BTTS (Guest Article)

Jonny Grossmark offered me the chance to feature one of his articles and like a tv with a broken volume control I could not turn it down.


Goals Galore betting has become very popular in recent years and the bookmakers have been quick to offer the general public the ability to bet on an individual game (BTTS) Both Teams to Score or in a minimum of 3 matches were the the slogan is ;

“when both teams score it is goals galore”

You can even do a lucky dip with  a fixed price for the 3 correct at 3/1 and 4 correct at 11/2 and 5 correct at 10/1 and 6 correct at 16/1 moving up to 15 correct at 1350/1 so if you simply backed 3 matches to end BTTS YES then this bookmaker would pay you £4 back with £3 being your net profit.

On line Betting tipsters who are not directly associated with the bookmakers but either charge for their “tips’ or are paid by the bookmakers to promote them are now trying to also cash in on what has become a very popular bet with the general public.

As an example i found  a free tipping site with a Betfred goals galore logo with the offer to back 4 matches at 8/1 with Betfred to all score. In the four games offered six of the teams did score and Aston Villa and Northampton were the two teams to not score.

The key is whether 8/1 is a fair price for having to predict all 8 teams to score in four games and to make this analysis easier to understand I have looked at BTTS in the EPL 2008-2009 to the current date so we can look at individual teams and work out what price is required just to break even.

The BetFred advert says meet Dave who has won at 12/1 as he backed 4 teams to score on the Betfred enhanced coupon which means that the odds were increased.

What is of great interest is the profile of Dave who is a white male and about 28 years old who wears glasses and the perception would be that he is well educated and probably went to University.

When betfred looked for someone to be the face of their campaign, they would have done a lot of market research and discovered that people who bet on line are drawn to the idea that they  could become a “winner” and they aspire to be like Dave who is well educated and by inference must live in a nice house and obviously has a great job and is a winner in life as he has just had a 12/1 winner backing goals galore and this must be sensible behaviour.

With the increased turnover in people betting on the internet as a result of all the media coverage which has extended to the use of twitter and facebook to trigger “bet stimulation” I would think it would be a good time to regulate the industry to make sure that all advisory services provide their profit and loss for the whole season so that people can make an informed opinion and we must also recognise that past performance is not an indicator of future performance.

BTTS YES betting has become so popular that over the last few months the bookmakers have had to cut the prices because there has been very little betting on BTTS No and this has resulted in a one sided book so the bookmakers do not want to be left in this position so have no choice but to cut the price of BTTS YES.

My question is why is the bet so popular and do people make long term profits from this bet?

Firstly the majority of people bet on an event to happen such as goals or a team to win and this would explain why so few people back a game to end in a draw. The mindset in the majority of people is to follow a perceived trend which is generally triggered by media coverage. What is of great concern is that the majority of people who are betting on BTTS YES are only looking on a game by game basis so if their BTTS bet wins then the “tipster” who advised that bet will reinforce that the bet is a good bet and if it loses it turns into an unlucky bet that was a value bet.

If we look at Arsenal v Manchester City then a number of people backed BTTS Yes because the most high profile advisory service advised the bet.

If you backed BTTS in this game then you lost the bet as the final score was Arsenal 0 Man City 2 and i am wondering how much research went into advising the bet?

We can use predictive modeling to give an expectation of the goals that both teams will score using shot on target data and goal to shot on target expectation.

In this game my predictive model had both teams scoring around 1.6 goals each in the game so on the surface the bet looks like a good idea but you will not believe what the price was as some bookmakers were going as low as 1.53 so they have the belief that there is around a 65% chance that both teams would have scored.

If we look historically at games involving Arsenal at Home to Man City in the EPL, we see that the last 5 games have now ended BTTS NO so that would not have inspired any confidence in backing a 1.53 shot even though each game is a seperate entity.

There are in running factors that will impede goal expectation.

1. Heavy rain will reduce the expectation of goals.

2. A Red card will impede goal expectation to the team with 10 men

3. Lack of motivation can reduce the expectation of a goal.

4. Inability to have the strength of shot to consider expectation of a goal. When QPR played Spurs for  example they never looked like scoring and the data shows that they had no shots on target.

5. Early home goal to a superior side. When a team like Man UTD score an early home goal then a team like West Ham will look to limit the damage. In the game this season West Ham had only one shot on goal and spent most of the game trying to stop Manchester United from adding to the goal scored by Van Persie after 1 minute.

There are in running factors that will increase goal expectation during a game.

1. An early away goal is known to increase goal expectation for the home side so very welcome if you do back BTTS YES.

2. Light showers have the ability to make the ball move faster and allows for quicker circulation of possession.

3. A red card to the superior side allowing for increased expectation of a goal to the inferior side.

4. The ability of a team such as Manchester United and Everton to “fightback” when conceding the first goal


If we look at the data for Arsenal at home in the last 4 completed seasons they have an average of 50% BTTS YES so just to break even you would need to take a price of EVENS and against Manchester City the price was 1.53 so I am hoping that you can build a picture that in this game the price was terrible value even if the bet won.

Everton may have had BTTS YES in sixteen of their last 18 games but there is no evidence to suggest more goals are being scored in the EPL and that the distribution of goals is evenly balanced.

If you look at the graphs you will see in the last four completed seasons the price that you needed to have taken just to break even.

My conclusion is simple which is that BTTS YES is an invention by the bookmakers as they make money from it, They have cut prices as there has been an increased interest and their marketing has worked as well as the fact that advisory(fee charging) sites and free sites have promoted the BTTS as well. Bookmakers have cut prices to increase their margin and not because they are losing money on the BTTS bets. If a bookmaker receives many more bets on an outcome then they have to cut the price as they would like a balanced book. A bookmaker does not gamble and if 10 000 people back BTTS YES in the Arsenal v Manchester City game then they will reduce their liability by backing BTTS YES as well or inducing people to back BTTS NO by increasing the price to give a more balanced book.

People are known to conform and this may explain why the majority of people lose when betting and I think the figure is 95% and I am aware that bookmakers expect clients to lose 11% of their volume of bets so if over your life time you bet £50 000 they look for you to lose around £5500 with many people losing rather more.

Personally I would not be in a hurry to be like Dave or Ray and I advise you to do your own research before you “trigger” a bet. Do not assume that your advisory service has done all the data analysis although I acknowledge that there are some free tipping services and advisory services that offer a level of service that is to a very high standard but if they do not post their profit and loss on their website for this season then I personally would be concerned about their ability to produce long term profits. If you consider joining a service then ask them to supply you with their bets for the season and the profit and loss to get an indication of the style of bets and the bottom line which is will they make you long term profits?

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