smarterthinking

Introducing smarterscout Match Guidance for football betting

For millions of football fans, having a flutter is part of the entertainment on match day. But the odds are – quite literally – stacked against them. Bookmakers' profits stem directly from their ability to predict outcomes better than the punters, and so they handicap every game using sophisticated mathematical models. Not by coincidence, these are the same kinds of models that we use here at smarterscout. And now, we're sharing the outputs from our models with you.

Today we're launching smarterscout Match Guidance, with odds/probabilities for the outcomes of every scheduled matched in the 48 leagues we cover on our platform. You can find our estimates, which are updated automatically every week, right here. We're going to start out offering this service for free, and eventually we'll charge a nominal fee that will occasionally entitle our members to other perks as well.

We've calculated these probabilities by assigning power scores to each team based on both of our models of expected goals, and then enhancing these estimates with our finishing and shotstopping ratings. We've found this to be an excellent combination for forecasting individual match results and (via a simulation) final league tables. There are several important aspects of the forecast:

1. Our forecasts are based entirely on event data from league matches. Anything that happens in between matches will not be incorporated into our forecasts, so our probabilities for a given match will be most competitive with bookmakers' odds at the moment we've released them – i.e., as early as possible after the end of the previous match.

2. By the same token, our forecasts do not reflect coaching changes, injuries, or transfers until they have an effect on the pitch. So our probabilities for a squad that's been completely revamped during the January window would not be as reliable as those for a squad that's been relatively stable.

3. We are only using data from matches in the current season. As a result, we only provide forecasts for a given league once every club has played at least eight matches. That's roughly when our forecasts start to have an advantage over other predictive tools.

4. Since our forecasting system is completely automated, we only cover scheduled matches. Matches that have been rescheduled or postponed because of the pandemic or other factors may not always show up in our forecasts.

Though we haven't checked our forecasts against the bookmakers' odds in every league, we have noticed that they perform better in leagues where betting markets are thinner. For example, a study we conducted a while back suggested that our forecasts performed about the same as the bookmakers' odds in the Premier League but several percentage points better in the Ekstraklasa. Since then, however, we've improved our forecasts using the skill ratings mentioned above. At the very least, we hope these forecasts will help our users to spot situations where supply and demand are moving betting markets more than actual information.

Rather than going through another validation exercise across 48 leagues, we've decided to let the market decide how valuable our forecasts are. We're putting them out for you to use, and soon enough we'll see how many people are willing to pay for them. Our plan is to publish the forecasts three times every week, for matches up to a week in advance, so we may update the forecast for a given match during the week.

So, here we go on a new journey. We can't guarantee that using our forecasts will help you to beat the bookies, but we'll be glad if they do. Best of luck, we welcome your feedback, and we hope you enjoy!

Disclaimer

All betting in any form involves risk. Be aware and accept this risk before betting. Never bet with money you cannot afford to lose. No “safe” betting system has ever been devised, and no one can guarantee profits or freedom from loss. No representation is being made that any account will achieve profits or losses similar to those implied here. Forecasts are provided with no guarantee of profit. The forecasts are provided with the best of intentions and are carefully calculated but are for entertainment purposes only and no liability of any sort, financial or otherwise, is assumed by smarterscout, North Yard Analytics LLC, or any connected company or party. The use of these forecasts may be unsuitable for you depending upon your specific investment objectives and financial position. You must make your own decisions in light of your own objectives, risk profile, and circumstances. Use independent advisors as you believe necessary. These forecasts are not intended to provide financial advice. Any implications about profits or income, expressed or implied, do not represent a guarantee. Your actual betting may result in losses, as no betting system is guaranteed, and these losses will be your responsibility alone. There are frequently sharp differences between hypothetical performance results and the actual results subsequently achieved by any particular betting program. The forecasts provided here are not intended for distribution to, or use by any person or entity in any jurisdiction or country where such distribution or use would be contrary to law or regulation or which would subject North Yard Analytics LLC to any registration requirement within such jurisdiction or country. If you need support, information, or advice about a gambling habit, visit the website of GambleAware or your local gambling addiction resource.

[Photo: pxfuel (adapted)]

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