Npower Championship Statistical Anomolies, Reading & Coventry

September 11, 2011

I’m taking a closer look at some angles in the Npower Championship from a statistical angle to find some betting opportunities.

You may remember a piece on this division a couple of weeks ago regarding the lack of 1-1 draws in the division against what would normally be expected statistically. Well that proved fruitful just that week when four 1-1 scorelines went some way to redressing the balance. The percentages in that area are still a little behind where we might expect them to be and some selective betting on the scoreline can still reap dividends for us. Just a single 1-1 outcome this last weekend has left the numbers in deficit.

One other thing I will mention before I get onto the main part of this piece is that the Home win situation in the Npower Championship is someway behind average too. This has much to do with the 0-1 scoreline and away wins in general being way above average already. The division has baffled me thus far this season along with many more Championship specialists, with the likes of Southampton, Brighton, Derby County and Crystal Palace certainly performing well above the level they were at at the end of last season. In addition, Birmingham, Reading, Nottingham Forest and Leeds United are way below where we would expect them to be come the end of the season. I will concentrate on these teams in some more depth in a future piece.
So, for now, I am looking at some more obvious areas. An example of this would be teams in the division that have yet to score a first half goal. This is something that is very unlikely to continue for a long spell of time, so upcoming matches for these teams are worth looking at. I am going to couple this information with how these teams have done over the past year when scoring first or leading at the half time break.

Reading – Coventry City

These two sides have yet to score a first half goal in six games this season. This is in total contrast to the completion of last season when both teams outscored opponents in the first 30 minutes of their games. Reading 23-17 with a margin 8-9 loss in the final 15 minutes of the first half, whilst Coventry’s record reads 16-11 to the good in the first half hour. They were mauled between 31-45minutes last season though, 9-19, undoing all their good early work.

There was a big difference in the finishing positions of these two teams last season, but this year they both sit toward the bottom of the table, and in fact, after six games, Reading are in the bottom three with Coventry marginally above them.

Coventry remain a tip for relegation for me, although it has to be said that they have been defensively tight so far this season, and a win last Saturday against Derby County is a huge confidence booster.

In 2010/11 Coventry did not win a single match in which their opponents scored first. It occurred only 18 times from their 46 matches (39%) but from those 18 games they managed just three points from draws, losing the other 15. Conversely, and this could be key once again, when they themselves scored first 24 times from 46 (52%), they managed an average of only 2 points per game, winning just 14 of them, drawing 6 and losing the other 4. They could not be relied upon to hold a lead. The big problem came in those last 15 minutes of the first half, as when leading at half time, they didn’t lose a game in 12 matches. Again though, look at the fact they led at half time in only 12 games after scoring first in 24! Don’t forget that some first scores would have been second half openers.

Reading fared far better in 2010/11, only going out in the play-offs in the end. They too didn’t lose a game in which they were leading at half time. Of the 15 that they led, they held on to take the three points on 12 occasions. They scored first in 24 games (52% the same as Derby), and did very well in holding that lead in 18 games. Reading were also one of the best teams when going behind in games, they went behind in 17 games, losing just 2! and when losing at half time in 11 games, went on to gain no points from the game just once! Reading were the comeback kings of 2010/11. That has not been shown thus far in 2011/12.

Both these teams will not remain goalless before the break for long, and when getting in front generally stay in front. Reading in particular, home or away will be worth betting for both halves in the half/time full time markets for the foreseeable future.

Interestingly, these two sides meet in a couple of weeks on the 24th September at the Richoh Arena, I wonder if that game will be 0-0 at half time?

Before that Reading will host bottom club Doncaster, an ideal opportunity to collect on the HOME/HOME bet. Coventry travel to Ipswich which inspires less confidence, and perhaps a really speculative bet on Coventry to be leading at half time would be the better option, or indeed, perhaps a minimal stake on Gary McSheffrey to score first. Keep an eye on these bets


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