OUR data man Will Dyer (w2Dyer) was keen to discover whether backing the draw when away sides are the favourites was a profitable plan. Here we find out.
WLB Analysis | The Away Favourite Draw Strategy
Ever wondered how many games are drawn when the favourite is the away side? I have regularly thought about this but never got round to crunching the numbers until now.
The rough theory behind this is that the host’s home advantage will offset the superior quality of the visitors and therefore lead to a tightly fought game with the draw having a greater chance of landing than most other games.
I’ve chosen to look at the Italian Serie A because it’s a league famous for its hotly contested draws. The better Italian sides are often very tactical, like the Chelsea’s of Italy, they regularly set up to avoid defeat on the road as their priority and I’ve noticed that AS Roma have been a great example over the years.
I’ve looked at the historic odds for the last three seasons in the Serie A to find out the profit and loss figures if you’d backed the draw in every game in which the away side was the favourite. The following shows the win, draw and loss record of away favourites in the last three seasons and the profit and loss if you’d backed the draw in every away game that they were favourites:
- Juventus P52 W33 D11 L8 (-10.85 points)
- AS Roma P41 W23 D9 L9 (-10.80 points)
- Napoli P40 W20 D10 L10 (-3.80 points)
- Fiorentina P35 W21 D6 L8 (-15.72 points)
- Lazio P30 W12 D8 L10 (-3.42 points)
- AC Milan P33 W13 D13 L7 (+11.57 points)
- Inter Milan P31 W13 D9 L9 (-0.74 points)
- Udinese P11 W6 D1 L4 (-7.91 points)
- Parma P10 W5 D2 L3 (-3.68 points)
- Genoa P2 W2 D0 L0 (-2.00 points)
- Torino P9 W6 D3 L0 (+0.81 point)
- Sampdoria P5 W4 D1 L0 (-1.69 points)
- Empoli P1 W1 D0 L0 (-1.00 point)
- Verona P1 W0 D1 L0 (+2.18 points)
- Bologna P1 W1 D0 L0 (-1.00 point)
- Atalanta P3 W0 D3 L0 (+6.45 points)
- Catania P1 W0 D0 L1 (-1.00 point)
- Palermo P2 W0 D1 L1 (+1.23 points)
- Siena P1 W1 D0 L0 (-1.00 point)
- Chievo P1 W1 D0 L0 (-1.00 point)
- Cagliari P2 W1 D1 L0 (+1.19 point)
Firstly it’s pretty obvious you would have made a loss with that theory. The total profit and loss figure for the whole of the Serie A since the beginning of the 2012/13 season in these circumstances would be -42.18 points.
Only six of 21 sides would have shown a profit with the strategy; AC Milan, Torino, Verona, Atalanta, Palermo and Cagliari. Backing AC Milan games to finish all square when they are away favourites would have made you quite a tidy sum of +11.57 points from 33 games.
Juventus, Roma and Fiorentina would have caused you some pretty heavy losses in this draw strategy and along with Napoli, Lazio and Inter Milan they have all lost at least eight of the away games that they’ve been favourites in since the start of 2012/13 which is not ideal for favourite backers.
It seems the stronger sides are often made favourites away from home just to throw the market off and fool punters into betting on them. Many professional sports bettors will tell you that backing odds-on away sides to win is a one-way ticket to long term losses and you can see why. This was the reason I decided to look at a draw strategy but we’ve found that in general that’s not suitable either.
AC Milan finished 8th in the Serie A in the 2013/14 season yet they continue to be priced like a Top 4 team. They're currently 10th and this false favouritism has made them very profitable to oppose in the last two years. It seems that team specific strategies like this would be more successful than a generalised approach.
An interesting trend is that when the weaker sides in the Serie A find themselves as away favourites they tend to win. 12 different sides have been away favourites less than 10 times in the last three years and together they have a combined record of P29 W17 D10 L2 which is an incredibly strong record and definitely something to remember for the future.
There may well be other divisions out there in which backing away favourites to draw is a more successful strategy and in some instances I would definitely advise it but it seems as a general theory it doesn’t stand up and would incur you some bad profit and loss margins if backed blindly.