OddSmart: Goals forecast for Bramall Lane battle

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FOOTBALL modellers OddsSmart (@OddSmart_) share their views on the weekend's action from across the continent, picking out the biggest value bets according to their advanced algorithms. 

OddSmart: Value, according to the numbers

As time is passing by, bookmakers are becoming increasingly scrupulous with the way they price sporting events, especially the five major European football leagues. The result of this is normal punters are getting stitched up time-after-time finding themselves betting on events at prices that are far too short without ever knowing. We want to help.

In short what we do is crunch the numbers on a vast number of metrics to come out with an Expected Goals (xG) figure for each side. This xG rating is unique to every team in every individual game they play and is constantly changing, so where hypothetically Crystal Palace may have an xG rating of 1.20 at home to Chelsea this weekend, if they were to play the same fixture again three weeks later the ratings would change based on the upturns and downturns in what we have identified as the critical measurables.

The xG figure allocated to a team is purely how many goals we expect the side to score as the xG figure itself has already factored in multiple facets of the oppositions defensive numbers. After everything is said and done, we have an xG figure for the home team and an xG figure for the away team. We can then run these through pricing models to give us what we believe is the true price on a number of markets from Match Odds to Correct Scores and everything in between.

We would then find the selections we believe to be value, check the team news to see if any injuries may have caused the discrepancy in price, and finally consult with a number of trusted experts before committing to a selection.

In conclusion, the simplest way to explain what we do is with the classic coin toss example. The chance on a coin toss if 50% which is implied odds of evens. However, if you got offered a chance to bet on heads at 5/4 (implied chance 44%) that would be massive value because the true price is even-money. We use the same principle but with football markets and over the course of a season beating the numbers you will finish ahead.

Sheffield United v Crystal Palace | Sunday 18th August 2019, 14:00 | Sky Sports

If you look at these two, both opened their campaigns with draws and both games went Under 2.5 Goals so you may be confused by our selection on Over 2.5 Goals (6/4 Betfair) but the maths says otherwise.

We would not be surprised to see this market go off closer to 11/10 or 5/4, which could offer you the unique opportunity to cash out for profit before a ball is even kicked. It’s not often it happens but we actually have the market reversed in this fixture with our model pricing Over 2.5 Goals as low as 9/10.

With no injury concerns for Sheffield United and Crystal Palace taking a near full-strength side everything looks perfectly set. Untied will be desperate for an early victory this Premier League season and they will see this as a prime opportunity against a relegation rival, which we believe will give us a fairly open game, the type of game in which Palace can thrive on the counter.

There’s also value on the table in the Both Teams To Score market, readily available at 20/21 whilst OddSmart have it at 3/4. But whilst this could in itself be a great selection, we see much more potential in the Over 2.50 pick.

Celta Vigo v Real Madrid | Saturday 17th August 2019, 16:00

One of the most common bets we place is on an underdog playing against one of the league’s best sides at home, and in this match we have the perfect example, possibly the best ever.

Whilst Celta had a bit of a season to forget last term, they have bought in some quality and will be looking to prove the doubters wrong after last year’s torrid campaign. Real Madrid, on the other hand, are in relative turmoil.

Zinedine Zidane has begun to show the flaws that for a number of years the sheer quality at his disposal covered up, and he’s already sulking. Their new talisman Luka Jovic has been cast aside with rumours he could leave on-loan this window and Edin Hazard has entered the season overweight after the summer. To top everything off, the Gareth Bale saga continues to rumble on with the Welshman potentially even starting after all but leaving for China.

It’s staggering then that Real Madrid are priced at 8/13 and we can get Celta +1.00 at 3/4 (Blacktype). This means that we can even afford Celta to lose by a goal and get our money back, which is unbelievable when you factor in the Vigo boys are at home.

When we priced the games before checking the markets we had this as Celta +0.25 at 20/21 so the +1.00 could be one of the best bits of value available this season.

Huddersfield v Fulham | Friday 16th August 2019, 19:45 | Sky Sports

Home advantage is very commonly underrated, especially in the Championship, and this always gives us an edge in the market.

Here, in a battle of two recently relegated sides, Huddersfield are visited by Fulham, and despite the fact they could barely be separated last season, Fulham come into this game as favourites priced around 6/5. We, on the other hand, make it a very even contest with Huddersfield marginal favourites (OddSmart price 17/10).

Fulham have unquestionably strengthened over summer but we think the market has overreacted to their signings and Huddersfield’s poor early season form, and looking at Fulham’s first two games it looks as though they’re still waiting for things to truly click.

Huddersfield, like Fulham, have had a relatively large turnover of players, losing two key central midfield players in Aaron Mooy and Phillip Billing, and whilst we think this has affected their creativity in the final third, we don’t believe it’s had too much of an impact on their defensive solidity.

Based on what we have mentioned above, we are going to take Huddersfield +0.25 Asian Handicap (9/10 Unibet). We make the Terriers +0.25 a 4/6 shot, and whilst it’s early in the season with teams difficult to measure, the price offered is too good to turn down.

Best Bets

Sheffield United v Crystal Palace – Over 2.5 Goals (6/4 Betfair)

Celta Vigo v Real Madrid – Celta Vigo +1 Asian Handicap (3/4 Blacktype)

Huddersfield v Fulham – Huddersfield +0.25 Asian Handicap (9/10 Unibet)

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