Rangers v Hamilton and Man City v Sheffield Wednesday

An interesting comparison in terms of InPlay betting opportunities

If you have downloaded my free report on 21 Top European Leagues, you won’t be surprised that I approached thIs Scottish Premiership clash between Rangers and Hamilton without great expectations. If you read The Strategy, you will also know that I tend to approach Cup matches with a similar degree of wariness when it comes to finding solid InPlay betting opportunities. At the very same time that this Scottish league match was kicking off, the FA Cup fifth round game between Manchester City and Sheffield Wednesday also began.

And so it proved an interesting comparison between two matches that had very similar odds and expected outcomes, and ultimately produced little by way of InPlay betting opportunities for those using my strategy. Let’s find out why.

Opening Odds

We’ll begin by looking at the opening odds for both matches. In each case we had a strong favourite to win the match. Rangers were 1/11 to win their match and Man City were 1/8. Odds on Rangers scoring the first goal were 1/6, just the same as Man City. In both matches, odds on there being over 1.5 goals at half time were 5/6.

So, there was an expectation that both matches would more than likely feature a goal by the end of the first half. Let’s look at how the first half of both matches panned out and what conclusions or lessons we can draw from the results.

Stats at 05:00

Man City started relatively strongly, with 6 unanswered dangerous attacks by the end of the fifth minute. They won one corner but did not have any shots on target. Rangers did not dominate as much in terms of dangerous attacks (they made three and Hamilton responded with two), but they did have one shot on target in this opening period.

Thoughts at this point: An impressive, assertive opening by Man City. Would like to see a shot on target or two over the next five minutes to demonstrate a real ability to penetrate and threaten. With regards Rangers, their lack of dominance in terms of dangerous attacks raises an early red flag. A shot on target is always welcome, but would like to see them exert greater dominance over the next five minutes, if we are to consider this an opportunity when odds on one more goal being scored in the half become 1/2.

Stats at 10

Very little change. Man City make five more dangerous attacks, bringing their tally to 11 (Sheffield Wednesday managed one dangerous attack). But still no shots on target, nor any further corners. Rangers again make three dangerous attacks over these five minutes, and Hamilton again respond with two. There were no further shots on target.

Thoughts at this point: unless something dramatic happens over the course of the next five minutes, both matches can be written off in terms of holding opportunity. Man City would want to hit the target at least twice. Rangers would need to do the same and also double their rate of attack. But I am already 85% sure that neither match holds potential at this point. The stats for the first ten minutes pretty much tell us all we need to know.

Stats at 15:00

Very little happens in the Man City match over the course of this five minute period. Whereas they made a total of eleven dangerous attacks in the first ten minutes, they only manage to raise this to thirteen by the end of the fifteenth minute. Odds on Over 0.5 First Half Goals are edging swiftly towards 1/2, being 4/11 at 15:00. Rangers do manage to raise their game somewhat, producing another two shots on target and making six dangerous attacks. Odds on there being over 0.5 goals by the end of the half in the Scottish match are now 2/5.

Thoughts at this point: neither match is presenting us with an optimum opportunity. The total number of dangerous attacks by both stronger sides is less than ideal. Man City are just not hitting the target. Rangers have hit the target three times, but their performance lacks consistency. There is insufficient evidence of the sort of dominance we require. At this point, therefore, I have written off both matches as candidates for placing a bet.

Stats at 45:00

We can, in both cases, fast forward to the end of the first half, as nothing much changed and nothing remarkable happened. Man City closed out the half with a total of 39 dangerous attacks and no shots on target. Rangers managed a reasonably impressive five shots on target, but their tally of dangerous attacks also failed to exceed the forty mark, finishing at 38.

Thoughts at the end of the half: odds on there being over 0.5 first half goals became 1/2 around the 25th minute in both matches. But, as I mentioned above, I had already made the clear decision that these would not be worth taking when they arose.

Let’s outline why this decision had been made:
Both teams began with reasonably short odds to win, but the odds for both to score the first goal were only just what I would deem acceptable, at 1/6. As such, we would need something of a stellar performance from these teams in terms of attacks and shots in order to entertain the prospect of placing a bet on one more goal being scored when the odds are right.

Man City began attacking in the manner I like to see in the opening five minutes, but they failed to hit the target and they also failed to maintain this intensity. They made 6 dangerous attacks in the first five minutes, 5 in the next five minute period, and only 2 between the tenth and the fifteenth minute. Rangers, too, failed to demonstrate the kind of dominance and consistency required. They only managed to make 10 dangerous attacks in the first fifteen minutes and 11 more by the thirtieth.

Conclusion and take-home message

The opening odds for both matches meant that they warranted interest. But neither of the two teams hit the mark in terms of desirable stats, and so it was easy when it came to making a decision about placing a bet on over 0.5 first half goals when the odds became 1/2.

And this is how it should be. You need to have a set of criteria that you can quickly apply to the appropriate games. When you have this, it removes all the guesswork in identifying solid InPlay betting opportunities. Matches either conform to your criteria or they don’t. In this case neither match did, and no bet was placed. And, as the scores at half time proved, this was the right call.

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