Monday, 29 October 2012

Lay The Draw

Sigh, not another subject on Laying The (‘effing) Draw? Hasn’t everything been written on this tired old subject already? What are you going to say that hasn’t been said before?
Well, you’ve immediately put me on the defensive with this machine-gun fire interrogation, and maybe I don’t have anything new to say, but I wanted to cover a few points on this subject because, from what I’ve seen recently, it’s still a highly-used strategy amongst the betting community (or at least the small section that I’ve been exposed to over the last month).
Before I start, I should point-out that I'm not here to describe how to use this strategy (just Google it if you've been living in a cupboard for the last ten years), and I'm not going to discuss the usual method of laying the draw prematch. I think the fallacy of lay the draw under these circumstances has been laid bare on numerous occasions, so I won't discuss that here.
As mentioned a couple of posts ago, I’ve joined a betting community as I’ve found it increases my enjoyment of trading. It’s good to share your experiences with others, and also to see how others are faring too. There’s a decent bunch of guys in the chat room and, like me and everyone else, they are striving to make a few pennies in any way that they can. It's a microcosm of the world at large, with some in there succeeding and some failing. 
I did notice, however,  that laying the draw at half-time or part-way through the second-half seems to be a popular strategy within the chat room. I hope no one minds me mentioning this. This is not revealing any of the pre-set strategies that are put forward as part of the service. Even though those pre-set strategies are not really my cup of tea, I wouldn’t publish them in public as that’s part of the service that is provided. It would be unfair to do so.
But laying the draw is, of course, now part of football betting folklore and there’s certainly no mystery behind it. Common practice within the chat room is to look at the in-play stats for attacks, dangerous attacks, shots off target, shots on target, etc, and then to make a determination to participate at half-time based on those. Occasionally, these raw statistics may be supplemented by someone - perhaps quoting high average GPG here and there, but often it's these stats and these alone that determine whether a trade is entered into.
Now I’m assuming those people who do this on a regular basis have some records to show whether this works or not. I’m also assuming that it must work for them over the long term otherwise it would be foolish indeed to continue with the strategy. Then again, I do know there are a great many people who fail to keep strict records and so those people would be unaware if it pays or not.
Regardless of all that, I thought I would take a look at their strategy and see if I could run it through last season’s matches in an attempt to automate it all. Unfortunately, the short answer is that, no, I can't automate it. The problem is that there’s no way I can assess how many shots on target there were halfway through a match. I wouldn’t know where to get those kind of statistics.
So, instead I’ve had to settle for trying to lay the draw half-way through a match based on either the average Under 2.5 goals odds or the combined goals per game for both teams. My thinking here is that a high GPG or high starting odds for unders will perhaps be reflected in the goalmouth activity. A fallacy I know, but what else can I do?
In addtion to this, I also had to guess how much profit could be made after a goal is scored. If a goal is scored straight after second-half kick-off, the green could be relatively small, whilst a goal scored in the 93rd minute would be a full win of the lay amount. You may disagree with me here, but rightly or wrongly I’m going to assume a 70% green of the lay stake minus 5% commission.
Using the average Under 2.5 goals odds strategy, I found the optimum Betbrain odds to place a bet were 1.80. This resulted in 117 bets being placed and a 71.49% win rate. Using £10 stakes, this gave me a total profit of£14.10, or an ROI of 1.21%.
Using the average Goals Per Game for both teams, I settled on 2.60 goals per game. This resulted in 94 bets being placed and a 72.34% win rate. Again using £10 stakes, this gave me a total profit of £23.20, or an ROI of 2.47%.
Hmm, small beer indeed. Hardly bothering with is it? I suppose, if we were being kind, we could say that it’s not a losing strategy – and a non-losing strategy is only a hop, skip and a jump away from a winning strategy. The in-play stats that the guys use could be the key here to making it a winning strategy, but as mentioned there is no way I can verify this either way. My only concern is that often, those in the chat room will just scan all the in-play statistics, and then jump on the first one that “looks promising”. Based on that rudimentary filtering, I would be surprised if a long-term profit was made.
Individual Teams
One idea that I did have was that perhaps individual teams were more likely to make half-time laying of the draw a better strategy than others. Which teams, I asked myself, tend to score or concede goals in the second-half when the first-half has finished as a draw?
Well for the Premier League, all the following were above average for last season:

Okay, so we could do this for each team in each major league and then combine those with the current season stats using the same analysis. Add-in the original filters used (Under 2.5 starting odds and/or average goals per game), and then maybe, just maybe we’ll have lifted our basic lay the draw strategy out of the doldrums and into profit.
I say maybe because the given draw odds for all these teams will inevitably be higher than those teams where a goal tends not to be scored after a half-time draw. But that would be for you to check.

Personally, I feel these ideas would need supplementing even further with things like win-from-in-front, win-from-behind, goal times, who scores first, etc. All these kind of stats could help - although I'm not sure how much they could help.
Either way, looking at all this shows just how difficult it is to eek some profit out of the draw laying strategy. So many people have looked at it and so many people are still using this method that there is virtually no value left to be had. Indeed, backing the draw AFTER the first goal is scored is also a popular method, taking advantage of all those people trying to close their trades and driving the price down immediately after the odds have begun to settle.
Good luck if laying the draw is your most commonly wielded betting weapon. My guess is that you’re almost certainly going to need it.


  1. if you were going to LTD at HT why not wait until the 60-70 min? if a goal is scored early in the 2nd half the profit you gain is rarely satisfying, so why bother? there is nothing worse than firing off a draw lay at HT them having to witness the odds tank 10 mins later. overall you would probably make a better profit backing the draw and laying it off instead.

    personally i lay the draw as one of my sole strategies and i find it easy to turn a profit, low draw odds get gubbed everyday

  2. Interesting post, Eddie and I agree with your points. I think you need to excuse those in the chat room who regularly employ this strategy - most just seeing a 0-0 game and thinking it's a perfect candidate. A lot are reformed gamblers who have moved to trading to try and right their wrongs. LTD seems to me to be a necessary step that all those that make the journey across need to go through as it stands on the precipice between being a punt and a trade.

    To me, every time I LTD (and I do it less and less) it still feels like a gamble. I feel less in control which is odd I suppose given that a goal or goals generally make or break a trade no matter what market you're dabbling in. Even discounting the historical data and in play stats, like you, I just don't think there is much value to be had in the price movements especially when prices are influenced by more than one factor - dog scoring / favourite scoring / red cards etc etc. Unless of course you LTD in the 85+ minute hoping for a last gasp winner as was the case at Newcastle on Sunday. But then it is just a punt in my eyes, even if the liability is low enough to justify punting in this manner.

    I wanted to ask where you generally get your data from? As you know I've been perusing but wondered if you had any other equally good sources?