishers. Nevertheless, that was the anomaly in the data, and so the under 18 market appears the most logical.

The safety car to be deployed comes in at 1.50 for yes and 2.50 for no. Canada is notorious for the safety car, with previous deployments of 6 and 4 times in a race in its history, but not for the last two years. Given that the race is going to be dry, one element that usually results in the SC coming out won’t apply. In this case, rather than going for the greatest return I will ‘cover’ the under 18 prediction with a no for the safety car. Now you can guarantee that it will come out to clear out a single car accident which is the only retirement in the race!

Summary:

  • Selected Bet
    • Alonso to win in market without Hamilton or Rosberg (3.25 Ladbrokes)
  • Other predicitons
    • Safety car to NOT be deployed (2.50 Bet365)
    • Classified finishers: Under 18 (2.00 Bet365)

2014 Season Totals (based on level stakes of 1 unit)

  • Selected bets: 2 win, 3 lose for -0.12
  • Safety car: 2 win, 3 lose for -0.66
  • Finishers: 2 win, 3 lose for -0.95

(Bit depressing that really!)

 

EPL: The Palace Experiment – Betting on a Promoted Team

Betting is really a matter of finding value. Bookies aren’t mugs, and the odds that they offer are generally a fair representation of the underlying probability (slightly less usually, to give them their margin), and so the aim is to find those cases where the odds are not quite right. When multiple opportunities are available, such as in a horse race, there is a much higher chance of finding such value than in a football scenario with only three options – win, lose or draw. That is one reason why accumulators combining the results of multiple matches, goal supremacy, Asian handicaps etc. have risen in popularity in order to find some more markets where an edge is possible. But bookmakers also generally react to the market itself – they may think the appropriate odds are something in the region of 3.50, but if the money is flowing in on that selection then it will come in (and usually the other side goes out).

Finding value is often either a matter of a gut call, or the application of statistical analysis, or – as is more often the case – a combination of the two. Knowledge of the sport is essential, knowledge of what has happened in previous games/seasons/tournaments is vital. Whilst I have tried this approach with posts in this blog (particularly on F1 this season), there are many others that are worth reviewing. There are many covering exchange betting, but you could do a lot worse than checking out Dav Aulak’s blog (http://davaulaksportsbetting.blogspot.co.uk/) which covers football, tennis and a number of other sports on both sides of the pond. His picks are always accompanied by a clear analysis, and someone looking at taking their betting forward won’t go far wrong by checking the blog out (and this is from a Man City fan, the relevance of which will come clear if you visit).

So for the 2013-14 season I wanted to look at a season long market that could be checked and tested. I had read (and I apologise for the lack of an original source) that the promoted teams are often under-rated when it comes to their home matches. In this case I thought that Crystal Palace would be the team that could offer the best value, and so backed them for the win for each match at Selhurst Park (fixed odds) and laid the opposition on the exchanges (to cover both a Palace win and a draw).

With the fixed odds, the 19 home games came in at an average of 4.75 for a Palace win. That only goes down to 3.26 when the final top 4 are excluded. There were 8 wins from the 19 matches, for a +9.05 return on level stakes of 1 unit. Of course, the big result here was a win at 10.00 at home to Chelsea, but this is exactly what was expected in the theory – the odds offered would be higher than they should be, and at least once the team concerned would provide the upset.

On the exchange side of things the level stakes were at 2 units. This market returned a profit of +5.94 units. There were 11 winning matches here, and the average lay price was 2.48.

But let us not get too excited and think that this will result in 9.05x(stake unit) for every season! Palace finished with a home record of W8 D3 L8. The other promoted teams were Hull (7/4/8) who may have had a positive return (but I believe the odds would have reflected higher expectations of Hull – another thing to check!), and Cardiff (5/5/9). That said, Cardiff did beat Man City at home early in the season, and may have broken even but I doubt they would have hit the highs of Palace.

So we can restrict the conclusions to the play-off winners. Palace went up as the play-off winners having finished in 5th place in the Championship. What of this season? Leicester City won the title, and have been playing at the sharp end of the Championship for a while. I can see them doing rather well next season in the Premiership, and I am sure the bookies will as well. Burnley accompanied them as the other automatic promotion. This time the play-off winners were QPR, back up in the Premier League from a short stay in the Championship. Will they provide the same returns? QPR’s last stay in the Premier League was a disaster, notably at home where they won only 2 games, but a year out will have changed their approach and allowed them to get rid of a number of freeloaders. I don’t think the same value will be on offer this season, but it will be worth repeating the experiment to see if lightning strikes twice.