The preview of the second-round kick-off is a little more difficult than any other matchday preview in the course of the season. Compared to the start of the season, when, as they say, “the cards are completely reshuffled”. All teams start with 0-0 goals and 0 points. The transfers have been made, the new coaches know their new squads. For the promoted teams, the assessment is one of the most difficult. Often there are huge budget changes, high expectations and major squad upheavals. The tried and tested players who were responsible for the promotion are often not considered strong enough and new, more expensive players are put in front of them. Even if they are of better quality, this can lead to disagreements or dissatisfaction. However, the previous year’s results are hardly ever used to assess the teams. Rather, certain traditions are followed.
At the start of the second half of the season, there are a few differences and a few similarities. The similarities are that transfers were also made during the winter break (shortened this year because of the World Cup). Almost all teams have been active on the market, and some of the teams will have changed faces. In addition, it is equally comparable that as a team, as players of the team, one can forget the previous results during a (longer) break, if they were bad. Conversely, if a team has a good run, it can be difficult to remember the good last results. In this respect, the runs, the current form no longer count. Like at the start of the season. On the other hand, of course, there is a table picture. This situation is roughly comparable to a tennis match after the end of a set. Although the result of the first set counts, the match continues at 0:0. Thus, a good first-round result is like a won set, a bad one like a lost one. Nevertheless, it is often observed, also in tennis, that players who have won the first set relax a little and want to reach the goal with less effort, while the opponent then brings up a kind of “now-first-right” mentality. While at the end of the first set he was still haphazardly hitting the balls into the net, he suddenly approaches the second set with renewed energy and possibly wins it.
In terms of football and the best possible estimations of the probability distributions for victory/draw/defeat that are necessary for the matches, one has to take this into account in any case. I will be happy to discuss this in detail using the examples for the matches, to what extent the current odds/estimation differs from the odds/estimation for the match between the case where the 18th matchday would have been played directly one week after or the current case of the three week break. There is plenty of evidence from recent decades to support the assumption that a change in these two values is necessary, in which superior league leaders with dream football suddenly collapse in the first half of the season and are easily caught out, while hopelessly beaten teams start their race to catch up in the second half of the season and rise to a secure midfield position.
Here are the odds as calculated by my computer. These numbers are completely unchanged.
FC Bayern Hoffenheim 1.60 3.80 4.75
I’m seeing them for the first time at this moment and I’m writing down today, at 09-01-10, a week before the opener without any knowledge of the betting market, what I think about the pairings themselves and about the computer estimation. If I change anything, I will probably justify it.
In the case of Bayern – Hoffenheim, I immediately like the course quite a lot. I almost saw a 1.65 in my mind’s eye, because of the Hoffenheim team, which I think is a bit higher, and which had a bit of bad luck in the first half of the season, but a 1.60 looks perfect now. Whereby one would have to take into account the daily news again, according to which Ribery will not be fit and Arjen Robben also twisted his ankle yesterday in training. All right, after consulting with myself, I will correct to 1.65. If this rate deviates from the market estimate, it will certainly be in the direction of “too high”. I will therefore probably bet that Bayern will not win. You can do this on a betting exchange, for example, by choosing “back”, English for “support” or also “bet”, and “lay”, pay the price, for Bayern and enter the desired amount. Just one of the options to bet against Bayern, against victory.
The season opener was Hoffenheim – Bayern, with a 1-1 draw at the end. Here, too, I saw Hoffenheim in front. It was also curious that in the previous season it was the last game of the first half. Hoffenheim had caused a Germany-wide euphoria with their way of playing football and were three points ahead of Bayern before this game. Then they played a great game with a lot of excellent chances to score, especially in the phase after the 1:1 equaliser. That they didn’t win that game would have been bad enough. But when in the last second of injury time, after an unfortunate action by Ibertsberger, who overzealously tried to clear an action in his own penalty area that was not even goal threatening and in doing so played the ball right into the foot of Luca Toni, who converted directly for the 2-1 winner, Hoffenheim’s fate was almost sealed for the entire second half of the season. Sure, the cruciate ligament rupture of Ibisevic in the winter break, the most successful goal scorer in the entire league up to that point, contributed to the downfall. For me, however, the main cause was that unbelievable goal conceded in the last second. Not only did it cost me a lot of money at the time and even arouse a certain “desire for revenge” in me, but the Hoffenheim team will also have painful memories of this (unjust and not only because of the timing) goal and will be particularly motivated to take revenge. The verbal duels back then before the game could in a way be seen as icing on the cake for Hoffenheim’s motivation for Friday night’s game. My “game of the week”, I think. Bayern don’t win. Very daring after van Gaal went from being Saul to Paul….
