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How did the teams in Europa League perform this weekend

March 12, 2013

It is a known fact that teams that play in Europa League on a Thursday and then again in the league on the following Sunday perform worse than expected, especially if the European game has been played away from home. See an earlier post where I write about an analysis in the excellent blog 5 Added Minutes by Omar Chaudhuri.

I decided to take a look at the teams who played in the European league last Thursday and see how they performed the following Sunday.

The probability of a home win/draw/away win in each game was computed by considering the average odds provided by a large number of bookmakers (taken from The probability was computed by normalising the inverted average odds. From these probabilities the expected number of points for the teams were computed as explained here. These computed probabilites are of course not strict probabilities, but only decent estimates of the true probabilities. The average bookmaker odds is the best way I can come up with to predict football matches.

There were eight games in Europa league last Thursday and hence sixteen teams involved. All sixteen had games yesterday (Sunday) but Zenith and Rubin Kazan played each other and will not be included in this analysis. From the fourteen investigated games the expected number of total points for the teams involved in Europe was 24.33. The actual number of points won was 23. For their opponents the expected number of points in the fourteen games was 14.13 and the actual number of points won was 17.

Hence, the number of points earned by the teams involved in the European league was less than predicted by this simple model. However, this analysis has of course a too small sample to draw any general conclusions.


Click on the image to enlarge.

I believe that bookmakers take the European effect into account, but perhaps not enough. If there is a Europa League-effect it would be interesting to analyse if the effect is so strong that a winning betting strategy is to always bet on the opponents to the teams that have been involved in Europe.

By considering the average bookmaker price and putting one unit on each of the fourteen games you would have earned 14.33 units. Most of this profit is due to the Anzhi loss (11.04 units), but you would make some money even without the Anzhi game! Moreover, you can always find better prices than the average price by comparing bookies.


From → Analysis

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