29. jun. 2017

Danish Superliga review 2016/2017

Season 2016/2017 is over, and I felt the urge to write a few words. It is mainly just a few thoughts about interesting observations that should be exciting to look at in the upcoming season.

FC Copenhagen
FC Copenhagen had an outstanding season. You can’t argue that they were the best side; they were by significant margin. However, the gap to 2nd place in the table could be a bit more than what would be fair. Because FC Copenhagen also turn out to be one of the “luckier” sides, as they were super efficient offensively and defensively in terms of shots this season, and you can’t expect them to sustain such overperformance over time.

Most important were goalkeeper Robin Olsen. FC Copenhagen had the leagues highest saving rate: 82.8% while the league average is only 71.8% - and yes, it is true that Robin Olsen faces easier shots than most other keepers (lowest percentage of shots conceded from the penalty box), but even after adjusting for this, Olsen has really overperformed. Also, with central defender Zanka leaving, there is a risk that FC Copenhagen might not be as solid defensively next season.

Offensively, FC Copenhagen did also overperform, as they were efficient with their shots in general. But this was also due to FC Copenhagen taking more shots from the penalty box than most other sides (only AaB hold a higher percentage of shots from the penalty box).

Looking at the players, FC Copenhagen will lose striker Cornelius, which could be crucial. His production in terms of getting shots in dangerous positions is very similar to fellow strikers Santander and Pavlovic, but he proved better at assisting in the previous season, where his assists per 90 minutes were 0.33 while Santander only had 0.13 and Pavlovic 0.16. Looking at the wingers, Verbic seems to be the player able to get in the most dangerous situation, and he should have scored more goals this season according to his shots locations. Other wingers like Falk and Toutouh don’t get in as many dangerous positions, but are instead better at producing assists. A place where Copenhagen could see some issues is the central midfield, where central midfielder Delaney averaged impressive 0.23 expected goals per 90 minutes, while his “replacements” Matic and Gregus only averaged 0.08 and 0.10 respectively. That is some difference, and Copenhagen could be missing some central midfield goals in the future.

AGF had a quite poor season, but finished off nicely. Looking at the stats overall, AGF comes out as a mid-table side and not a side that should have had concerns about relegation.

AGF have had big issues in the past season on the goalkeeper position, where they consistently has had a lower saving rate than the league average. This was also the case this season (saving rate: 68.2% - league average 71.8%), but after adjusting for shot positioning, AGF’s Jovanovic actually had a decent season. It is obvious that AGF have conceded too many shots in the penalty box, but it is hardly surprising due to all the forced rotation during the season. Signing Pierre Kanstrup from SønderjyskE seems like an excellent decision as he played every single minute last season (but worth mentioning that SønderjyskE actually conceded more shots in the penalty box in the past season!).

Offensively, AGF’s production was fairly good. They were also the non-top 6 team scoring most goals and the underlying stats suggest that it was no coincidence, as they produced a solid amount of chances.

Looking at the players, AGF have a really solid production from Morten Duncan Rasmussen, who holds a xG per 90 minutes (without penalties) on 0.36. For AGF the main problem was that he did not play all games this season (missed 10 starting appearances). A player like Kasper Junker who showed promising things only comes in at 0.22 xG per 90 minutes, but instead he was good at assisting (0.26 assists per 90 minutes). AGF should consider bringing Mustapha Bundu more often. With the small sample issue of only playing 403 minutes, he had a xG per 90 minutes of 0.46 – very promising, but he also needs to work a bit on shot locations as he tend to take a lot of shots from the distance (with low xG).

The biggest villain was probably Martin Spelmann who only scored 2 non-pen goals. He should have scored 5 according to stats, but he was very wasteful. As scoring efficiency tend to balance over time, AGF fans should expect more goals from Spelmann ahead.

The assists and xG from the wingers are not very impressive for AGF. They have lacked a strong winger, who can get in dangerous positions. Thus, it looks like upgrade to add Jakob Ankersen, as he is a guy known to get in dangerous positions. Overall, AGF seem to have improved some weak points ahead of next season, and they should expect a better season ahead.

Looking over the entire season, Brøndby deserved their 2nd place. However, it was a story of two halves, as Brøndby were almost as good as FC Copenhagen statswise in 1st part of the season, while they only played like a mid-table side in the 2nd half of the season. Of course, Brøndby lacked some motivation at the end of the season with everything settled, but at the same time you could fear that Brøndby are past the initial positive boost from head coach Zorniger’s very different style.

Offensively, Brøndby had by far the most shots fired by any team in the league, yet they were 12 goals short of being the most scoring. The reason is clear, Brøndby take way too many poor shots from distance. In fact, they had more than 100 shots more from the distance than the next team – that is something. Brøndby rank quite low on the percentage of shots in the penalty box (55% -  FC Copenhagen at 66% for comparison), and this definitely something to work with. This is also why Brøndby hold a lower scoring rate than the league average – simply too many poor shots. It should be better to keep the ball and try to make chances bigger by moving it into the box to Pukki or Wilczek.

Defensively, Brøndby also have issues. They conceded more shots in the box than all the other top teams, and quite extraordinary Brøndby were the team in the league conceding the highest percentage of shots from the penalty box (66% - FC Copenhagen at 49% for comparison). This could be something with the attacking style, which lets opposition get easier access to dangerous shooting positions. In that light, it is really remarkable that Brøndby have a saving rate that is higher than the league average (76.2% - average 71.8%) and goalkeeper Rønnow deserves a lot of credit.

