It is not as it looks like - or is it
On My Way in the fascinating world of sports betting, I have made constant profits for 45 years. My crew kept a 3.1% net profit margin in the last seven years with all the previous 16342 published bets. A big part of our profits has come from the matches played for a couple of weeks after the start of the season.
The biggest mistake the betting market makes, therefore allowing the over-returns possible for a sharp investor, is overreacting to just a handful of results in the early rounds of the leagues. Quite often, the randomness has just caused a series of scores that do not correspond to the real strength of the teams.
In the first games of a league, it is essential to understand what findings were due to the randomness and which depended on luck to a different degree. Even the strength of the early schedule should be taken into consideration before judging the team too blindly to the top or to the bottom.
Quite often, one can make huge profits with the teams who have been unlucky in the very first matches. Even better bets are the ones against the teams who have charmed the media and betting markets with undeserved wins. Sometimes, it is hard to believe afterward the odds one has been able to bet early in the season.
But it doesn't always go that "normal," profitable way. Last autumn, I backed Leverkusen in the German Bundesliga early rounds. They lost a few games unluckily. I kept betting on them, and they kept disappointing me. I had an ROI of something catastrophic like 80% early in the Bundesliga season.
Leverkusen ended up in their "normal" Europe League qualification spot behind the big names in Germany. In the European League, they were one goal away from the final. So, without a doubt, the market was wrong, and I was right about the level of Leverkusen. But one can't buy bread with the +EV equity currency, as one well-known Finnish horse race bettor says.
Years ago, two of my pre-season favorites in the Finnish Premier division, HJK and FC Haka, finished in the two bottom places. Leicester City won the Premiership as a 5000-1 "impossibility." These kind of situations get expensive for a bettor, who logically expect the teams to return to their normal performance and luck level. Fortunately, a season-long bad luck or underperforming is not very common. However, it is crucial to study analytically and carefully if there is a reason behind the unexpected performances. To the negative ones, there is often something wrong with the team chemistry. The positive shocks are mainly luck and regress to the mean, but the "real ones" seem to be due to the improved level of the young players, new players fitting into the team better than expected, or a coach in the beginning of his career being better than previously understood.
In the Finnish ice hockey league (Liiga), an expensive team with star players and an experienced coach, Oulun Kärpät is at the bottom of the table on Wednesday, 27th of September, at 3 pm GMT. They play soon at Vaasa against Sport. If the "look ahead" odds were compiled before the season started, Kärpät would have been about 4 to 5 on favorite (-125 US, 1.80x Europe). About an hour ago, the odds comparison and brokerage service Sportmarket found somewhere the World top odds 2.53x (+153 or 6/4) on Kärpät. It is hard to guess which team will be the luckier one tonight, but we can be sure, that we cannot be that sure yet, that Kärpät is under the mid-table team, as the odds suggest.
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