It may feel like the start of a new season, rather than the resumption of Liverpool’s quest for a first Premier League title, but are we really entering the unknown from a sports betting standpoint?
Nikos Konstakis, VP Sportsbook at SG Digital, suggested that for both traders setting prices and customers finding value from sports bets, there will be challenges in the immediate future.
He said: “During traditional pre-season training, we’re able to access so much more information on how players are performing, but this is a bit like heading into the unknown. I’m sure punters will look to take advantage of the situation, while traders will probably be a bit more cautious. The form book that existed a few months back won’t be as reliable now, again opening up a level playing field.”
Edward Peace, MD at Sporting Solutions, agreed that there are “unprecedented” aspects to the Premier League’s return, for example the increased number of substitutes, but took a different stance to Konstakis on there being limited information available on player performance.
“Whilst the current situation in the Premier League is exceptional, there isn’t necessarily ‘limited information’ on player performance if you have the right data tools available,” said Peace. “We’ve been offering player performance markets for over a decade and have a substantial historical database to guide odds compilation.
“Using big data tools, we’re able to analyse performance trends from comparable scenarios – such as players returning from long injury absences or playing in summer tournaments like the World Cup (under similarly ‘warm’ temperatures) – and incorporate them into our models.”
Whether you can piece enough information together from comparable scenarios or historical data, it’s fair to say that there will be more guesswork – from a trading and punters point of view – leading into the first gameweek back than if we’d rolled into this same set of fixtures back in March.
Bobby Longhurst, CCO at Pronet Gaming, believes it will be more difficult to predict the outcome of matches in the short term, but doesn’t expect punters to steer clear of popular player prop bets.
He said: “Reduced information is never a good thing as it makes it more difficult to predict an outcome. Although this is true, player prop bets like Lewandowski to score anytime or Haaland to score first remain a favourite pick for recreational players.
“Customers will continue to bet on player props, although pricing these markets up with less information on current fitness and team form is not without its difficulties.”
To expand on his point about fitness, Longhurst added: “It has been a real issue in Germany thus far, with players needing treatment for cramp. Teams now have nine substitutes to pick from and can make five changes. With more games crammed together fatigue is more likely to play a part and the goals should start to go in again. That makes player props bets an even more attractive proposition.”
Finally, Betdaq’s UK Key Account Manager Trevor Dunne weighed in on the introduction of more substitutes, a rule change criticised by Premier League managers including Sheffield United’s Chris Wilder (pictured). Dunne shared: “Undoubtedly there will be some strange outcomes to begin with as players and teams find their groove and get back to full match fitness.
“All teams will have had different preparation and we should expect more injuries. The use of extra substitutes and their impact will be intriguing, and you would think it will help the bigger teams with more strength in depth.”