Europa League last 16

Not the ideal start to the Europa League tips as Sporting Lisbon and Fiorentina were both knocked out. Spurs were worthy winners and Sporting were disappointing against Leverkusen. Villarreal got past Napoli and have another tough draw against Leverkusen and are best priced 15.0. Sevilla got through and play Basel in the next round and are in to 2nd favourites at a best priced 9.0




The Italian teams have disappointed again and Roma and Juve could both be out of the Champions League this round that will leave just Lazio in. Could Sparta Prague be good enough to beat them?  The full draw is shown below

Shakhtar Donetsk v Anderlecht

Basel v Sevilla

Villarreal v Bayer Leverkusen

Athletic Bilbao v Valencia

Liverpool v Manchester United

Sparta Prague v Lazio

Borussia Dortmund v Tottenham

Fenerbahce v Braga

Shaktar Donetsk had a very good result in the last round and have a nice draw this time round and Fenerbahce should be too good for Braga. Dortmund v Spurs is the pick of the round and means Dortmund are going to have to beat them followed by 3 other tough matchups to win this trophy. 5.5 still seems much too short on them.


A summary of the bets

Sevilla 13.0 generally (15.0 with Corals) 1pt NOW BEST PRICE 9.0

Villarreal 26.0 generally 0.5pt e/w NOW BEST PRICE 15.0

Fiorentina 26.0 generally 1pt e/w KNOCKED OUT LAST 32

Sporting Lisbon 41.0 generally (51.0 with Bet365) 0.5pt e/w KNOCKED OUT LAST 32

e/w bets are all 1/2 odds on making the final

Tweeted Stats Round Up (Jan 2016)

A losing month in January. Under 2.5 goals had the biggest loss which is not normal. Again these results are to average prices and not maximum prices.


MonthBet TypeWonLostP/LSRCum P/L
Jan-16Over 2.52513-0.8666%-0.86
Jan-16Under 2.5119-2.855%-3.66
Jan-16Win HT/FT22050%-3.66
Jan-16Win to Nil100100%-3.66

Barcelona- A Clean Sweep?

After handing out yet another thrashing this weekend, this time at the hands of Celta Vigo in a 6-1 romp, Barcelona are looking in ominous form as we move into a crucial period of the season. As the Champions League kicks off again over the next few weeks, this chapter of the football calendar often determines how successful clubs fighting on all fronts will be come the end of the campaign. So what makes this years Barcelona side favourites to concur all before them?

We have seen Barcelona crush teams on numerous occasions over the past few years. However, this weekend it was not just the dominance on the score board, it was the manner in which they toiled with their opponents before eventually cashing in with six goals. We have all seen the Messi/Suarez penalty incident by now, and whatever your thoughts on it, only a side brimming with confidence would attempt such a risky trick. However, this incident perhaps even outshone what was a quite mesmerising team performance at the Camp Nou on Saturday evening. Neymar was showing off his full repertoire of flicks and tricks, while the conciseness of the passing was something to behold, causing everyone in the football world to stand up and take notice.

With a Champions League double header with Arsenal to contend with over the coming weeks, the Catalan side find themselves perfectly positioned in order to pursue success in all competitions. Currently three points clear at the top of La Liga, with a game in hand, as well as a Copa Del Rey final against Sevilla to look forward to in May, Barcelona look to be firing on all cylinders at just the right time. This is of course not mentioning the Club World Cup and Uefa Supercut trophies that they already collected at the end of last year. So the question really is who, if anyone can stop Barcelona? A Barcelona team who through Messi, Neymar and Suarez have 53 La Liga goals between them alone.

With not many giving Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal side much hope against the Spanish giants in the Champions League, it would take a brave man to bet against the reigning champions. The likes of Bayern, Real Madrid and PSG are all possible challengers to Barcelona’s throne however. For those of you looking to cash in on a potential upset it is worth shopping around for the best odds, and review all free bet offers to help you on your way. The fact that no team has ever successfully retained the Champions League trophy offers hope to all. With Real Madrid at 5/1 PSG at 12/1 these perhaps offer the best odds for an upset. PSG face an out of sorts Chelsea side who they knocked out of last years tournament, while Real Madrid face a Roma side who lack firepower.

Barcelona themselves travel to Sporting Gijon on Wednesday evening in La Liga, and will perhaps look to this fixture, as well as the following match against Las Palmas to rest key players ahead of a busy schedule in all competitions. However, with the likes of Messi, Neymar and Suarez to rely upon, Barcelona are never too short on a Plan B. With both Real and Atletico Madrid breathing down their necks, Barcelona will need to ensure that they pick up maximum points from such fixtures. Although they are showing no signs currently of slowing down, in their pursuit of glory.

17 Feb, 16 | Posted in: Previews | Comments Closed

Europa League

Today the Champions League kicks back into action but also so does the Europa League. The revamped league section has not been that well received but once this tournament enters the knockout section it becomes excellent. It has 32 teams so they squeeze in one more round than the Champions League and with the 2 time slots on a Thursday means you get back to back matches. It produces some excellent matchups and plenty of goals. The added bonus of a Champions League place increases the prize and all of this on a Thursday which is a big bonus.

