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Football Form Labs weekend preview - international weekend

Sports betting has evolved in recent years, gut instinct and opinion have mostly been replaced by databases and algorithmic trading models. One of the very best of those is Football Form Labs who have shared their wisdom with a preview of some of this week's action. You can also follow Football Form Labs on Twitter, @footballformlab. Football Form Labs' great subscription offers for the season have been extended into September.


Football Form Labs provide the most effective football betting software on the market with the ability to analyse games both pre-match and in-play across 50 different leagues. You can also generate your own models and see the statistical impact players have when they are missing. Football Form Labs' great subscription offers for the season have been extended into September.

Form Lab Black is down from £150pm to £40pm – Try Form Lab Black here with Promo-code: FLBPROMOMONTHLY

Form Lab MAX is down from £75pm to £20pm – Try Form Lab Max here with Promo-code: FLMPROMONTHLY


The International break means two weeks off for the major European leagues. Some welcome it, while others despise it. There is a theory that clubs tend to underperform after the interruption of an international break during the domestic season, the 'FIFA virus' as it is called in Spain. The key causes thought to be exhaustion, fatigue and injury to players (or just general disruption). However, is the 'FIFA virus' just a myth?

A review of the matches taken place after an international break in the Big 5 European leagues suggests it just might be. Looking at the statistics, top-four finishers in these leagues actually perform better after an international break, with a win percentage of 61% in their first matches after the breaks in September, October and November since 2002/03. This compares to a season average of 58%.

Backing a top-four finisher against a non top-four finisher directly after the international breaks in September-November, at average odds since 2002/03, would have yielded an impressive ROI of 13.5% from 431 matches, including 16.4% at home and 10.7% on the road. This is with a 65% win rate. There is obviously an assumption here that we know the top-four finishers, but if you look at top-four finishers against non top-four finishers in their other games there is just a 6.1% ROI and a win percentage of 61% so we can clearly see they show an improvement after the break. Furthermore, replacing finishing position for current position at the time of the match also produces a profit.

There is therefore opportunity to profit as bookmakers may overestimate the impact of an international break on the big teams.

Looking throughout the league it seems that the International break does not have too much of a significant impact to domestic competition. The rest of the teams in the 'Big 5' leagues have extremely similar win, draw, and loss rates before and after previous International breaks, and there is no pattern to suggest that teams look set to underperform.


LA Galaxy v Colorado

LA Galaxy won a third consecutive MLS game last weekend, with Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane once again doing the damage. This year LA have W7-D2-L2 when both have been playing compared to just W6-D2-L7 otherwise, and both have netted five times each in their last four games.

However, this week both are on international duty, as is key midfielder Omar Gonzalez. Given how significantly they are weakened, LA look hugely overrated. This is just the third time all three have been missing this season and coincidentally the other two occasions were also against Colorado, and resulted in a 1-0 win at home and 2-0 loss away. Not surprisingly, Galaxy have scored fewer goals without Donovan and Keane, but Gonzalez could be just as important. They’ve picked up just one point and scored only one goal in the last four matches he’s missed.

Colorado lost last time out but before that were unbeaten for nine matches, and they’ve lost just three of their last 10 on the road. Furthermore, they’ve got a good defence and have been beaten by more than one goal just once all season. LA’s absentees make Colorado look a great price and they can be backed at 1.91 on the Asian Handicap +0.75.

Nine of Galaxy’s last 13 home matches against middle-third teams have had fewer than three goals as they’ve conceded just four goals. And with Donovan and Keane missing the goals line looks to have plenty of value. 60% of Colorado’s away matches since the start of last season have had -2.5 goals, including six of their last nine trips to top-half teams. Furthermore, five of their last six meetings with the Galaxy have had -2.5 goals, with the three in LA seeing just four strikes in total, and Under 2.5 goals is a great price at 2.04.

San Jose v Philadelphia

San Jose have won five in a row at home but it’s questionable whether that’s enough to make them odds-on favourites here. They’ve won only one of their last four matches and are sitting fifth-bottom with only a slim chance of making the play-offs so confidence is unlikely to be that high, particularly after a 3-0 loss in the Cali Clasico against LA Galaxy last weekend.

