Importance of beating the closing odds
Knowing the difference between opening and closing odds in a football match can seem pretty obvious but it’s plain to see that it’s information that’s often ignored by punters, add to this the ability to calculate expected value and comparing them all will go a long way to ensuring you’re on the road to long-term profitability. In this article we’ll explain the different concepts and how they can help you make better football betting tips.
What are Opening Odds?
Obviously enough the opening odds of a football match are the odds that are released by bookmakers when the markets open at first. Usually a bookie will release the odds for a match around a week before it kicks off and the teams might even have a game due to be played between the odds being released and this next match being played. Contrast this with NBA games or NHL games and you never see it. With basketball matches being played every few days the bookies tend to wait until the latest match has been played before releasing odds for the next match, the same goes for NHL games. It’s not always the case but in the vast majority of cases, that’s how it is.
When compiling odds bookies look at various factors including; previous statistical analysis of matches, home advantage (something punters don’t seem to calculate properly at all), recent form, recent head to head matches, team news and injuries and a few more besides.
The ‘sharpest’ bookies, like Pinnacle, SBOBet etc. tend to release their odds first and then the big names in Europe release theirs, but as we’ve discussed on these pages before the sharp books offer far better odds and you need to look into opening an account with them to get the best value for your wagers.
What are Closing Odds?
Closing odds are the prices in the betting markets at the point when a match begins. Thanks to the movement of the odds from the time they opened to when they close the closing odds can give a ‘truer’ reflection of the events occurring. Why is this? Well, since the odds were released many other factors will come in to play; more recent injuries, the opinion of the betting public, announced lineups, even the weather.
Another factor rarely spoken about is that even a single punter with a large wager can affect odds. If a sportsbook knows that one punter in particular has a good record with their bets and places a large bet of say, £10,000 then they may lower the odds on the side of the market he’s betting on so that they’ll still make a profit. They’ll lower that side and raise the other side to try and bring in more money to even up their risk. However, if a punter with a bad reputation places the same bet they’ll probably take no action whatsoever.
What are Dropping Odds?
The internet is full of articles and websites showing dropping odds, these are odds that are, obviously, dropping in value. One way to exploit this is to look for the sportsbooks that have yet to drop their odds and take the bet with them. So, say for example in an upcoming Premier League matches the price for Over 2.5 goals opened at 2.10, but has dropped to 1.95 a day before the match, you look around and find a bookie that’s still offering it at 2.10 and you take it because it offers better value than the majority of the other sportsbooks.
What is Expected Value?
When looking at the markets it can be easy to follow the crowd and go with a price that is dropping however you need to be cautious and calculate the expected value to see if you’re actually making a value bet.
The price may be dropped by a sportsbook for a number of reasons and just because it dropped does not mean that it’s more likely to occur, it, more than likely, just means that that side of the market is getting a lot of action recently and they’re adjusting the odds to ensure they’ll make their desired commission.
To calculate the expected value you need to take a few steps, so let’s use an example: Let’s say a home favourite are taking on an away underdog in the Premier League this weekend and the prices are as such: Home at 1.20 (opened at 1.15), Draw at 6.50 (opened at 6.45) and Away at 17.00 (opened at 21.0). A £50 bet on them would result in a win of £850 - £54 stake = £800.
The odds are dropping on the away team so it can be enticing, however those odds are huge for an away win and really the probability of them winning is just 1/17 = 0.58 = 5.8%. 1.20 = 1/1.20 = 0.8333 = 83.33% 6.50 = 1/6.50 = 0.1535 = 15.38% 17 = 1/17 = 0.05882 = 5.88%
So, the probability of the away team not winning is 83.33 + 15.38 = 98.78%. Obviously these figures don’t add up to 100%, that’s because of the bookie’s overround. Something we’re written extensively about before, but you can read about here if you don’t know what it is.
To get our expected value then, it’s as follows: (0.058 x £800) - (0.98 x £50) = £-2.60 46.40 - 49 = £-2.60
Of course this doesn’t mean that your bet will lose but it does mean that you’re not getting value here and the best thing to do would be to look for value elsewhere. The search for value isn’t easy but by using these different criteria you can find it and make better football tips. If you can spot how to beat the closing odds of sports events then you can get better value for your wagers and you’ll be on the road to long-term profitability.