The word ‘value’ can be defined in a number of different ways, but the one common thread running through each of those definitions is that the individual is getting an appropriate level of return on their input, e.g. the price you pay for a box of eggs is fair considering all of the variables.
In betting, the notion of value is one that rears its head continuously, and while many get the idea of value in betting wrong – it is not the actual price that counts, more that the price fairly reflects the likelihood of the event unfolding – most know how to spot it a mile away.
Our spreadsheets below may look like some kind of GCSE Maths coursework, but are actually really insightful in determining which of the English football leagues (bar the Premier League but including the National League) offers the most value, i.e. the percentage of a bookmakers’ favourite actually winning.
We’ve not covered the Premier League as yet because there has only been three rounds of matches and most punters will have a decent understanding of how those have panned out in terms of betting value.
So without further ado, here is how the next four divisions in the English football pyramid are shaping up:
As you can see, half of all Championship matches end in the result that the bookmakers have predicted (home/away win), with the draw featuring in less than one in four (23%).
By the end of the season we’ll be able to draw some (hopefully) accurate conclusions as to why some leagues are more predictable than others – the suspicion is that the greater the financial gulf between the clubs, the more expected the results – but for now all you need to know is that the Championship is second only to the National League in terms of predictability.
With less than one in two of League One matches ending as expected, it is perhaps wise to leave these 24 clubs on the page when it comes to constructing your betslips.
Interestingly, this is the highest ratio of draws in English football, so if you like placing a few long-priced wagers then this could be the way to go.
Note to self: ignore League Two when putting an acca together!
This is the lowest win count in our data set and the highest unexpected result figure too. Being a supporter of a League Two club could never be accused of being boring….
Now this is more like it. A huge 59% of matches in the National League end as expected, and less than one in four is completely unexpected as far as the bookmakers are concerned. Those are rather more agreeable trading conditions.
Our initial hypothesis was that the greater disparity in financial resources between the teams in a specific division, the more expected the results are likely to be.
The Championship kind of proves that with its high ExpR (that’s a ‘down with the kids’ way of writing expected results) tally, as we know that parachute payments etc mean there’s lots of cash sloshing about there.
That doesn’t account for the National League’s greater reliability, but then disparity does exist there too: Forest Green have been well backed financially, for instance, and have recorded 6/8 as far as ExpR are concerned.
It will be well worth tracking this as we move forward.