Profiting from football without fans

Football is back! Well, sort of…

As you no doubt know, the return of football in Germany (and the coming return of football in Spain, Italy and the UK) is taking place without fans.

Is that as good as football with fans? Absolutely not.

Is it entirely necessary given the wider circumstances? Absolutely.

Quite frankly there’s no point moaning about it. We just need to adapt to the new normal and there is actually a silver lining to all this…

You see, if we adapt faster than others, we can make some money out of it!

No Home Advantage… No Problem

The most obvious and unsurprising change that we’ve seen is an erosion of home advantage.

Typically, in a top-level league, between 40-50% of matches end in home wins. In this Premier League season to date, 45% of matches have been home wins.

However, since the German restart, just 21.7% of matches have ended as home wins.

Now on looking at that, your instinct might be to think that football is much harder to predict, given that you can no longer rely on a bunch of home wins, but in reality ‘home advantage’ was always an incredibly tough thing to measure.

Yes sure, home wins always outweigh draws and away wins in normal circumstances, but there’s home advantage and home advantage…

At Anfield in a big European match Liverpool have regularly outperformed the odds and pulled off some quite incredible results. At Craven Cottage (the home of the famously genteel Fulham) on a sunny Saturday lunchtime well, I’d say that home advantage there is less important, wouldn’t you?

And of course all of that isn’t even considering the fact that sometimes the home crowd might actually hurt their team – say if they’re getting on the home team’s back and/or putting them under a huge amount of pressure for whatever reason.

So you see, when you think about it logically, the lack of a crowd should make football more predictable rather than less as there is one less intangible. Let’s look at the German results to see if that stacks up…

  • Since the restart, leaders Bayern Munich have won all five games.
  • Since the restart, second placed Borussia Dortmund have won four and lost one. That loss was to Bayern Munich.
  • Bayern won each of those matches by more than one goal, except for the Dortmund game which was 1-0.
  • Dortmund’s results in their four wins were 1-0, 2-0, 6-1 and 4-0.
  • Third placed Leipzig are unbeaten since the restart, which means that the only team in the top three to lose a game (Dortmund) were playing against another team in the top three.
  • Fourth place Bayer Leverkusen have won three and lost two (plus an additional 3-0 win in the cup). Their two defeats came against Bayern Munich and 6th placed Wolfsburg.
  • All bar one of the wins by Leipzig and Leverkusen have been by more than one goal.
  • The bottom nine teams in the league (so the bottom half, as it’s an 18 team league) have won just seven matches between them since the restart.
  • Of those seven wins, just two of them were against teams in the top half (one against 8th and one against 6th).

Simply put, without a crowd the better teams should come out on top much more often, regardless of where the match is being played and, for the very best teams, it may also be worth backing them with a handicap when the standard win price is a little on the skinny side.

A Bit More Food For Thought

While the above is undoubtedly useful (and I’ll definitely be partaking in some juicy accas, perhaps including some ‘draw no bets’ on tighter looking matches) it’s also clear that the bookies have already started to cotton on to the lack of a home advantage and adjust their prices accordingly…

Here then, are a few other ideas to mull over:

  • Teams that had especially strong home records previously may find things tougher than sides that picked up a similar number of points home and away. That could spell trouble for a team like Burnley who have an intimidating home crowd but good news for Southampton, who actually had a better away record than home record before football was paused.
  • The Premier League will be allowing five substitutes per game as opposed to three. This, coupled with a lack of match fitness and lots of games in a short space of time means you should be cautious if betting on individual players to score or make lots of passes or tackles, as they may have less time on the pitch than you might expect.
  • Having said that, when it comes to ‘total pass’ markets, these could be high as the Bundesliga has seen the ball spend more time in play. This would make sense as the games will likely take on more of a training ground feel with less crowd induced ‘blood and thunder’ style play.
  • In line with the above, there may well be fewer yellow and red cards than usual as the players are likely to be less pumped up. Some may even shirk challenges if they’re concerned (even unconsciously) about catching Covid-19!

Anyway, that’s just a few extra thoughts for you to mull over. The proof will be in the pudding of course but I guess the general point of my email is this…

When it comes to profitable betting, disruption and change is NOT a bad thing.

Disruption means that everybody – including the bookies – has to think on their feet and that means paying attention to new trends and acting accordingly can give you a value edge.

And you know what a value edge means of course… PROFIT!

So, in short, when the Premier League returns next week, don’t be afraid to get stuck in. I certainly will be, and with extra markets also on offer due to every remaining top flight game being televised, I reckon it could be a very profitable time indeed.

The Bet Chat Film List

Everybody loves a good film right? Especially these days, what with our evening entertainment options still severely limited.

Well, that’s why Bet Chat Bec and I have decided to create the Bet Chat Film List, our selection of the very best films out there with a focus on sport, betting, or ideally, both.

If you think we’ve missed any crackers, just send the film title and a brief synopsis to clients@thebetchat.com.

Josh’s Best of Sport and Betting

Uncut Gems

The Adam Sandler film for people who, like me, despise Adam Sandler films.

Sandler ditches his usual low rent comedy schtick, replacing it with an unrecognisable performance as a 100 mile an hour wheeler dealer and degenerate gambler.

Very much not a film for the faint hearted but a real edge of the seat watch with an ending you won’t forget in a hurry.

Available to watch on Netflix

The Gambler (1974)

A brilliantly told story about somebody who just can’t stop gambling, despite being given absolutely every opportunity to do so.

