Betting Tool Kit - Calculating Value
Continuing from the previous post about finding value, here we go in to the various methods of calculating value. Some are simple, some are a bit more complicated, but whichever method you use, you will have more success than if you ignored the price altogether and simply backed teams you thought would win.
There are many factors that you should ideally use when determining value:
Looking at a team’s performances across the course of a season (or even years) is not always a great indicator in to how a team will perform in their next fixture. Sometimes, a side hits a run of form that isn’t reflected in their long term league position or ability. This should always be considered. If they have won their last three games, then confidence may be higher, strikers might take more shots and defenders be tougher to beat. Equally, a side who haven’t won in 5 games might struggle to be motivated. Recent form has to be considered (or maybe weighted with more importance)
It is known that barring the odd exception, teams perform stronger when playing at home, this is reflected in results, goals scored and chances created (for the most part). Some sides however quickly develop home form that is mightily impressive, and should be factored in to your calculations when establishing value. The same goes for teams playing away from home. Generally, their results are worse on the road, but some sides could be appallingly bad; and some might actually hold their own on the road. Get it included.
This is very important, but it is often difficult to establish the impact of a missing player. Robin van Persie missing for Man United has more of an impact than Fernando Torres being unavailable for Chelsea, but both will have some impact on their respective side’s chances of scoring. You need to tweak your findings in a way that you are comfortable with. Maybe you reduce Man United’s chances by 5% if RVP is missing and Chelsea by 2% if Torres is unavailable. Either way, a key player missing (or returning) should be factored in to your calculations.
Managers and players will say otherwise, but some games are harder to get motivated for than others. If a side are playing to avoid relegation on the final day, this will have an effect on how they approach the game both mentally and tactically. This will need to be factored in, as ignoring it will result in basing you calculations on irrelevant information.
There are other factors too, but the deeper you delve, the more time it takes up and the more difficult it is to maintain. Shots on goal, shots on target, chance conversion, possession, weather, distance travelled, days since last fixture are all examples of other variables that you could include.
Once you have taken all of that information in to account, you need to somehow put it in to a percentage to compare against the odds available at the bookmakers to establish if there is any value. This is where the options go from very basic to incredibly complex.
One simplistic method that is used by some is to combine home and away form results over the past 6-12 matches. For example, Arsenal are playing Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium and Arsenal have won 4 of their last 6, drawing once and losing once. Chelsea have won 3, drawn 2 and lost 1 in their last 6 away games. To calculate the odds, you combine these results to see the home side has won 5 (4+1), with 3 draws (1+2) and 4 away wins (3+1). This prices a home win at 41.7% (2.40), the draw at 25% (4.00) and the away win at 33.3% (3.00). This can be an easy to calculate method that at least provides some insight.
To be honest, this alone isn’t really enough. It doesn’t factor very much in to the equation at all. Did Arsenal win their 4 games against strong sides? When they lost did they miss any key players? To get a more accurate prediction/forecast, it is important to factor in as much information as possible. This is where it becomes more complicated and statistical models could come in to play. Building a statistical model sounds complicated but it can be done and could ultimately provide invaluable information that could increase your profitability as a sports bettor.
Why not read our brief guide on building a statistical model to improve your sports betting practices? (link)