Atletico Madrid vs. Real Madrid – 02/03/2014 – Betting Preview

Atleti vs. Real Madrid

Team summaries:

Two of the leading three go head-to-head in the Madrid derby tomorrow – a crucial match that is likely to determine the rest of the season for both sides. Atletico have been easily the biggest gainers (in terms of my pre-season expectations), but that has done nothing to top them significantly dropping on my ratings in recent weeks. They were fortunate to get all three points out of Madrid and were outplayed by Osasuna in Pamplona a few days later, with all their statistical performance data suggesting they are indeed on the fall. Tired? This is quite possibly the case – I think their inability to be able to rotate is really harming them.

Real Madrid on the other hand are a complete different animal. Despite some jittery performances at the beginning of the year, with plenty of failures to cover some large negative handicap lines, the afterburners are now well and truly on. It’s been convincing win after convincing win, with shot/SOT data to support their dominance on all fronts. As a sidenote, their front 3 is now up there with the best I’ve ever seen; it’s near perfectly balanced in terms of varied goalscoring threat, pace and passing ability.

Market summary:

As it stands, this is a +/-0.25 AHC game priced at around the 2.08/1.85 mark. Real Madrid have unsurprisingly seen a little money since their Champions League demolition of Schalke. Goals markets have Overs as a slight fav, with O/U 2.5 goals currently sitting around the 1.86/2.04 area.

Team news:

Pleasantly, neither team has any significant team news ahead of the derby. Real Madrid are fully healthy, with Ronaldo making a return to the league line-up following suspension in the last few rounds (scratching – seriously?). Tiago will be absent for Atletico, although this is one area of the pitch where Atleti can afford a little rotation; Mario Suarez will start once again.

Weather:

It’s a fairly ‘British’ day tomorrow in Madrid, with cool temperatures and overcast conditions, with the chance of the occasional shower here and there. Although a bit different to what they’re used to, there’s no impending need to make alterations to my prices as a result of this weather.

My odds:

As touched upon in the team summaries, despite the rather small difference in league table points, I have a considerable difference in ability between these sides on my ratings. In fact, Real Madrid have been increasing their underlying numbers so drastically in recent weeks, I have them almost a goal better than their neighbours here. Even though they technically are playing on the road here, Real will reap many of the benefits of playing at the Bernabeu, being able to stay in their usual hotel under very little travel time – hell, could probably run the distance there as a warm up. When combined with the likely negative playing style of Atletico, home advantage is significantly reduced here.

Even once taking a conservative 1% adjustment for Real Madrid playing Champions League midweek (which a squad of their experience and ability should be more than able to handle), I make them 51.5% favourites here. In terms of 100% AHC prices, this equates to +0.25 @ 2.47 and -0.25 @ 1.68. When throwing in a bundle of margin, my final target for backing Real -0.25 is 1.78; a price which is currently well within range and one that I have already ploughed into.

Advertisements

Valencia vs. Granada – Betting Preview – 23/02/2014

Valencia - Granada

Team summaries:

Simply put, this is a match between two very difficult to place teams. Valencia aspire to compete in the Champions League, although of the bunch of sides competing for this place (Athletic, Villarreal, Sevilla and Sociedad), I’d say they are easily the weakest. By no coincidence, they’ve also looked a lot better since Helder Postiga was shown the door – their style of play has become far less static and they’re willing to create chances through the middle rather than going ‘Man United style’ and slinging aimless balls into the box. Granada are a real funny one, just as they have been for a few seasons now. It’s very clear this squad has bundles of talent and indeed, on their day they look brilliant, although consistency is a major issue for them. Looking into their stats, it is very clear they are improving – shot dominance and efficiency in particular. In summary, I’d have them rated as one of the better poor teams in the league.

Market summary:

At the time of writing, this is a -1/+1 AHC game @ 1.86/2.08 at most Asian firms. The goals quote is as high as usual for Valencia home games, with the main offer being O/U 2.75 goals @ 2.00/1.90.

Team news:

Team news is slightly worse for Valencia here, as they miss both Senderos and Ricardo Costa at the back through injury and suspension respectively. This means Victor Ruiz and Mathieu will partner up; something which has looked far from convincing. However, due to Granada’s low goal expectancy numbers here, I can’t really warrant adjusting my prices due to this – it’s not very likely we’ll see any kind of action in Valencia’s box for large periods of this game. Granada themselves are missing Diego Buonanotte, who I quite like as a player, although it can’t really be said that he’s of any importance.

