Use the stats to profit from in-running betting (By Betfair.com)

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Andrew Atherley of Betfair.com tells us why backing Stoke at half-time at home when the scores are level is the way forward and which other in-running trends are worth us knowing about for the upcoming weekend matches.

In-running betting has transformed the landscape for football punters and, from a statistical point of view, added whole new layers to the options available to the switched-on punter.


No longer is football betting all about form over 90 minutes, now that there are opportunities to make money in-running by backing or laying teams based on other factors. Knowledge of a team's characteristics, and not just of their form based on match results, has never been more important and punters can put that knowledge to good use thanks to Betfair's in-running revolution.
Liverpool have been a good example this season. The Premier League leaders have had a low standard of first-half performance, leading just four times at the break, and have yielded a good return for punters who treated them as a lay-to-back (opposing them early on and then "reversing" your bet by backing them later on in the game when their odds of winning have drifted) . They have been level at half-time on 10 occasions and have yet to lose from that position, winning six times, and they have won two out of two after trailing at the break.
Liverpool's second-half record on the road is notably strong. They have led at half-time in just three out of eight, but they have converted three out of four half-time draws into wins and they have won on the only occasion when they were behind at the break.


A couple of the promoted teams are interesting too. Stoke City have led at half-time only twice this season, winning both times, and the smart play has been to lay them at the outset with a view to backing them if they don't trail at half-time. They have been behind nine times at the break, losing seven and drawing two, but they are yet to lose after going in level at the break, with three wins and two draws.


Narrowing down Stoke's profile, the Britannia stadium has been the place for punters to make their plays this season. They have won both times when they have led at half-time, but notably they have won three out of three when level after 45 minutes, making them the only team in the Premier League with a 100 per cent home record from that position. From a losing position at half-time, Stoke have lost twice and drawn once.


Hull City, the revelation of the 2008/09 season, have a similar profile. Only Liverpool have won more games after going in level at half-time, with Hull's five wins matching Everton and just one behind Liverpool. In percentage terms, however, Hull are best in the league, as they have converted 71% of their half-time draws into wins, compared with 60% for Liverpool and 56% for Everton.


Punters who laid Hull at the outset of their 16 Premier League games would have been heading for a loss at half-time on only two occasions - Phil Brown's team have been ahead four times at the break but have converted only two of those leads into wins. They have not won after trailing at half-time (two draws, three defeats), so there has been the option for layers to switch to backing Hull when they have been level at half-time.
The fastest-starting team in the Premier League has been Chelsea, who have scored 13 goals in the first half-hour of games (next-best in that timeframe is nine goals) and have won 10 out of 11 when leading at half-time (the other match, at home to Arsenal, ended in defeat).
What has become evident in recent weeks, however, is that Chelsea tend to run out of ideas when they don't get an early lead and that is reflected in their stats - just one win out of five when they have not led at half-time. Those stats point to an opportunity for Chelsea backers to lay Luiz Felipe Scolari's team on those occasions when they fail to establish a half-time lead.
Other fast-starting teams include Fulham and West Ham, who both have strong first-half records but poor performance in the second half. Fulham have had five half-time leads (while trailing only once at the break) and every time they have gone on to secure victory from that position (all at home). From a position of half-time parity, however, they have failed to win in nine games, drawing five and losing four.
West Ham have led at half-time on six occasions (bettered only by Chelsea and Manchester United) and, like Fulham, they have won five times from that position. As the Hammers have trailed only twice at the break, backers generally have been in a good position at half-time, but the smart play at the break is to look to lay them, as they have yet to win from 10 games when they have not been ahead at half-time. Indeed, they have lost eight of those 10 games, including six out of eight after going in level at the break (the highest number of defeats from that position in the Premier League).
 

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