Betting on football draws is an often-overlooked betting strategy. Most football fans expect their team to win and the other to lose, this influences their bet choices too. Despite their passion for their team, many matches end in a disappointing 0 – 0 or 1 – 1. Often the smart bet (and the value bet!) is to bet on a draw. There is mathematical evidence for this.
Table of Contents
- Best Betting Sites We Recommend for Draws
- How to Bet on Draws – Finding Value
- The Probability of Draws in Football
- How to Predict Draws – A Mathematical Approach
- Draw Betting Systems Ranked
- Betting on Draws FAQs
- ThePuntersPage Final Say
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How to Bet on Draws – Finding Value
As we mentioned above, people, especially football fans, tend to bet with their gut. This means following their instincts and backing the team they hope will win. Arsenal fans will bet on an Arsenal win, while Manchester United fans will consistently back a victory for their team. That means that a bookmakers liabilities (what they need to pay out to punters) are usually stacked on either team to win.
If nobody is backing a particular outcome, bookies will boost the odds on it, while lowering the odds on other outcomes (win or loss in this case). This means they will have to pay less in case of the other outcomes. A draw may have real odds of around, 9/4; however, the lack of bets can push the odds up to 5/2 or even close to 3/1.
Separating odds sets
When looking at various sets of odds, this becomes very clear. Let us look at two examples of 1X2 outcomes. The first has a strong home favourite, with odds 13/20 (home team to win), 23/10 (draw) and 19/4 (away team to win) while the second has more balanced odds, at 8/5, | 23/10 | 9/5. If you have paid any attention, you will see that despite the odds being different, a draw is equally likely. In the first set, the draw is the second most likely outcome, while in the second it is the most likely outcome.
As you can see, a draw can be just as likely when there is a heavy favourite to win as when both teams are evenly matched. This is often caused by heavy betting on the favourite, which can skew odds.
This further demonstrates the value in draw betting.
The Probability of Draws in Football
Of course, football teams are not incentivised to settle for a draw. All professional leagues give three points for a win and just one for a draw. However, this does not stop draws from being frequent. How likely a draw is, differs greatly between leagues. While draws are more common in lower leagues, they are less frequent in higher leagues. This can be seen clearly in the percentages of draws between EPL and League 1, Serie A and Serie B, and Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 below. (Data sourced from Sport12x.com). Just in case you are wondering, the league with the most draws in 2019 – 2020 was the Uruguay Primera, with a whopping draw percentage of 54.17%!
|Tournament||2019 - 2020||2018 - 2019||2017 - 2018|
|Greece Super League||29.20%||23.30%||30.30%|
How to Predict Draws – A Mathematical Approach
While knowing how often draws occur in a specific league is very relevant, it does not tell us how likely a draw will be in a specific matchup. In order to calculate their odds, bookies use mathematical models to predict the likelihood of any possible outcome. That includes draws, wins, losses, and specific scores. Two of the most common models are Poisson distribution and Normal Distribution.
Predicting Draws with Poisson Distribution
Poisson distribution is a method that uses probability theory to predict how likely an event is. You can use it to calculate the likelihood of a specific score in football. To do this, you need to first calculate your league’s average goal expectancy, as well as the attack strength, and defence strength for both sides. After calculating how likely every specific score is, you can add up the probabilities of all drawing scores (0 – 0, 1 – 1, 2 – 2, 3 – 3, 4 – 4, etc.).
Read our full article on Poisson distribution and learn how to create your own Poisson football spreadsheet with Excel.
Normal distribution is a statistical model based on averages as well as how often they occur. Two teams may have the same average score, however, one team can be very consistent, while one team overperforms and underperforms frequently. By calculating the standard deviation, you can see how often, and by how much results differ from the mean. This will possibly give you a more nuanced result.
Other Mathematical factors
If you are looking to bet on draws, look at how likely a draw is in a specific league. Draws have plenty of correlations. Low-scoring leagues have more draws than higher scoring leagues. The fewer the goals, the more likely a draw.
Another rule of thumb is to look for teams approximately equal in strength. One way is to use Elo ratings. If one team is weaker, it can make up for it with a home field advantage.
Besides a more mathematical approach, there are plenty of soft factors that can increase or decrease the probability of a draw. While these are highly influential, they are not as easy to quantify, and often ignored by bookies.
