I make a living from figuring out the answers to these sort of questions as they relate to sports, and the global football betting market in particular. But the sort of difference between polling models and the betting market prices we have seen on the 2020 US election over the last few weeks basically never exists in football match betting these days.That is because such a pricing difference is always closed by weight of money, towards the position of the models, by professional gamblers and particularly organised syndicates such as the one I work for. The pricing of high-profile professional football games is efficient. Not perfectly efficient mind – or else I wouldn’t be able to make a living – but pretty damn efficient. The data-based models that we use to price a game are a far better guide to the likelihood of the result than any subjective opinions, including those of ‘experts’ such as ex-players and tipsters. These models are why we win, whereas virtually all ‘amateur’ football bettors lose.
The way we approach building our models, and the principles UFABET with which we use data within them are – very generally speaking – similar to the methods used by Nate Silver at 538.com. That is to say, if we were to model the US election with a view to betting on it, the output of the model we would build is likely to be similar to the 538 forecast. It would be a probabilistic expression of odds, rather than a prediction of who will win. It would use the results of opinion polls as its primary input, as they are best – albeit far from perfect – representation of the likely distribution of votes. And it would show, with a polling lead of around 10% pts, that the odds for Biden to win are around 90%, which we would usually express in their decimal form: 1.11.
The current odds (at 9am on November 3rd) available to back Biden to win on the biggest betting exchange Betfair are 1.62 (62%). In our world, that is a colossal difference. And it would mean we would be considering a ‘maximum bet’ on Biden, subject only to consideration of factors which could affect the result which are out-with the scope of factors we include in the model – such as the potential for corruption in the administration of the election, or the complicating impact of Covid.
The coffers in our ‘politics betting’ pool would be healthy, as we wouldn’t yet have spent all the winnings we made on the 2016 US presidential election. On that occasion we would have backed Trump with a near-maximum stake, as our (read 538’s) model gave Trump a much bigger chance of winning than the betting market, despite it projecting that Hillary Clinton was by far the likelier winner. This seeming logical contradiction is the key to a professional betting operation that most people don’t grasp – we bet on the things that have a better chance of happening than the odds imply, not on the things that we think are most likely to happen.
With the obvious caveat that politics isn’t really ‘my thing’, and so it’s probably smart to assign less weight to my opinion than if it was about a sporting market… for whatever they are worth, here are some thoughts;Sometimes there is one big reason for things. This is not one of those times.In sport a huge difference in model and market odds can occasionally occur because of a single factor which makes a large difference – such as Lionel Messi getting injured ahead of a Barcelona game. But that’s not what seems to be going on here with the ’20 election market. More likely it’s a confluence of factors at play.