Outright Football Markets: Playing the Long Game? – Part 1 – Premier League Focus
A significant proportion of punters eschew long-term bets such as tournament or league winners. The prevailing belief seems to be that they don’t want their cash tied up for the next few months. This is a simplistic and incorrect way to look at outright football markets. When you know what to look for, you can profit from multiple trades throughout a season.
You’ll be shocked to find that these long-term markets can react severely to a single event or match. Remember, you only need a few ticks to make a profit, and when you get your analysis right, you could have a dozen trading opportunities in one market across a season.
TV Dominance = Potential Trading Profits
In a bid to show football every waking moment of the day, the Premier League sells the rights to games to different companies. For the 2019/20 season, Sky, Amazon, and BT share the rights in the United Kingdom. As a result, the times of football matches are more staggered than ever before.
It is terrible for a fan’s wallet, but you can make some of it back by taking advantage of the situation. One example is to lay a team to win the league or finish Top 4 before they play a poor side.
For example, Man City would be expected to beat Crystal Palace at home. If you believe City will either not win the league or falter at some stage, you can lay them to win the league before the match. Even if they win, the odds won’t change much, and you can wait to see if their form dips.
This season, City’s main rivals will probably be European Champions, Liverpool. You can expect plenty of weekends where the teams don’t play on the same day. This gives you plenty of time to analyse both team’s games to see if there is a chance one will slip up.
Recognise Potential Winning or Losing Streaks
Man City won 14 league games in a row last season, and 18 the season before. Close analysis of their fixtures last season would have revealed a likelihood of them winning the vast majority of them. Try to identify parts of the season where a team will either go on a winning run or hit the skids.
In Man City’s case, there is a rare possibility of a slip up in December, for instance. It was at this time of the year last season that the reigning champions lost three league matches out of four. This season, they play Burnley (A), Manchester United (H), Arsenal (A), Leicester City (H), and Wolverhampton (A) in their first five fixtures in December.
This is after playing Liverpool (A), Chelsea (H), and Newcastle (A) in the three games beforehand in November. If you want to lay the champions, the start of November could be an opportune time. If their title odds are shorter on December 27 than they were on November 8, it is best to cash out!
New Manager Bounce
November and December are notoriously poor months for managers in the Premier League. A few bosses of relegation candidates usually get sacked as their side hovers either in the drop zone or just above. February and early March may also see a desperate last-gasp change in the hope of a new manager providing a miracle.
Research from 21st Club, a sports consultancy firm, looked at the ‘new manager bounce’ in 2017. According to data compiled by the group across Europe’s Top Five leagues, clubs earned 0.8 points a game in the eight games before a sacking, and 1.2 points in the first eight games with a new manager.
This suggests the ‘bounce’ is real, but in reality, a lot of it is based on luck. The research found that sides created roughly the same amount of chances and conceded approximately the same amount. More often than not, a change in manager comes at a time when a side’s ‘luck’ is due to change. It lasts for a while but disappears, which explains why so many new managers experience a downturn after initial success.
The outright market typically reacts as if the ‘bounce’ is real so if you hear news about a manager of a struggling side who is close to the sack, it may be worth laying them to be relegated. Just the appointment of a new manager is enough to make a dent in the market; let alone any subsequent set of improved results.
If the incoming manager is ‘well-known,’ it is even more likely for the odds on relegation to drift, which makes a lay bet a good option.
Which Outright Premier League Markets Should I Focus On?
On the Betfair Exchange, you can back the Winner of the Premier League, Top 2, Top 3, Top 4, Top 6, Top 10, Relegation, and also bet on the club to finish Rock Bottom. There is also a handicap points market, forecasts on positions, Top London Club, and Top Promoted Team.
Premier League Winner
The market for Premier League winner is not very alluring, to be honest. City has taken things to a brand-new level with Liverpool following them. The Reds have yet to strengthen their side, so it seems like City’s to lose, and odds of 1.52 reflects that fact.
City has two reasonably difficult games on paper to begin with: West Ham (A) and Tottenham (H). You could either lay them or back Liverpool now and review after two games. City then embarks on an ‘easy’ run up until November. You could back them and look to lay before their game at Anfield if you believe they will lose.
