# Predicting Draws

in sports •  9 months ago

Here's something i've been working on over the last week - how to predict Draws. Thinking about it, the matches that are likely to end in a Draw are:

1. Two evenly matched teams
2. Two teams that can't score / have a good defence
3. At least one side that would rather not lose' than win
4. Shit happens

Now we can't do anything to predict number 4 - matches like PSG draws against a relegation battler but we ought to be able to do something to predict the first 3.

## Evenly matched teams

For this post, i'm going to examine how betting on a draw involving 2 evenly matched teams turn out. To identify evenly matched teams, let's take the bookie odds as being a reliable indicator. If both the Home and Away odds to win are between 2 and 3, let's assume that these two teams are evenly matched.

### Premier League

Let's look at the Premier League first. In 354 matches (when i retrieved the data) there were 95 Draws (26.8%). If you had bet a unit on Draws for all 354 matches, your return would have been 370.26 units. A 16.26 unit profit (4.6%).

Filtering for evenly matched teams - there were 44 such matches with 15 ending in a Draw (34.1%). If you had bet a unit on a Draw for all 44 matches, your return would have been 49.58 units. A 5.58 unit profit (12.7%).

### La Liga

La Liga's notorious for the lack of Draws. In 348 matches (when i retrieved the data) there were 81 Draws (23.2%). If you had bet a unit on Draws for all 348 matches, your return would have been 333.91 units. A 14.09 unit loss (4.0%).

Filtering for evenly matched teams - there were 47 such matches with 16 ending in a Draw (34.0%). If you had bet a unit on a Draw for all 47 matches, your return would have been 52.3 units. A 5.3 unit profit (11.2%).

### Serie A

Serie A's an interesting one. In 380 matches, there were 83 Draws (21.8%). If you had bet a unit on Draws for all 380 matches, your return would have been 314.2 units. A 65.8 unit loss (17.3%).

Filtering for evenly matched teams - there were 45 such matches with 15 ending in a Draw (33.3%). If you had bet a unit on a Draw for all 45 matches, your return would have been 49.24 units. A 4.24 unit profit (9.4%).

### Some Thoughts

When two evenly matched teams go head to head, they do tend to draw more often than the general population of matches. That being said, there remains a lot of improvement that needs to be done to better predict draws.

For one, the number of draws was only a small fraction (around 20%) of the total number of draws over the season. Meaning there were a lot of draws that didn't involved two closely matched teams.

For methods two and three, i thought it would be easier to look at forward looking data rather than historical data to assess team form and how they're setup.

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Interesting! I learned more and more from you! Good job! ;)

Digging into draws and finding ways to exploit those on the betting market is something I have thought about doing myself but never got to it. I'm sure it can be done. Good luck numpy

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The higher odds are definitely tempting lol.

Thinking about it, the matches that are likely to end in a Draw are:

1. Two evenly matched teams
2. Two teams that can't score / have a good defence
3. At least one side that would rather not lose' than win
4. Shit happens
5. posted by @beat-the-bookies 😂

Too lazy to dig out the stats, but take a look at the 2. Bundesliga (the second Germany league). There are a ton of draws there, most ending with 1-1 if I remember correctly.

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Hahaha yeah i noticed number 5. However you're choosing the matches, it looks pretty good for predicting a draw. Hope to check out B2 stats. lol i wonder what the odds of correct score 1-1 are there.

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Unfortunately, I haven't found them.

The next best thing is to see what odds need to be in order to bet profitably. If they end up under @5.00, there's a good chance that it will work with the odds provided by the bookies.

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http://www.oddsportal.com/soccer/germany/2-bundesliga/results/

Looks like a good chance that it'll work. Random sample and all were above 5.5.

Nice info, just finding that information is tough in the first place! I don't have the numbers to hand but I know that (in England at least) geographical proximity of two teams (or derbies to be less wordy) also increases the chance of the draw. Maybe this factor can be combined with your work above!

Also, I wonder how many of these evenly matched games were draws at HT?

Good luck :-)

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Thanks! That's an interesting question. I checked for the Premier League at least and 50% of matches are tied at half-time in the general population. In the sample of equally matched teams, they're also even at half-time 50% of the time.

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Hmmm... that's surprising, I would have expected some kind of discrepancy there. Should be plenty of draws in WC though, especially at HT... probably money to be made doing multiples there!

Predicting draws is really hard. Like you said: the combination of 1, 2, 3 and the bookie's odd are good indications.
What I usually do in such cases is to use "double chance" so "1X" or "X2". The downside is that the return is less than placing a X bet.

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Ah yes... i love the 1X, X2 bets if they're still above 2.

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