I decided to look into the European soccer teams with the biggest supporter base. Doing a quick google on the subject I found the top10 teams to be:

1. Manchester United

2. Real Madrid

3. FC Barcelona

4. Chelsea

5. Arsenal

6. Liverpool

7. FC Bayern Munich

8. AC Milan

9. Juventus

10. Paris Saint-Germain

I found the list at totalsportek.com, it is their ranking (based on followers on social media, TV-viewership, shirt sales and sponsorship deals), and I decided to go with that. I have three questions I want to explore:

1. If many “play-for-fun” supporters bet on their favourite team, can laying them pre-game be a winning strategy?

2. What if one of these teams take a one goal lead in-play. Should I back or lay?

3. What if their opponent takes the lead by one goal. Should I back or lay?

I will split this subject into three different blog post, starting with the pre-game question. My hypotheses is that when big amounts of supporter money hits the line the odds on the big team will get eaten, therefore there might be an edge laying the big team.

I use my own recorded data on Betfair with the following notes:

1. The pre-game odds that I use is recorded a few minutes before the kick-off.

2. If it’s a match between two top10 teams, then it’s excluded.

3. Data from 2013 until today.

4. Not complete data, some matches have not been recorded and I know nothing about them.

The result I get is seen in the the table below:

I am looking for a strategy that have been consistent over time, and where I have some exposure. Both Premier League and Primera Division have a history of positive yield when laying any of the top10 teams. Maybe this could be an interesting pre-game strategy for 2017? It’s big markets and you can probably get large sums matched pre-game.