Then you could back them close to Christmas because Liverpool has to play two games in Qatar as part of the World Club Championships. City will play more league matches and possibly have a commanding league by New Year’s Day.
It is very likely to be a two-horse race which means you may be better off backing Liverpool rather than laying City unless you think the Merseyside club will suffer a significant dip in form this season.
Tottenham had the heartbreak of losing a Champions League final last season. They have signed a new midfielder but also lost Kieran Trippier to Atletico Madrid in one of the most surprising signings of the year. Spurs barely made Top 4 last season so it could be worth laying them at 1.60, especially as they play Man City in the second game.
There are huge question marks over Man United, Chelsea, and Arsenal for various reasons. Arsenal has the strikers but needs to improve their woeful away record. United are likely to spend big, but it is not a guarantee that this splurge will improve a side that looks to be in transition with a manager of questionable pedigree.
Chelsea welcome club legend Frank Lampard back, but the popular midfielder is inexperienced at this level. Also, Chelsea has lost Eden Hazard to Real Madrid, a man who scored or assisted 49% of the club’s league goals last season. Pulisic enters the fray, but a transfer ban will hurt Chelsea without question.
Leicester City is a side with quality, and some punters may fancy a look at the 18.00 odds on finishing Top 4 if the four clubs mentioned above fail to perform. 70-72 points could be enough to nab a Top 4 spot. Wolves will be hampered by Europe, while Everton could be a dark horse if Silva can put together a full season of good results in the Premier League.
Incidentally, the Top 6 market could be even more fruitful. Everton at 5.1, Leicester at 4.9 and Wolves at 5.7 could be worth considering if you feel one of these sides is capable of a good start to the season, coupled with a bad start for at least one of the ‘traditional’ Big Six.
As expected, two of the three newly-promoted sides are favoured for the drop. It is perhaps surprising to see Aston Villa as only the sixth favourite to go down at 3.35. The Villains play Spurs (A), Everton (H), Crystal Palace (A), West Ham (H), and Arsenal (A), within their first six matches. A bad start will see their odds plummet. A few ‘winnable’ games after that could see their odds drift once again.
Newcastle United are a basket case club at present with an owner who is loathed by the fans. Failure to back a genuinely high-quality manager in Rafa Benitez was a disastrous mistake by Ashley, and the Spaniard decided to flee to China to get away from his nightmare!
The Toon have lost Ayoze Perez and Rondon from last season and brought in unproven Joelinton. Steve Bruce is an extremely unpopular managerial appointment given his Sunderland roots, so there is potential for it to go horribly wrong. Newcastle’s survival will depend on its form at St. James’ Park. Odds of 3.20 to go down look tempting.
Bournemouth is another side worth considering at odds of 6.4. 20 of the side’s 45 points came in the first 10 games last season. The remaining 28 games were outright relegation form with just two wins on the road. A loss to Sheffield United in the opening game could see the odds on the Cherries going down shortening considerably since the side plays Man City (H), Leicester (A), Everton (H), and Southampton (A) in its first six games.
Brighton is another prime candidate, and odds of 2.84 could look good if the seaside club endures a poor start. Brighton barely scraped home last season, and if the side is anywhere near as bad, they will surely fall into the Bottom 3 early on.
Final Thoughts on Football Outright Markets
There will always be bets available at juicy prices that catch the eye. Bournemouth to go down at 6.4 and Leicester to finish top 6 at 4.8 are examples. However, it always pays to look ahead when looking to trade long-term markets.
If a side has a hard or easy run on paper, you can decide if it is worth backing or laying its chances; regardless of whether you’re looking at league winners, Top 4 candidates, or relegation fodder. The good news about these markets is that you have lots of time to think about your next move and the possibility of trading out before incurring heavy losses.
Patrick graduated from the National University of Ireland, Galway with an MA in Literature and Publishing but decided he would rather have the freedom of a freelance writer than be stuck in a publishing house all day. He has enjoyed this freedom since 2009 and has written thousands of articles on a variety of topics but sports betting is his passion. While his specialty is finding mismatches in obscure football leagues, he also likes to use his research skills to provide punters with detailed winning strategies in horse racing. You can check out his personal blog on www.lynchthewriter.com or Twitter @pl1982 where he writes content to help small businesses achieve success.