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28/09/2007 No.3
rendspotting Football
Kevin Pullein
Friday September 28, 2007

Bookmakers do not often put up prices that are unquestionably wrong - but some are at the moment and the mistake should be exploited while it lasts. The errors are occurring in the markets that spread bookmakers offer on how many corners will be taken during each half of a televised football match. Put simply, they are underestimating how many will occur in the first half and overestimating how many will occur in the second

They assume corners are distributed throughout a game in the same way as goals, with roughly 45% occurring in the first half and 55% in the second half. But evidence now shows the distribution of corners is much less uneven than the distribution of goals.

In Champions League games played during the past two seasons, only 51% of corners were taken during the second half. In Premier League games played last season, 52% of corners were taken during the second half. The clinching evidence, however, is that a study of data from nearly 15,000 domestic games played in different competitions over a number of seasons also found that 52% of corners were taken during the second half.

To exploit this look at the markets of the three spread bookmakers, IG, Sporting Index and Spreadex. Use the midpoints of their own total corners spreads as a guide to what the total corners expectation should be. For example, if the spreads were 10.50-11.00, 10.75-11.25 and 11.00-11.50, the midpoints would be 10.75, 11.00 and 11.25, of which the average is 11.00.

Multiply 11.00 by 0.48 (the percentage of first-half corners in the study of 15,000 games) to get a first-half corners expectation of 5.28. If you can buy at a lower price with IG or Spreadex - the firms whose prices can be wrong - then do so. Now multiply 11.00 by 0.52 to get a second-half corners expectation of 5.72. Sell these at a higher price if possible. These sorts of opportunities will not last forever - try to profit from them while you can.

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