Far too often I'll listen to podcasts where the prediction goes along the lines of "I'd expect Chelsea to win, but it wouldn't surprise me if West Brom got something from this game" where pretty much every base is covered.
What I've done is look at the results of the 158 predictions on Premier League games made this season and the expected return if a notional £10 was placed on each game according to Lawro's predictions (I've used Home/Draw/Away rather than looking at correct score betting). I've taken the odds from Bet365 as held at Football-Data
Top level figures are:
How does Lawro achieve this profit? Breaking his selections down into the type of prediction, it can be seen that all the profit comes from the Draw predictions:
Is Lawro a mystic? Is it that his football brain is smarter than the market? Ultimately bookies odds are a mix of what they think is going to happen and where the money is going, if they feel Man Utd are unlikely to win but are taken significantly higher than expected bets on that happening then they'll shorten the odds accordingly.
It may be just be that selecting draws is for boring people and the amount of money going on a Home/Away win is more than the true probability of that happening, resulting in over-generous odds on draws. If you were to just pick one kind of outcome and have bet on that each time, below are what you would get back:
The above is far too small a sample to say definitively that the easiest way to make money is just to back the draw, there's no guarantee this would happen in the future but is arguably something worth looking at in more detail across historical data for multiple seasons/divisions.
Looking at Lawro's actual score predictions also highlights how he tends to come to these predictions. Ultimately he has to spend the weekend defending them, so looking at his predictions suggests he likes to give some comfort to any team he's predicting will lose by at least predicting them to score.
|In over three quarters of predictions, Lawro goes for one of 2-0, 1-1 or 2-1 and pretty much always goes for more than one goal being scored in a game with 38 of his 40 predicted draws being predicted as 1-1|
It could also be argued that given 1-1 happens almost twice as often as 0-0 in the Premier League so far, if you felt the game was too close to call that 1-1 is more likely a result than 0-0. That doesn't however explain the over prediction of 2-0 and 2-1 compared to 1-0 and to me suggests a relatively straightforward process is happening:
- Easy home win for a Manchester team: 3-0 (all 6 of these were home wins but at tiny odds)
- Easy home win: 2-0
- Tough home win: 2-1
- Too close to call: 1-1
Just because it's simple doesn't make it wrong however, an awful lot of how bookies make money is where people get seduced by "big" odds that are actually poor value. It may be sitting on the fence is the easiest way to make a profit.
There are 158 rather than 160 predictions as Sunderland-Reading was postponed from its scheduled date and no prediction was made for the brought forward Chelsea-Reading game. Lawro did pick Sunderland to beat Reading when originally scheduled and I'd be very surprised if he would didn't expect Chelsea to beat Reading so could argue these would have also been called correctly.
Bet365 was chosen as it was first bookie in the supplied spreadsheet, as mentioned above, shopping around can improve odds received reducing expected loss if an average punter.
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