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21/09/2007 No.2
rendspotting Football
Kevin Pullein
Friday September 21, 2007

Comebacks often gather momentum once under way. If the team who are losing score, they become more likely than they would otherwise to score the next goal in the match. This has clear implications for one of the fastest-growing areas of sports betting - betting while a match is in progress.

A good way to illustrate how comebacks gather pace is to analyse statistics from the Premier and Fooball Leagues over the past 10 completed seasons. Overall, home teams scored 58% of the goals that were scored. In games where the score reached 1-1 and somebody then added a third goal, the home team scored that third goal 58% of the time. So there was no difference in the likelihood of them scoring at 1-1 than there was at 0-0. However, if the home team had equalised, they scored the third goal 61% of the time. If the away team had equalised, the home team scored the third goal only 55% of the time.

These differences are small, but sports betting is all about identifying and exploiting small differences.

When the home team equalised the score at 1-1, they went on to win 34% of the time. When the away team equalised the score at 1-1, the home team went on to win only 31% of the time.

A similar bounce-back factor was evident for other states of play. For example, teams losing 2-1 were more likely to equalise to 2-2 if they had scored the most recent goal - that is to say, if they had just reduced their deficit from two goals to one. Brian Clough, it seems, was right. Goals can change games. When teams start bouncing back, they can keep on bouncing back. Kevin Pullein is football tipster for the Racing Post

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