Leverkusen – Mainz is also justified. As little as I am interested in test match results, I was impressed by Leverkusen’s victory at Dutch league leader Twente Enschede. It’s easy to talk about “conserving performance”. Mainz certainly played a great first half of the season and in that sense the course doesn’t quite do justice to that performance. I saw Mainz live over 90 minutes in a couple of games and had absolutely nothing to criticise about the performance. If I correct, then also this course slightly upwards. So 1.40, yes, that sounds even better.
For Gladbach – Bochum, 1.70 sounds a bit too low after all. Sure, Bochum had a few failure results and also performances. But last the great win in Hannover, after 0:2 to 3:2, retracted, at the same time there is a derby tendency because of the proximity of the cities, so I have to go to 1.80.
HSV – Freiburg 1.40 sounds a bit too low again, as HSV failed to win four in a row at home before the final 2-1 against Werder, even scoring a goal at all only in the 2:3 against Gladbach. Freiburg on the other hand have had some great results away from home, so you should probably adjust the price to 1.45 here too.
Even in the case of Hannover against Hertha, the 1.65 seems correct at first glance, since Hertha really played disastrously in the Hindrunde, but the effect of “forgetting bad results” will certainly play a role with this team. In addition, Hertha has specifically strengthened itself and wants to tackle the project of staying in the league very seriously. In addition, the team has shown a clear upward trend in the last two or three games (especially the very strong 2:2 against league leader Leverkusen stood out!) and Hannover has yet to “get a leg up” since the death of Robert Enke. Here’s a drastic adjustment. More like 1.85. That’s my rate. There could be even more on the market and I’d have to fight hard with myself to play Hannover then. Very reluctantly.
For Frankfurt against Bremen, although a 1.80 on the away favourite sounds half right to my ears at first, taking into account the strength differences of the teams. A look at the table reveals that the teams are separated by only four points, so you shouldn’t even start thinking below 2.0 on Werder. Surely the market rate will also be in the order of magnitude, yet I would be willing to trust my computer and play Werder. The team has a high potential and even if Frankfurt surprised at times in the Hinrunde, it seems to me that the team is a bit too good for its playing ability. Despite correction to 1.85. My tip: Win Werder at fair market odds.
My computer amazes me with its assessment of Stuttgart against Wolfsburg. However, I would almost be prepared to trust the computer here too. Wolfsburg is – despite some really good games – once again a prime example that the balancing act between everyday Bundesliga and Champions League can hardly be mastered at the first attempt. The results failed to materialise, especially towards the end of the first half of the season. In my opinion, Stuttgart had already put in several excellent performances before the change of coach Babbel – Groß, which were not rewarded with the results they deserved, but the change somehow forced luck and thus the successful results in the last four games. The odds remain essentially the same, perhaps correcting to 2.20 or 2.25. There may be more to be had on the market and I would be willing to bet that.
Schalke against Nuremberg the 1.25 would already be justified due to Nuremberg’s hifless performances since a couple of weeks, however, the change of coach took place here as well, so I have to adjust the rate academically to 1.30. Magath has proven once again that he really knows how to lead a team. And especially at Schalke, that wants to mean something. In addition, he has again modified the squad slightly according to his needs in the winter break, but with him you don’t have to worry as much about putting together a powerful squad on the day as you once did with Otto Rehhagel, who always “pulled someone out of the hat” that no one had previously thought of.
Well, Cologne against Dortmund, also a kind of derby. Cologne, from whom I really expected more at the beginning, have stabilised their performance noticeably in the last four games. Four games without conceding a goal and with only 15 goals conceded, they are on a par with Bayern and in third place overall in this ranking. However, on the other hand, there is the alarming forward misery, which is of course enthusiastically attributed by the media to Lukas Podolski’s lack of goals. But only 10 goals – Podolski or no Podolski – cannot really scare an opponent. On the other hand, there was a Dortmund team that I thought was better than the market in terms of its performance and consequently won money with this team in the first half. Klopp basically only needed half a year to get going, because the second half of the previous season was already great. It was one of my secret picks that worked out, even if the start of the season had not been completely successful and the many draws stood in the way of an even better ranking. Well, 30 points are a great haul and mean connection to the top ranks. Nevertheless, 2.05 seems simply too low. Despite the derby tendency, which is even more in favour of the away team, I correct to 2.10. My tip, however, is that you get a higher rate on Dortmund, I would have to bet them. And even if I very much dislike playing against Cologne (I had this team represented several times in the first half of the season), I would still do it at the corresponding rate, i.e. from about 2.30.
If you would like to have a general statement on the over/under bets that are becoming more and more common on the market, where you bet on the number of goals, usually “over” in the sense of three or more dead, or “under”, 0, 1 or 2 goals: The winter months are generally not a particularly good “over” time. The pitches are often not in such good condition, in addition the stadiums are less well attended, but even the air in winter, i.e. when it is cold, becomes tougher, more sluggish and the ball flies less well. These circumstances all point to fewer goals than usual.
