Mode, median and mean the same for World Cup penalty comps

Penalty Shootout

This week marked 100 days to go until the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil kicks off so one thought that it was about time that Playing The Long Ball looked at some of the markets pertaining to this year’s 32-team football tournament.

The FIFA World Cup has had the same format for the second stage since the 1986 FIFA World Cup Mexico, with 16 sides qualifying for the knockout phase from a base of either 24 teams in 1986, 1990 and 1994 or 32 teams from 1998 onwards.

The 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil markets on which one is going to focus are those concerning the number of matches that go to extra time and the number of games that go to penalty competition. Two bookmakers – 888sport and Unibet – are offering odds on the extra-time market and three bookmakers – 888sport, BetVictor and Unibet – are open for business for punters who want to bet on the total penalty competitions.

One has seven FIFA World Cups worth of data to examine in relation to the aforementioned markets. The extra-time numbers ought not to be too much of a surprise to regular football punters since they correspond with the normal-time draw odds. For the record, all of the last seven FIFA World Cups have had at least four matches go to extra time, with the tallies being four (1994, 1998, 2002 and 2010), five (1986), six (2006) and eight (1990). The 1990 FIFA World Cup Italy was criticised for being very negative so one should view its eight extra-time games as a fluke. Exclude the 1990 FIFA World Cup Italy and five of the other six events had either four or five matches go to extra time, an option that is trading at odds of 2.50 with 888sport and Unibet.

Everyone except, it seems, English football supporters love penalty competitions and the market on the number of them during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil is sure to attract plenty of attention from punters looking for a fun bet.

Once again, one has explored the FIFA World Cup archive and researched the incidence of penalty competitions since the 1986 FIFA World Cup Mexico. For the record, all of the last seven FIFA World Cup have had at least two games go to penalty competitions, with the tallies being two (2002 and 2010), three (1986, 1994 and 1998) and four (1990 and 2006). Three penalty competitions is the mode, the median and the mean and, therefore, it is an attractive betting proposition at odds of 3.75 with 888sport and Unibet. Those bookmakers have pegged four penalty competitions as the favourite but that does not tally with the statistics cited above.

FIFA World Cups are unpredictable events so it does not pay to get ahead of oneself when assessing exotic markets. But, according to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil title market, here is how the second stage will pan out if every one of the tournament’s 64 matches goes according to the odds.

Round of 16
Brazil v Netherlands
Colombia v Uruguay
Spain v Mexico
Italy v Cote d’Ivoire
France v Bosnia-Herzegovina
Germany v Russia
Argentina v Switzerland
Belgium v Portugal

Quarter-finals
France v Germany
Brazil v Colombia
Argentina v Belgium
Spain v Italy

Semi-finals
Brazil v Germany
Spain v Argentina

Third-place play-off
Germany v Spain

Final
Brazil v Argentina

How many of those 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil ties do you think will require extra time and/or penalties to produce a winner? That is the question that one must answer before betting on the featured 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil exotics.

With 100 days or thereabouts to go until the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil gets under way there is an argument for snapping up the odds of 3.75 about three penalty competitions since it appears that 888sport and Unibet have made a rick.