Don’t have time to read? Here are the key points in this post:

  • It is important to look at teams past performance when predicting a football match
  • You need to understand what statistics help you predict results
  • Points difference, goals scored, and Elo Rating are the most important statistics to look
  • Long term form is better information than short term results

How can you predict a football match? Before a big game, how do you have an opinion on who will win?

In sports betting it is very important to have a consistent method for predicting games. Many times looking at the team’s past performance is the best information you will get but what number should you look for? What the past performance represents?
In this post, we will take a look at how simple past stats from each team can predict who will win a football match.

The first thing to understand is that we are using PAST performance to predict the FUTURE. Of course, it won’t be perfect but it can be very valuable.

Using an Artificial Intelligence algorithm we analyzed over 300 past statistics and find out the ones that are the BEST PREDICTORS of a football match:

  • Elo Rating
  • Point Difference
  • Goals Scored

How can we measure if these are good statistics to look before making a prediction?
We look at how these statistics looked BEFORE the matches and then check what the result was. In simple terms: we get all matches in which the point difference between the home and away teams were, for example, over 5 points. How many times did the home team win? Does the home team win more if the points difference is bigger?
Here are the numbers for the Premier League, La Liga, and Bundesliga:

Elo Rating

To understand how the ELO Rating can help us predict a game we do the following analysis:
– We get all matches from the past 15 years on the Premier League, La Liga and Bundesliga
– We compare the difference between the ELO Rating of both teams BEFORE they play
– We observe what the results were
– We expect that the greater the difference between the ELO Rating the higher will be the chance of the team with the highest rank to win

Elo Rating difference BEFORE game and results of games – the greater the difference the greater the chance of the team winning

As we can see in the image the greater the difference the highest the chance of the team with the highest rank to win. If the home team has over 6 points of the difference this team will win 77% of the matches!

Points Difference

Sometimes the easiest statistics to look at are how many points each has in a season. It is a simple but very POWERFULL stat.
In order to understand how it can predict a game, we use the points difference between home and away teams on the past 10 matches they played.
In simple terms, we look at the last 10 games of each team and sum the points they made.
We expect that teams with more points will win more times.
Here are the results:

Points Difference between home and away teams compared with matches results

It is clear that the greater the difference of points the highest the chance to win. When the home team has over 9 points more than the away team they win 69% of the time while when the away team has over 9 points more they win 49% of the matches.
It is also interesting to note the there are more Draws when the difference is close to 0.

Goals Scored

To understand how the average of goals scored by each team can help predict the outcome of a given match we use the number of goals scored by each time in the past 10 games. We estimate the effect for the home and away teams. Here are the results:

Goals Scored past 10 matches x Result

As we can see the more goals scored the higher the chance of a team winning. When the home team has scored 24 or more goals in the past 10 games (2.4 avg) they win 74% of the matches. When the away team has scored over 24 goals they win 54% of the matches.

What can we learn from this?

Looking at past stats are a good way of predicting football matches. Understanding the potential effect of each of these stats is very important. It is very important to know how much the difference in performance from the teams really influences each team’s chances.

Don’t forget to check the other posts from this series:
Odds are just probabilities
Statistics for Football Predictions – Short or Long term form?
Betting Strategies – why are they important?
Betting Strategies – how to measure your results
How to win in football betting using statistics

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