Weather:

Really decent weather all around in Valencia today – plenty of sun and decent temperatures expected all day. Nothing adverse in any regard and hence no need to tweak my prices.

My odds:

As mentioned above, I think Valencia are one of the ‘worst good’ sides, whilst Granada are one of the better poor sides. Whilst the markets have this down as a bit of a no contest, I’m of the opinion that Valencia aren’t expected to display such a degree of dominance in this fixture. Indeed, I have Valencia pencilled in for 61.5% to win. In terms of AHC prices, this equates to 100% books of -1.0 @ 2.09 and +1.0 @ 1.92.

In short, I make Granada favourites on their current market line, which when supported by marginal team news in their favour, plus Valencia’s trip to Cyprus to play Kiev in midweek (a factor I’m just taking for ‘free’ here without adjusting the prices further in my favour) – looks for a great bet. My margin-inclusive price of +1.00 @ 2.06 is just within range and is one I’ve already taken.

Crystal Palace vs. Manchester United – Betting Preview – 22/02/2014

Palace - United

Team summaries:

Not going to state the obvious, but it doesn’t take a genius to work out the Crystal Palace have comfortably exceeded expectations (at least since Pulis took over), whilst United have performed comfortably below their aspired level. There is some truth in what Moyes says regarding being a little unfortunate, although ultimately poor tactical management have seen them drop points consistently on big fav lines (such as this match). Palace on the other hand are a bit tricky to rate and I’m starting to move them gradually towards my ‘overrated by the media and general public’ bin. Despite some decent results of late, they’ve consistently been dominated both on and off the ball, have low shares of shots, shots on target and corners. Their continual poor performances in all offensive areas worry me.

Market summary:

At the time of writing, this is a +1/-1 AHC game @ 1.88/2.05 at most Asian firms. The goals markets have Unders as a slight fav, with the O/U 2.5 line shaping up at around 2.00/1.90. There has been a strong preference for this Unders bet in the early markets, which I suspect is related to speculation on line-ups, combined with mismatches in attacking/defensive parameters.

Team news:

This isn’t crystal clear at this stage, with United’s Champions League match on the horizon, many have suggested that he may end up resting players here and focus his attention on his last basket full of eggs. I’m unconvinced by this argument – I think the pressure faced by Moyes for results in any competition is greater than any natural inclination to rest the stars here. Nani, Evans and Jones will all probably miss out – although I’m not going to be tweaking my prices for that alone. Instead, I’m taking a conservative 2% off my United win % to account for RVP/Rooney/Carrick *potentially* being left out – this is a number that I plan to work with on the fly if things change between now and then. Palace are fully fit and there is no action required as a result.

Weather:

Hallelujah, it’s going to be bone dry tomorrow! The trio of temperature, wind and humidity are all within expectations and there’s no need to tweak prices as a result of this. Because of the contrast in styles here, this will need to be actively monitored.

My odds:

Naturally, I have both teams at near enough polar opposites of the table, although there is a ‘perfect storm’ element coming into play here. In my opinion, there’s a real risk of United becoming under and Palace becoming overrated in the coming weeks – I’ll need to be proactive (ahead of the curve) rather than reactive (behind the curve) as a result, although I’m confident in my numbers as they stand. – I price United a shade over 63% here (falling to 615 for team news). In terms of AHC prices, this equates to 100% books of -1.0 @ 2.08 and +1.0 @ 1.91

I’m not falling into the easy trap of backing Palace here just because of what United have been through in the past and will go through in the near future – this game is all about the present. Unfortunately, the market looks bang on the money at the moment, but we’ll see how this develops.

Valladolid vs. Levante – Betting Preview – 21/02/2014

Valladolid - Levante

Team summaries:

Taking a look at the fixture calendar for the year, you’d be pushed to find a match which defines ‘depressing’ more than this one. Most of this revolves around Valladolid’s manager Juan Ignacio Martinez, who left Levante at the start of the season, bringing his mind-numbingly defensive style of football with him. Although he did enjoy some success using this system at Levante (they got into the Europa league don’t you know), this blueprint clearly doesn’t fit a previously attacking Valladolid side, which has now been left in tatters.