Some tips were posted on the blog last season for the Europa League and the same will be done again based on past results.


The Europa League has run in it’s current format for 6 seasons and the winners have been Atletico Madrid twice, Porto, Chelsea and Sevilla twice. Those teams come from Portugal, Spain and England and those countries have provided 17 of the 24 semi-finalists in those 6 tournaments. Spain are the European powerhouse at the moment and they have proven that in the Europa League and previously in the UEFA cup. Of the last 12 finals spanning those 2 competitions a Spanish team has taken the trophy in 7 of them and they have also provided a losing finalist in a couple. It therefore seems a bit odd that in the betting for this tournament it’s Dortmund and Napoli who are the favourites with Dortmund a clear favourite at a best priced 8.0.

7 of the last 12 winners were Spanish is a pretty staggering record and  they have 4 teams in it this season in Sevilla, Valencia, Villarreal and Athletic Bilbao. If any bookmaker offers the winning nation bet I think that is worth taking. Valencia are really struggling this season and are unlikely to be able to galvanise themselves enough to survive this tournament.

The Dortmund price looks much too short in a tournament this unpredictable. The Wolfsburg team, featuring De Bruyne, which came 2nd in the Bundesliga last season was eliminated in the quarter finals last season by Napoli and you have to go back to 2010 to find a German team in the Europa League semi finals. Bayern Munich are a massively strong team but the rest of the Bundesliga still has a bit to prove. Dortmund also start off against Porto and that is not going to be easy for them.

Napoli are best priced 12.0 and both them and Fiorentina made the semi finals last season and Juve also made the semis the year before so they are worthy of that price considering their position in Serie A. You also have Lazio and Fiorentina in the draw but Fiorentina have a tough opener against Spurs and Lazio are just too unpredictable.

Looking at the English clubs I think Spurs will not prioritise this tournament. They are looking solid for a Champions League place and battling for the title. A gruelling set of Thursday night matches is not what they need as they are also still in the FA cup. It would not be a surprise to see Fiorentina knock them out. Man Utd and Liverpool are second joint 3rd favourites at a best priced 13.0 but both have been inconsistent this year. However, it looks like winning this tournament is the only way they can play Champions League football and that is a massive prize for them so they both will be all out to win this. English teams often seem to be too short in these markets, possibly down to the volume of bets placed on them.

Sporting Lisbon are currently top of the pile in Portugal and have beaten both Benfica and Porto this season. Jorge Jesus is their manager and he took Benfica to the final in both 2013 and 2014 and now has changed teams so is longer under the Béla Guttmann curse. They have a tough draw against Leverkusen but Portugal has provided 4 of the last 10 finalists and they look to be a good bet at 50/1.

This looks to be a wide open tournament again and so the best strategy is to look for value. Spanish teams deserve a lot of respect and Villarreal and Sevilla are the best of the two this season sitting in 4th and 5th in the league. Sporting Lisbon are worth a speculative bet and at the price so is Fiorentina. If they can get past Spurs then they have a good chance and made the semi finals last season.


Sevilla 13.0 generally (15.0 with Corals) 1pt

Villarreal 26.0 generally 0.5pt e/w

Fiorentina 26.0 generally 1pt e/w

Sporting Lisbon 41.0 generally (51.0 with Bet365) 0.5pt e/w

e/w bets are all 1/2 odds on making the final

Brier Score to predict unpredictability

In the latest Betting Insiders magazine from The Betting School we wrote an article that included some testing of midweek fixtures using the Brier score. The idea for this came from the Pinnacle Betting Blog which often has interesting guest articles on it. This is how they describe the Brier score and how to use it for football

The Brier Score, as originally introduced in 1950, is a measure of the effectiveness of weather predictions.

Calculating the Brier Score

As probabilities implied by betting markets add up to more than 100%, we first adjust the odds pro-rata to determine the probabilities of each outcome for a match.

The Brier Score per match is the sum of the square difference of the probability and actual results. Let’s take the match Liverpool vs Crystal Palace on 8th November. Pinnacle Sports odds implied a 58.3% chance of Liverpool to win and a 24.5% chance of draw. The outcome was a Crystal Palace win at a predicted possibility of just 17.1%.

The probabilities for Win:Draw:Loss were 0.583:0.245:0.171 with the actual result being 0:0:1, where one stands for the actual outcome. The differences are 0.583:0.245:0.829. The sum of the square differences are 0.5832 + 0.2452 + 0.8292 = 1.0875. This is the Brier Score for this match.

The Brier score can range from 0, if odds guessed the outcome directly by stating there is 100% chance of only one outcome to be correct, to 2, if odds implied that one outcome is certain and that did not occur.

However, if we had to just throw outcomes at random and say that a home win, draw or away win are equally likely, then our Brier score would be 0.667, irrespective of the outcome. 

The table below shows the Brier score per team in the Premiership. What we note is that some of the surprises are actually vindicated in the stats: Chelsea, Liverpool and West Ham are not performing as expected while for Arsenal and Manchester City it is business as usual.

You can see on the Pinnacle website how they applied this to check on individual teams and in a future blog we’ll apply it to different months in the football season.