How Important is Recent Form?

Value Football Betting

David posted an interesting question in the members’ forum today:

“I have a question about recent form (last 5-games or so). Is there any study or work done on how much it correlates with the actual outcome on the next game? My theory is that it has pretty low value if you just look at the result and goals scored in those games. If you used shots on goals or even better, good scoring opportunities i would thrust it much more cause the goals scored will in some way just be variance.

“90´s goals. I have 195 bets with a ROI -5,1% or 94,9%, so im losing money on the scoring bets. The filters i´ve used is at least yellow v green in the first 150 or so matches and atleast green v red in the last ones. Im playing atleast 30% value and over 2,0 odds. The reason i write this is not to bash the filters or whine about the results cause im way up with the 90´s match bets. I see that 90´s goals DBB bets are working fine even tho the sample size is pretty low. Do you have any backtesting on those so we could get a greater sample size? And also it would be great to know more of the filters so i could tweak my own system to give better results”

Which prompted an even more interesting answer from Kevin:

“Recent form becomes important to a teams’ confidence. Good recent results will carry over into their next match, though you do have to temper that by looking who they played in their recent games. If they got good results against teams that are not performing well they will not count as much as they would if it was against better opposition. So you are quite right in saying just taking the result alone is not good enough, a little deeper inspection is called for. Your theory about chances created and good goalscoring opportunities is very valid, and one that deserves some closer study. I do have some records of this, but only over the last 6 years, and only in the Premier League. I have used the last 6 games as my benchmark and it shows that 6 game form has little relevance to their next match result, but 2 game form does have a bigger impact on what happens in their next match. This is a little surprising, but when you think about it you come to the conclusion that it is easier to keep form going for 2 or 3 games than it is to keep it going for 6 or 7 games.

“As for the 90 minute goals bets in DBB we have now had 244 bets and have +30.5 points profit, which is a +12.5% ROI. This very good, especially as I have not tweaked the filters yet, it is a first stab at it, so excellent results, much better than my expected 10% return. I have my own Database with 32,000 results in, so just a bit bigger than what we have on DBB. The goals bets in there are showing a 9.4% ROI over their life, pretty much in line with what I expect. DBB has brought a new dimension to it though, there are aspects in DBB that I don’t have in my own Database and so with a fair wind we should be able to improve on my 9.4% return. DBB has started very well indeed so it augurs well for the future.

“Football betting/trading works on very fine margins and there are so many facets to take into consideration. Members do not appreciate how much time and effort goes into making a 10% return. In fact it takes a monumental effort just to make scratch over the long term, so just think how much more effort it takes to make a decent profit. Filters are honed over decades, not just a few weeks. I have been recording the Premier League now for 22 years and the filters I use are based on that League, but then for each of the other Leagues I play in I will tweak the Premier League filters to take into account the last 10 years of those particular Leagues. So the Premier League gives me the base to work from, but each individual League has their own record and I use that long term record to tweak the Premier League filters so that they suit any particular League.”