Market summary:

At the time of writing, Asia has this down as a -0.25/+0.25 game at around the 1.85/2.10 mark (Valladolid favourites). The goals quote is unsurprisingly very low; looking at O/U 2.0 goals at 1.90/evens ish. All the early market money has been for Unders – if you’re brave enough to take this on, I think there’s arguably a slither of value here (although possibly rather just walk outside and chuck your money down the drain).

Team news:

Now Ebert has left, the burden of Valladolid’s ‘MVP’ falls on Oscar Gonzalez’s shoulders. The playmaker is a key cog in everything good about the club and has entered the squad list for this game after a minor injury lay-off. I’m not so sure he will start however. Other than that, neither team has any real notable absentees – you could argue that Xumetra has been a regular this season for Levante, although he has missed out here on a purely technical basis.

Weather:

It’s going to be fairly chilly in Valladolid today, with a decent amount of humidity. Crucially however, both wind and rain are comfortably below expectations and won’t be having any notable effect on playing conditions in my opinion.

My odds:

In terms of ratings, I have both sides rated dead even – with a short term view to downgrade Valladolid slightly lower than their rivals here – pricing Valladolid at around 46% for the win. In terms of AHC prices, this equates to 100% books of -0.25 @ 1.88 and +0.25 @ 2.14. 

When chucking in a bit of margin, I’m a long way from betting either side – but won’t be too surprised to see a drift on Valladolid as K/O approaches. My target of 2.01 for the -0.25 line may well be reached here.

Value Betting

You may be one of the lucky few (okay many) people to have been in a heated debate with myself about value betting. Many people don’t understand the concept; many others refuse to accept its legitimacy or refuse to follow it as a strategy. So what exactly is value and why is it so elusive?

To really understand it, you’ve got to look at odds and what they represent. At the end of the day it’s just a number that represents how much of your hard earned cash is translated into profit once your BTTS coupon accumulator has landed. Deeper down however, odds represent probability, more specifically the probability of a bet landing. Taking the most simple example, odds of evens represent 50% chance of that event occurring (the basic calculation is 1/decimal odds). The hook, line and sinker being that bookmakers take a margin, or overround, in order to keep their actual odds (implied probability) away from the true odds (actual probability). The popular example of this is roulette in a casino with the classic saying “the house always wins”, where the fixed odds available on the table are simply not equal to the probability of actually landing on any given number. Exactly the same concept applies to betting, whether it be football, basketball, tennis or bog snorkelling.

Bookmakers generally do a very good job at compiling odds, with it being their full-time job to maximise their own individual profits. How do we win as punters? Is it possible to beat the overround? Simply put, yes it is, but it isn’t easy.

Unlike a roulette table, the odds in a football match are notoriously hard to predict, with syndicates, bookmakers and even casual punters creating mathematical models to help them find an edge. Value exists where the odds available in the market are higher than what we estimate them to be. Naturally, there are several ways to estimate these odds, and whether you like it or not, you almost certainly would have done some basic odds compiling in your day-to-day punting. Examples could be “Suarez to score anytime is huge @ 3.5” or “Over 2.5 goals is far too short @ 1.6” – without necessarily knowing it, this is value betting in its most basic form.

Obviously, to beat the odds you have to aim for markets with really low margins (after all, high margin markets are almost impossible to beat in the long term – you’re giving the bookmaker money before the bet has even been settled). The best two examples of these are Asian Handicaps (a good link for beginners is here: http://www.olbg.com/school/asian_handicap_betting.php) and Totals (under/over goals). I cringe inside every time I see someone tipping goalscorer or man of the match markets, as these typically have margins in excess of 25%, compared to maybe 6% in an Asian handicap market. Bar some exceptional skill, these people will lose in the long term – FACT.

As you become more experienced with betting and expand your compiling techniques, it becomes easier and easier to compile accurate odds for betting. As with many others, I compile personal odds for every Premier League, MLS, La Liga and Segunda match and then place a bet whenever the market odds are higher than what I have down as a target, also known as a tissue price; due to old school punters scribbling down their odds on old bits of tissue.

So where does this blog come in? The aim is to provide you all with my rough target prices for betting markets, adapting them for all kinds of ‘non-mathematical’ factors. For example, the influence of Ronaldo on Real Madrid’s win price or how heavy rain in Barcelona affects their chances. I must reiterate, it is NOT a tipping website and shouldn’t be treated like that. It’s designed as an information source for my passion, feel free to use it at your pleasure but please don’t come whining to me when a bet loses.

This post will be permanently located on the ‘Value Betting’ page for future reference.