Premier League winning streaks – when they get broken

Looking at average winning streaks

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Winning streaks. They don’t last forever. That’s a certainty. The 2017/18 season of the English top flight we saw a surprisingly freakish and epic run of wins from Manchester City who went on a record tear of eighteen straight victories between August 26th and December 27th. It was momentous and sometimes downright brilliant, but it ended. That was an anomaly because you don’t often get anything like that.

There is always a temptation in football betting to stick with the easy option when you see a team having won at least four games in a row. You think to yourself well they have big winning momentum behind them and it can cloud at times the real probability of them winning their next match. Let’s say Chelsea are on a four-match winning streak in the Premier League.

None of that actually increases their chances of winning their next match. It’s like flipping a coin and getting three heads in a row. The next flip is still going to be a complete 50/50 chance. That’s important to remember. Individual games are individual games and if Chelsea’s next game in their sequence was away against a top-six side, then that’s still going to be a tough game to win to matter how much of a winning streak they are on.

Exclusions

For this article, we are not looking at the bottom six finishers in a season as obviously, those are sides who struggled the most just to get league wins on the board, let along string together a positive winning streak. Just as we are not looking at the top six who are capable of putting big runs together the likes of which Man City, Chelsea and Tottenham have done in recent seasons. We are looking at how often those teams in the middle managed to get winning streaks going.

The point of this is perhaps not to know when they are going to be extended, but when they are likely to burst. Remember that teams in the middle of the table are there for a reason, they can’t produce the consistency like the top six.

2016/17 Premier League season

We are going back looking at a full season of Premier League action from the last term. Chelsea won the Premier League title, staying fresh all season because of no European action. They put together two notable winning streaks last season one of them was a thirteen match winning streak and the other was a six-match winning streak at the end of the season. So like Man City in the 2017/18 season, there was a big run and Spurs as well had one.

But if you look beyond the big six, who are the ones who are realistically capable of putting such powerful winning sequences of form together, things are much tamer. Looking at the teams who finished 7th through 14th in the 2016/17 Premier League season you are hard pressed to find even a small winning streak having been put together across the season. By small we mean a minimum of four games.

Leicester, who finished twelfth were the only ones to do so, putting a five-match winning streak together from the end of February to early April. Here we tally up the biggest winning streaks of last season’s finishers of 7th through 14th.

7th – Everton 4
8th – Southampton 2
9th – Bournemouth 2
10th – West Brom 2
11th – West Ham 3
12th – Leicester 5
13th – Stoke 3
14th – Crystal Palace 4

So now we have those numbers, let’s look at the average. If you get the average winning streak from that (25/8) then you have a 3.125 result. So basically that tells us that the teams in the middle section of the league last year struggled to compile anything more than a three-match winning streak.

Let’s look at the 2015/16 season

7th – West Ham 3
8th – Liverpool 3
9th – Stoke 3
10th – Chelsea 3
11th – Everton 2
12th – Swansea 2
13th – Aston Villa 4
14th – West Brom 2

Again taking the average from that season the average winning streak of those teams finishing in the middle of the pack was just 2.75. We calculated back to the season before that and the average was 3.3 so that is staying around the same mark. Get the average of those three seasons and it all works back pretty much to that average of a three-match winning streak being the best that sides in the middle of the table can manage.

So what we can deduce from that is that if a current side around the Premier League mid-table has hit a purple patch of form of three straight wins, it’s not likely to extend much further. If it does happen to go out to four games, then it’s likely to hit a brick wall after that. Remember in each game they have two outcomes working against them in trying to extend their streak (a draw and the opposition winning).

Streak Busters

Where is a team’s winning streak more likely to come to an end? Home or away? For this next section, we wanted to see whether it is hard to maintain a winning streak on the road or at home. Of course, this would be dependent on the level of opposition, but it is interesting to look at for a trend.

For each of the three seasons, we are looking at the eight teams finishing from 7th through 14th in the league. We took the longest winning streak of each of those teams per season and tallied whether the streak was broken at home or away. Here are the results

Note that if one team had more than one winning streak of the same number of games, we tallied those too. For example, in the 2014/15 season, Swansea had two three-match winning streaks across the season.

2014/15 Winning Streaks broken home or away:
H: 3
A: 8

2015/16 Winning Streaks broken home or away:
H: 6
A: 9

2016/17 Winning Streaks broken home or away:
H: 1
A: 8

So looking at the overall tallies (Home 10, Away 25) then there is pretty much a stronger probability that a winning streak for one of those teams are going to end in an away game. The way to expand on that if you wanted further in-depth analysis would be to see if those streak busters happened against a top-six side for example at the time. But this is just a general overview, not taking into account the quality of opposition beaten in winning streaks.

So if a team, sat around in the middle section of the Premier League has won their last three games and they are heading out on the road to try and keep that sequence going, it may be worth laying that team in your football betting.

Additional Notes

Also, remember that fixtures play a large part in things. If a mid-table team has won their last three matches and their fourth in the sequence is at home against the bottom side who have lost their last five, then yes, take it on the individual basis that they are still likely to pick up three points. If it against a top-six side away from home, then maybe think twice about them extending their winning streak.

Summary

So we hope that’s a few pointers for you to at. It’s a tough thing to keep constantly winning and even the top six teams have their struggles with that at times. But with the average winning streak around just three games, that could give you a tool to spot when someone is about to have their bubble burst.


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