Finding the Elusive Football
The Best Approach
The football draw game elusive aren't they? Eight of these in one line are key to winning the UK treble chance
football pool, but maybe you just want to find two or three for a specialised fixed odds bet, or a range of
trebles, maybe in an Australian, German, Spanish or Italian league. Typically, on a league weekend in the UK
football season and 49 matches on the coupon, there will be on average, 9 scoring football draws, and of these,
many will have been predictable using a good forecasting system. No-score football draws average out at about 4-5
Well, in the British league season, most teams play close to ‘form’, but Cup matches are more
of a lottery when ‘giant killing’ happens fairly frequently, and are best avoided if you are serious about winning
the football pools. So, to start, we only bet when the odds are optimal, and that means league games. In fact, we
don’t bet when ‘form’ is likely to be compromised – e.g. on Boxing Day.
With a good soccer system, you will be able to keep track of form and eliminate those matches which are certain
home wins – there could be typically 22 home wins, many of which will have been easy to predict. As to away wins,
these are harder to predict, and there will be, on average, 13-14 away wins.
How many can we predict?
So, let’s say that we can predict 90% of the home wins – that’s roughly 19 matches, and maybe 50% of the away wins
– that’s another 7 matches. So, out of the coupon as a whole, with a reliable forecasting system we can expect to
predict 26 matches. That leaves 23 matches, from which we have to find 8 draws.
Now, with a well-chosen plan or perm, which combines maybe 17 or 18 forecasts – some plans even give a coverage of
24 matches - then you can see that the odds of picking 8 football draws are considerably enhanced. Sure, using a
plan means that you sacrifice perfection to achieve greater coverage (after all there are 451 million ways of
selecting 8 football draws from 49 matches). You probably will not hit the jackpot, but you will have more frequent
wins of lower value, and should be able to move into profit.
So, you can see that a good football prediction system is essential.
What are the key aspects of such a system?
Well, besides knowing when to stake and when to avoid betting and throwing your money away, you have to be able to
analyse form and come up with match predictions. When it comes to form, how far back should you go? How will a team
which was promoted from the Championship perform in the Premier League? My view is that the first few weeks of the
season are when we don’t get a reliable picture of form across a league division, and it takes some weeks for the
pattern to emerge. Some experts will look at long term patterns and suggest that some teams are home win experts,
some have a good (or a poor) away record. That can be useful in the final analysis, but I don’t factor such things
in when looking for football draws. So, how far back? Certainly not into last season – I work with less than half a
dozen matches history (league games only).
Then, you need to have a consistent way of rating a team’s performance – and that needs to take into account the
strength of the opposition. This leaves you with a list of teams and performance ratings.
Now you need to look at the forthcoming matches and compare the teams’ ratings. Adjust for home advantage, and make
any other adjustments you feel are appropriate (new player or manager, injury to a key player?). Then, organise the
list in order by likely match outcome, and you have your football draw predictions. At one end of the list will be
most probable home wins. At the other end will be the most probable away wins.
Find the juice
In the middle will be the juice – where we
find the elusive football draw game forecasts.
Then, you take the middle chunk of matches and, depending on your budget, decide how many you
will cover using your perm or plan.
It’s important to see that this is a percentage approach, and all you are seeking to do is get the odds on your
side. A few wins a season should put you into profit.
(c) 2011 Phil Marks