When Should You Bet?

45:01 2nd half kicks off

45:48 I hear a buzz on my phone and pick it up whilst sitting at my desk at work. Twitter notification.

46:05 Time for a toilet break. I pick up my phone, walk to the toilet, into a cubicle and lock the door. Out comes my phone again. I click on the bookmarked Betfair Over 0.5 market link icon I’ve saved on my phone and scroll down until I find Rubin Kazan. Over 0.5 – 2/7.

47:33 I wait. Wait for the odds to hit my magical 1/3 threshold when I usually place, go ahead and place. I wait.

48:59 Price Movement – 3/10. Okay we are getting there. Still, need to wait.

49:15 SHOT ON TARGET… . . .  .  .  .  .   .   .   .     . Ok, the red arrow has frozen too long now I know it’s not a goal. Phew. Haven’t missed it.

50:35 My phone buzzes again. Damn calendar notification. ‘Your conference call starts in 5 mins’. Hmmm. I am not leading the call, doesn’t matter if I dial in late. I’ll wait.

51:03 1/3! Finally! My odds hit. I frantically hit ‘Place Bet’ and the excitement hits! Back to work.

57:42 Sitting on my conference call. Bored. Quick check. Still 0-0

64:13 Hmm, getting a bit worried now. I’ll check the stats. Good, Rubin Kazan all over them still.

73:23 I haven’t even said anything on this stupid call! I’ll watch the 2D pitch for a bit, see if they are applying the pressure. Then, a long silence on the conference call. “Alex?…I think that question was directed at you?” … ”Errr, Sorry I was on mute, err, my line cut out for a second, can you repeat the question?” Got away with it.

77:41 Another Check. Ah, come on, this is Rubin Kazan! They were in the Champions League in 2011 and I’ve never even heard of this Sibir lot! How have they not scored yet! Still 0-0.

85:01 Buzz from my phone….GOAAALLL!! Rubin Kazan make the breakthrough! Another winner for The Panel! Had to wait a long time for that one! If only I had waited longer – I could have good much better odds!!

A typical day in the office for me! I am sure you can relate. The point here is, when should you place your bet? We had to wait until the 85 min for this winner, but is there any value in holding on a bit longer than our recommended 1/3 odds?

Unlike other tipsters we don’t tell you when to bet. The dictator-ing “GO GO GO GO – THE ODDS HAVE HIT” Tweet we see from other tipsters is not our style. We recommend betting at 1/3 but can you hold on longer? We look at 1480 of the historic games we have tracked to try and answer the question – when should you bet?

  1. When Are Goals Scored?

The graph below shows the distribution of when the first goal is scored on 1480 winners we have tracked that have hit > 50% BetScore. We see a clear trend. There is a high proportion of first goals scored between the 50th-60th minute of the second half, then a spike at 90+ plus mins (this includes injury time so is expected). So, reading into this, as a game drags on, it is less and less likely that a goal will be scored. Do teams start to run out of steam? Then, do defending teams finally buckle under pressure towards the end of a game?

Total Goals by minute Scored (1,480 games)blog2

  1. When Do I Get The Best Odds?

Now, if we take the above and plot the goals scored cumulatively (blue line below), we can see the exact minute our chances start to deteriorate. On 60 mins on the graph below shows a noticeable change in the curve as we see less and less goals being scored. So should we consider 60 mins our cut off point?

We then plotted a line at the 50% mark (740) of when goals are scored. Once we hit the point in which this line and the blue line cross at 63 mins, our number of 1st goals that will be scored (based on our historic stats) drops below 50% and therefore our chances are decreased. So can we hold on until 63 mins?

Finally, and most interestingly, the red line. Here we plot the movement of the odds given (by Betfair) on a sample of matches I tracked this week. It is almost a mirror image of our blue line. Bookmakers are there to make money, and even though the chances of us winning start to diminish after 60-63 mins, the bookies do not get confident until way into the 2nd half on around 80 min. This is when we see the odds tumble. So if you were looking for a high return, you will be waiting a long time, however, does this suggest there could be some value in placing a bet on around the 80th min where we still see around 20% of the 1st goals scored?

Cumulative Goals (Blue)/Odds (Red) by Minblog3

To summarise, if you are feeling brave, hold on for as long as you need to get at least 1/3 and then, depending on the minute, you can afford to wait until 63mins when your odds vs goals scored starts to unfavour you.

However, remember when we tweet, we expect a goal but we can split our recommendations into three sections:

  1. 45-63 – Comfort Zone – Place a bet when you feel comfortable. We recommend betting on at least 1/3 as our win rate is 80%. This keeps you in the pink.
  2. 63-80 – Dead Zone – Here you are taking more of a risk, without much reward. Again, we still expect a goal, but do not expect to get much better odds that placing in the comfort zone.
  3. 78+ – Risky Zone – Going for big bucks? This is your chance. 80% of 1st goals have already been scored in our tracked games but 20% of the goals are in the final 12 mins + added on time.

Cumulative Goals (Blue)/Odds (Red) by Minblog4

  1. Using goal time to improve the BetScore:

As you know, we pull in as much data as we can to calculate our BetScore – how likely we think there will be a goal in the 2nd half. We are tracking more and more stats and one stat to be integrated into BetScore V2 is a teams average time of 1st goal scored/conceded.

Cheltenham Town won for us again on Tuesday night and we noticed a pattern. 100% win rate and the average time they score a goal this season is on 48 mins. So, on average, in the 2nd half. Similar with Accrington Stanley 100% win rate – 53 mins average first goal time.

Below, we plot all teams win rates % (y-axis) (min 3 games tracked) by when they score their first goal on average (x-axis).

Win Percentage by Average Time Goal Scoredblog5

There is a significant cluster in the top right of this graphic showing the later the average 1st goal time, the higher the win rate. This is a trend we cannot ignore.

If fact, we did one more test, and produced the same graphic, but plotting teams by 1st goal conceded and win rate. We see a similar story.

Win Percentage by Average Time Goal Concededblog6

BetScore v2 is due for release this month. Our aim at the panel is to create an algorithm that converges toward a 100% win rate and this is one example of the statistical approaches we are taking into consideration.


One’s to watch:

RKC Waalwijk v Helmond Sport – (Friday 19:00 – Dutch Eerste Divisie)

We love the Dutch Eerste Divisie. It is full of goals. If you regularly check our weekly stats posts you would have seen Waalwijk up near the top of the overall teams chart. However, it has been a while since they have come up! They play Helmond Sport this weekend, 10th vs 12th in the league so I am hoping they cancel each other out in the first half and the goals flow second. RKC Waalwijk – 91 goals in 27 games, Helmond Sport 86 in 27 games. There will be goals.

Alianza Atletico v Ayacucho FC – (Saturday 20:30 – Peru Primera Division)

Ayacucho’s are on a hatty. Last two games tweeted last two games won for the panel. They hover around the top of our top teams tracked and I am backing them to keep up their form and come in again for the panel this Saturday.

FC Porto B v Portimonense – (Sunday 17:00 – Portugal Segunda Liga)

If you search twitter for “Porto #2ndHalfGoals” or “Portimonense #2ndHalfGoals” you will see how many times these two teams keep coming up and now – they are playing each other!!! Let’s hope this is a good sign and we see 0-0 at half time again.

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