Does Momentum Exist in the Football (Soccer) Market?

Football (or soccer) betting is one of the most popular forms of sports betting. There are many different ways to bet on football, but the most common is simply betting on the outcome of a match. You can bet on who will win, or if the match will end in a draw.  If you want to place a more complex bet, you can also bet on the first goal scorer, or how many goals will be scored in the match.

There are many different betting strategies that you can use when betting on football. For example, you can use the favorite-longshot bias to develop a betting strategy. The favorite-longshot bias refers to the phenomenon where bettors tend to overvalue the longshots and relatively undervalue the favorites.

Reference [1] examined the momentum phenomenon in the football market and whether it can be used to develop a winning betting strategy. The authors pointed out,

… We use a novel and rich dataset from a large and well-known international bookmaker, focusing on betting markets just after 1-1 equalisers are scored during matches in the German Bundesliga. We analyse whether the sequence of scoring impacts the final match outcome, the price setting by the bookmaker, and ultimately the amount and direction of betting activity. On the sequence of scoring, we hypothesise that the equalising team has gained momentum. However, our results suggest that on average the sequence of the goals leading to the 1-1 does not influence the ultimate winning chances of a team or the odds setting by the bookmaker.

In short, momentum does not exist in the football (German Bundesliga) market. The article also concluded that betting on the match momentum would result in a losing strategy,

Still, there is convincing evidence that bettors believe in the value of momentum, as considerably higher stakes are placed on the teams that have just equalised to eventually win, compared with the teams that conceded. Such perceived value in momentum among bettors does not translate into profits, as always betting on the team with momentum on average leads to significant negative returns.

How about we bet on the reversal? Would this lead to a winning strategy? Let us know in the comments below or in the discussion forum.

References

[1] Marius Ötting, Christian Deutscher, Carl Singleton, Luca De Angelis, Gambling on Momentum, 2022, https://arxiv.org/abs/2211.06052v1

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