In a series of articles, Pinnacle is exposing some of the biggest fallacies in the cliche-driven world of sports. In part one we examined whether teams perform worse after playing in Europe.
A statistical look at the performance of top Premier League teams in post-European games revealed, against all expectations, that 60% of them did better or exactly the same after a European fixture.
With only a couple of matches left until the end of the Premier League season, where better to continue than this common soccer-based myth?
They need to win, so they will
If a team is chasing a promotion or a chance to compete in next year’s UEFA club tournaments, or even running away from relegation, they are more likely to win, aren't they? It might feel that way, making the “need to win” argument one of the most prominent myths among bettors, but statistics point towards a different direction.
Statistics reveal that promotion-hunting teams perform worse in May than they do in any other month of the season.
The Racingpost’s colossus of soccer and famous author of The Definitive Guide to Betting on Sport (2004), Kevin Pullein, discusses in his book whether teams improve their performance at “must win” games when approaching the business end of the season.
The theory behind this widely held belief is based on two presumptions. The first is that the team who needs a win will be trying harder. This, however, presupposes that they haven’t been trying hard enough earlier, which is not necessarily the case.
The second is that pressure will produce better results. More often than not however, pressure hinders players from performing, rather than encourages them.
After analyzing ten seasons of the English Championship and League One, Pullein found out that promotion-hunting teams actually performed worse in May than they did in any other month of the season.
Betting towards the end of season
When bettors ignore statistics and bet based on widely-held misconceptions, that’s when profit opportunities arise.
Ever wondered how bookmakers set the odds? The odds you are being offered reflect not only what the bookmaker considers as a likely outcome, but also how much money the customers are betting on the markets.
In most cases, bookmakers are well aware of this common misconception and use this opportunity to price up teams who need to secure a win much shorter than they would normally during the season in anticipation of bettors piling money in this market.
With this in mind, bettors can now approach betting on the 2016/17 Premier League season differently, as opposed to simply accepting age-old clichés that very rarely have any statistical substance.