Football Fixed Odds Strategy: Part 2: How to Profit From The Draw

Here’s your next installment, as promised last time Lon fixed odds betting on football. Remember how last time we divided all the leagues into 3 groups each and found homes and aways as explained.

Now for the draws: using the same groupings of 6, 8 and 6 for the Premiership, 8, 8 and 8 for the other English leagues, and for the Scottish Premiership 4, 4 and 4, and for the other Scottish leagues 3, 4 and 3, we proceed as follows . . .

We look for a match between two teams in the same group. If the home team is placed higher in the group then ignore it. If the away team is placed higher then look again. If the away team has collected a points total which is 3 points or more compared with the home team, then that would be a draw selection.

Here’s an example: looking at the Premiership on Friday the 17th November I see that Middlesbrough at home to Liverpool are both in the middle group of 8. Liverpool are placed higher than the home team, and looking further we see that they have 17 points compared with Middlesbrough’s 14 points. At 3 points more for the away team that would make the match a draw selection.

As explained last time I would prefer to use league tables based on the last 6 results rather than the complete tables based on all matches played which are the norm. So, either you have to construct your own tables or find a sporting paper or internet site which does the work for you. If that is impossible then just use the normal tables as I have done with the Middlesbrough v Liverpool example.

One important thing: I would also include for consideration as a draw a team in the bottom place of a group playing away from home against a team in the group directly below, provided that the away team has a points advantage of at least 3 over the home team. The only recent example I can find to illustrate this is from the Scottish Division One. Clyde playing away from home is the bottom team of the middle group of 4 and they are playing against Ross County in the bottom group of 3. The points differential is 3, 16 for Clyde and 13 for Ross County. That makes the game a possible draw selection.

Before going on to a further, more detailed method of making selections, I would like to draw your attention to something else regarding fixed odds football betting. And this is something I find rather strange. It is often said that when it comes to assessing odds for any event – be it a football match, a horse race or whatever – the real experts are the bookmakers, because they have to be.

Could this be an odds fixing conspiracy?

I’ve been taking a look at the odds offered by 13 different bookmaking firms on the 60 odd football matches played last weekend (and I may add that it is the same every weekend) and what is remarkable is that they are all so similar. One might expect some significant difference of opinion among the 13 firms, but this is not the case. There are differences, but only very slight ones. For example, Firm A might rate a match 6-5 Home Team, 2-1 the Draw and 2-1 Away Team. Firm B might go 11-10 Home Team, 21-10 the Draw and 21-10 Away Team. When you find all 13 bookmakers doing more or less the same, you begin to wonder. Can they really be so much in agreement? Or is it a deliberate combined strategy to prevent the astute punter from getting an edge?

Let’s go back to our example match to analyse this: suppose Firm B took a rather different view from Firm A and thought the Home Team much more likely to win. They might price the game 4-7 Home Team, 23-10 the Draw and 9-2 Away Team. Now by backing the Home Team with Firm A at 6-5 and taking the 23-10 and 9-2 with Firm B, the crafty punter can make a profit whatever the result by proportionate staking.

Expressing the odds as a percentage gives us the stake to invest. The 6-5 is a 45% chance approximately, so invest £45. The draw at 23-10 is a 30% chance so place a bet of £30. And the away at 9-2 is a percentage of 18 so bet £18. Total invested is £93, and whatever the result we have a return of £99. It might not seem much, but a profit of 6% over 90 minutes compares favourably with a Building Society account paying less than that over a year. By examining carefully the odds-checker sites on the internet and the comparative odds tables in The Racing Post you might find examples like the one I’ve illustrated – but they are hard to find. When you do find one, take full advantage of it.

However, even if we fail to find such examples, we can still make use of the bookmakers’ expertise. Assuming, as we must, that they collectively know best we have to take advantage of any situation where one bookmaking firm is even slightly out of line with the rest. It doesn’t really matter if it is a home, draw or away, but where any firm offers a price even fractionally better than the others then we must take it. Fractions matter; it’s how the bookmaker runs his business, so if we are going to compete then we must play him at his own game. If the general price of a home win, say, is in the 8-11 and 4-6 range, and one firm is offering 4-5, then that is the price you must take.

At this point I was going to introduce a more sophisticated method of forecasting involving the number of goals scored and conceded by each team, both at home and away. But as it’s quite lengthy to explain it will have to wait now till a later date. Instead, I’ll end with a very simple idea that has stood me in good stead over the years.

Firstly, I wouldn’t feel comfortable in trying to forecast the results of more than three matches at a time. Those punters who attempt to forecast 10, 12 or even 20 results have my admiration and sympathy. For me a treble is enough. Suppose I’ve settled on 3 home wins at prices of around evens. My main stake goes on that bet. But as we know from experience there is always something that can go wrong.

So, as well as the 1-1-1 main bet, we include 3 other lesser-staked bets of 1 1 X and 1 X 1 and X 1 1. In other words we are allowing for one draw in our home win treble. The odds for our draw should be more than 2-1. If we stake 2 points on the three homes at evens each, and one point on each of the other three bets with the draw at 5-2, the profit will be 11 points if the three homes win, and 9 points if one match ends in a draw with two home wins.

If you wish you can experiment with other levels of staking. With careful forecasting you should win most of the time.