Are the odds on favourites Arsenal and Liverpool worth backing in terms of value?
The FA Cup reaches the semi-final phase at the weekend with underdogs Reading and Aston Villa taking on Arsenal and Liverpool, respectively at Wembley Stadium. This FA Cup betting preview for the Semi-finals takes a look at the probabilities to see if big favourites Arsenal and Liverpool offer any value.
The cream tends to rise to the top in the FA Cup
Much folklore surrounds the rich history of the competition, most significantly the view that the cup is a great leveller, permitting unconsidered teams to surprise their more fancied challengers.
However, the fact is that despite unanticipated outcomes that do take place, there is no proof that the minnows obtain an extra benefit merely due to the fact that the match is an FA cup tie.
The gap between the wealthiest Premier League teams and the rest appears not only over 38 league games, but likewise in the outcomes of the current FA cup competitions.
Since 2000, 13 of the 15 finals have been won by the Premier League's big five sides – Man United, Man City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal – only Portsmouth and Wigan having broken that streak.
In the last 14 years 78% of semi-finalists have actually been won by one of the top five EPL teams. An unseeded draw and the ruthless nature of knockout football, may occasionally scupper the chances of that year's best all round side, but since 2000, it has actually been odds on that a minimum of one finalist will belong to the top 5 elite.
In the last 14 years 78% of semi-finalists have been one of the leading 5 teams. So the conclusion of this year's competition would appear typical of the current past.
For that reason, current FA cup history, together with league form, highly favours defending champions Arsenal and Liverpool.
Who will progress to the FA Cup final?
Identifying the most likely finalists is reasonably uncomplicated, but connecting probabilities to the individual match outcomes to compare these to the odds needs some simple data crunching.
Liverpool's clash with Aston Villa is the most simple as both are Premier League teams. The Reds, after Monday night had an goal difference of +11 from 32 games or a average difference of 0.34 goals per game, compared with a goal difference of -21 from 33 games or -0.64 per game for Villa.
So over the period up until now, without any weighting for more current results, Liverpool's average goal difference per game is 0.98 of a goal superior to Villa's, with neither side taking advantage of home stadiums on Sunday.
Comparable computations utilizing the scoring and acknowledging performances of both sides home and away, estimate that Liverpool are around 9 tenths of a goal superior to Villa on neutral venues give Liverpool (1.571) a 61 % opportunity of winning in 90 minutes, with Villa's (6.650) chances at 17 % and a draw at 22 %.
Checking out, naturally do not presently play in the Premier League. But groups from the Championship do often fulfill EPL groups in the domestic cups and three groups swap locations through transfer and promo each year.
Utilizing these collateral form lines we can estimate that the best Championship teams are the equivalent of being 16th or 17th best Premier League teams.
o we can estimate in terms of goal difference, the current quality gap between Reading and the promotion contenders in the Championship and Arsenal and the teams just above the EPL relegation places.
Arsenal are around 2.4 goals per game superior to Reading at a neutral venue, which means a 85% chance for the Gunners, 4% for the Royals and 11% for a draw. Reading's odds of 15.750 reflect this, while Arsenal are available at 1.243 on the 1X2 market.
These standard numbers partly leave out situational factors. Liverpool may be a better team now they have a more settled attack considering Sturridge's return from injury, while experience of both Wembley and the huge event might help to favour Arsenal much more strongly versus Reading.
For the Saturday evening game, where Arsenal are plainly superior, total goals tend to increase as the skill space in between the teams broadens. However, gamblers should remember sides have no genuine incentive to score lots in a single knockout game. Reading can be backed at +1.5 and 2 on the handicap with Pinnacle Sports.
And likewise, where a team is favoured by around 0.9 of an objective, as Liverpool are against Villa, the typical number of overall goals scored would generally be an above average 2.7. However, 61% of Villa's games have had two goals or fewer, this season, consisting of both league encounters with Liverpool. The handicap is set at -1 in favour of Liverpool.