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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book on football prediction I have
If you want to try your hand at football match / goals prediction this well researched / stats packed book is informative about the "hows & whys" on how to do it.The tables & equations are great for putting together spreadsheets / software for match outcome / goals scored / scoreline forecasting.The reasoning is explained for every approach in a clear & informative...
Published on 5 May 2010 by Amazon Customer

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53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Averaging Football
Averaging Football

This is a book listing statistics which may, or may not, be of use to you depending on your own style of betting.

Chapter 1 begins with a general introduction to odds and value, stating that to be profitable over the long-term one needs to be able to identify "wrong prices". Chapter 19 (4 pages) concludes the book with a summary of...
Published on 26 Sep 2009 by Anon


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53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Averaging Football, 26 Sep 2009
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This review is from: The Definitive Guide to Betting on Football (Racing Post Expert Series) (Paperback)
Averaging Football

This is a book listing statistics which may, or may not, be of use to you depending on your own style of betting.

Chapter 1 begins with a general introduction to odds and value, stating that to be profitable over the long-term one needs to be able to identify "wrong prices". Chapter 19 (4 pages) concludes the book with a summary of a few skills which makes a bettor successful (such as questioning selections to see if any important information has been overlooked, maintaining patience through tough spells). Every chapter in between briefly analyses some form of betting market (example: who will win, who will score, how many goals, corners, cards), showing statistics on European football for the past 10 years, thus explaining why bookmaker offered prices are set as they are.

If you are new to football betting some of the information may come as a surprise: for instance, a team which is losing by 0-1 is 6% more likely to score the next goal than the winning team (if there is a next goal). Other information is more obvious: for instance, teams promoted to the Premier League fair less well than teams promoted from Division One to the Championship. Pullein provides the statics as proof.

Pullein clearly "knows his onions". But is this guide useful? I cannot imagine ever using the information in the book to formulate my own market prices. To do so I would want first hand access to the data so that I could run my own analyses; this book does not give access to that data (how could it?). So instead it identifies that data which may be relevant to making a tissue.

In short, this book averages historical data and presents it as proof that football follows statistics. And that's what statistics generally do - average the past to predict the future. By doing so, Pullein hopes to identify bookmaker (or Exchange) prices which are incorrect and profit from them in the long term.

What does this mean for the bettor? If you want to use statistics to predict the future you need a database full of historical data; then you can trial ideas and back test. This book gives a rough idea as to what stats can do. By itself it cannot help with your (my) betting.

What is not covered in this book? Betting in circumstances where data does not exist (like in-play betting: Team A down to ten men losing 0-2 in a must win cup game with 33 minutes left on the clock, awful weather conditions, playing against a weakened opposition who've score two lucky goals).

The question of using statistics to predict the future is probably outside the scope of this comment. But for me, statistics simplify the game too much and can therefore miss glaring opportunities. As an example Pullein says: "I make myself aware of a team's results over the last 6, 12, 18 and 24 games, as well as the last 32. The last six, on their own, I would almost always ignore, no matter what they were". I find the last 6 games to be the most important, giving a clear indication to how well a team is really playing and what can be expected in the future. By the time the average stats have caught up that detailed knowledge has long since changed. And this is a weakness with statistics: projections need a lot of data before they become meaningful, and then one must ask if results from 36 matches ago really have any significance today? Paradoxically, Pullein believes they do. Averaging football data results in average projections, a method which misses crucial short-lived data.

As an aside, statistics can also lead us to draw completely wrong conclusions. For example, Pullein states of Steven Gerrard: "Liverpool have won 58 per cent of the Premier League games in which Gerard started and 56 per cent of the games in which he played no part - a difference of just two per cent... even the best players, on their own, contribute less to a team than you might imagine." There may be dozens of separate or combined factors which explain that analysis (like strength of opposition, partnerships within the team, need to win/draw) all of which are not examined. Instead Pullein jumps straight into a far-fetched conclusion. "Lies, damn lies, and statistics."

A more appropriate name for the book would be: The Definitive Guide to Averaging Football.

