Study history to successfully bet on premier league points

OF all the spread bets you can have on football, the most meaningful is the average season points bet in the premier league. At first glance, this might seem like a straightforward bet. Look at the previous points totals of the winners and the relegated teams in the past few years, decide which team you fancy for the top spot or for relegation, and buy or sell the prices accordingly. In reality, though, it can be an awful lot more interesting than that, especially if you study past form.

First, some numbers. The most obvious place to look is the top of the table. Over the past five years, the winner of the top division has averaged 90.4 points. The current spread for Chelsea is 84-86, and Man U is 81-83 (all prices are with meaning that buying these positions looks attractive.

Further down the table, the average for the fifth place is 62. Liverpool have a spread of 74-76, Man City 69-71 and Spurs 63-65. The average for 10th place is 49 – and current prices that might be interesting for the middle spot include Everton on 50-52, Sunderland 50-52 and Stoke 46-48. The average for the last placed side is 23.5, and current relevant prices include Hull on 30-32 and Portsmouth 32-34.

So far, so straightforward. But how do you trade with this information? Well, over recent years the gap between the top and bottom teams has got wider, as billionaires pour cash into the big clubs, and the smaller ones increasingly struggle. The boffins at Extrabet point out that their “bikini bet”, which measures the number of points between the top and the bottom placed club, gets wider each year. So the general rule is to buy at the top end of the table, sell at the bottom and avoid the middle, where the gap between the spreads and the points totals tends to be smaller.

The other way to trade this market is, of course, to look at individual teams. Of all the clubs, perhaps the most interesting one to watch is Fulham. Although they have a small squad (the sixth smallest in the premier league), they are playing in Europe, having finished seventh in the league last year. This means that they are often playing three games a week, and the number of games is already taking its toll.

The domestic cups could put even more pressure on the squad. So far in the league this year Fulham has totalled 11 points from nine games (an average of 1.2 per game) compared to 53 from 38 games (1.4 per game). Their current spread is 45-47, which is the average of 1.2 points per game. However, if they qualify from their Europa League group this average will surely go down, which suggests that you should therefore sell their season points, while if they got knocked out this will go up, suggesting that you should buy their points.

Finally, you can look to the bottom of the table. Once weaker teams like Stoke, Wigan, Bolton and Blackburn are safe from relegation, history shows that form will immediately dip. In fact if they are even within touching distance of staying up with a few games to go they will feel their job is done.

The numbers over the past five years show that the relegation contenders finish on average three points below the estimated value with from five games to go. This suggests, then, that you should wait until teams are safe – or nearly safe – and sell them.

If they are clever, then everybody can get some joy from the premier league. Even Hull fans, perhaps.