Since the start of last season San Jose have been unbeaten when hosting middle-third teams but six of the 11 matches finished level. Philadelphia are hanging on for a play-off spot and they’ve lost just three of their last 14 matches, with five clean sheets in their last seven. Furthermore, they’ve lost just 8/20 away matches with seven draws, and have W3-D4-L4 away to bottom-half teams during which they’ve conceded just two first-half goals. Overall, San Jose look too short and the draw appears best value at 3.6.

Seven of San Jose’s last 11 home games have had fewer than three goals and none of their last 14 at home have had more than one first-half goal. Furthermore, four of their last five home games against middle-third teams have had fewer than three goals and the last four meetings between these teams have been goalless at half-time with three having fewer than two strikes.

Five of Philadelphia’s last nine matches have had fewer than two goals, all five after being goalless at half-time, and 11 of their 16 trips to bottom-half teams since the start of last season have had Under 2.5 goals (15/16 -1.5 goals in the first half) which looks a big price at 1.98.

Using Football Form Labs you can identify thousands of betting opportunities every week across over 40 different leagues.

Using Form Lab Black’s player analysis tool we look at a few of the major transfers from this summer.

Sevilla: Geoffrey Kondogbia (OUT to PSG, £17million)

Kondogbia was a key part of the Sevilla midfield, especially in a defensive sense. Last season Sevilla lost 38% of matches when he started as opposed to 48% when he was absent. His impressive displays caught the eye of many, and Sevilla accumulated more points per game with Kondogbia in the team (1.5 PPG when he started, as opposed to 1 PPG when he didn’t). PSG have bought a potential star.

Fiorentina: Joaquin (IN from Malaga, £2.5million)

Fiorentina are seen as dark horses for Serie A and they have bought well in the summer. One of their most impressive signings could be Joaquin from Malaga. He had a good campaign last season, increasing Malaga’s win rate from 30% in his absence to 44% when he started, as he helped the supply of goals. Perhaps most impressively Malaga conceded much less when Joaquin was on the pitch. They conceded 1.8 goals per game without him, yet this improved greatly to just 1.19 when he started. He also helped their clean sheet percentage improve from 20% to 37% over the season.

Arsenal: Mesut Ozil (IN from Real Madrid, £42.5 million)

Mesut Ozil has been a key player for Madrid over the last three seasons. When he has started a game, Madrid has had an impressive win percentage of 82%, as opposed to a win percentage of just 65% when he was absent. He is known for his excellent attacking play, and has recorded an impressive 61 assists from his time at Madrid. Arsenal will benefit from his creativity; supported by the fact Madrid averaged 2.98 goals with him, as opposed to 2.54 without him.

Everton: Romelu Lukaku (IN from Chelsea, £loan)

Everton snapped up Lukaku on transfer deadline day, after he was sent out on loan at West Brom last season. He had an impressive season, scoring 17 goals and eight assists in 35 league games, meaning he was involved in 47% of all West Brom’s goals. When Lukaku started a match, 79% of matches had +2.5 goals, as opposed to just 39% when he didn’t.

Borussia Dortmund: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (IN from St. Etienne, £undisclosed)

Dortmund’s new signing made a great start for his new club by scoring a hat-trick on debut. The stats show that Aubameyang was a very influential player for his old club. In his last two seasons at St. Etienne he scored 35 goals in 74 league appearances. His goals were vital as they helped increase the number of points per game from 1.07 to 1.54. In matches that Aubameyang started, St. Etienne scored on average +0.58 more goals than without him.

Marseille: Dimitri Payet (IN from Lille, £7.6million)

The French winger had a stand out season for Lille last season with 16 goals and six assists from 38 matches. Payet was therefore directly involved in 38% of all of Lille’s goals for the season. He took part in every single match, and Lille had a win percentage of 40% when he started.

Form Lab Black can analyse the impact players on team trends to provide the most complete betting solution.


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