Soccer Betting - Which premiership teams are best to bet on?

By Peter Marko of
August 2005

Let's face it: you are a huge supporter of your local football team, and just cannot resist the temptation to place a bet on them when the game is on. After all, they are the best, so it stands to reason to back them every time, home or away. And back them you do, week in and week out. You walk down to your local shop every Saturday morning and strike that bet thinking how on earth your team can be offered at such a good price. You make the trip to the stadium or settle in your easy chair later in the afternoon in anticipation of a good fight ending in a crushing victory not just on the grass but in the shop, as well.

Yes, you've heard about betting exchanges and online betting, and your friend keeps telling you about this other bookie, who - he swears - offer better prices on your team. Old habits die hard, however, and you are skeptical about his claims. Still you wonder. Could your friend be right? Could it be possible that there are bookmakers with better prices on your team? Besides your own doubts about this, you also recall instances when you had funny feelings about prices struck in the past. But if there were bookmakers offering better prices on your team, this must be true for other teams, too, you reason. Alright, now you are becoming curious about this. What if you asked your friend? You know he is heavily into math and stats, and perhaps he has researched this subject already. You decide to approach him about this the next time you meet up...

You are in the stadium, and your team is having a terrific day. Your friend is sitting next to you with some other buddies, and you are having a whale of a time. You ask him about his research during the game, and he confirms your suspicion. He tells you that he has looked into this from several angles and goes into detail about the various statistics and the tools he is using. Meanwhile your team scores and you miss the action. Later he invites you to look at his research results after the game. You accept and go to his place following a brief celebration at the pub. You are not really interested in the ins and outs of the theory behind it all, and ask him to cut through the detail and just show you the end result. He pulls out a table, and you just cannot believe your eyes. It is true, your regular bookie is not the best to go with for your team...

You wake up and recall your dream. Unfortunately, you cannot remember the table your friend showed you or the bookmaker you are supposed to go with. You give him a call and ask whether he has done any research on the topic. No, not yet, he says, but thinks it's a wonderful idea.

A week later your friend is all ready and smiling. He pulls out a table and explains:

"Having had talked to you on the phone last week, I really became interested in finding out whether what I had observed for our team would be true for other teams, too. It's not that I give a hoot how they would perform, you know - this is purely from a football betting perspective. These results could be of interest to anybody regularly betting on certain teams. So I went and checked five seasons' worth of pricing information for all English Premiership teams. This research covered data from the 2000/01 season up to the last one, 2004/05. I have included all teams that participated in the league in any of the five seasons, as well as the following major bookmakers: Bet365, Bet&Win, Gamebookers, Interwetten, Ladbrokes, Sporting Odds, Sportingbet, Stanleybet and William Hill. I figured this set would cover the vast majority of people with bookmaker accounts. I'm sure there would be some exotic bookies offering better prices from time to time, but I didn't want to have the results hinging on prices not generally available."




Bookmaker Profit Bookmaker Profit
Arsenal Gamebookers 6.67 Bet&Win 0.10 6.77
Aston Villa        
Blackburn     Bet365 12.30 12.30
Bolton Bet&Win 4.20 Gamebookers 27.05 31.25
Charlton Gamebookers 2.07 Ladbrokes 13.87 15.94
Chelsea Gamebookers 2.81 Bet&Win 6.85 9.66
Crystal Palace        
Everton Bet365 8.35     8.35
Fulham Bet365 4.31     4.31
Ipswich     Gamebookers 13.80 13.80
Leeds     Ladbrokes 2.83 2.83
Liverpool Bet&Win 1.10     1.10
Man City        
Man United     Gamebookers 3.96 3.96
Newcastle Sportingbet 3.73     3.73
Norwich Bet365 2.57     2.57
Portsmouth Bet365 10.21     10.21
Southampton Gamebookers 7.51     7.51
Tottenham Gamebookers 0.53     0.53
West Brom        
West Ham        
Wolves Bet365 5.32     5.32
TOTAL 59.38 80.76 140.14

"The table shows the best bookmakers to go with for home and away matches of particular teams, and how much profit was made during the five seasons by simply backing such teams at the bookmakers indicated. The first thing you should be noticing is the bottom line figure of 140.14 on the right. This figure is the level stakes profit you could have made using the simple strategy of backing all home or away matches of teams with bookies indicated in the table. In other words, backing all home games of Arsenal with Gamebookers (6.67 points of profit) and all away games with Bet&Win (profit: 0.10); all Blackburn away games with Bet365 (profit: 12.30), and so on, all the way down to backing all Wolves games at home with Bet365 (profit: 5.32). When this total is projected to a single season, we get a little over 28 points, which is 2,800 per year if you are a 100 bettor. Nothing to be sneezed at for such a simple plan."

"As you can see, certain teams are profitable to back home and away, others are so only at home or away, and still others offered no value using this strategy. If you are a lucky Arsenal, Bolton, Charlton or Chelsea fan, you can simply go to the bookmakers shown in the table and back your team in every single game. For supporters of Everton, Fulham, Liverpool, Newcastle, Norwich, Portsmouth, Southampton, Tottenham and Wolverhampton, all home matches can be supported, and all away games for fans of Blackburn, Ipswich, Leeds, and Manchester United. Some of these teams are not currently playing in the Premier League, of course."

"Supporters of Aston Villa, Birmingham, Bradford, Coventry, Crystal Palace, Derby, Leicester, Manchester City, Middlesbrough, Sunderland, West Brom and West Ham are out of luck with this strategy. There is no bookmaker from the list of nine I gave you with whom you could profitable back all home or away matches of these teams. I will look into how they can be profited from using a little more sophisticated approach in the near future. However, I believe that the above should give you enough ammunition for the season. 2,800's worth, anyway!"

"So, there you have it! Now you know why I like to say:"

"A bookie is a fan's best friend..."

"... 'cause there is bound to be one rooting for you and your team!"

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