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Backing the Draws - A Profitable Strategy?

The Premier League is often touted as the ‘Greatest League in the World’. Whether you agree with that sentiment or not, there is one particular aspect of it that makes it a dream for punters. The key angle for punters is backing the draw.

Generally, bookmakers see the least amount of money on the draw in the 1x2 markets. People do not like backing the draw – quite simply, it is boring. The casual punter wants to cheer on one team or the other. People will always view one team as better than the other team. As a result, the draw is often undervalued in the market.

Fans rarely go to a match wanting to see a draw

If we look at the past three completed seasons in the Premier League, we can see how blindly backing the draw can be particularly profitable:


Staked
Profit
ROI
2010/11
£3,800
£462.80
12.18%
2011/12
£3,800
-£117.60
-3.09%
2012/13
£3,800
£323.70
8.52%
Total
£11,400
£668.90
5.87%

The figures are based on placing £10 on the draw in every Premier League match over the course of a season. As we can see, you would have won money in two out of the three seasons, with the overall profit for the three year period being an impressive £668.90, which represents a 5.87% return on your initial stakes.

That is a pretty impressive return for a system that requires absolutely no research at all. It simply requires you to blindly back the draw in every match over the course of a season. The question is whether this is a phenomenon that is unique to the Premier League or whether the draw is undervalued in other leagues. The table below shows the overall three year figures for a number of other leagues:

League
Staked
Profit
ROI
Championship
£16,560
-£481.60
-2.91%
League 1
£16,560
-£542.60
-3.28%
League 2
£16,560
-£464.80
-2.81%
Serie A (Italy)
£11,400
-£437.40
-3.84%
La Liga (Spain)
£11,400
-£1,212.20
-10.63%
Bundesliga (Germany)
£9,180
-£556.70
-6.06%

As we can see, none of the six leagues in the table above show a positive return from blindly backing the draw. This would appear to set the English Premier League aside as a particularly special case.

So, is it possible to improve the returns from the Premier League with a little bit of extra work? Before, we were blindly backing the draw in every single match, regardless of whether that match was expected to be a low-scoring affair between Aston Villa and Stoke, or an expected big win for Manchester United against Hull.

Logically, you would expect a tight, low-scoring affair to be more likely to end as a draw. Naturally, this is reflected slightly in the draw price, but given we have already seen that there are issues with the draw price in general, it is still worth looking at.

The table below drills deeper into this question:

Price for U2.5 Goals
Total Matches
Total Profit
ROI
1.7
108
£107.90
9.99%
1.8
295
£409.40
13.88%
1.9
472
£384.40
8.14%
2.0
657
£705.10
10.73%
2.1
793
£1,072.10
13.52%
2.2
907
£1,097.10
12.10%
2.3
1,001
£1,006.30
10.05%
2.4
1,045
£926.40
8.87%
2.5
1,073
£939.20
8.75%
2.6
1,096
£976.10
8.91%
2.7
1,100
£836.10
7.53%
2.8
1,117
£766.10
6.86%
2.9
1,125
£747.30
6.64%
3.0
1,131
£758.90
6.71%

The total matches column represents the number of matches over the past three seasons that have had an average price for the Under 2.5 goals market of below the price in the first column of the table. The total profit is the profit that would have been made on putting £10 on the draw in each of those selections. The table is cumulative, so the 295 matches with U2.5 odds of less than 1.80 includes those 108 matches with U2.5 odds of under 1.7 as well as those 187 matches with odds of between 1.7 and 1.8.

The returns now are highly impressive. Simply by backing the draw in every match over the past three seasons where the average Under 2.5 goals price was below 2.0, you would have made a 10.7% return on your stakes. Backing every match under 2.1, you would have made a 13.5% return on your stakes. Given that approximately 90% of people losing money betting on sports and that winning between 5-10% is generally seen as very respectable, it puts this into context. By doing no more research than simply looking at the Under 2.5 Goals price, you would have guaranteed yourself a double figures ROI.

How does this compare with a similar exercise on the other leagues we looked at earlier? The table below shows the profit and ROI for those six leagues for matches where the Under 2.5 Goals price is less than 2.0:

League
Total Matches
Profit
ROI
Championship
1,263
-£657.90
-5.21%
League 1
1,418
£7.60
0.05%
League 2
1,408
£327.20
2.32%
Serie A (Italy)
907
-£283.70
-3.13%
La Liga (Spain)
721
-£621.70
-8.62%
Bundesliga (Germany)
353
£36.10
1.02%

In all the league, bar the Championship, solely focussing on those matches where the Under 2.5 Goals price is less than 2.0 does increase the ROI. Indeed, in the cases of League 1, League 2 and the Bundesliga, it does return a profit, albeit nowhere close to that of the Premier League.

Overall, the Premier League does seem to be an anomaly when it comes to the draw market. Simply by focussing on matches with a low goal expectation and backing the draw, you would have seen returns of over 10% in the past three seasons – a remarkable rate given the lack of work and research needed.

7 comments:

  1. Good research.
    I thinkr ather than looking at Over/Under filter it owuld be better to look at the match price value for fav and see if you remove the matches with an heavy fav you can improve the ROI.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great article Ian. I was thinking the same thing as the previous comment. Could you increase the ROI by leaving out games with heavy favourite? Also, would be interesting to delve into why the premier league is an anomaly when it comes to draws? Is it just coincidence or do you feel it's likely to continue in the future? I have a betting youtube channel which you can check out at youtube.com/spencerbets. Cheers.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wonder what the stats are if you leave out the Big 5 either home or away. Surely double digit ROI

    ReplyDelete
  4. Following this system since Liverpool-Swansea on 16 September. Used the average U2.5 price of Oddsportal to filter the selections (U2.5=<2.1) Backing the draw in each of the selected matches would produce 14.85 pnt loss. ROI = -59.40% . Dissapointing results so far, but ofcourse it is a long-term strategy and this is after 25 selected matches. Only 3/25 drawn which is ofcourse the expectation is that this will be much higher at the end of the season. Draw percentage in EPL lowest is 20% in 2005-06 and the highest 31% in 96-97. Current draw percentage of this season is 20% and of the selections is 12%.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Interesting. What numbers did you get for the 2013/14 season? please reply.

    ReplyDelete
  6. also do you think it would be better not betting between 1.90-1.80 or would the ROI get better with time?

    ReplyDelete
  7. I definitely loved every little bit of it. I have you bookmarked your site to check out the new stuff you post. like this

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