There has been a clear and obvious change in the way many football fans and punters ‘consume’ the beautiful game in recent years, and that is just beginning to extend itself to the way we bet, too.
Advanced statistics have been popularised by firms like OPTA and used readily in the coverage of the likes of Sky Sports and Match of the Day; with ‘Expected Goals’ the current zeitgeist that pundits are using to add colour to their opinions.
The shame for the average Joe punter is that OPTA data is very expensive to purchase, and so the proliferation of sites like WhoScored.com is really helping to aid the cause of the discerning bettor who wants a greater insight into the game before placing their weekend bets.
And the connection between stats and betting continues to thrive, with Betfair set to join BetVictor in offering Man of the Match betting in the coming weeks.
This market, which is governed by WhoScored’s analysis of a game and subsequent awarding of the MOTM prize, offers some rather tasty value and, as we know, tends to be dominated by a small number of players who light up matches – as opposed to those who tend to go under the radar.
Upon their roll-out, BetVictor’s Head of Trading, Chris Edwards, said: “There is a strong appetite among our customers for a Man of the Match market that is objective and consistent, rather than one that relies on subjective pundit opinion and is often overlooked by the host broadcaster.
“The MOTM market was only previously available on televised games in the EPL, but we already expanded that to all EPL games over the first weekend. We remain committed to giving the football bettor the very best value.”
WhoScored use their own rating system to determine the recipient of the Man of the Match award, and this is devised from more than 200 individual strands of data that have been collected by OPTA.
Betfair have confirmed that they will be rolling out their Man of the Match market, based on WhoScored’s ratings, for the rest of the Premier League campaign.
The Main Man: How to Make the Most of The MOTM Market
One of the reasons why this is such noteworthy news is that the Man of the Match market has something of an air of predictability about it – and yet the odds available remain generous to say the least.
Here’s a screengrab of BetVictor’s MOTM prices for Saturday’s clash between Tottenham and Manchester City:
This is just the head of the market, of course, but look at the value on offer. If Harry Kane scores two or more, for example, he’s likely to be named MOTM; meaning those odds of 5/1 are generous indeed. There is also a chance for the creative midfield types who tend to catch the eye – Kevin de Bruyne, David Silva et al – to land punters a welcome return.
So who typically wins the MOTM award?
- Typically, a player from the winning team will win Man of the Match
- If not, it is likely to be the losing side’s goalkeeper/key defender if they help to keep the scoreline down
- Generally, two types of player win MOTM: goalscorers and creative midfielders/wingers
Indeed, here’s a list of the players with the most MOTM wins this term, according to WhoScored’s ratings:
There are no major surprises in here, except arguably Jordan Ayew, and all of these ten players (with the exception of Ashley Young) conform to the checklist points outlined above.
Props to the Bookies
Man of the Match betting, as well as markets including ‘player X to have X shots on target’, are becoming increasingly prevalent and are examples of the ‘player props’ style bets that are likely to sit alongside traditional forms of football betting in the months and years to come.
There is a really interesting piece in SBC News in which Andy Wright, head of sports at SkyBet, reveals his thoughts on the future of player betting – especially with the World Cup just around the corner.
“At Sky, like everyone else, we are trying to find exciting innovative markets that will appeal to the younger audience, and really step away from the homogenised betting product, that I think, football particularly, has fallen into the trap of.
“I think over the last few years we have all moved away from that, and really player props was always the next step, we needed the mainstream media to really get involved here, the likes of OPTA and Sky Sports, we had conversations with them probably 18 months ago, trying to understand what they were going to do to continue with the success of Monday Night Football.
“I think with the rise of that available data and putting it into people’s minds, in the narrative of a sporting event, then customers will start to be interested in the product.
“I think that the World Cup will be of interest, where we will have certain matches that will have players people will recognise, but not perhaps teams that people recognise, and therefore these kinds of player props can take more of a starring role in that.”