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Pythagorean expectation soccer

Winning tips percentage in soccer. The Pythagorean expectation when betting on soccer. History of Premier League analysis. The soccer team that has a win percentage of 50%.

Pythagorean expectation for soccer betting

Winning tips

Pythagorean expectation

Can we use Pythagorean expectation for betting on soccer? Just like it has been used in US sports like basketball and baseball?

When it comes to mathematics and geometry. The most famous equation is Pythagoras’s theorem and that relates to the length of three sides of a right-angled triangle.

Bill James is the person that reworked this equation in order to explain the team’s likely true winning tips percentage in terms of points or runs they score and allow (not only on their actual winning percentage).

So the winning tips percentage can be calculated like this:

Win % = (points or runs scored ^X) / (points or runs scored ^X + points or runs allowed ^X).


The situations where someone scores are more numerous than wins and with that, we can see a team’s true abilities.

How to use the Pythagorean expectation when it comes to betting on soccer?

Using Pythagorean expectation in football is a big challenge. Since the draws are more often happening (and that is not the same for US-based sports). Also, red cards can make a soccer team to play with fewer players. That can distort the scoring events quite a bit.

So the win percentage here is often being equated to the percentage of possible points that may be won, to account for a team being able to pick up a point in a drawn game despite not scoring in that same match. In a 38-game season, for a win, they get three points which means that there are 114 points at stake. A soccer team that has a win percentage of 50% can end up having 57 league points at the end of the season.

Teams that are more likely to be involved in draws are those that both score and allow few goals than those who concede and score in greater numbers.

Use of Pythagoras when betting on soccer

The most widespread use of Pythagoras in soccer is to find out if the number of points won in one season is justified by their scoring records and therefore is likely to be a good indicator of performance in the subsequent campaign.

Let’s take as an example Newcastle and their league points in 2011/12. This team had 65 points and that was nearly 10 in excess of what was expected by Pythagorean expectation. Newcastle scored 56 goals and conceded 51. They had lots of single goal victories and a few heavy defeats and because of that, it was not a surprise to see this team achieving fewer points in the next season 2012/13.

8 out of 10 soccer teams that have exceeded expectations in the history of Premier League had their total points fall in the next season and 9 out of 10 most underperforming teams against their Pythagorean expectation gained more points in the next season.


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