Recommendation: Read as an introduction to how bookmakers set prices for various football markets.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book on football prediction I have, 5 May 2010
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This review is from: The Definitive Guide to Betting on Football (Racing Post Expert Series) (Paperback)
If you want to try your hand at football match / goals prediction this well researched / stats packed book is informative about the "hows & whys" on how to do it.The tables & equations are great for putting together spreadsheets / software for match outcome / goals scored / scoreline forecasting.The reasoning is explained for every approach in a clear & informative manner.Highly recommended.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Certainly not definitive, 18 Oct 2014
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This review is from: The Definitive Guide to Betting on Football (Racing Post Expert Series) (Paperback)
If you have no idea about how soccer odds are derived, then you could learn something from this book as Pullein demonstrates that past results are a useful guide to predicting future matches. However, the various tables and formulae provided have no betting value whatsoever. For example, let’s say that you use knowledge gleaned from the book to evaluate that Man Utd have a 70% chance of winning their next match. The odds, however, suggest that the market believe they have a 65% chance. Who’s more likely to be correct, Pullein or the market? (I know who I’m more inclined to trust!) The answer is that you don’t know – the book provides no analysis of how reliable these formulae are, which renders them useless. Why bother calculating from tables when the average odds from a comparison site will give you a very good estimate of the likely outcome probabilities? The statistical models used by professional sports bettors and bookmakers are much more sophisticated than the ones in this book (think Premier vs Sunday League difference). And, of course, the odds also reflect opinions on player availability, motivation, fatigue and market sentiment. This book discusses these critical factors onlyin passing or not at all. There is insufficient discussion of money management for a beginners guide and no market analysis at all – the chapter on predicting scores, for example, doesn’t make clear how little value there is in this market. The full page ad for a well-known bookmaker, right in the middle of the book, confirms, for me, that this is the sort of book that ‘they’ like – the sort that creates bettors with a little bit of dangerous knowledge. If Pullein really knows how to profitably bet on soccer, he’s not giving away his secret here – this is certainly no definitive guide.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very useful addition to football forecasting, 18 Oct 2009
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This review is from: The Definitive Guide to Betting on Football (Racing Post Expert Series) (Paperback)
Kevin Pullein, regular football columnist in the Racing Post, has compiled an extremely useful football forecasting book.

The author argues that individual football results depend on the best estimate of comparative performance between the two teams over a number of games, specifically named in the text but with discretion to use a shorter or longer run of games. He indicates the likely percentages of home wins, draws and away wins based on very easily obtainable statistical match data; these figures provide invaluable intelligence.

Apart from writing about forecasting results of individual games, the author includes chapters covering the likelihood of the following:

- the number of goals scored in a game
- which team will score first
- correct scores
- which player will score first
- when goals are most likely to be scored
- half time/full time combination forecasts
- which team will score second [!]
- which team will win more corners
- how many cards will be shown, which team will receive the first card and the most bookings

Pullein has also included discussion in separate sections on how to pick winners of whole competitions, be they league championship winners, cup winners or Champions League finalists. I should like to have seen more on these last named matters.

Throughout the text, there are very useful statistical diagrams and tables to illustrate points made. Throughout, the author is at pains to advise on the real odds of something happening and wheher those odds should be taken.

This is a book which will need some close study but there is surely something for everyone interested in bettering their football forecasting and, more importantly, their betting profitability.

Buy!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Quite Good, 28 Dec 2012
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This review is from: The Definitive Guide to Betting on Football (Racing Post Expert Series) (Paperback)
A easy to read well written book giving an insight to the subject - HOWEVER it is very stats based and while the stats are given in the book they are two years out of date (review date 12/12) so may not be as applicable as it seems.
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3.0 out of 5 stars very specific, 7 Nov 2013
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This review is from: The Definitive Guide to Betting on Football (Racing Post Expert Series) (Paperback)
I recommended for someone that want to bet on premiership specially.

it as a lot of statistic and many theories supported by that statistic
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars betting help, 19 Mar 2013
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This review is from: The Definitive Guide to Betting on Football (Racing Post Expert Series) (Paperback)
great book, lots of tips. was bought as a present and the receipient was very happy. have not won any money yet though!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Regular book, 18 May 2013
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This review is from: The Definitive Guide to Betting on Football (Racing Post Expert Series) (Paperback)
To many stats. I am relative happy with the book, a good choice for me and for anyone who buys it, recommend for the lovers of stats. Good reading.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Starting Point, 21 Mar 2012
This review is from: The Definitive Guide to Betting on Football (Racing Post Expert Series) (Paperback)
This is a great introduction to football betting, and a book I come back to time and again when i get lost in a world of stats. This book genuinely transformed how I look at betting and odds.

My only criticism is that it can be a little prescriptive, and rely more on telling you what to back, rather than how to get to your own conclusions.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Class, 19 Sep 2013
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This review is from: The Definitive Guide to Betting on Football (Racing Post Expert Series) (Paperback)
buy this it will help your punting no end the guy is different class and really knows his onion and i would be lost without this book
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