Looking at the players, the stats actually suggest that Wilczek is getting more dangerous shots than Pukki (xG per 90 min: 0.51 and 0.38 respectively), but while Wilczek performed what you can expect, Pukki seem to have overperformed by around 5 goals – he has been really efficient this year, and it would be difficult for him to repeat next season. Perhaps, Brøndby should look to sell him if they get a big offer. In midfield you should not underestimate the importance of Hjulsager, who were the most dangerous midfielder for Brøndby this season, yielding an impressive 0.29 xG per 90 minutes, a tad better than Mukhtar at 0.26 xG – with both being pretty strong at assisting too. The departure of Hjulsager in winter could be a part of the explanation for Brøndby’s poor spring, as they now only had one real midfield threat. Brøndby have signed Fisker as replacement, and he had a xG of 0.17 per 90 minutes in Randers, but he might be able to improve this number in a better club. He needs to, otherwise Brøndby might struggle as in spring.

FC Nordsjælland
Nordsjælland were better in the 2nd half of the season, despite playing stronger opponents. They struggled with injuries and consistency in the 1st half of the season, but really got the attack going in the 2nd half. Overall, I don’t rate them as more than a mid-table side though. They benefitted from being efficient in front of goal, more than you can expect in the future.

Offensively, FC Nordsjælland did score a good number of goals, but their chance production was not impressive. Actually, FC Nordsjælland probably scored 10-15 goals more than what their stats suggest. Only FC Copenhagen and Horsens had a higher scoring rate, but those teams also had really good shots placement, while FC Nordsjælland were fairly average due to a high number of shots from the distance.

Defensively, FC Nordsjælland did okay. Saving rate was average, and also fairly average in avoiding shots from the penalty box. But they conceded way more shots than they fired. FC Nordsjælland conceded 96 more shots than they fired, and yet they finished with a +4 goal margin – this just shows how efficient they were offensively.

Looking at the players, Marcus Ingvartsen had a break-out season, obtaining the league top goalscorer prize. But truth is that he overperformed quite a lot. In fact, stats suggest that he scored 11 (!) goals more than what you could expect based on his shots. He only managed to get a xG of 0.27 per 90 minutes, and fellow striker Donyoh actually had a higher xG of 0.34. So for me, I think FC Nordsjælland should take a big offer for Ingvartsen now, as there is very little chance he will have such a season again. Looking at other players, midfielder Marcondes were also in insane overperformance mode, as he 6 goals more than what you should expect from his shots. However, still a remarkable midfield xG of 0.31 per 90 minutes – this is very strong. Interestingly, the highly appreciated central midfielder Lobotka only managed to have 0.12 assists per 90 minutes, while fellow central midfielder Mathias Jensen had 0.35 assists. Nevertheless, it is obvious that Lobotka plays a big role in linking play despite not necessarily scoring or making the final pass. Finally, Nordsjælland also deserve credit from their attacking backs Pedersen and Bartolec that have a solid assist production.

8. nov. 2016

The future of SuperligaBets

It has been more than 3 years since I made my first betting preview on SuperligaBets. First suggestion was an under 2.5 goal bet in OB-AGF, a match that eventually ended 3-6. Fortunately, things turned around after this terrible start!

Actually, all three seasons finished has yielded positive profits and this season is currently sitting at a +14 % yield. I have made previews and bets on all 670 Superliga matches since OB-AGF and made an overall +5 % yield by doing so. I think, I have proved that is possible to make a solid profit on the Danish Superliga – even under the challenging rule that a pick had to be made on every single match. Furthermore, the profit is not based on early market picks, but on picks made after bookmakers with high liquidity has entered the market. In 2016, I have looked into how my position is compared to the closing odds. 68 out of 90 recommendations (including Tip of the Week) have had lower closing odds. In other words, 76% of the time you would not be able to get my price at kick-off. I am quite satisfied with this statistic as it suggests that my picks are valuable.

I started this site, when I was a student with a decent amount of spare time. Now I have a full-time job and a lovely daughter. In other words, the free hours are sparse – and a lot of time is every week invested in providing betting previews to SuperligaBets. It has made me question whether it is worth it. I enjoy making the previews, but I think it has turned into production. I make the weekly previews, get 4-6 new followers every week and a few kind words (I really appreciate them!). I can see that markets often change rapidly, when I make my recommendations, so someone must be profiting. So I think, I am doing someone a favour, but am I doing myself a favour? I make zero income on SuperligaBets and frankly, I don’t think it is worth it at the moment given the limited interaction it generates. I think my time would be better spent using the time I would use on previews on other things.

As said, I do enjoy making the previews, so I am willing to continue, but only if I start generating a satisfying payment. I have thought of the following possibilities: 

  • Changing SuperligaBets to a paid service (maybe only for a limited group to protect prices)
  • Finding a site sponsor (not looking for affiliate deals, where I only profit when my clients lose – that is just bad incentives..)
  • Working for another site

If you have an opinion (job offer, sponsorship offer, other ideas or perhaps being a part of a paid service), please let me know. You can write to me at superligabets@gmail.com

I will consider my options in the upcoming week.

Kind regards,