While the bookies constantly improve their soccer prediction methods and try to avoid paying out, we can still find holes in their predictions. The question is how. There is no one million-dollar answer. Nevertheless, there are two ways that will allow you to beat the bookies. One way is to analyze non-measurable match information. Another way is to improve on statistical prediction models used by bookmakers.
The first method requires you to analyze data such as match type or priority, which is not used in statistical models. Among the most prominent factors that might influence the outcome of a soccer match are:
- Match type which can be an international/national league, a cup, or a friendly game. Especially profitable for you are the cup finals, where the media selects favorites and the better informed punter can profit from betting on the highly priced underdog teams.
- Match priority. Each team has to define its priority for the forthcoming matches, since team resources are limited. European national cups are good examples for the top teams of low priority games.
- Match time is important, since soccer predictions are usually inaccurate at the beginning and at the end of the season.
- Players’ injuries, illnesses and transfers especially in the cases of key players. Bookmakers’ odds are usually calculated before this information is available.
- European Leagues – predictable and unpredictable. The Italian, Norwegian, French and Spanish leagues are considered predictable. The unpredictable are the English and German leagues, especially at the beginning and the end of the season.
- Other factors are pitch conditions, team managers, match attendance, weather conditions and, of course, pure chance.
To analyze all that information for every match would be a complicated and time-consuming task. The alternative is to use advanced statistical prediction methods, which constitute an improvement on bookies’ prediction models.
Why can their models be further improved? First, when analyzing bookies’ predictions carefully, it is easy to notice that their models are based on average statistics. Low odds usually correspond to teams with high table positions and vice versa. It is clear that the accuracy of their models suffers when team skills change. Thus, by taking into account team skill dynamics, you can increase your profit by placing a bet on highly priced underdogs.
Second, the bookmakers’ models do not distinguish between the attacking and defensive strengths of soccer teams and don’t take into account that soccer teams choose different strategies when playing at home or away. Once you learn how to distinguish between attacking and defensive strengths, you can easily forecast the total number of goals and beat the bookies at under/over bets.
Statistical models that were developed over the past few years explain historical match results in terms of changing skills and strategy. Bookmakers don’t use such advanced models. Properly designed and optimized time-dependent models can predict as much as 70% of matches, outperforming the bookies’ predictions whose accuracy is much lower.