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7. The Problem With Fixed Odds Betting

With Fixed Odds Betting there are 3 possibilities for the result: the Home Win, the Away Win and the Draw. The Home Wins come up about 48% of the time, Away Wins 25% and Draws 27%. Only about 40% of the matches are "obvious" results in advance of play, with Draws being the least obvious (at about 25% predictive accuracy if you are lucky). With Draws, this means that 75% of the matches that resulted in Draws were unexpected and 75% of those that were expected as Draws turned out differently (where the average seasonal spread will be about 60% for the Home and 40% for the Away Wins).

Much the same can be said of the expected Home Wins and Away Wins that did not materialise, proving that randomness dominates soccer results far more than we would like to think possible!

Although it is not possible to be precise as to the actual chances of winning money from the Bookie when betting on Fixed Odds (as you can be with roulette), it is possible to approximate the chances to an acceptable level of accuracy. There are two steps in this process:

  1. working out the chances of getting the prediction right, and
  2. working out the edge that the Bookie has built into the Odds with the "Over-Round".

The chances of calling the predictions correctly for all 5000+ matches across the whole season covered on our website would be approximately 40%, even assuming that you know what you are doing in respect to making the necessary judgement calls for all 130+ teams in the UK's top 8 Divisions (and 220+ if you are including Conference et al).

If you are very selective and cut out the "marginal" matches (those where you judge it could go either way), then your chances of being correct increase to around 55% for Homes and 45% for Aways (and forget Draws, as they are a liability to bet on). Aggregating these (bearing in mind that you will have perhaps more than twice as many Homes predicted than Aways), you would be lucky to get 52.5% accuracy overall. This means that the bookie has a 47.5% chance of you getting it wrong. These figures come from over 1000 test runs we have performed over the past 2 years. If you doubt these figures, try it yourself on the next 2 weeks fixtures (for ALL the matches, not just a select few) and see what your own record is.

When you do get your predictions right, the Bookie will have built in an average match "Over-Round" of 7.50%. However, compensating for the fact that you may have been lucky enough to pick unexpected winners, let us assume that the Over-Round effect falls evenly across all your selections (it never will, though). This still means that you will only pick up about 90% of the true ("fair" odds) value of the pay-out. Compounding that with the selections problem, this means that you have an "opportunity ratio" of only about 47.25% (52.5% x 0.9) with Fixed Odds Betting, which isn't good when compared with, say, roulette.

For example, on the roulette table (assuming the European 37 slots type), when betting on red or black you have a good chance of winning 18 out of every 37 spins (assuming, of course, that you are there for the night and not just one hour). That is an "opportunity ratio" of 48.65%, as the table will pay you evens (1:1). When you do win at roulette you won't have had to "work" for it, because the result rests purely on chance, whereas with soccer betting you probably study every team's "form" for hours before making your betting decisions, only to lose more than you would have if you simply played the same stakes "blind" at roulette. That should be "cause for pause" for all those who still bet based on Fixed Odds!

Unless you employ an excellent Selection System you would probably stand more chance of making a little more money with Asian Handicap Betting than you would with Fixed Odds Betting!

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