Valencia was 6th and Getafe 13th on the Primera Liga table. Sometimes, even the bookies/big boys make mistakes or events occur which have not been expected.
We reason, ‘Hey, if they’re that good, I would have heard more of them, right?’
Sporting Lisbon had won the previous reverse fixture 3-2.
- Beating the Big Boys at Their Own Game! Background
Although the position that bookmakers take in public relations exercises is that they stand to make the most when there is an equal amount of bets on both teams in a match, the reality is that sometimes bookmakers think that a certain outcome is likely and use the odds as a psychological tool to draw the public into betting on the team they think will lose.
Valencia vs Getafe 1.975 0 : 1 1.925
You can tell that most of the public are betting on a team when the price and odds on the team gets less favourable.
Note: For the study of odds movements, we approach match analysis with a conspiracy theory kind of angle and assume that bookmakers have insider knowledge or are almost able to know outcomes of games based on connections or highly qualified handicappers, researchers etc on their payroll or both.
You can tell what the bookie is trying to achieve from the early odds. Naturally, punters shied away from backing Chelsea this time, afraid of a similar scoreline with another relegation struggler, Crystal Palace. It is up to you to identify them based on researching the usual factors and the odds. Expectations was that Chelsea would trash WBA, who was a relegation struggler. There the bookies go again. Check for Class, Form, Motivation and other factors as described in THE GUIDE. When? When the action is low.
Considering how the bookie always wins from the general betting public in the long run, it is wise to piggyback on the bookies’ predictions by considering how they market the odds.
Sporting 1 Boro 0.
That was the most common scenario. Some will clear and some won’t most match days. Ever notice how top teams quite often (not always) beat bottom ones by small margins? Chelsea won 1-0..
Valencia vs Getafe 2.00 0 : 1 1.90
Final Score: Valencia 3 Getafe 1
SPL Match Day 20 Mar 2005
Odds and their movements present a unique opportunity to gauge what the bookie thinks and how the markets react to them. Check for large trends once or twice a day for three days and check the odds a last time an hour or two just before the match.
The Other Parties Involved
The bookies need to let the public win sometimes.
Knowing that the memory of this was still fresh in the minds of punters, bookmakers posted the same opening handicap for Chelsea the following week at 1.75. Punters were sure Boro would go all out to win this match to avoid disqualification from the UEFA Cup. A check with the odds confirm that prices on Middlesbrough are getting lower. The very high and rather rare handicap of 1.75 given by the bookies seemed to confirm this fact. When you see little action on popular favourites from the odds movement and the asian handicap is reasonably high against the favourites, you might choose to bet on the favourites then.
Sometimes, the big odd movements are caused by these parties (less often) and not by the betting public.
This is the psychological function of the odds used to the fullest by the bookmakers to fool the public.
Example 1. Punters lapped this up, confident of a sound trashing of WBA by Chelsea and bet on Chelsea despite the high handicap. Well, if so, why were the bookies so kind as to award Boro a 1/2-ball handicap?
How do you make sure that the heavy betting is by these big boys in the know? Check out the forums. If everyone there seems to say they are betting on one team but the betting odds prove that money is being poured on the other, you will know that the heavy betting is not done by the Joe Publics.
We do not know what the bookies know but the final score?
As the public likes to bet on favourites most times and these favourites do not lose or draw often enough for the bookmakers’ appetite, it makes sense that they use this psychological function mostly in Asian Handicap odds. In this case, go with the flow of the betting. This was even though they had won their previous game.
How do you tell if people have fallen for the trap?
Middlesbrough, in that season, was an upper mid-table team in the English Premier League, the most popular league worldwide. This is where the public can lose if they bet on favourites who win by just goal. Also, sometimes the big bookies intentionally let the public have a good week or two (rarer and rarer though) -to let losses wipe out the smaller bookies and throw off anyone who’s on to their game.
You have to question just why Valencia was giving a one-ball handicap when Getafe was in hot form. Punters missed this opportunity to win from betting on their favourites but they noticed the scoreline and regained their confidence in the favourite again. Study it over two or three days. A one-ball handicap was a lot to give for a separation of just 7 places.
Valencia had just lost their last game and Getafe was getting known as a giant-killer, beating Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao and drawing with Deportivo and Real Betis recently the previous four games. So look out for favourable opening or early odds on these teams which eventually climb to normal levels when the match is about to start. Remember that mastering this is something of an artform and takes some time and experience to get good at. This is not for every match so just be on the lookout for unusual activity. Try not to get trapped in this hidden but vicious cycle.
On the whole, however, it is a very accurate way to predict winners based on the number of winning bets this has produced for some pro-bettors.
Study the movement of the odds.
Chelsea was giving the same 1.75 handicap to West Brom the previous EPL fixture and won the game 1-0 with a single goal from Didier Drogba. If the top of the table-team is giving a ½ ball handicap to the number two team in the table, it is usually too high. Hone your analytical skills and try to think like the bookie.
Not much movement in the odds (above) to suggest heavy backing of Valencia by the public to warrant such a handicap.
People tend to bet on teams they know and think of less heard-of teams as not up to par. The bookie is seducing you to bet on the underdog. When you see particularly heavy betting on weak teams, check the various factors and if you realise there’s no reason for it, be aware of such ‘big boy’ action going on. Chelsea was then leading the table with 8 points more than the nearest contender for the title, Man U. (This take some experience and study.)
Exploiting the Odds
There is no such thing as a foolproof method. However, there are other parties around – big timers with inside knowledge, betting syndicates, match-fixers, etc who are not necessarily friendly to the bookie.
When you see odds like these, you first have to recognize certain factors outside the movements of these odds. Is there something that most of the public wouldn’t know? If the non-favourite team exhibits traits that could help them win (or draw) or if the favourite team has some factors going against them, bet on the underdog just like the bookie, when the betting public is going heavy on the favourites. That is, bet on those teams which are being bet heavily on. Some of them even bet on Palace, evidenced by slightly dropping prices on the underdog, thinking perhaps Chelsea were losing their form.
UEFA Match Day: 17 Mar 2005
Sporting Lissabon vs Middlesbrough 2.05 0 : 1/2 1.85
Take note however, that on any matchday, there is seldom the case that all the favourites fail to clear the handicap, even when the public is betting heavily on them.
Score? Chelsea 4, Palace 1.
Verdict: Bet Valencia
EPL Match Day: 19 Mar 2005
Chelsea vs Crystal Palace 2.05 0 : 1 3/4 1.85
As always, when unsure, lay off.
Well, we do not know the answer to that but we know that when a relatively well-known team is given a 0.5 handicap by a less-popular team, everybody bets on the popular team, confident that they can at least draw with the ‘obscure’ team.
Normally, the bookie likes to lay traps on favourites and popular teams which the public likes to bet on.
The bookies met two objectives with this match.
Check match facts against the odds movements. Take note of heavy action where odds or prices have big movements. Sporting Lisbon is a fine team from Portugal but relatively unknown when compared to Middlebrough even though they have produced some of the best known names in football currently like Luis Figo and Cristiano Ronaldo. They confused the public with the same handicap and the same team at different times and the favourites won heavily without much betting on them