Those familiar with this website will know regular blog contributor Ed Valentine is for the past season and a half attempting to “beat the bookies”. This year Ed’s strategy has changed from one where the number of teams open to him was limited, to one where he can pick any winner.
We have spoken at length about this and I am still not convinced it is possible to “pick winners”. Ed is attempting, with some degree of success, to prove me wrong. I am more of the view that a systematic approach to “beating the bookies” could yield success.
I was struck during the week that seven of the sixteen Champions League Week 5 games end in draws. This included five of the eight games on Wednesday. Those familiar with sports betting will know the “draw” outcome is rarely favourite.
So far 80 Champions’ League group games have been played. The home win, away win, draw distribution reads 30:25:25. This is different to most other football leagues, where home teams are found to win between 40% and 50% of the time.
I decided to see if a pure strategy could yield a positive outcome. A pure strategy is one where you don’t deviate from your chosen course of action – in this case backing all draws.
Using data from Odds Portal, we can know the average odds of 15 bookmakers on the 80 Champions League matches played to date.
A pure draw-strategy, where €1 was placed on all 80 games would have yield a net return of €25.16. A pure away-win strategy would have yielded a net return of €17.65. A pure home strategy yields a net loss of €20.83.