Lessons Learned from an English Premier League Experiment

The English Premier League is the most-watched sports league in the world. The powerhouse of the European soccer leagues is aired in almost every country around the globe. 

The league reported a cumulative global audience of 3.2 billion people for the 2018-2019 season. Iconic clubs like Manchester United and Liverpool are truly global brands.

With that popularity comes a very lively sports betting market for Premier League games. And as always, we’re looking to find opportunities to tap into great markets like this.

We won’t be celebrating a triumphant effort in this article though. Instead, we’ll take a look at a sports investment system we researched that did not end up making the cut, and offer you some valuable lessons that can be learned from our experiment.

It is important to note that, at this time, the ScoreMetrics Lab does not currently have Premier League systems built, we are doing the research and testing models daily.  When the time is right, we will be sure to let everyone know when we are ready to release something to the public.

A hypothesis for a Premier League system

With this system, we wanted to find out whether games where the visiting team has a very low win percentage and the home team has a winning record have a tendency of going under. 

Our hypothesis was basically that the public overvalues the over play in these types of situations, leading the contrarian approach of investing in the under to be profitable. Casual sports bettors often like to bet that games with their favorite teams will be high-scoring affairs, so this felt like something worth exploring.

These are the rules we had in place for the system:

Visitor Team Win %

the visitor team’s win percentage is between 0% and 30%

 

Home Team Win %

the home team’s win percentage is between 51% and 100%

 

Over / Under

investing in the Under

 

Closing Total Range

the closing total is between 2.5 and 3

 

We then went to work and dug up every qualifying English Premier League game since the beginning of the 2012-2013 season to find out if we were right in our hunch. 

Turns out, we kind of were but not to a great extent. We ended up finding that this system had resulted in decent 20-30% returns during multiple years and would have had a positive overall ROI of more than $1,100 if we would have invested $100 in each qualifying game.

But half of the eight seasons we were looking at would have been losing years, and that overall return is very weak when you consider the timeframe and the total investment.

Here are the full results from our research:

Season

Record

ROI

Money

2012-13

9-11.5-2.5

-13.3%

-$305

2013-14

11-14.5-2.5

-14.1%

-$395

2014-15

18-10.5-1.5

21.9%

+$656

2015-16

13-7.5-3.5

21.8%

+$523

2016-17

9-6-2

12.9%

+$219

2017-18

14-7-2

28.8%

+$661

2018-19

9-9-1

-2.8%

-$53

2019-20

3-4.5-0.5

-19.7%

-$157

We talked about the concept of volatility in sports betting systems in our article on another failed system we experimented with, which we highly recommend reading. The case here is very similar – the volatility of this system is high, making this a bad investment. It definitely does not meet our criteria for a successful sports trading system.

Besides that, what else does the data tell us?

Other observations

Obviously, our initial hypothesis turned out to be kind of true as more of the qualifying games have been going under than over, but turns out that the rate is not high enough with these set of rules to produce quality returns. 

Based on our years and years of experience, finding the truly great systems that steadily bring in big bucks usually doesn’t happen with such a simple set of rules. So, while this test did not result in us discovering a winning system, it points to various directions that we can research further to bring you a solid English Premier League package. 

That four-year positive run in the middle of the table from 2014 to 2018 is also a good reminder of why investors should always track back further when evaluating the effectiveness of their systems. A couple of consecutive winning years can deceive the fact that a system might not have been very good over the long run.

We’re always looking to add to our portfolio of winning systems here at ScoreMetrics, and building a great product for you around European soccer makes a lot of sense. The sports betting market for soccer matches is very frequent and liquid, and there’s a ton of uninformed money flowing into these games.

Stay tuned in for more on the topic, and don’t forget to check our very own John Todora’s new book – “Zero Correlation Investing – The Score Metrics Secret”. It is currently on sale for a limited time, so now’s an excellent time to go grab a copy and start learning how to build solid sports investment systems.

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