For my money (pun intentional), it’s the most accurate portrayal of problem gambling out there and, if you’re not screaming ‘stop, for the love of god please stop!’ by the end of the film then you officially have no heart.

There was a re-make in 2014 with Mark Wahlberg but this James Caan version is infinitely superior.

Available to watch on Sky Cinema via Now TV

The Color of Money

Tom Cruise, Paul Newman, the 80’s, pool, hustling… what more could you want?!

This is a remake of the considerably darker ‘The Hustler’, in which Paul Newman plays the young upstart but, for once, I actually prefer the remake. Plus, after watching the first two films on this list you’ll need something a little lighter, where the person doing the betting isn’t just a walking disaster zone.

Available to watch on Amazon Prime

13 (Tzameti)

This film is shot in black and white and is French (so is therefore subtitled). It’s also brilliant.

It’s not the sort of film to be giving too much away but it’s fair to say that it centres around the ultimate gamble.

Available to watch on YouTube

Raging Bull

The greatest boxing film bar none, featuring a career best performance from Robert de Niro and fight scenes that put the likes of Rocky to shame.

The Fighter with Christian Bale is more easily available (via Netflix) and also worth a watch but, if you like your boxing and have never seen Raging Bull, you need to correct that mistake immediately.

Available to watch with an MGM subscription on Amazon

The Big Short

An entertaining look at the most recent financial crash but from the perspective of those who gained from it rather than lost out.

This is a good film in it’s own right (you generally can’t go too far wrong with Christian Bale) but I’ve included it in this list for two main reasons… 1) to reiterate once again that trading and investing is just as much gambling as sports betting and 2) to reiterate once again that it can and does pay big to bet against the crowd.

The majority don’t win, so don’t follow the majority!

Available to watch on Netflix

The Damned United

For such a popular sport, it’s fair to say that there aren’t that many films about football and even fewer films about football that are actually any good. The Damned United emphatically breaks the mould.

Telling the story of Brian Clough’s ill-fated tenure at Leeds United, as opposed to his successes at Derby County and Nottingham Forest, the filmmaker has clearly correctly realised that the makings of a genuinely good sports film are not last second winners that you know are coming before you’ve even started the film.

Sure, in real life we all want our teams to be successful but, most of the time, for most of us, they’re not, and there’s a fascination in that – after all, if there wasn’t then most football teams in the world wouldn’t have any fans at all!

This film in particular seems to get that and is all the better for focusing on one of the few occasions in Clough’s career when things were far from rosy.

Available to watch on Amazon Prime

Moneyball

The concept of moneyball was given a bad name on these shores when Liverpool’s new owners, FSG, initially appeared to trial the concept by signing the likes of Stewart Downing and Charlie Adam. While that may not have gone especially well, those owners and their transfer committee are still in place now and, well, they’re not doing too badly are they?!

FSG are headed up by an American named John Henry who also owns the first major benefactor of the moneyball strategy, the Boston Red Sox. Henry himself makes a cameo in this film but it’s Brad Pitt who stars and he does a good job.

While there are better films about US sport (Any Given Sunday is right at the top of that particular list) this one warrants a mention as it helps show how maths and statistics can be used to significantly increase the chances of success for a sports club. The same clearly also applies to your betting!

Available to watch on Netflix

Bet Chat Bec’s Bonuses

For when you require a break from all mentions of sport and betting

The Visit

Put the children to bed and lock the doors, this one is for adults only.

While on a visit to see their grandparents, two kids decide to make a film about their family. However, they soon discover their grandparents are not the storybook ‘nan and pop’ they thought and their apparent quirkiness soon takes a terrifying turn.

While definitely scary, this film is also surprisingly funny and is riddled with classic horror clichés. All in all, an entertaining horror film that will make you think twice before getting the grandparents to babysit again.

Available to watch on Netflix

Searching for Sugar Man

A true story, this docu-movie tells the tale of a struggling Detroit musician.

Living pay cheque to pay cheque for the majority of his life, he finds out more than 20 years after producing his album that it somehow made its way into South Africa.

Unbeknownst to him, this album became a phenomenon majorly associated with the apartheid movement. He had absolutely no idea that he’ been famous in South Africa for the last two decades.

Available to watch on Amazon Prime

The Report

This film explores the alarming period after 9/11 when the CIA were detaining and interrogating terrorist suspects.

Based on a true story, an FBI agent investigates the horrific and inhumane interrogation tactics used by the CIA, which the government turned a blind eye to.

After the report was eventually published, Barack Obama publicly admitted that the CIA had been torturing terrorist suspects.

Available to watch on Amazon Prime

I reckon that’s plenty for you to be getting on with for now! Don’t forget to email in your own recommendations and we’ll add them to the list.

Reader Recommendations

Big Deal (TV Series)

This recommendation comes from Miles Tredwell. Miles describes the series as, “an 80s light drama following the ups and downs of a gambler. Gentle but very watchable and I ploughed through it over lockdown.”

Available to watch on YouTube

Million Dollar Baby

A great recommendation from Martin, who describes it as, “a decent boxing film and I especially like it when Morgan Freeman knocks out the young pretender who is bullying the vulnerable kid”.

Available to watch on Amazon Prime

Casino

Another brilliant movie recommendation from Martin, who describes the film, “Joe Pesci steals every scene! Great film, even if links to gambling are a bit light!”

Available to watch on Amazon Prime