However, it could also be that the seasonal phase is even more decisive for a noticeable drop in the goal average in the winter months. If you take the early phase of a season, August-September, then there are no neat league table pictures at that time and in that sense there is not yet a lot of pressure. The teams just play football and see what comes out of it. That increases the number of goals. People think and play offensively. Towards the end of the season, there are often enough pairings where at least one team doesn’t play for too much. Even then, you just play football. You don’t get so tense, you’re no longer afraid of missing your goals for the season. And one team per game is enough for that.
But in between, in the winter, there are fierce battles for points. Each team looks carefully at what it wants to achieve and what it has to achieve according to (fan) expectations. They are happy to take a 0-0 away win or settle for a “dirty 1-0” victory, which has become so popular lately. Once you score the goal, all the players get behind the ball. So-called “results football” is played. Obviously poison for a goal festival.
In this respect, in my estimation, the phenomena balance each other out. Both have their share. But all in all, if it’s over/under, then it’s better to go under. Of course, I’m personally only talking about games that are on display for me. If an under presents itself, play it. If an over suggests itself, think carefully. From my observations, I can’t really say whether the market takes this phenomenon into account at all.
This, if you will, is the main part of my odds-making activity. The computer makes its suggestions, comparable to a chess computer, but the human being is still allowed to contribute his corrections for the (move) decision based on current observations or his own taste. In this respect, it is a principle that has proven itself over the years. This results in both the odds that are possible for a traditional bookmaker, but also what I call “fair odds”. The fair odds on a chance (1 – X – 2) represent the inverse of the probability of occurrence. And these fair odds are ultimately the ones I recommend you bet on. So here now, first of all, is the odds offer I prepared based on the above considerations:
And now here are the fair odds on which these figures are based:
Here you go, the whole thing also in the form of probabilities:
The goal expectations, which serve as a basis for calculation, are also printed here:
All the other chances are derived from all these numbers. My computer calculates the probabilities for the individual results, i.e. 0:0, 1:0, 0:1 or even 5:2. In addition, the odds for half-time/finish bets are calculated, as well as for the number of goals. The biggest betting market, however, is in Asia, where bets are placed on the so-called Asian handicap. This Asian handicap is based on the fact that one wants to equalise the chances for the outcome of the match with the help of a goal target (also called a “line” in English), thus ensuring that both sides are equally likely and thus equally attractive from a betting perspective. In this way, the provider secures profits that the traditional betting providers in this (European) country can only dream of. Due to this balanced attractiveness of the sides on which bets can be placed, in combination with the price corrections that take place every minute due to the (partly) high stakes, the provider is in a comfortable (profit) position. For the player/bettor himself, it has the huge advantage that you can play virtually without limits. In addition, the payouts are guaranteed, in contrast to European bookmakers who always take risks with their odds and are often threatened with bankruptcy.
Here are the main lines that my computer would suggest for the opening of the Asian market:
|Asian line||Fair 1||Fair 2|
The lines must be made in quarter-goal increments, otherwise the small number of goals per game is not sufficient to compensate for the differences in playing strength for one game. A line of 0.75, as in the first game, means that the favourite, Bayern, has to make up 0.75 goals, Hoffenheim gets them ahead. Well, you can’t make up 0.75 goals at all, which means that there are only different settlement options for a bet on this or that side. In this case, there are three possible betting outcomes, instead of the usual two in a conventional bet. If Bayern does not win at all, those who played Hoffenheim have won their bet completely, everyone who played Bayern has lost completely. If Bayern wins by two goals or more, the settlement is also easy: everyone who had Bayern won completely, everyone who had Hoffenheim lost completely. The special case is the one-goal victory of Bayern. In this case, everyone who had Bayern won half the bet and everyone who had Hoffenheim lost half the bet. The settlement options for the other games would be corresponding. There are special cases whenever a quarter goal is in play, i.e. in the games of Bayern, Leverkusen, HSV, Stuttgart and Cologne. There, depending on the side you had, there are half wins or half losses.
Here, briefly, are the Asian goallines as suggested by my computer and as they might appear on the market:
Again, the same Asian principle. Whoever bets over wins if three goals or more are scored, whoever bets under wins if 0, 1 or 2 goals are scored. The special cases are Cologne – Dortmund, where the suggested line is 2.0 goals. Here, for example, all bets would be at par, money back, if exactly two goals are scored. (The fair odds are also shown here, not the pay odds). In the other games, where the line is 2.75 goals, there would again be the special cases of exactly three goals. Whoever has over wins only half, whoever has under loses only half.