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Aug 10, 2016
Aug 10, 2016

Applying Elo ratings to Premier League betting

Applying Elo ratings to Premier League betting
You might have heard about Elo ratings but how can this rating system help you improve your betting? In this article, we focus on the Elo method applied to the Premier League and explain, in simple maths, how to use it in order to predict winners. A must-read for all soccer bettors.

The Elo ratings were originally invented by Hungarian master level chess player Arpad Elo as a way of comparing the skill levels of chess players. Its strong predictive power soon got the attention of sport analysts, who have since adapted it for several sports and it is now widely used in assessing the performance of soccer teams.

The Elo system has been used for a number of sports. In previous articles we compared FIFA rankings to Elo ratings to find Elo was the clear winner and also explained how Elo ratings can be used in tennis betting. With the new Premier League season ahead, we are now focusing on how to apply Elo ratings in the Premier League to make more sophisticated betting decisions.

The theory behind Elo ratings

The aim of Elo ratings in soccer is to measure the relative strength levels of the teams. Each club has a single Elo value for each point in time, with higher figures indicating stronger teams.

When clubs play against each other, the winning side takes points from the loser, with the exact number of points determined by the Elo difference between the two teams. If a team plays an opponent who is significantly weaker and loses, the rating would reduce a lot more than if the team lost to an opponent who is only slightly weaker.

Similarly, beating much stronger opponents earns a team more points than beating only slightly stronger teams. In case of a draw, the lower rated club will take points from the higher rated club, thus making the system self-correcting.

Elo ratings of the Premier League Clubs

2015/16 EPL
finishing position

Club

Elo value

4

Man City

1854

2

Arsenal

1845

1

Leicester

1817

3

Tottenham

1810

8

Liverpool

1806

10

Chelsea

1799

6

Man United

1794

5

Southampton

1784

7

West Ham

1730

11

Everton

1701

12

Swansea

1694

9

Stoke

1687

17

Sunderland

1661

14

West Brom

1651

Promoted

Burnley

1642

15

Crystal Palace

1639

13

Watford

1629

16

Bournemouth

1625

Promoted

Middlesbrough

1600

Promoted

Hull City

1595

Source Clubelo.com
 Updated August 10, 2016



Calculating the Elo exchange points

Here's how the basic calculation for Arsenal vs. Liverpool playing on Sunday, 14 August, for their opening match of the new Premier League season. According to Clubelo, Arsenal has a current rating of 1845 and Liverpool 1806.

By calculating 5% of their respective ranking, Arsenal will be risking 92.3 points, Liverpool 90.3, thus the total pot contains 182.6 points. Therefore, here are the three possible outcomes:

  1.               Arsenal wins. Their ratings increases by 90.3 to 1935.3 and Liverpool’s rating decreases to 1715.7.
  2.               Liverpool wins. Their rating increases by 92.3 to 1898.3 and Arsenal’s rating decreases to 1752.7.
  3.               Draw. The pot (182.6) is divided equally between the two teams 91.3:91.3 resulting in a slight increase to 1807 for Liverpool and a slight decrease to 1844 for Arsenal.

Please note that the above calculations illustrate the basic calculation. To improve accuracy, the soccer Elo system is customised to include crucial sports specific variables, such as field advantage, goal difference and inter-league adjustments.

Using Elo ratings in betting 

It is important to keep in mind is that the Elo method is solely based on past performance and therefore does not take into account factors such as a change or manager, addition of players etc. Despite criticism that the ratings only respond to such changes over time, the Elo ratings are widely used by bettors as a reliable statistical foundation for finding value bets, i.e. bets with positive expected value.

With the new Premier League season around the corner, the Elo ratings is one of the best tools soccer bettors can use in order to make educated betting decisions.

Get the best Premier League odds for all opening matches at Pinnacle, the ultimate bookmaker with the lowest margin and highest limits. 

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