What are the Odds of Winning the
Pools?
Not Impossible!
How can you work the odds? It’s a question that a lot of people ask.
Let’s look at the basic odds. With a coupon of 49
matches (games), we are looking to
identify a winning line of 8 score draws on the British treble chance pools if we are to win a 1st Dividend (a
score draw is a result in which both teams end up with the same number of goals, not zero). If we stake on 1 line
only (nobody does, but leave that aside for now), then the odds of selecting the correct 8 matches from 49 are
approximately 450 million to 1. With the UK lottery the odds are 14 million to 1 for a six number combination, by
comparison.
If we stake 45,000 lines in an entry, then that reduces the odds (on a purely random selection picking basis),
to about 10,000 to 1. That’s getting a whole lot better.
Now, there are complications. There will not always be 8 score draw results on a given coupon, and sometimes
there may be as many as 15 or even more. During the latter part of 2009, the number of drawn matches (both
scoredraw and noscore draw) varied between 12% (1 no score and 5 score draws) and 38% (5 noscore and 13 score
draws) of the coupon. The maximum number of score draws during that 12 week period was 14. See the accompanying
chart.
Let’s take a week on which there are 13 score draws as an example. With 13 score draws, there are 1,287 possible
combinations of the 8 needed for a 1st Dividend.
This helps our odds considerably – 10,000 to 1 becomes 7.77 to 1 (ok, 8 to 1 to keep it simple). That’s with a
random selection of our 45,000 lines.
Now, just suppose that football teams play to form (not always true or consistently so), but let’s say that we
can predict draw games with 60% accuracy within our selections. This means that we are 20% better on the odds (10%
edge above 50% random).
So, odds of 8 to 1 now become 6.4 to 1 (or 13/2 if we were betting on horses).
There are other ways of sharpening the odds in our favour, and a lot more to working a system, but I hope that
analysis has given you a flavour!
