It’s not uncommon to see odds change before an event takes place. Sometimes these changes will be small, on other occasions they will be much more significant. There are a whole range of factors that can cause a change in odds.
Pre-Match betting and fluctuations
Before a match or competition starts, once the bookies have rolled out their initial odds it is unusual for these numbers to significantly change. These odds are primarily based on statistical analysis with a few other variants factored in, such as significant injuries or the amount wagered by users.
For example: if a bookmaker releases odds on a game and an unusually high amount of punters bet on a certain result it is not uncommon for the bookies to change their odds to limit potential damages.
However, before the game begins there are a number of key factors which explain why betting odds change:
A few days before kick-off a team’s star player picks up a knock in training and are ruled out for the upcoming match. This will have a significant impact on the teams overall quality, and a negative effect on their morale.
After Messi sustained his long injury odds on Barcelona to win dropped slightly, due to the integral part Messi plays in their successes.
Key victories / defeats
If a team suffers a demoralising defeat in the week, perhaps in a European competitiion, this will damage their confidence and will reduce their likelihood of a victory, and vice versa.
However, there is the so called “European hangover” which is prevalent in football. Teams that have to travel frequently often find their domestic form suffers.
In football, specifically in Latin America and Eastern Europe, key games such as derbies can see a lot of violence in the match build-up. It is not uncommon for team buses to be pelted with stones etc.
In Turkey – a famously hostile football environment – the Fenerbahce team bus was shot at by rival fans. Unsurprisingly the players were somewhat unsettled.
Similar to fan trouble, unusual events that take place shortly before a match can have an adverse effect on competitors. There have been incidents where matches have begun shortly after serious disasters or fan deaths, and this can impact a team.
Before Deportivo took on Atletico Madrid a fan was killed during a pre-match skirmish between support groups, which shocked players and fans alike.
Climate / Weather
If a set of particularly harsh weather conditions impacts a match it can have a dramatic impact on the outcome, particularly if the visiting team is unused to the harshness of the conditions.
European teams travelling to Russia in winter often have to contend with heavy snow and extreme cold, which they never experience domestically.
Visiting teams are always slightly on the back foot, and a particularly arduous trip can tip the odds more heavily in favour of the home side. There have been examples of team buses breaking down or crashing, leaving players to seek other transport, or even walk
A few seasons ago AS Monaco’s team bus broke down, forcing the players to hail a fleet of taxis to take them to the ground.
In-play / live betting
Unlike pre-match fluctuations, which usually come as a surprise, the constant changes to the in-play odds are to be expected, and this is what makes this type of betting so appealing to punters.
In-play revolves around reacting to the unfolding events, and is far less statistics based than the original odds rolled out by the bookies. Success with in-play betting requires a healthy dose of luck, but primarily a strong personal knowledge of the participants and the ability to read the game. Just because the favourite starts poorly it doesn’t mean you should pile all your money on the underdog.
For example: a football match is under way, the home team are strong favourites but concede an early goal. The odds quickly change to favour an away victory. However knowledgeable punters are aware that the home team have a habit of conceding early, and going on to win. This allows the astute punter to capitalise on the higher odds when they bet on a home victory.
How are odds calculated?
Learning how odds are calculated may seem confusing at first, but once it’s broken down the process is surprisingly easy.
Odds are essentially the probability of an outcome, the higher the odds the less likely something is to happen, and these predictions are largely based on statistical analysis. The analysis is done primarily by Risk Analysts, Traders and Odds Compilers who are employed by the bookies to set odds and assess the likelihood of every outcome of every match.
A huge number of factors are taken into account, from team form to injuries, the bookies also have to factor in betting patterns. If a team like Manchester United are playing relegation candidates Sunderland the majority of punters will put their money on Man Utd, so the odds will be much lower to allow for this and limit the bookies outlay. After all, the bookmakers are there to make money.