FOUR by FIVE – Football Betting Strategies & Stats

Splitting the premier league into four groups of five teams

Football Betting

I recently read a football stats manual in which the authors were in favour of dividing the league sides in to four sets of five.
The sort of thing I advocated in an earlier article. The main difference between the two “set-ups” being that they divide the clubs into the quintets before each season starts. I prefer to do it on a match by match basis once there has been a reasonable number of games played.
This season they would have had the following set-up. (First column). As they would be after games on 29th October, second column. For comparison purposes.

Man.Utd.      Man. C.
Chelsea.      Man. U.
Man. City.    Chelsea.
Arsenal.      Newcastle U.
'Spurs.       Liverpool.

Liverpool.    'Spurs
Everton.      Arsenal.
Fulham.       Norwich C.
Aston Villa.  Aston Villa.
Sunderland.   Swansea C.

W.B.A.        Stoke C.  
Newcastle U.  Q.P.R.
Stoke. C.     W.B.A.
Bolton W.     Sunderland.
Blackburn R.  Fulham.

Wigan A.      Everton.
Wolves.       Wolves.
Q.P.R.        Blackburn R.
Norwich.      Bolton W.
Swansea.      Wigan A.

The first grouping are those who can be expected to qualify for European competitions. Positions 6 to 10 might well be called the “also rans”. 11 to 15 are usually the teams that seek to confirm their rights to a Premiership place. Whilst the bottom five seem destined to give their managers cause to keep up with the “situations Vacant” columns.

Newcastle, Norwich and Swansea are well about expectations. Everton are well below expected position, at present.
The current league positions are possibly a little kind to a couple of sides. For instance Newcastle will be well tested from the end of November onwards when they have games against  Man City and Man U on successive weeks. Both away. Followed by Chelsea at St.James park. Any thing more than three points will a good marker.

The stats presented using the first column teams can still be used as a guide to what can be expected from the second column teams set-up. These types of stats regularly repeat.

However they must not be considered to be “written in stone”. They are purely for guidance.

Group A v Group A- can expect to end in HOME wins in 50 % of matches.
Group A v Group B- will increase in the number of Home victories by some 12%.
Group A v Group C- home wins will be in excess of 85%
Group A v Group D- Here even a draw is a surprise. Home teams rule here.

Group B v Group A- Here, surprisingly the Home sides just come out on top.
Group B v Group B- These games have an overwhelming tendency to end even.
Group B v Group C- Around 3 out of 5 games go to the HOME TEAM.
Group B v Group D- Home advantage here by around 70%.

Group C v Group A- The best bet here is, forget the Home side.
Group C v Group B- Here again the bias is away from the HOME team.
Group C v Group C- The HOME side once again fares better by 3 to 2.
Group C v Group D- The HOME sides tend to get the better in 2 of every 3 matches.

Group D v Group A- Here, as expected, the AWAY sides hold sway
Group D v Group B- In general the HOME side wins about 3 in 10 games.
Group D v Group C- Even here results tend to swing away from the HOME sides. No better than D v B.
Group D v Group D- Expect about half to go to the HOME side with the rest split fairly evenly.

The greatest bearing upon a result is, obviously, the score and from these groupings we can try to beat the bookie by going with the flow in the UNDERS/OVERS markets.
Many groupings are too tight to call but some do give a fair indication of the scoring possibilities.

In the UNDERS Group C features constantly. At home to Group A. Away to Group B and Away to Group D.
Some 60% plus of these games ended UNDER 2.5 goals.
The OVER 2.5 goals grouping worth watching are, A v B, B v A, A v C, A v D, D v A, B v D and C v D.
I don’t think any of these pairings are a surprise.

The main attraction of splitting the league into groups of five on a match by match basis is that you are incorporating current form.
The beauty of this is borne out by ARSENAL. Their early season form was unbelievable. Now they are forcing their way up the table and are now a Group B side.

The level of DRAWN games when using the grouping system is as haphazard as choosing them by any other method.
Games concerning B v B group sides tends to perform best of all. followed by C v A, then D v C, C v B and then there is nothing to choose between C v C and D v D.
Will they continue with these trends? Only time will tell but I do believe they will give a good pointer to finding those elusive draws. Remember, nothing is as constant as uncertainty.

Away stats are probably more reliable than those for drawn games. As can be expected, the higher graded the team the better the chance of an away success.
Group stats favour, unsurprisingly D v A. Followed by D v B, C v B, A v A, D v C and A v B.
As can be seen, the bottom quintet hardly get a look-in. Teams they travel to in the two sets above them are the likeliest to provide any good fortune for them. Perhaps this may well be found by perusing head-to-head results from past encounters.

Earlier in the season, I mentioned that bookmakers were offering increased odds for the first goalscorer to go on and score two or even three goals in a game. I’ve since seen some stats from previous seasons and can find no reason to change my opinion. From the twenty leading scorers only THREE were FIRST GOAL SCORERS with more than half of their goals.
So whilst the possible returns are enticing to look at, if First Goalscorer isn’t your type of bet, don’t be encouraged to indulge. Just do a little research first.