ALFA DATA BLOG


A look at my second season of value betting


The season 2019/20 has already started in many countries and soon I will start a new season of value betting in the most important European football Leagues. Before starting I wanted to have a look at the results of the past season and share what I have learnt from them. This is something that I have done last season and I plan to repeat every few months with the goal to improve the strategy I use when betting on those markets.

A good starting point is to have look at the number of bets placed per League.


I placed most bets in La Liga, with a total of 100. This was mainly due to the fact that for most of the season there were several teams over performing their expected points. The usual Atletico Madrid but also teams like Getafe (ended up 20 points above their expected) and Alaves (ended 15 points above the expected). Getafe put up an extremely good defensive performance, being the 2nd best defensive team in La Liga. Unfortunately these teams did not quite regress to the mean as we expected and made us lose some money betting against them. Bundesliga (86 bets) and Ligue 1 (81 bets) are second for bets placed, while Eredivisie and Scottish Premiership are the ones with the fewest bets placed. Those leagues turned out to be the ones with less variability.

Now, let's focus on the total stake and the profits league by league.


As expected the league where I placed the most bets is also the one where the total stake was higher. La Liga however made a negative profit for me last year (like most leagues unfortunately). The most profitable league turned out to be League 1, with a 98€ profit over 81 bets. The less profitable league is instead Serie A, with a combined loss of 110€ over 68 bets. Overall, only 2 out of 8 leagues were profitable last season.

A look at the ROI helps understanding the difference between profitability between leagues.


The best performing leagues turn out to be Ligue 1 and Primeira Liga. Ligue 1 had an ROI of 23 while Primeira Liga was the other league with a positive ROI, with 17% over the whole season. Negative ROI for the rest of the leagues, where the worst performing ones were Scottish Premiership (-34%) and Serie A (-33%).

When did it go wrong? I looked into the monthly data to understand what was the bet return over the months.


I started the season very strongly. Placed the first bet on the 21st of Setember and had 2 very profitable months at the beginning of the season. Unfortunately those 2 moths were followed by an horrible end of 2018, where I lost more than 360€. The rest of the season was more or less even for me and I never recovered from the initial losses.

In conclusion I can say that after a very profitable first season our second season turned out to be much less profitable.

  • We lost money overall and the cumulative ROI was -9.8%.
  • Only 2 leagues out of 8 turned out to be profitable last season.
  • La Liga has attracted the most bets last season.
  • Ligue 1 and Primeira Liga are the most profitable leagues with ROI of 23% and 17%
The second season of value betting turned out to be not profitable but one needs to take into account that the model we are using is a long run model and it can take many seasons to even out the variance and make a steady profit. A bad season can happen but it can be followed by a very good season, because the variance in football is very high after all. I balanced my stakes during the season in order to adjust to the decreasing bankroll and still be able to place bets. For the next season I am going to include more data and the predicitions will be for sure more accurate then the season before. This will hopefully reflect in a better performance across all leagues and a better overall ROI.

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