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.

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