While certain factors, such as attack/defence ratio, attack strength, goals scored, goals conceded, etc. are easilly quantified, the exact style matchups between different teams are hard to express in numbers. Strategic scenarios are the stuff of managers. Still, it can’t hurt to come up with your own likely scenarios for how a match will play out.
Another important factor is the motivation. This depends a lot on where in the season the tournament is. This is particularly relevant at the end of the season. Teams that desperately need a win for a championship or to prevent themselves from being relegated are more motivated than teams in the middle of the pack. Teams with nothing to win or lose may be more content with a draw.
Weaker teams may also be more content with a draw when playing stronger teams. Instead of chasing the victory, they may be content to simply defend and shut down the team with better accolades.
Draw Betting Systems Ranked
There are various draw betting systems, some we recommend, such as backing the draw, and the 2 out of 5 system. However, others such as the chasing a draw are inherently more risky. We have ranked them from best to worst.
1. Backing the Draw System
The backing the draw system is the main strategy for draw betting. The idea behind it is very simple. Since punters and football fans are more likely to bet on teams to win, less money comes in on draws. This means that the bookies inflate odds on draws. While the real odds on a draw are closer to 2/1 (or even lower) the lack of bets pushed the odds up to near 3/1. If you bet on three draws with odds near 3/1 and only win one of them, you will still be in profit.
Several tipsters make a living selling draw tips based on this system. Every week, they usually choose three or more matches for draw picks, while boasting a considerable ROI. Of course, there is no reason you cannot figure it out for yourself.
2. 2 out of 5 System
The 2 out of 5 system is essentially a strategy that involves accumulators or a system bet. Here, you chose five matches that are likely to draw. Instead of betting directly on those five matches, you place a system bet, betting on all the doubles (the outcome of each individual match parlayed with each of the other matches). As the name suggests, you will only need two out of every five matches correct in order to make a profit. This usually works if the odds are on average over 23/10 (which is common for draws) or higher for your selections.
3. Betting on Draw/Odd Total
This is essentially a form of Dutching or arbitrage betting. On one hand, you bet on a draw, on the other, you bet on an odd (instead of even) score. Since a draw is always an even score, you can be sure that you will win. Whether this strategy works, depends on the odds of course. Most bookies’ odds are set not to let this happen. Nevertheless, you can sometimes find opportunities, by shopping between different bookies.
4. Chasing a Draw (Martingale with draw)
Chasing a draw is a less sophisticated method of draw betting. It is a variation of the Martingale betting strategy. In the Martingale, you essentially keep doubling your bets until you are in the plus. Here, you keep betting on the same team to draw and keep doubling your bets to make up for lost. On the surface, this makes sense; every team will draw eventually. Thus, it is just a matter of time before you actually make money. However, the system has limitations. Your bankroll is not infinite, and if a team has a long enough streak without a draw, you will be broke.
If you want to try this risky strategy, we recommend starting very low, since your bet size will increase exponentially on a loss streak.
Betting on Draws FAQs
⚒️ How do you bet on draws?
There are various strategies for draw betting. These include straight betting, the 2 out of 5 system, chasing and backing the draw.
🥇 How do you predict football draws?
Bookies use models and mathematical formulas such as Poisson distribution and normal distribution to predict football outcomes and draws. Draws are likely when teams are evenly matched.
⚒️ Which league draws the most often?
In general, the lower the league, the more draws you see. For example, Bundesliga had 23% draws in 2019 – 2020, while Bundesliga 2 has 31.80% draws in the same year. For the same year, the EPL saw 24.20% draws, while League 1 saw 28.10%. The league with the most draws in 2019 – 2020 was the Uruguay Primera, with a whopping draw percentage of 54.17%!
🤑 What percentage of football matches are draws?
The odds of a draw depend on the league. Here are a few examples from 2019 – 2020: EPL: 24.20%, League 1: 28.10%, Champions League: 24.40%, Serie A: 23.20%, and Bundesliga: 23%.
⚽️ How often do football games end in 0 - 0?
0 – 0 is often the most unpopular score for football fans. In the top five European leagues, there is usually one 0 – 0 result for every 12 to 13 games played. That gives a percentage of around 8% of games ending in 0 – 0.
ThePuntersPage Final Say
Betting on draws can be a smart betting strategy. The unpopularity of draws with football fans means they are unlikely to bet on them. This means you can find plenty of value since this can boost the bookies odds on their outcome. There are several valid draw betting strategies, which can work. Look out for value bets and make your own predictions and calculations.