What Was The Score Of The Football Games Yesterday What Are the Odds of Winning the Football Pools?

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What Are the Odds of Winning the Football Pools?

Winning football pools on a regular basis seems like a dream (or pure fancy) to many people. It can still be done if you have a system. How can you work on quotas? That’s a question many people ask!

Let’s look at the basic odds. With a coupon of 49 matches (games), we are looking to identify a winning line of 8 draws in the UK triple odds pools if we are to win the 1st dividend (a draw score or SD is a score where both teams finish with the same number of goals, not zero ). If we only bet on 1 line (nobody does, but let’s put that aside for now), then the odds of picking the correct 8 matches out of 49 are roughly 450 million to 1. In the UK lottery, the odds are 14 million to 1 for a six numbers, for comparison.

If we put 45,000 rows into the input, then that reduces the odds (on a purely random basis) to about 10,000 to 1. It gets a lot better. Now there are complications. There will not always be 8 SD results on a given coupon, and sometimes there may be as many as 15 or even more. During the second half of 2009, the number of draws (both SD and tie) varied between 12% (1 no score and 5 draws) to 38% (5 no score and 13 SD) coupons. The maximum number of draws during that 12-week period was 14. See accompanying chart.

Take for example a week in which there are 13 draws. With 13 such draws, there are 1,287 possible combinations of the 8 required for the first dividend. This helps our odds significantly – 10,000 to 1 becomes 7.77 to 1 (ok, 8 to 1 to keep it simple). It is a random selection of our 45,000 lines.

Now, let’s just assume that football teams play in form (not always or consistently true), but let’s say we can predict draws with 60% accuracy within our selections. This means we are 20% better at odds (10% edges above 50% random). So the odds of 8 to 1 now become 6.4 to 1 (or 13/2 if we were betting on horses). There are other ways to tip the odds in our favor, and much more to work the system, but I hope this article gave you a taste!

(c) Phil Marks 2009

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